Cheapest Audio Interface: Budget-Friendly Picks for Audio Recording

We have researched 13 audio interfaces for you.

Finding the perfect balance between affordability and audio fidelity is a common challenge faced by music creators. Whether you're setting up a home studio or gearing up for a mobile recording project, it's essential to have an audio interface that doesn't break the bank or compromise on sound quality.

This list is tailored for those who seek professional-level recordings while maintaining a keen eye on their budget. It delves into some of the most cost-effective options that deliver reliable performance and top-notch audio clarity, ensuring that financial constraints don't hinder your creative process.
To simplify the price comparison, we determine the prices for the individual articles on Amazon, Ebay and other shops and link the offers via partner links where applicable. This means that we receive a commission if you buy something that we recommend - the price does not change for you.

What to Look for in Cheapest Audio Interfaces

Important criteria

  • Audio quality
  • Compatibility with your computer and recording software
  • Number of inputs and outputs
  • Type of connections (e.g., USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt)
  • Built-in preamps
  • Latency

1.) Audio Quality

Ensure the audio interface has a high enough resolution for your needs, typically expressed in bit depth and sample rate. A bit depth of at least 24-bit and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz is a good starting point for decent audio quality. Check for any reviews or audio tests that can demonstrate the sound clarity and fidelity. A cheap interface might cut costs by compromising on preamp quality, which can lead to noise and coloration in your recordings. Additionally, the digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) quality is crucial for accurate audio playback.

2.) Connectivity and Compatibility

Verify the type and number of inputs/outputs to match your needs. If you're a vocalist or solo musician, one or two inputs might suffice, but bands or multi-instrumentalists will need more. Pay attention to the connection types; USB interfaces are the most common and are generally easier to connect to a range of computers. Confirm that the interface is compatible with your operating system and digital audio workstation (DAW). Some interfaces may require drivers, so ensure they are updated and compatible with your computer.

3.) Latency Performance

Latency is the delay between an audio input being processed and the output being heard. It's critical for real-time monitoring during recording sessions. Cheaper audio interfaces could have higher latency, which can disrupt the recording experience. Look for interfaces with low-latency monitoring features or direct monitoring capabilities. Reviews and specifications should mention the latency performance, which is worth examining before making a purchase.

4.) Build Quality and Portability

Considering a budget-friendly interface, make sure it doesn’t have fragility issues that could lead to early replacement costs. A durable build is essential, especially if you plan on transporting the device for various recording projects. Additionally, a compact design might be important if you plan to move your setup frequently. However, avoid compromised ergonomics or controls that are too cramped, as this might affect usability.

