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The best sound cards for home studios

11 November , 2016

Luchshiye zvukovyye karty (interfeysy) dlya domashnikh studiy

This article demonstrates some of the best available audio interfaces on the market for a home studio. Prices, in this article, for sound cards range from $ 80 to $ 300, so that any music producer / sound engineer with a modest budget will be able to purchase an interface depending on needs and preferences.

Usually, sound cards in this price category produce almost identical sound quality. Therefore, we recommend paying attention to technical specifications and cost.

Steinberg UR22 MK2

Steinberg UR22 MK2

Main characteristics:

  • 24-bit / 192 kHz
  • USB 2.0 Connection
  • Two D-PRE Class A mic preamps
  • Solid metal case
  • Compatible with all music recording and editing software.
  • Dedicated impedance switch (+ 48V)
  • MIDI input & output
  • Cubase AI comes as a gift
  • Price: $ 149.99

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Main characteristics:

  • 2 high quality mic preamps
  • 2 instrumental inputs
  • 24-bit / 192kHz
  • 2 balanced 1/4 “outputs for studio monitors
  • USB 2.0 powered
  • Price: $ 149.99

— See also: 8D surround sound and how to make it —

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd Gen

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4

Main characteristics:

  • 2 high quality mic preamps
  • 2 instrumental inputs
  • 24-bit / 192kHz
  • 4 unbalanced RCA outputs
  • 2 balanced 1/4 “outputs for studio monitors
  • Midi input / output for connecting a controller or keyboard
  • USB 2.0 powered
  • Price: $ 199.99

PreSonus AudioBox USB

PreSonus AudioBox USB

Main characteristics:

  • USB powered
  • Audiobox 1.2 update, gives compatibility with USB 3.0 and improved integration with Windows
  • 2 xmax mic / instrument preamps
  • 48v phantom power
  • 2 balanced TRS outputs
  • Studio One Artist with third-party plugins, loops and samples
  • Price: $ 115

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6

Komplete Audio 6 USB

Main characteristics:

  • 4 analog inputs, 4 balanced analog outputs
  • Digital stereo input / output (S / PDIF / RCA) for lossless signal transmission
  • MIDI input / output for keyboard or third-party controllers
  • Headphone output with independent level control + source switch
  • USB powered
  • Low digital delay when using virtual instruments and effects
  • High-quality preamps with separate sensitivity controls
  • No delay direct monitoring for recording analog signals
  • Mono switch for recording vocals, guitars, and other mono sources
  • 48-volt phantom power for connecting condenser microphones and active di-boxes
  • 15 LED status indicators providing visual control of all signals and indication of overload
  • KOMPLETE ELEMENTS – Over 3 GB of First-Class Instruments and Effects
  • CUBASE LE 5 – recording software and sequencer
  • TRAKTOR LE 2 – DJ program
  • $ 30 / € 25 electronic voucher * – for purchasing KOMPLETE instruments and effects in the NI Online Shop
  • Price: $ 229

— See also: 10 best virtual guitar libraries for NI Kontakt 5 —

Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD

Behringer U Phoria UMC204HD USB

Main characteristics:

  • 2×4 USB 2.0 Audio / MIDI interface for recording microphones and instruments
  • 24-Bit / 192 kHz audio resolution for professional sound quality
  • Compatible with popular recording software, including Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, and so on.
  • Stream 2 inputs and 4 outputs plus 1x MIDI I / O with ultra-low latency and support for Mac OS X and Windows XP or higher
  • 2 high-quality mic preamps developed by MIDAS with +48 V phantom power
  • Analog Insert-ports for connecting external effects (for example, a compressor and so on)
  • Zero delay during direct monitoring during recording
  • Powerful headphone output with volume control
  • Status, signal strength and clipping indicators
  • Main outputs on balanced XLR and 1/4 “TRS connectors
  • Shockproof metal frame
  • Price: $ 79.99

PreSonus AudioBox iTwo

PreSonus AudioBox iTwo

Main characteristics:

  • USB 2.0 / ipad audio interface powered
  • 24-bit A / D converters with a sampling frequency of 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz
  • 2 x XLR / ¼ TS Jack combo inputs with low noise and high gain margin 0 – 52 dB
  • Class A mic preamp and + 48 V phantom power
  • MIDI input / output for connecting controllers
  • 2 balanced ¼ TRS line level main outputs
  • Stereo headphone output with separate level control
  • Zero monitoring delay through internal analog mixer
  • Large main volume control LED indication of signal and peaks
  • Price: $ 149.95

ESI Gigaport HD+

ESI Gigaport HD

Main characteristics:

  • Digital to analog converters with resolution up to 24 bit / 96 kHz
  • 8 independent output channels with RCA connectors
  • Various playback modes: with a resolution of 16 bit / 44.1 kHz – 8 channels, with a resolution of 24 bit / 44.1 kHz – 6 channels, with a resolution of 24 bit / 48 kHz – 6 channels, with a resolution of 24 bit / 96 kHz – 2 the channel
  • 2 independent headphone outputs: the first output mixes from all playback channels, and the second output receives signals from 1/2 channels only, which is ideal for monitoring and preliminary listening
  • Compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista / 7 with support for ASIO 2.0, WDM, GSIF, MME (thanks to ESI EWDM technology)
  • Compatible with Mac OS X with CoreAudio support even without installing drivers
  • Deckadance LE software included.
  • Price: $ 199

— See also: Best DJ Software —

Roland UA-55 Quad-Capture

Roland UA 55 Quad Capture

Main characteristics:

  • Two combined XLR / TRS inputs with VS Preamps, two TRS output jacks, coaxial input / output, headphone jacks and MIDI input / output
  • Graphical Control Panel software intuitively and functionally allows you to control preamps
  • Phantom power on each channel, separately derived grounding and Hi-Z switch
  • The AUTO-SENS function instantly detects and sets the optimum input level for preamps
  • Extremely low latency with VS Streaming driver
  • Low noise
  • Compact and sturdy aluminum case with DI-box functions SONAR X1 LE software included
  • Price: $ 249

Audient iD14

Audient iD14

Main characteristics:

  • Two Class-A mic preamps taken from Audient studio consoles
  • Support 24 bit / 96 kHz
  • High quality Burr Brown AD / DA 2-in / 4-out converters
  • ID Function ScrollControl Discrete JFET Instrumental Input
  • Monitor Outputs
  • Class-AB independent headphone output
  • Full level control through a virtual console ADAT input (up to 8 channels)
  • Low latency DSP mixer
  • Power over USB 2.0 interface
  • Full metal housing
  • Price: $ 299
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