Our 2012 roundup of USB Audio Interfaces had become out of date, so we have replaced it with a new one: USB Audio Interface Roundup
The most notable interface that was omitted from the new roundup was the M-Audio Fast Track Pro Mobile below. It's still a good quality unit, but stocks of new ones are low and you'll most likely find second hand ones available today.
M-Audio Fast Track Pro Mobile
Portable recording technology has taken huge strides towards making things smaller while retainiing functionality and quality. The M-Audio Fast Track Pro Mobile is a perfect example of this mobile trend, packed with recording features housed in a small package. You get 2 front-panel mic/line inputs with phantom power for condenser microphones, inserts for outboard effects, balanced and unbalanced analog outputs, S/PDIF digital I/O, MIDI I/O, and many more. Being portable has limitations, but these compact USB audio adapters are ideal for recording small tracks or solo live performances. Manufactured by: M-Audio | Retails for about $210.00 | Check out the latest price and reviews at Amazon.com
MOTU Audio Express
If you prefer Firewire connectivity while at the same time appreciate the compatibility of USB, you should check out the MOTU Audio Express. It has 6 x 8 physical input/output channels that operate independently and simultaneously. Its front panel knobs are very easy to use and you can also visually monitor your audio with its indicators and meters. Controls and connections are simplified for quick setups and tear downs, great for those that don't want to waste time learning about every piece of gear they have. It supports sample rates of up to 96kHz and comes with a mixing software called CueMix. Finally the Audio Express 6x6 can double as a portable live mixer, allowing you to use it without your computer in live situations. Manufactured by: MOTU | Retails for $395.00 | Check out the latest price and reviews at Amazon.com
M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R
The Fast Track Ultra 8R takes the top spot on our list with its extensive functionality, solid build and audio quality. This 8 input phantom powered interface is designed for small to medium scale studio work. Its intuitive controls are conveniently situated on the front making it easy to record drum kits or a small band performance with impressive 24-bit/96kHz audio quality. The eight input Octane preamps continue to be a studio favorite because of its quiet operation and good headroom. Another advantage that the Fast Track Ultra 8R brings is its MX Core DSP technology which allows for professional channel routing, effects routing and monitor submixing, turning this reasonably priced USB interface into a powerful virtual mixer. If reliability and performance is important in your book, then get this. Manufactured by: M-Audio | Retails for $499.00 | Check out the latest price and reviews at Amazon.com
The Tascam US-2000 is sought after for its splendid mixture of affordability, features and quality. It gives you 16 inputs and 4 outputs and can handle them with respectably low latency. You get 8 XLR Mic input ports with phantom power and 6 1/4" TRS balanced Line/Guitar inputs, all of which are more than enough for capturing small band performances or recording acoustic drum tracks. The housing, switches, and over all build is impressive and sturdy, something that others in the same price range would be lacking. Good visual monitoring is provided for by the responsive limiter lights, rounding up the features of this workhorse USB audio adapter. You will simply find it hard to find a better deal. Manufactured by: Tascam | Retails for $400 | Check out the latest price and reviews at Amazon.com
We don't currently have any reviews of 16 channel interfaces, so if this is what you are looking for then you might like to check out the TEC Award winner Universal Audio Apollo 16.
If you want to see our latest reviews for 2014, please go to http://www.hitsquad.com/usb-audio-interface/
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