The Cheapest Audio Interfaces of our Choice

Our Pick
Donner USB Audio Interface
Donner USB Audio Interface
Type/Color: Grey
  • Direct monitoring with independent volume control.
  • Switch between direct and software-processed monitoring.
  • XLR and Hi-Z combo input for instruments or microphones.
  • Up to 192kHz/24Bit high-precision digital audio recording.
  • USB-C port for wide compatibility with devices.
  • Portable design for recording anywhere at anytime.
  • Packaging includes audio interface, USB cables, and manual.
$ 79.99 *
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on Amazon
2
EBXYA USB Audio Interface for PC
EBXYA USB Audio Interface for PC
  • Supports high-res audio up to 24-bit/192kHz.
  • Left and right channel inputs for microphones and instruments.
  • 2 inputs 2 outputs with ultra-low latency.
  • 2 combo XLR/MIC/LINE inputs with phantom power.
  • 2 independent TRS/TS stereo jacks for connecting devices.
  • 48V phantom power and Mic Pre-amp built-in.
  • Separate volume control knobs for both mic preamps.
  • Professional recordings with high-performance converters.
  • Two low-noise balanced outputs for clean audio playback.
  • Compatible with Mac OS, Windows XP or later.
  • No need to download any drivers for installation.
  • Package includes audio interface and various cables.
  • 3 years warranty provided by the manufacturer.
$ 59.99 *
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on Amazon
3
MAONO USB Audio interface for PC with 60 dB Pro-preamp
MAONO USB Audio interface for PC with 60 dB Pro-preamp
Model: PS22
  • Immerse in high-quality audio with PS22 interface.
  • 24bit/192kHz high sampling rate for precise sound.
  • 60dB gain range for exquisite detail in recordings.
  • Dual inputs for simultaneous recording or live performances.
  • Expand to 6 virtual channels with MAONO ProStudio software.
  • Dual USB-C ports for compatibility with various devices.
  • Power switch for one-touch operation and ASIO drivers.
  • Package includes interface, cables, and user manual.
$ 119.99 *
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on Amazon
Price Pick
Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface
Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface
Model: UM2 Type/Color: Black Size: 1-Channel
  • 2-channel USB audio interface with XENYX preamp
  • Instrument input for connecting instruments
  • Phantom power for powering condenser microphones
  • Supports sample rate of 48kHz
$ 59.00 *
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on Amazon
5
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB
Type/Color: Red Size: Pack of 1
  • 2x2 Scarlett Solo USB audio interface
  • Demos the product's capabilities effectively
  • Provides high-quality audio recording and playback
  • Compact and portable for easy transportation
  • Simple and user-friendly interface for hassle-free use
  • Supports versatile connectivity with various devices
  • Offers reliable performance for professional audio projects
  • Compatible with popular music production software
  • Includes essential controls for easy audio adjustments
  • Delivers clear and accurate sound reproduction
  • Ideal for beginners and home recording enthusiasts
$ 99.99 *
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on Amazon
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on Ebay
6
Wrugste USB Audio Interface Solo Audio
Wrugste USB Audio Interface Solo Audio
  • Combo Input Socket for XLR and 1/4" jacks.
  • Headphone jack with clear sound quality.
  • Versatile USB audio interface for musicians and podcasters.
  • Easy to use with popular recording software compatibility.
  • NOTE: Available for Mac, Win10 or above system.
$ 29.99 *
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on Amazon
7
NUOSIYA USB Audio Interface for PC
NUOSIYA USB Audio Interface for PC
Model: Red
  • Clear studio quality sound recordings
  • Real time monitoring with zero-latency
  • High-performance USB audio interface
  • Record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Retain all sonic qualities in recordings
  • Headphone jack for low-noise monitoring
  • 2 XLR/Line combo inputs for Guitar and Microphone
  • Powerful preamp with maximum 60dB input gain
  • HI-Z selection switch for high-impedance instruments
  • 2 balanced TRS main line-level outputs for speakers
  • Stereo headphone output with independent level control
  • 48V phantom power for condenser microphones
  • Phantom light indicates power status
  • Suitable for podcasting and video recording
  • 2 years warranty and 24H customer service
  • Compatible with Mac/Win 7 or above
  • No complex driver installation required
  • User-friendly for beginners
  • Seamless integration with popular software
$ 49.99 *
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on Amazon
8
COOLSELL Audio Interface
COOLSELL Audio Interface
Model: G42 Type/Color: Space Gray
  • Hi-Fi Audio, No Delay with smart chip.
  • Independent Volume Control for live streams.
  • Charging While Live streams, USB C port.
  • Instrument Recording for various electronic equipments.
  • Wide Compatible for broadcasting while playing guitar.
$ 39.99 *
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on Amazon
9
M-Audio M-Track Solo – USB Audio Interface for Recording
M-Audio M-Track Solo – USB Audio Interface for Recording
Size: with 1 Mic Input
  • USB sound card for Mac or PC
  • 48 kHz audio resolution for recording
  • Record guitar, vocals or line inputs
  • Combo XLR/Line Input with phantom power
  • Line/Instrument input for versatility
  • 1/8” headphone and stereo RCA outputs
  • USB/Direct switch for zero latency monitoring
  • Transparent Crystal Preamp for optimal sound
  • Works with all microphones, including condenser mics
  • MPC Beats Software for essential production tools
$ 49.00 *
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on Amazon
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on Ebay
10
Depusheng RX2 usb audio interface computer recording sound card
Depusheng RX2 usb audio interface computer recording sound card
Model: RX2
  • High-headroom instrument input port, supporting guitar or bass without distortion.
  • 48V phantom power button for condenser microphones.
  • Mic preamps with separate volume control knobs and signal indicators.
  • Professional-grade recording sound card with USB2.0 interface.
  • Supports 24-bit/192Hz high analysis sampling rate with low latency.
  • High quality all-metal chassis design for durability.
  • Multiple power options including USB and Type-C cables.
  • Small portable size for flexibility in music production.
  • 6.35mm and 3.5mm monitor output jacks for independent volume control.
  • Two independent 1/4" TRS stereo output jacks for connections.
  • No need for proprietary drivers on Mac OS and Windows.
  • Suitable for studio recording, live broadcast, and social media.
$ 45.76 *
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on Amazon
11
Tiimge 2x2 USB Audio Interface for PC
Tiimge 2x2 USB Audio Interface for PC
Model: KA2
  • 24Bit/192kHz high-fidelity recording for detailed music capture.
  • 48V phantom power for crystal-clear sound with condenser microphones.
  • Simple Plug and Play via USB port for easy recording.
  • Ideal for vocals, guitars, and instruments with popular software.
  • 2 multifunctional input jacks for connecting various audio devices.
  • 2 independent TRS/TS stereo jacks connect to speakers and equipment.
$ 59.00 *
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on Amazon
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on Ebay
12
BOMGE mini 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording
BOMGE mini 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording
Model: 22M
  • USB Audio Interface: Podcast, Record, Live Stream
  • 2 in/2 out and connect more devices
  • 48 kHz audio resolution for pristine recording
  • 2 combo XLR/MIC/LINE inputs with phantom power
  • 2 independent RCA stereo jacks connect PA speakers
  • RCA TRS and TS options for different devices
  • +48V Phantom Power with ultra-low noise design
  • 1/4” headphone output and stereo 1/4” outputs
  • Zero latency monitoring with USB/Direct switch
  • Plug and Play, no need for driver download
  • Record, podcast, and stream high-quality audio
  • Compatible with popular recording software
$ 32.80 *
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on Amazon
13
XTUGA USB Audio Interface for PC
XTUGA USB Audio Interface for PC
Model: Q12
  • USB Audio Interface: Record singing or guitar and bass into recording software.
  • Line 1/2 stereo output switchable mono with independent volume control.
  • Supports guitar or bass insertion with gain halo meter.
  • Red light flashes when volume is too high, indicating need for adjustment.
  • Mic preamp with 3-pin XLR socket and support for 48V phantom powered microphones.
  • Additional 3.5mm microphone jack can be added.
  • High-performance converter for studio quality audio recording, mixing, and playback.
  • Records audio in up to 16-bit/48 kHz for clearer and distinctive recordings.
  • +48V phantom power with ultra-low noise design.
  • Suitable for beginners and studio professional applications.
$ 28.99 *
View
on Amazon
* All prices incl. VAT, plus shipping if applicable. Prices, delivery times and costs may change in the meantime. The selection of products was made independently of the manufacturer and without any claim to completeness. All links to products are external partner links through which we may receive compensation. All information without guarantee.

