Note that not all inputs will have a preamp, so it is important to consider the actual number of preamps available, particularly for recording with condenser mics. As the channels increase, so does the complexity of the circuit, and its power requirement. So you can expect most of the units listed here to require wall power adaptors to keep them running. Still there are a few that can be bus powered via USB from a computer. Note that none of them can be powered via the USB from an iOS device so thankfully they all have an option to run via a mains power wall adaptor.
This specification describes the resolution of your converted digital audio, and the general idea is that the higher the sample rate, the more details are captured. The main thing to know is that a sampling rate of Also note that the preamp usually plays a bigger role in recording quality. However we've consistently found that most of the serious user complaints about audio interfaces come from a small number of owners who can't get these drivers to work properly.
Often these can be attributed to people not setting things up properly but there are some cases were it appears there are genuine problems with the drivers on some systems. Furthermore many users find that the manufacturer support in the event of driver problems is lacking and some of them are slow to release fixes for these issues. By and large we've chosen the interfaces that have the least problems for our guide but few are immune to some degree of complaint. To reduce the chances of encountering these problems you should check to ensure that there are drivers available for your version of operating system and check to see whether other owners have had problem with systems like yours.
One way to avoid manufacturer driver issues is to use a USB Class Compliant interface audio and possibly MIDI which means it can use standard drivers that are usually already available in your system.
This will also 'future proof' your device in the event that the manufacturer stops releasing drivers for newer operating system versions. It's still best to make sure the manufacturer specifically mentions compatibility though.
You can check out our iPad Audio Interface guide if you're looking for dedicated iPad audio interfaces. Others even come with extras like virtual instruments, samples, in depth software control over the interface and more.
Looper style I know that in mono is easy, but loses luster of the guitarrra effect. If I have my Apogee One or Steinberg UR22 plugged in and then connect an Apogee Jam for example, it will continue to output sound from the first device and accept input from the second device. They are the best choice if you want to avoid the complications of having to buy adapters. Please allow me to explain. Initially, we surveyed the market for audio interfaces with four or more analog inputs, focusing on those that are highly rated and popular. I am actually irritated at the lack of research and incompleteness of this article. May 21,
All of these should be enough to get novice users started. Initially, we surveyed the market for audio interfaces with four or more analog inputs, focusing on those that are highly rated and popular. To make sure that you can actually buy the ones that make the list, we limited our scope to those that are easily accessible from online retailers in the USA. To better reflect current market sentiments, we took yet another look at the data, including the most recent reviews and ratings up to January of We ended up gathering over 5, sources, which were then processed by the Gearank Algorithm.
The resulting ratings out of along with the information we gathered were used to narrow down the list to just the best rated ones. Finally, we've divided the list based on the number of their analog inputs, to make it easier to find one with enough connectivity options to suit your needs. You can find out more about this process in How Gearank Works. Hi I have a question about the Tascam. Without drivers however you won't be able to use the DSP functions or Tascam's special software but these are more add-on features. There are people who use the Tascam in class compliant mode on Windows but there's a chance that some fiddling could be required to stop it from wanting to use the drivers.
Regarding the 8 output Tascam, will it interface with qlabs on a MacBook pro running version It looks like no one running the exact same setup as you has answered your question, so even though I haven't used that specific combination myself I can let you know that it will function with your computer in it's basic mode without advanced features because it is Class Compliant - the standard USB drivers will take care of that for you. As to the features requiring the Tascam drivers, I don't know. As a result of today's update, the following interfaces were removed from our recommended list, but you can still read what we have to say about them:.
Or will they work simultaneously and will the software recognize two units? If the answer is no, do you have or recommend an interface that will do this? I was thinking of buying the Tascam 16x08 to use it as well as in the studio at home, even in live shows with stand-alone digital mixer connected to my mac book pro: With its internal mixer you can work without weighing the PC too much and thus avoiding possible crashes in the live? Finally, using it in stand-alone mode it works only as a preamp or can you use the 4-band equalization of its mixer?
