Audio Interfaces10 Best Audio Interfaces Under $200 in (reviews)

10 Best Audio Interfaces Under $200 in 2021 (reviews)

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Whoever says you need a recording contract to produce and market your own music is clearly living under a rock. Thanks to the advancement of technology in the music department, it isn’t just possible to record your own tracks – it’s effortless and technically free!

Anyone with a smartphone can easily access their device’s recording feature and voila, you’re ready to rock and roll.

But let’s get real – no matter how advanced your smartphone maybe, a more advanced tool may be required to produce a professional quality recording. This is where an audio interface may come in handy.

Best Audio Interfaces Under 200

For many people, the first few things that come to mind when talking about audio interfaces are the inputs and outputs – and they’re not completely wrong.

Essentially, an audio interface is a box with various inputs for instruments and mics, plus outputs for speakers or headphones. It helps users record sound and translate that data into a workable file for them to edit or mix.

Much like a computer’s sound card, a professional audio interface helps you to get sound in and out of your editing device (computers, laptops, tablets) and prepping them for editing and processing.

That said, you need an audio interface that yields clear and accurate recordings to get better recording results. Lucky for you, we’ve got a list of the best audio interfaces under $200 below. We hope to make your selection process easy and simple so that you can get started with your recording ASAP.

 

The best audio interface under $200

 

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen)

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo sits at the top of our best audio interfaces under $200 list simply because it is the most straightforward and user-friendly option of the bunch. It is USB-powered, making it an effortless tool to use. Simply plug it into your computer and you should be good to go. But of course, that’s not all there is to love about the Focusrite Scarlett Solo.

This audio interface wouldn’t make it to number one on our list without its pro-level capacities. The technical specifications speak for itself; you can’t find a more budget-friendly option that has all the great stuff as the Scarlett Solo has.

And although it may not have plenty of inputs/outputs as other options on this list, it still provides users all their basic needs. And you know what they say – simple is best.

Pros
  • Easy and simple USB connectivity
  • Has phantom power capabilities
  • Comes with a lot of free plugins for users to experiment with
  • Signature Gain Halos knobs make leveling super effortless
Cons
  • Has a limited number of input/outputs compared to other options
  • USB connectivity may oftentimes be erratic reducing the quality of the recording

 

BEHRINGER UMC404HD

Looking for an affordable audio interface with plenty of inputs and outputs? Depending on what you aim to achieve, there may be times when you would need more tools to plug into your audio interface.

That said, you need a device that gives you a lot of room to work with. Thankfully, this Behringer audio interface is here to solve your problems. With 4 inputs and 4 outputs, what more can you ask for?

Personally, what I love most about the Behringer UMC404HD are its MIDAS-designed preamps. Since the 1970s, MIDAS has been producing some of the best-quality audio mixing consoles in the recording department.

It’s hard to believe that this super affordable Behringer would have a premium quality component such as the MIDAS. Overlooking this attractive feature would definitely be a waste, in my opinion.

Pros
  • Has 4 awesome MIDAS-designed preamps with XLR/TRS combo jacks
  • Can be powered by the USB Bus
  • Has a lot of inputs/outputs but sports a compact
  • Low footprint design
Cons
  • Has only one phantom power switch for all channels
  • Does not contain any internal effects for low-latency monitoring

 

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)

New to the home and studio recording scene? All these tech and specs must be quite intimidating for you, aren’t they? If you’re looking to get the best results with an audio interface that is fast and beginner-friendly, then the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is the best option for you.

This audio interface boasts itself to be the easiest and most straightforward tool of the bunch. Simply connect this device via USB connection and you’re ready to record.

The Scarlett 2i2 also sports a super compact and highly-portable design, making it easier for users to bring their tools anywhere they go. And with the natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps delivering high-quality results, there’s nothing more you could ever ask for.

Pros
  • Delivers high-quality results at a super affordable price
  • Easily find the perfect level thanks to the Gain Halos knobs
  • Comes in a super compact and portable design
Cons
  • Single phantom power applies to both inputs
  • Limiting the ability to apply power to two devices at the same time
  • Some USB connectivity issues have been reported

 

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

The best thing I love about the PreSonus Audiobox is the fact that it is highly portable. If you’re looking for an audio interface to bring with you on the road, look no further. This one from PreSonus will definitely keep you company throughout the whole trip.

