Here are the best USB audio interface for recording microphones and instruments that provide audiophile-grade resolution for professional audio quality. These USB audio interfaces are compatible with popular recording software and streams inputs and outputs with ultra-low latency to your computer. Most of these USB audio interfaces support Mac OS and Windows computer software to easy connectivity. It also comes with a digital built-in preamplifier to power your recording instruments on the go. Our experts have tested numerous USB audio interfaces to determine which ones provide the best value for money and versatility. If you are looking for some of the best USB audio interface for recording microphones and music instruments, be sure to check out our top picks below!
#1 Best Overall: BEHRINGER UMC22 USB Audio Interface
Type: USB Audio Interface for recording microphones and instruments
Features: 48 kHz resolution for professional audio quality
Compatibility: Compatible with most recording software, supports Mac and Windows OS
View Full Specs: BEHRINGER UMC22 USB Audio Interface
The BEHRINGER UMC22 is a high quality 2×2 USB audio interface for recording microphones and instruments that is able to stream 2 inputs and 2 outputs with ultra-low latency to your computer. It provides audiophile 48 kHz resolution for professional audio performance, delivering detailed and pristine recording quality.
This USB audio interface features MIDAS designed microphone preamplifiers with +48 V phantom power. A combination of XLR/ TRS inputs is incorporated to be used for your vocal and direct instrument input (no DI required) as well as an additional ¼ ” instrument input. The BEHRINGER UMC22 also includes a powerful phones output for the direct monitoring of your session, in addition to 2 different outputs and a USB-supplied power.
It supports Mac OS X without needing any driver as well as Windows XP or higher (you can download the Windows drivers from Behringer’s site). It is fully compatible with popular recording software including Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live and Steinberg Cubase, allowing you to record tracks directly into you favorite computer-based DAW as well as mix and master them.
Overall, the BEHRINGER UMC22’s lightweight design, combined with its easy-to-use interface makes it a very portable solution for creative musicians that like recording professionally while maintaining studio flexibility.
#2 Best Value: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface
Type: USB Audio Interface with professional tools
Features: Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic Preamps, multiple input options
Compatibility: Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS X and higher
View Full Specs: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) is a premium quality USB audio interface. It features two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain, two instrument inputs, 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs to connect professional studio monitors and one headphone output with gain control. It features conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit and low latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP.
It is compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher. It has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz ± 0.1dB ans supports sample rates of 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 comes with Pro Tools, First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 2 GB of Loopmasters samples, a choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument and they are all available via download upon purchase and registration.
Overall, the Focusrite Preamp is well-designed, with a small footprint and rubber feet to prevent it from sliding across the desk when adjusting settings or moving the mic.
#3 Best USB MIDI Interface: PreSonus Audiobok USB Audio Interface
Type: USB 96 2×2 USB Audio Interface
Features: Bus-powered USB 2.0 audio and MIDI interface
Compatibility: Compatible with almost all recording software for Mac and Windows
View Full Specs: PreSonus Audiobook USB Audio Interface
The PreSonus AudioBox is a high quality USB 96 2x 2 USB audio interface built for microphones and musical instruments. It features two front-panel combo mic/instrument inputs that allow you to connect a couple of mics and have an easy-to-use stereo recording system. A mix control lets you control the level between the input signal and computer playback, without audible delays.
The audio interface comes with a pair of balanced line-level outputs, a headphone output with adequate volume output as well as MIDI I/O, so you can connect your synth or MIDI controller. It supports 24-bit resolution, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sampling rates and covers the whole audible frequency range (20 Hz to 20 kHz). It is USB 2.0 bus-powered, so you can record with it anywhere you can use a laptop. Its heavy-duty steel chassis ensures both sturdy build quality and durability.
The PreSonus audio interface is compatible with almost all recording software for Mac and Windows and it comes with a free license for PreSonus’ Studio One Artist DAW. In addition to that, the package includes more than 6 GB of third-party resources as well as the Studio Magic Plug-In Suite. On the whole, the Presonus Audiobox would be highly recommended to anyone looking for a simple, affordable and mobile recording solution.
#4 Most Compact: Behringer UCA222 USB Audio Interface
Type: Ultra-low latency 2-in-2 out USB Audio Interface
Features: Comes with software bundle including Audacity audio editor, podcasting software
Compatibility: Works with PC or Mac computer, no setup or drivers required
View Full Specs: Behringer UCA222 USB Audio Interface
The Behringer U-Control UCA222 is a flexible USB audio interface with a digital output that allows you to connect your instruments, mixer, etc. with your computer for recording and playback. It is powered via USB without needing any external power supply. It features two analog mono inputs and outputs (for monitoring), USB connectivity and an additional S/PDIF optical output for direct digital conversion.