Thank you. As a result of our January update, the following interface came off our recommended list above, but you can still read our analysis of it:. Skip to main content. The Best 4 - 6 Channel Audio Interfaces 4-input audio interfaces offer portability while having more input and output options than 2-channel interfaces.
USB 2. Amazon Product Listing. Sweetwater Product Listing. Steinberg UR Cubase AI Good build quality gets mentioned a lot, while others are impressed by the Steinberg UR's intuitive controls. Steinberg UR44 6 Channel. The Best 8 Channel Audio Interfaces When you're planning on recording more than four sound sources simultaneously, like when miking an acoustic drum kit, a singing group, or a band - you'll need a capable audio interface with more inputs. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 2nd Gen.
Roland Octa Capture. Roland Studio Capture.
There aren't that many complaints, other than sporadic driver and software update concerns. RME Fireface Additional Option This one wouldn't have made it into the list on the basis of some user experiences but if you think you can avoid these issues then there's a bargain to had. Tascam USx Things to Consider When Buying an Audio Interface Number of Inputs vs Channel Count This is the number of analogue inputs that can be transferred through to separate tracks on your computer which sounds pretty simple.
Mic Level, Instrument Level and Line Level Inputs In addition to knowing the number of inputs, you also have to know the type of inputs available be it line level low impedance or instrument level high impedance inputs. Preamp and Phantom Power Built-in preamps allow you to connect microphones and they also can provide phantom power to condenser mics when needed. Power Options As the channels increase, so does the complexity of the circuit, and its power requirement.
Meanwhile the eight outputs comprise four line-level and two stereo headphone outs. The Pro Duo also feels more robust than some of its predecessors. The unit comes complete with a plethora of cabling for connecting to your devices of choice, including MIDI breakout cables.
One thing we did notice was that, as the batteries ran down, the unit became less stable. This is, of course, only a minor gripe, but if you're out and about, remember to bring spares. There are also inserts for inputs 1 and 2, allowing you to track through hardware compressors or channel strips. AudioFuse provides a beautiful and contemporary approach to USB audio interfacing with a great design, compatibility with a huge range of possible audio sources, a great sound and a highly tactile control set. Arturia AudioFuse. Thunderbolt Audio resolution: The back panel and front edge house the inputs and outputs, while the top panel centres on a satisfyingly oversized knob.
USB 2 and Thunderbolt Audio resolution: Antelope doesn't tend to scrimp on the quality of its products and the Zen Tour is no exception. It has a small but useful touchscreen which enables you access to all the basic functions of the unit, with the likes of input gains, headphone levels and talkback directly accessible using buttons on the front panel and the large 'soft' knob.
On the left-hand side are two pairs of ADAT ins and outs. Once you have the software installed on your computer and connected you are ready to go. There are six amplifier emulations covering vintage to modern and clean to downright filthy.
The simplicity that it brings was also mentioned multiple times, resulting . Yamaha AG03 3-Channel Mixer Audio Interface for iPad / Mac / PC. Behringer U-Phoria UMCHD 4-Channel USB Audio Interface preamps, bit/kHz resolution, multi-operating system compatibility and Loopback .. our iPad Audio Interface guide if you're looking for dedicated iPad audio interfaces.
They sound great and, unlike some software emulations, have a great dynamic response. You also get a great range of EQs and a single compressor. If you want a high-quality audio interface for studio, rehearsals and gigs you have to look at this. It sounds great and is supremely flexible. Certainly one of the best audio interfaces for guitarists you can buy. Antelope Audio Zen Tour. One of the best audio interfaces for Mac on the market, the Element 46 prioritises function over form: This interesting ability makes it easier for beginners to get good sounding recordings.
The built-in DSP also lets you dial in dynamic and EQ settings to your preference, in case you want more control over the sound. Finally, all these features are packed well inside a solid but compact profile, making the MVi a true grab-and-go recording interface that matches the portability and flexibility of the iPad.