The PreSonus Audiobox is perhaps the most compact of the whole bunch. It has a simple interface: two front-panel combo mic/instrument inputs, mix controls, a pair of balanced line-level outputs, a headphone out, and a MIDI I/O – basically, it has everything you need in one convenient box.

And with its heavy-duty steel chassis, the PreSonus AudioBox guarantees durability no matter how rough the roads get.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Great for users who are always on the road
  • It has all the basics covered in one simple box
  • Made with high-quality durable materials and components
  • Recording software included
Cons
  • Works well with Mac
  • Has issues with Windows computers
  • USB connectivity quality needs improvement

 

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (2nd Gen)

Love the specs on the previous Focusrite Scarlett options in this list? You’ll have plenty of reasons to add the Scarlett 2i4 into your list. The 2i4 inherits all the good stuff found in the Solo and the 2i2 but the Scarlett 2i4 has a bit of its own twist: the MIDI I/O.

Both the Solo and the 2i2 did not have this feature, so if you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade from these Focusrite audio interfaces, the Scarlett 2i4 might just be your thing.

Otherwise, it has the same pro-level qualities as the other two Focusrite audio interfaces in the Scarlett series – same audio quality, premium components, and great usability.

Personally, I would choose the 2i4 if I wanted to have something a bit more than just the basics. In my opinion, the Scarlett 2i4 is great for someone who wants to bring their recording game one level forward.

Pros
  • Provides high-quality results at a super affordable price tag
  • Comes with the MIDI I/O feature that did not come with the Solo and the 2i2
  • Effortless plug and play setup
  • Has very clean 24-bit audio
Cons
  • Quality of USB chord and overall connectivity needs improvement

 

BEHRINGER UMC204HD

Here’s another option from Behringer that aims to deliver quality results. Just like the earlier Behringer on this list, the UMC204HD also has that compact and sleek form that we love. It’s heavy-duty, simple, but make no mistake – it packs a lot of interesting capabilities.

Apart from having 2 inputs, 4 outputs, 1 MIDI I/O with ultra-low latency, the UMC204HD also has the MIDAS-designed preamps built in.

As we’ve mentioned in the earlier Behringer option, having these top-grade MIDAS preamps makes all the difference. The UMC204HD may be located in the entry-level list but it definitely produces professional-level results.

Pros
  • Comes with the MIDAS-designed preamps for better audio quality
  • Strong build
  • Well-made with top-grade components and material quality
  • Sports a sleek and compact design
Cons
  • Sound recording is not as accurate as other options on this list

 

M-Audio M-Track USB

Who said you can’t get a good quality audio interface with a budget under $100? They clearly haven’t met the M-Audio M-Track. This super-affordable audio interface offers crystal clear recording with zero latency.

But that’s not all – it also comes with a lot of additional perks such as recording software and a 2GB worth of in-demand sound content from Touch Loops.

But for me, the balanced combo-input and the 1/4-inch instrument input on the M-Track is enough reason for me to love this audio interface. This feature allows users to record 2 channels simultaneously in studio grade 24-bit/192 kHz resolution.

Pros
  • Effortless plug and play
  • Highly portable thanks to its super compact design
  • Includes plenty of perks
  • Has easy-to-use software included as well as a 2GB sound library
Cons
  • Has weak USB connectivity
  • Quality of chords needs improvement

 

PreSonus AudioBox USB

The best thing I love about the PreSonus Audiobox is the fact that it is highly portable. If you’re looking for an audio interface to bring with you on the road, look no further. This one from PreSonus will definitely keep you company throughout the whole trip.

The PreSonus Audiobox is perhaps the most compact of the whole bunch. It has a simple interface: two front-panel combo mic/instrument inputs, mix controls, a pair of balanced line-level outputs, a headphone out, and a MIDI I/O – basically, it has everything you need in one convenient box.

