Best Audio Interface for Guitar

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Audio interfaces are devices designed to transform audio signals from instruments such as guitars and microphones into a digital format that can be edited and modified by a computer. If you love playing the guitar and want to capture your tones, then you will need an audio interface. 

These devices may not be the most exciting in the world of guitars, but they are a must-have if you want to record those dulcet tones. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of audio interfaces, and finding the right one can prove challenging. We did all the hard work for you and created this review of five of the best audio interfaces for guitars that you can add to your home studio. Let’s check it out.

Comparison Chart

31DTTqYQLcL. SL500
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface, for the Guitarist, Vocalist, Podcaster or Producer — High-Fidelity, Studio Quality Recording, and All the Software You Need to Record
41dl9lhB24L. SL500
Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface
41rHd2yav5L. SL500
M-Audio M-Track Solo – USB Audio Interface for Recording, Streaming and Podcasting with XLR, Line and DI Inputs, Plus a Software Suite Included
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PreSonus AudioBox GO | USB-C Audio Interface for music production with Studio One DAW Recording Software, Music Tutorials, Sound Samples and Virtual Instruments
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Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 Two-Channel Audio Interface

Best Audio Interface for Guitar

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen Audio Interface

31DTTqYQLcL. SL500

Focusrite has been in the business of making audio interfaces for more than three decades. Their years of experience have allowed them to perfect their craft and design some of the best audio interfaces available today. This solo third-generation audio interface is one such product. It offers studio-quality recordings that capture every high and low of your strings.

Review

One of the things that will surprise you about this audio interface is its size. It’s a small compact unit that takes up almost no space. Despite its small size, the device efficiently captures sound that’s at par with studio quality. You can connect your guitar directly to the audio interface or connect a microphone. 

Another feature worth noting is the Gain Halos. It captures the tones perfectly and prevents sound distortion and unwanted clipping. The Scarlet Solo also features an Air Mode that can be switched to improve the clarity of your recording. 

When it comes to professional high-end recording, this audio interface features high-performance converters that allow you to record up to 24-bit/192kHz. This ensures your recordings retain their sonic qualities and sound just as they would if you played live. 

In terms of audio playback, there are two well-balanced outputs with low noise to enable clean, crystal-clear listening. You can also connect your headphones and listen to your tracks from Amazon Music, Spotify, or Apple Music. 

Focusrite has also partnered with various industry players to provide you with software and sound content to help you get started. 

And there’s a three-year warranty on the hardware. Focusrite is committed to repairing or replacing the unit if it comes with a manufacturer’s default or fails to function as expected. 

On the downside, this unit only has one USB port which means it can only be connected to one computer at a time. You should also note that you need to connect it to a computer first before you start recording. 

Pros

  • Small, compact size
  • Great audio output
  • It comes with useful software
  • High-quality recording

Con

  • It could use more USB ports

Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface

41dl9lhB24L. SL500

Behringer is known for providing excellent quality products. These products are life-changing and are sure to have a positive impact on reaching your musical dreams. Behringer products are also affordable, not to mention high quality. If you want an audio interface that will work for you in the long run and give you the best possible results, then try the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 Audio Interface.  

Review

The UM2 Mix control will allow for direct monitor control; thus, musicians enjoy the privileges of having an excellent performance experience. In addition, it gives out better results, thus offering better performance recording. 

There are phone outputs, status and signal clips, LEDs, and direct monitor level control. You also get a combination of jacks with balanced XLR ¼ inch TRS and unbalanced ¼ inch TR connections. 

At the back of the panel is a +48 V phantom power switch and a USB 2.0 port for simplicity and easy connections to power and the computer. There is also a direct connection courtesy of the RCA playback for studio monitors. Work can never be this manageable.   

In terms of compatibility, there are seamless integrations with popular DAWs. It is compatible with famous recording software, such as Steinberg Cubase, Ableton Live, Avid Pro Tools, and many others. 

As an artist, you can record tracks directly on your favorite DAW. Audio engineers worldwide have praised the studio-grade Mic Preamp used in the UM2. You can also take advantage of the UM2s recording and podcast potential. 

Included is a download for the software you will need for podcasting and editing an audio recording. All these are free of charge, and you can download them at Behringer.com. If going live on your PC or Mac is what you are after, you will enjoy using the UM2. 

However, a drawback is that the instruction manual is wanting, especially in explaining that you need to download drivers for it to work on your computer.   

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • Phantom power
  • Convenient monitoring
  • Seamless integration
  • Free downloadable software

Cons

  • The instruction manual could be better

M-Audio Audio Interface

41rHd2yav5L. SL500

If you are looking for an audio interface from one of the most well-renowned names in music computer interfaces, this is the one to get. M-Audio is known for controller keyboards, integration solutions, and other essential musical hardware like microphones and studio monitors. Their products are now ever-growing and are known for their sophisticated engineering. They always emphasize their customer needs, that is, usability and versatility.

Review

With this audio interface, it doesn’t matter whether you are a live streamer, songwriter, or singer; it will work for you. It features MPC Beats with three virtual instruments (Bassline, Electric, and TubeSynth). 

There is also an 80 FX Plugin and a Revalver with 3x Mics and 3x Cabs. These are perfect for ensuring you finesse your guitar’s signature tone. The USB sound card for PC or Mac is great at delivering 24-bit/48 kHz audio resolution, giving you crystal clear recording. Set-up simplicity allows you to capture sound anywhere.   