The market has mostly good things to say about the Shure MVi, with many praising its good balance of portability and sound quality. Ease of use and its rugged all metal chassis also get a lot of thumbs up. Many like the MVi's form factor, saying that it is easy on the eyes, and on the pocket, both in terms of money and space. Satisfied users include singers, guitar players, podcasters, professional voice actors and more.
This means that replacing the cable can be a bit of a hassle, thankfully there are specialized mini-USB to lightning cables available online which you can find with a bit of searching. Just make sure that you don't lose the cable and you won't have to deal with this minor issue. If you want nothing but the best rated audio interface that can readily be used with your iPad, then Shure MVi is for you. The Apogee Jam 96k is a compact audio interface designed specifically for guitarists and bassists - and their iOS devices. And since its preamp circuit is especially tuned for instruments, it provides the right amount of headroom and dynamic range that other multi-purposes interfaces may lack.
Other features include built-in limiter for preventing signal clipping, discrete gain knob and LED monitoring. Aside from the mentioned features, the Apogee Jam 96K offers nothing extra, making it streamlined, compact and affordable. And since its from Apogee, sound quality and compatibility with Apple devices are already a given. Most reviewers agree that the Apogee Jam 96K sounds really good and clear. This clarity helped many guitarists achieve professional quality guitar recordings from their iPads.
The simplicity that it brings was also mentioned multiple times, resulting in improved productivity. The proprietary lightning cable that comes with the Apogee Jam 96K prompted a few users to deduct points in their reviews. The unit's plastic exterior and small gain knob also got a few users concerned. It's main selling point is its Focusrite mic preamps, which features the same quality as found on their more expensive models.
Only this one is meant for the entry-level market, with its compact profile, streamlined features, and affordable price tag. As the label implies, this version comes bundled with a lightning cable, which connects it with the latest iPads out-of-the-box, in addition to connecting to Macs and PCs via USB. For the price, this audio interface does everything it is supposed to do, and it does all of them really well, and this is well attested in the reviews.
Many users also commend it for its solid build and intuitive design. There were a few who encountered clipping issues when recording guitars and other pickup-equipped instruments. Experienced users noted that gain adjustments can be a bit tricky at first, but should be a non-issue once you got the settings dialed in just right. All in all, the Focusrite iTrack Solo Lightning is a worthy yet affordable audio interface that is highly recommended.
These interfaces work with the iPad because they are USB audio Class Compliant which means they don't need proprietary drivers. The standard USB adaptors won't be able to charge your iOS device and generally won't supply enough power to these interfaces so they will need their own power supply. Whatever music gear you're looking for, there's a good chance that Behringer has an affordable alternative. The U-Phoria UMCHD is a great example, a highly rated audio interface that gives you more bang for your buck, without compromising features.
These features should be enough for most home studio tasks, while extras like the switchable input pad and double insert jacks makes for even more flexibility. Since using a powered USB hub or battery also charges you're iPad, its cost is easily justifiable. While many use it for guitars, there are plenty of good reports of this interface working with different types of mics and instruments. Almost everyone agrees that it gives you the most features per dollar and that it is good enough for most recording purposes. While not iPad related, it should be noted that there are reports of driver issues with Windows and Mac systems, thankfully many solved them by updating the drivers.
There were also a few users who had to update the firmware to make it work with the iPad.
The current production line should ship with updated firmware so this should be a non-issue for brand new units, unless a major iOS update has been released. There's no denying Yamaha's reputation for quality and value for money, and the iPad-compatible AG03 is a great example. Far from being just another audio interface, this one comes with mixer-like functionality and multi-platform compatibility.
The first channel features Yamaha's popular D-Pre mic preamp, while the second channel lets you switch between Hi-Z instruments or line level sound sources. It also comes with impressive control options including a dedicated fader for channel 1. Other features include built-in DSP effects reverb, compression, filtering and Loopback, which lets you broadcast via realtime online streaming platforms. Alternatively, you can connect the extra USB slot to a power bank for mobile use. Reviews show that it simplifies recording, podcasting and music production setups, and that it is useful in various situations, including video streaming, podcasting, recording, and more.