And with its heavy-duty steel chassis, the PreSonus AudioBox guarantees durability no matter how rough the roads get.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Great for users who are always on the road
  • It has all the basics covered in one simple box
  • Made with high-quality durable materials and components
  • Recording software included
Cons
  • Works well with Mac
  • Has issues with Windows computers
  • USB connectivity quality needs improvement

 

Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2

Mackie may not be a brand name you usually hear when talking about audio interfaces, but that does not mean that they fall short of quality. In fact, we believe that Mackie products are often underrated.

Where else can you get high-quality components for a mere price of $100? It’s practically unheard of. But the pocket-friendly price tag is not the only impressive about this Mackie audio interface.

First, it has boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps, 48v phantom power that works great with condenser mics, and a 1/4-inch TRS output for connecting with instruments.

It basically has everything you might need for a home recording studio. This machine is also USB-powered, absolutely no installations required. Besides, who can resist the free Tracktion Music Production software included in the bundle?

Pros
  • Has a strong build
  • Sturdy and well-made with great quality components
  • Offers direct monitoring and has a MIDI port
  • Stable with very clean-sounding preamps
Cons
  • The mic preamp is a little bit too quiet
  • Adjustments needed to get the signal hot enough
  • Windows updates may cause some issues in terms of usability

 

Behringer U-PHORIA UMC204HD

Recording a masterpiece calls for a professional quality audio interface. And if you’re looking for one with a modest price, the Behringer U-Phoria is the choice for you.

This audio interface features the Audiophile 24-bit/192 kHZ resolution and 2 state-of-the art mic preamplifiers with a 48V phantom power. It’s basically all you need to achieve studio-quality sound.

But the Behringer U-Phoria features doesn’t end there. It comes with zero-latency monitoring capabilities and a dedicated headphone output with volume control. To me, that sounds like a great playing experience already.

Added to this, the Behringer U-Phoria also has 2 combination XLR/TRS inputs,  2 ¼” TRS main balanced outputs, and 4 RCA outputs, analog inserts for compression and EQ effects. If that sounded like a mouthful to you, just know that these are all positive features that make your recording experience more enjoyable than ever.

Overall, the great thing about the Behringer U-Phoria is its compatibility with tons of recording software such as the Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and the Steinberg Cubase. If you already have this on your computer, then there’s no need to invest more money on software.

Pros
  • A good quality audio interface for less
  • Provides clear and accurate sounds during playback
  • Comes with useful accessories
  • Pro-quality XLR and TRS cables
  • Fibertique cloth and a pair of closed-back headphones
Cons
  • The durability of accessories included need improvement

 

How To Choose The Right Audio Interface Under $200

We get it. Unless you are someone with plenty of time on their hands to study the science behind audio interfaces, purchasing an audio interface is a pain in the neck.

But no matter how much of a hassle it may seem to you, an audio interface for your project can definitely affect the quality of your recording. That said, it is so important to learn how to buy the right tools and gadgets for your project.

Here at Guitar Junky, we don’t necessarily believe that an expensive price tag could automatically yield better results. We think that even cheap tools can give you professional quality – you just need to find the right tools with all the right components.

Best Audio-Interfaces Under 200

So how do you find the perfect audio interface for you? And how can you find the right one with a humble budget? At the end of the day, it all boils down to how you plan to use the device and what your personal needs are. There’s technically just one factor you need to consider: how natural and accurate the audio interface is.

No matter how you plan to use the device, the goal is similar to almost all users and that is to capture the most natural-sounding and accurate recording possible for processing purposes. As long as the audio interface in question is able to capture sound as detailed as you require, it should already suffice as a good audio interface.

Editor’s Choice

As always, choosing just one out of a pool of almost-perfect options is a difficult task. But for this roundup, our choice is clear. For us, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo takes the crown as the best audio interface under $200.

If you are reading this blog post right now, chances are you are looking for something practical and affordable – and that is exactly what the Focusrite Scarlett Solo offers.

It is the most basic option in the Focusrite Scarlett series and yet it already has everything a home recording studio may need. We believe that simplicity and reliability are key. Although the Scarlett Solo may not have all the fancy upgrades, it still does the job perfectly every time.

Guitar Junky
Hi there, I’m Charles, chief editor here at The Guitar Junky. I'm a professional guitarist, and have over 10 years experience in playing guitar, piano, and other music instruments. When not working, I love playing with my two lovely kids, Caryss and Philip.

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