The stereo headphone output features a dedicated level control and lets you listen to both the input and output. The audio interface provides you with high-resolution 48 kHz converters for high-end audio quality. You can take advantage of its many options if you use it as a professional interface between a mixing console and your computer. Some of these might include connecting the UCA222 RCA Outputs to the Tape Input jacks of your mixer or to your powered monitors.
Connecting to the mixer input channels allows you to use your mixer’s Aux Send feature to build a versatile monitor mix for recording sessions. The UCA222 works with your PC or Mac computer without requiring any setup or drivers. Its included compact music production software has feature-rich audio/MIDI sequencer that loads almost instantaneously on all computer platforms. It comes with a software bundle including Audacity audio editor, comprehensive podcasting software and over 150 virtual instruments and effect plug-ins that you can download. The Behringer U-Control UCA222 has been designed and engineered in Germany.
#5 Best for Guitar Amp: Steinberg UR22MKII USB Audio Interface
Type: 2 x 2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface
Features: 24-bit/192kHz and two class A D-preamps
Compatibility: MIDI input/output and iPad connectivity, compatible with all music production software
View Full Specs: Steinberg UR22MKII USB Audio Interface
The Steinberg UR22MKII is a premium quality 2-Channel USB audio interface. It is powered through USB 2.0 and has 2 inputs and 2 outputs. It supports up to 24-Bit/192 kHz audio and features two Class-A D-PRE mic preamps. The D-PRE is carefully designed to capture the subtleties and expressiveness of any audio source and has a very wide frequency range so that it can handle any music source without overly amplifying any specific components of the signal.
The UR22MKII audio interface is tuned to be able to capture the true expression of a given performance or audio source, while leaving flexibility for later editing. The audio interface also features MIDI input and output as well as iPad connectivity. It incorporates latency-free hardware monitoring and an intuitive Mix knob that allows you to blend between the direct signal and the output of your host. It is compatible with all major audio editing, mastering, and music production software.
The UR22MKII is compatible mac OS X 10.7/10.8/10.9/10.10/10.11 and windows 7 SP1/8/8.1/10, providing you with stable drivers. Additionally, it comes with a software bundle: both Cubase AI and Cubase LE are included. The rugged metal casing ensures both robust build quality and durability. It is recommended to refer the User Guide before using it.
#6 Most Versatile: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface
Type: USB Audio Interface with professional tools
Features: Comes with eight natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps and multiple output options
Compatibility: MIDI interface, S/PDIF in and out, ADAT I/O, compatible with Windows and Mac OS
View Full Specs: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen) is a high quality USB audio interface. It features eight natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain, two newly-designed instrument inputs, ten 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs including a dedicated stereo pair, two headphones outputs with dedicated gain controls. MIDI I/O, S/PDIF in and out as well as ADAT I/O.
The Focusrite Scarlett audio interface supports conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit and has very low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time, without the need for DSP. It has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz ± 0.1dB. You can download the free Focusrite iOS Control app and adjust cue mixes remotely from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. It is compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher.
The audio interface comes with a bunch of software that includes Pro Tools, First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 2 GB of Loopmasters samples, your choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument and they are all available via download upon purchase and registration.
#7 Best Microphone Preamp: Tascam USB Audio Interface
Type: 2 x 2 USB Audio/MIDI Interface
Features: XLR ¼” combination input jacks, zero-latency monitoring
Compatibility: Independent line out and headphone level controls
View Full Specs: Tascam USB Audio Interface
The Tascam US-2×2 is a premium quality USB audio/MIDI interface with microphone preamps and iOS compatibility. It comes with two XLR 1/4″ combination input jacks and two TRS analog balanced outputs. The mic input features a professional XLR connector, which supplies +48 V phantom power for condenser microphones.
The combo input jack includes TRS inputs for balanced line-level signals from professional processors and synthesizers. The two inputs can be switched to high-impedance for direct recording of electric guitar and bass. It delivers crisp sound quality with very low noise level thanks to high-quality audio components like NE5532 op amps for 125dBu EIN and 105dB S/N ratio. It includes class-compliant drivers for plug-and-play operation on Mac OSX and iOS devices and a simple driver adds ASIO compatibility for Windows. MIDI in and out are also included for connecting synths, drum machines, and controllers.
The interface includes two DAW applications to choose from – both Cakewalk SONAR X3 LE and Ableton Live Lite. The audio interface is USB bus-powered for mobile recording, but an optional AC adaptor is also available for use with iOS devices. The US-2×2 is built from heavy-duty metal throughout, so it stays on your desk even when moving mics around. The angled design desktop viewing and operation makes it comfortable for tabletop use.