Many also commend its clarity and zero latency operation. If you are in the market for a multiplatform audio interface that doubles as a mixer, the Yamaha AG03 is highly recommended. It is designed to be class compliant, so it works with the iPad and other iOS devices, just as it does with Mac and Windows based computers. Thankfully, this slight inconvenience is minor compared to the benefits of utilizing Audient quality recordings on the go. Other features include zero-latency monitoring, mix and pan controls, 2 separate headphone outputs, and a console like interface.
The Audient ID4 continues to get acclaim from users with different experience levels, including musicians, voice over artists, home studio owners and many more. Most reviewers not only praise its performance, but go as far as recommending it for small home studios, or for those who do onsite mobile recording. The sound quality received the most commendation, followed by ease of use and portability. There are a few users who had qualms about the ID4 resetting its headphone output settings when turned off, but still praised the unit for its solid build and transparent sound.
Overall, the Audient ID4 is the ideal portable audio interface for those who want to take advantage of the iPad's mobility, without compromising sound quality. And since Audient mic preamps are highly sought after, they are expected to improve the recording quality that you get from the iPad. But it's not just microphone recordings that will benefit, because it also comes with a dedicated instrument input with JFET DI circuitry. Finally, the Audient 22 comes with in a compact and stylish form factor that make it easy on the eyes and easy to carry around.
Clean and quiet are two words that nicely capture what most users feel about the Audient ID More importantly, there are no questions when it comes to sound quality, because almost everyone is in agreement that it makes their recordings sound better. Build quality and aesthetic appeal also scored them some high ratings, and even recommendations from experienced producers and musicians. Other than a few who feel that the price is out of their reach, there are no consistent or noteworthy complaints.
If budget is not an issue, then you might as well check out the iD22 from Audient. German manufacturer RME enters this list with its class compliant portable audio interface, the Babyface Pro. This unit comes with many interesting features that easily set it apart from the competition, most notable of which is its extended range of 76dB, which increments in 1dB steps.
This extra gain allow for improved clarity and compatibility with low level microphones. Another noteworthy feature is the redesigned XLR socket, which saves space and better secures connection. All of these features are packed inside a compact yet solid aluminum housing that's equally at home in portable and home studio applications.
Market response to the RME Babyface Pro continues to be overwhelmingly positive, which is impressive considering its premium price tag. It gets most of its commendation from users who are impressed with its excellent headroom and clarity. And while many bought the RME for portable use with their iPads, it has been reported to be equally viable in home studios, especially with it premium look and space saving size.
The price tag is on the higher end for the average home studio enthusiast and mobile producer, but those who have bought the Babyface Pro found the premium cost justifiable.
Having to use proprietary breakout cables were frowned upon by a few users, but they do understand that this is a necessary compromise to make the unit smaller and lighter. The RME Fireface is a premium audio interface meant for professional Firewire-based studio use, with up to 30 channels available for use along with built-in DSP features. It has 12 analog inputs, four of which feature RME's popular mic preamps, while the unit's instrument inputs add to its overall routing flexibility.
As the name implies, this digital interface is primarily designed to connect to Firewire ports, but it is also compatible with USB devices like the iPad. Finally, the RME Fireface allows for latency-free monitoring with built-in effects that include EQ, dynamics, reverb, and delay. Overall market response continues to be positive, with users pointing to its clean and transparent sound as its best feature. A lot of users also appreciate the RME Fireface 's connection options, which makes it viable for professional use. Satisfied reviewers come from different backgrounds, from DJs to musicians to recording engineers.
Still, the price tag is over the budget for many, but those who invested in it have nothing but good words to say about the value that it adds to their music production process. If you have the budget and you're looking to expand your home studio equipment with premium gear then do check out the RME Fireface While many USB audio interfaces can work with the iPad via Class Compliant mode, they require certain accessories to work and is a bit complicated to setup. Thankfully, there are interfaces built to work directly that connect directly with the iPad, complete with Apple's proprietary Lightning Connectors.
They are the best choice if you want to avoid the complications of having to buy adapters.