The versatility of this M-Audio interface allows you to record vocals, line input signals, or guitar with one combo XLR. In terms of output, you also get an ⅛ inch headphone output and stereo RCA outputs that allow for complete monitoring flexibility. There is also a direct switch/USB that allows for zero-latency monitoring. M-Track Solo transparency crystal preamp ensures that the sound from your condenser mic or microphone gives optimal sound.     

One of the drawbacks of this unit is that the maximum input audio quality is 4100 Hz, whereas other similar units perform at 4800 Hz. This means that the audio you are recording is of a slightly lower quality than other mics.

Overall, this interface is excellent and will serve its purpose. It’s a great choice if you are a beginner looking to get into XLR mics on a budget.  

Pros

  • Versatile product
  • Availability of all necessary outputs
  • Optimal sound 
  • Flexible
  • Offers MPC Production Experience

Cons

  • Maximum input audio quality could be higher

PreSonus AudioBox GO

41WfXwygujL. SL500

Audio recording on the go is progressively becoming easier, with smartphones and other portable recording gadgets also exhibiting the feature. However, it remains hard to beat dedicated audio interfaces’ flexibility and sound quality when you want to create polished products. One such device is the AudioBox Go from PreSonus. It is the manufacturer’s lightest and smallest audio interface, designed to offer recordists, mixing engineers, and musicians access to enhanced-resolution audio monitoring and recording. 

Review

The footprint of this PreSonus AudioBox GO is 4.25″ by 3.3″ and is 1.73″ high. Its weight is slightly above half a pound and comparable to the weight of an average smartphone. One of the two inputs is a TRS/XLR jack to accept line-level signals from equipment such as keyboards, microphones, and samplers. 

The second input is a TS instrument input accepting a direct signal from unamplified and unbalanced sources such as electric basses and electric guitars. It has two output channels corresponding to the right and left channels of its single stereo output, which you can access through two TRS outputs on the back panel and a headphone output towards the front.

Each of the manual controls of this AudioBox GO is mounted on the front panel for ease of access and includes a pair of knobs to adjust the gain for the first and second input, a headphone volume knob, the primary volume knob, and mix knob for mix adjustment between live input audio and computer playback. In addition, the 48-volt phantom power can be switched using a button on the front panel to send more power to the XLR connector. This makes it compatible with condenser microphones and other gear powered by Phantom. 

Among the most satisfying features of AudioBox GO is the bus-powered design. The design facilitates its operation through just one USB-C connection. Thanks to this, the interface is highly portable and may be used with any iOS or Android device or computer for recording purposes in all setups. In addition, it has an internal XMAX-L mic preamp offering 50 dB of gain, which is a lot of power for condenser mics, though relatively lower than the ideal dynamic microphone specs such as the Shure SM58.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easily portable
  • Amazing sound
  • Plug-and-play simple operation
  • It does not require an AC adaptor
  • Phantom power

Cons

  • Low headphone output

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 Two-Channel

31EIEaSkyuL. SL500

If you are a solo musician, the Komplete Audio 1 is your ideal companion with two distinct individual inputs – a jack for guitar and other instruments and XLR for vocals. The device is also perfect for vloggers, podcasters, and creators who want to capture speech. With superior quality audio, it features every software you need to actualize your ideas, including Ableton Live Lite, Maschine Essentials, top NI effects, and MONARK to polish records. 

Review

Towards the front of this Komplete Audio 1 panel, you will come across a ¼ inch TRS input and an XLR input that may be switched between line level and instrument. On the right of every input, there is a dedicated gain control. This interface also features a button to engage the XLR input 48-volt phantom power, below which you will find a direct monitoring knob for blending between incoming signals from the DAW and direct input.

Also featured in the device are the volume adjustment knob and ¼ inch headphone jack. The unit has a master control knob on top of it and LED meters for every input. Though these meters have fair accuracy, you can rely on the DAW for gain staging. It also features LEDs that signal whether the phantom or USB power is triggered. 

A USB port and Kensington locking connection are on the back of the unit. Komplete Audio 1 features dual RCA stereo outputs to transmit audio to the monitors. However, balanced TRS outputs would have been more applicable here, though this should not be a big issue for an entry-level buyer.

This unit provides you with a depth of 24-bit and up to 192 kHz sample rate. The dynamic range of the microphone input is 109 decibels, which is sufficient to leave some headroom as you also minimize clipping risk. In addition, it has outstanding preamps, delivering an equal input noise of 129.5 decibels (A). The preamps are respectable, bearing in mind the unit’s price point. One concern, however, is the fairly low max gain that rests at 44 dBFS at 0 dBu. Nonetheless, this is not a deal breaker thanks to the high dynamic range and low noise floor. 

Pros

  • Awesome sound quality
  • Great software bundle
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Attractive finish and design
  • Up to 192 kHz recording

Cons

  • Only direct monitors to headphones
  • Rather low max gain

Conclusion

A good audio interface can make a significant difference in the audio quality of your guitar. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface takes the top spot for its high-end audio input and output from the five we’ve reviewed. It’s also the most durable and compact and comes with a long warranty.

We recommend the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 or the M-Audio M-Track Solo audio interface if you want an affordable unit. For those who want something that’s a bit more feature-rich, try the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 audio interface. 

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