Not so long ago, recording music at home was difficult for many and out of reach for most. With the advancement of modern technology, particularly devices such as audio interfaces, we finally have a way to easily record audio without having to break the bank. In today’s article, we look at some of the Best Audio Interfaces Under $100. As you will discover, recording guitars and sounds at home are not only possible but also very affordable. After the list, we’ll tell you what to expect from the best audio interfaces under $100.
Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2
Another new item in this diagram is the Onyx Artist 1-2 from Mackie, which promises (and delivers!) Zero-latency monitoring, excellent recording quality and an audio interface built like a small tank! The Onyx Artist 1-2 is not only very durable but also has an Onyx microphone pre-amplifier with great sound quality. Controls and I/O options are a bit limited, but no less than you would expect at this budget price range, including a 1/4 “TRS input and XLR microphone input. As we mention the Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2, this is one of the best audio interfaces under 100 dollars.
Tascam’s US-1X2 is a new entry to our list but floats to the best place for the overall feeling of quality and value of such an affordable audio interface. As we further discuss the US-1X2, it has a strikingly modern design, with a solid chassis in black aluminum and thick side panels that give it a bit of an attitude. It is not the most versatile audio interface on our list in terms of I/O options, but it comes with XLR and TRS input for both microphones and switchable recordings at line level/instrument level. In addition, the microphone pre-amplifier is one of the best in the budget range. Overall, this is one of the best audio interfaces under $100.
M-Audio M-Track 2X2
The M-Track 2X2 C-series from M-Audio belongs to the category audio interfaces that do things differently. This is very clear from the way it looks, and also from the hardware it contains. With a unique retro-like design (certainly one of the coolest on this page), the whole device radiates confidence. The build quality is commendable, as is the performance, with extremely low signal colors and noise levels. This makes it a great choice for those who need clean vocals on a budget. As we discuss the M-Track 2X2 C-with you, it comes with an excellent software package and is one of the best audio interfaces under 100 dollars.
PreSonus AudioBox USB 2×2
The main selling point of the PreSonus AudioBox 2×2 is the performance – it is an excellent entry-level interface with a Class A microphone preamplifier, which means that vocals have a very clear sound quality. It is nothing special about the design department, but it is not ugly. The advantage is that the aluminum chassis is virtually bullet-proof. In addition, there is a versatile range of I/O ports, while PreSonus sends this interface with a great software package. All in all, this is one of the best audio interfaces under $100 for both beginners and advanced users.
Behringer U-PHORIA UMC204HD
Behringer’s U-PHORIA series audio interfaces have raised the bar when it comes to delivering good performance at a budget price, while the whole series is designed to offer more versatility than you can find elsewhere. The U-PHORIA UMC204HD is a perfect example of this! It features two versatile inputs (combined XLR/TRS ports) and four outputs, as well as decent controls. It is full of Behringer’s MIDAS microphone amplifier, which scores high and delivers great vocal clarity. This flexible small device costs a lot of punch for a relatively low price and is one of the best audio interfaces under 100 dollars.
Steinberg may not be a brand associated with budget solutions or cheap equipment, although their UR12 audio interface is incredibly affordable while they are at work. Although the design appeals much to the imagination, the UR12 is well built and easy to use. It has two channels for microphone and instrument use (both with their own gain control), allowing you to record both guitars and vocals. There are also two options to power the device – using the standard USB cable or a 5V DC via mini-USB, for use on a mobile device. Overall, the Steinberg UR12 is a very good choice when it comes to the best audio interfaces under $100.
Line 6 Sonic Port
Line 6 is a brand known for creating some of the most affordable guitar accessories on the market, including everything from amplifiers to audio interfaces, such as their Sonic port. Only compatible with Mac OS DAWs, this guitar-oriented interface is the most niche in this list, but it still has its applications. It is slim and compact and it is one of the easiest ways to turn your iPad or iPhone into a mobile recording studio. It’s not that great for home studios, but if you’re a guitarist who likes to travel, this device is for you.
What To Expect From Best Audio Interfaces Under $100
One of the biggest and most consistent misconceptions about audio interfaces is that you have to spend a lot of money to get a good one. But – as may have been suggested from the graph – this is simply not true. With audio interfaces, there is a very well defined basic performance. The models that we have displayed on the map meet that performance (and sometimes even exceed that performance). Of course, we would be lying if we said that a $500 audio interface does not tend to deliver more versatility and better functions than anywhere in the budget, but it’s likely that the core performance is more or less the same.
At the end of the day, all affordable audio interfaces are primarily designed to deliver good sound with a limited budget. Most offer both a microphone preamp and an instrument channel, as well as decent output options and controls, but you can not expect much more than the basics.
The most important thing to watch out for is whether the audio interface is compatible with both your operating system PC or Mac and your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software. Fortunately, even a budget-audio interface, more often than not compatible with both Windows and Apple products and almost all DAWs, including SONAR, Pro Tools, Ableton, Cubase and Studio One.
An audio interface is a core of hardware for every modern recording studio for home. It is difficult to imagine that you make music without music. The Best Audio Interfaces Under $100 that we have shown you today are by far the best you can buy on a limited budget and do the work for any home studio. Find one that meets your needs and read some reviews about it. If you can increase your budget slightly, then we strongly recommend you to look at our best audio interfaces under $200, in case you want something more appropriate.