Top Budget Audio Interfaces for Various Buyers

Beginner's Choice
Starting your audio journey doesn't have to be expensive. Discover interfaces that deliver the basics with quality and ease. Tailored for new users, these options are a great entry point into the world of audio recording.
Home Studio Enthusiasts
Elevate your home studio with an affordable audio interface that doesn't compromise on essential features. Find products that strike a perfect balance between cost and performance for the home recording artist.
Podcasting & Streaming
Podcasters and streamers require reliable audio interfaces that fit a modest budget. Look for interfaces that provide clear sound quality and seamless compatibility with streaming setups.
Mobile Musicians
For the musician on the go, portability and affordability are key. Find compact, budget-friendly audio interfaces that make mobile recording effortless and efficient.

Questions You Might Ask

An audio interface is a device that connects audio equipment such as microphones and instruments to a computer, converting analog signals into digital audio. It's essential for recording, mixing, and playback in a digital audio workstation (DAW).
Important factors include the number of inputs and outputs you need, the quality of the preamps, the type of connectivity with your computer (USB, Thunderbolt, etc.), converter resolution, sample rates, and compatibility with your recording software.
The number of inputs you need depends on your recording needs. If you only record voice or a single instrument at a time, a few inputs might be sufficient. However, for recording a band or multiple instruments simultaneously, you'll want more inputs.
Not necessarily. While expensive interfaces often offer better build quality and higher audio fidelity, many affordable interfaces provide great value and sufficient quality for home studios and beginner to intermediate level recording.
If you use MIDI controllers or instruments, an interface with MIDI I/O can be very helpful. It allows you to connect MIDI devices directly to the interface for seamless integration with your computer and recording software.