#8 High Resolution Audio: Mackie USB Audio Interface
Type: USB Audio Interface, low latency design
Features: High resolution 2 in x 2 out 24-bit/192kHz recording
Compatibility: Analog inputs, dedicated outputs for connecting studio monitors
View Full Specs: Mackie USB Audio Interface
The Mackie Onyx Artist 1X2 is a high quality USB audio interface that offers high-resolution 2 in x 2 out 24-Bit/192kHz recording. It features an Onyx mic pre with phantom power and a ¼” line input with Hi-Z instrument switch for quick and easy recording of instruments such as guitar and bass. Zero-latency direct analog monitoring ensures you can always hear yourself in real time.
In addition, this USB audio interface incorporates a powerful headphone output, L/R line-output for connecting studio monitors as well as +48v phantom power for use with studio condenser mics. It features USB 2.0 connectivity for fast transfer speed and low latency, and it is bus-powered for easy mobile recording with no power adapter needed. It is compatible with all major DAWs on Mac or PC (OS Requirements – Mac: OS X 10.8) and the package comes with Tracktion Music Production Software as well as DAW Essentials Collection Plug-Ins.
The Mackie audio interface features a durable hardware design which ensures both robust build quality and durability, while its lightweight design makes it really portable. On the whole, the Mackie Onyx Artist 1X2 is highly recommended to singers, songwriters and content creators that want to capture their best performance and experience media with pristine fidelity at home or on the go, with an easy-to-use audio interface.
#9 Best Multi-Channel Interface: Roland OctaCapture USB Audio Interface
Type: USB 2.0 Audio Interface
Features: Eight premium mic preamps, compact I/O, pristine sound quality
Compatibility: Compatible with almost all recording software for Mac and Windows
View Full Specs: Roland OctaCapture USB Audio Interface
The Roland OctaCapture is a powerful USB 2.0 audio interface that combines ten inputs, ten outputs, and eight VS preamps with transparent 24-bit/192 kHz audio quality. Having eight mic preamps, Octa-Capture can be used in multi-mic applications like recording drums or full bands, delivering pristine sound quality. It also features independent compressors on its eight analog inputs to control the dynamics of difficult sound sources.
The OctaCapture is also equipped with a newly developed “AUTO-SENS” function, which makes it quick and easy for even novice users to set the optimum level for a particular sound source. The audio interface has extreme low-latency thanks to VS Streaming driver and it comes with a low-noise, wide-range power supply. You can use up to four digital mixers in two different categories (input mixer and output mixer) without tasking your PC for creating custom monitor mixes. With these “direct mixers,” you’re able to directly output any connected source without routing it through your DAW program, and also tweak your sounds using OctaCapture’s built-in digital reverb and compressor.
It is also possible to link two Octa-Capture interfaces for 16 x 16 audio I/O, letting you add more instruments and mix more tracks. Its design is compact with durable aluminum body and direct box functionality. Thanks to ASIO 2.0/WDM support for PC and Core Audio drivers for Mac, the Octa-Capture supports all major DAW platforms, including Cakewalk, Pro Tools, and more. The product comes bundled with Cakewalk SONAR X1 LE.
#10 Best for Studio: Native Instruments Komplete USB Audio Interface
Type: High quality USB Audio Interface for Recording
Features: 48V phantom power for using condenser mics and active DI boxes
Compatibility: Mono input switch for recording vocals, guitar and mono sources
View Full Specs: Native Instruments Komplete USB Audio Interface
The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 is a premium quality USB Audio Interface with recording, DJ, synth, and production software. It features 4 analog inputs: 2 balanced mic/line/instrument (XLR) and 2 balanced line (1.4″ TRS) as well as 4 balanced analog outputs (1/4″ TRS). The two mic inputs are armed with high-end Preamps with individual gain controls while Cirrus Logic converters deliver pristine, transparent sound.
The audio interface provides you with 48 V phantom power for using condenser mics and active DI boxes. It also features a mono input switch for recording vocals, guitar or other mono sources. In addition to these, it comes with digital stereo input and output (S/PDIF RCA) for lossless signal transmission, MIDI in/out for master keyboard, Maschine or any MIDI controller and a powerful headphone output with independent level control and source switch.
The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 has really low-latency performance for using virtual instruments and effects and incorporates direct monitoring for live, latency-free recording. It is completely USB powered with an extra sturdy custom USB socket. The package includes Cubase LE 6, Traktor LE 2 and Komplete Elements. Finally, the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 also accommodates DJs looking for a DJ interface.