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How to Find the Best Budget Audio Interface

Venturing into the world of recording music or podcasts can be an exhilarating experience. However, for the budding producer, cost is often a significant consideration. Enter the realm of budget audio interfaces - the perfect balance between quality and affordability. This guide aims to illuminate the path to picking the ideal cost-effective audio interface that doesn't skimp on crucial features. Whether you're a home studio enthusiast or a nomadic podcaster, let's decode the essentials for your sonic adventures without breaking the bank.

Understanding Audio Interfaces

Before you rush to purchase, let's explore what an audio interface does. It's the vital link between your microphones, instruments, and computer, converting analog signals into digital ones for your software to understand. Plus, it does the reverse, so you can hear your masterful work
Quality and latency are pivotal. The former affects the fidelity of your recordings, while the latter, essentially a delay, is noticeable when monitoring live input. Look for interfaces with high-quality preamps and digital converters, and those that promise low-latency performance.
Connectivity matters, too. Consider how many inputs and outputs you need. Are you recording a solo vocal or an entire band? Do you need MIDI connections, or is USB sufficient? Make sure your interface meets your present needs and allows a little room for growth.

Deciding on Your Budget

Budgeting doesn't mean settling for the lowest price. It's about finding the greatest value within your price range. Determine what you can spend, but also consider the interface's lifespan; it's an investment in your audio production journey.
Keep an eye out for bundled software. Many audio interfaces come with starter packs that include digital audio workstations (DAWs), effects, and even virtual instruments. These add-ons can save you a significant amount of money and offer a complete package for beginners.
Remember, the cheapest option isn't always the wisest. Cutting corners can cost more in the long term if it means more upgrades or replacements. Be keen on customer reviews and warranty offers; they often are tell-tale signs of a product's longevity.

Key Features to Look For

Sample rate and bit depth are crucial specs. The higher they are, the better the sound quality. Aim for a sample rate of at least 44.1 kHz (CD quality) and a bit depth of 16 bits. For more professional work, 48 kHz or higher and 24 bits are the norms.
Direct monitoring is a feature that allows you to hear the input signal directly before it's routed through your computer, negating any latency. This can be indispensable when recording and trying to deliver a natural performance.
Build quality can't be underrated. Your interface should withstand repeated use, especially if you're on the move. Metal casings and robust knobs and buttons can endure more than their cheaper plastic counterparts.

Where to Shop

Shopping around is key. Don't just look at your local music store; browse online retailers, second-hand markets, and forums to get the best deal. Seasonal discounts and sales can also lead to surprising bargains.
When considering second-hand gear, ensure you're well-informed about the product's condition. Ask for real photos, not stock images, and don't hesitate to query about any concerns. Buying used can be a gamble, so proceed with caution.
Be wary of counterfeit products or 'too good to be true' deals. Stick to reputable sellers and read the fine print. Verify any warranty or return policy in place, as they can be lifesavers if your interface doesn't meet your expectations.

Hands-on Reviews and Recommendations from Discussion-Boards

In the quest to find the most affordable audio interfaces, a multitude of resources are available for guidance. To assist in this search, a compilation of highly regarded links has been curated, including authoritative reviews, insightful discussions from professional forums, engaging Reddit threads, and informative videos. These resources have been conveniently organized into four distinct categories to streamline the decision-making process for those seeking the best value in audio interface options.
7 days ago — The best budget headphones we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless. They're the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Life ...
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Feb 27, 2023 — If you're investing $350, you'll probably want an interface that's even just a little better. But the Xtuga proved the Sona can get you great...
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Nov 24, 2023 — Right now, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen has dropped down in price by 12% to $89. But it is only for a limited time so potential buyers...
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Jan 5, 2022 — At $ 169, it's reasonably priced and even includes a shock mount and pop filter for added value. You'll need a good audio interface to make the ...
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Which budget USB stereo audio interface is currently considered the best buy? I need: Stereo Mic & Line inputs. Pre-amps
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Then Audient ID4 is the most affordable and among the highest quality you can get. Build quality is excellent and you also save a ton of bucks.
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Currently around $140. If you have a little, Presonus AudioBox GO will do the job for around $80. If you want some vintage character in your...
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I'd recommend getting an Audient iD4. You can can one used on Reverb at your price range. Simply the best quality input of the interfaces...
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Try looking for a used Focusrite Scarlett. They often go for like 20-40€ here, depending on if it's the gen 2 or gen 3. They're popular so there...
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The BEST BUDGET Audio Interfaces for Home Studios (2023)
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This video is focused on my top 3 picks of budget audio interfaces you can buy for your home studio in 2023.

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