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Music is being loved for centuries. No doubt every era of every nation has its own affiliation and interpretation of music and songs. Now that we think of it, almost decades ago, recording and composing a song or music number is a well-established studio and with the best musical instruments and experts was very rare and uncommon.
Thus, the technology has brought us so far with its wonders that that studio and experts have shrunk into Audio interfaces. And believe us when we say, they are very very cheap and affordable than renting a studio.
We all know modern music is just one only away from developing and listening. You can create music and song on your or desktops to make this talent accessible for everyone. Here a best value audio interface can help you achieve a lot of expectations.
Again, you do not need an expensive audio interface to make music. There are many options in the market that help you record, mix and play around with different instruments. But finding the right one in the limited budget may be a struggle itself, especially for beginners.
Therefore, our team of experts in both music and technology has compiled a list of the best audio interface under 200. Yes, they all are on budget under $200 with the compatibility of Windows, Linux, and IOS systems. You don’t have to purchase extra drivers, tools, kits, or software.
Whether it is a recorded number, live band, these best audio interfaces under 200 are portable and comes with a variety of USB hubs and Input and output port options. Thus, here are the best 10 best but affordable audio interfaces that we have carefully picked for you along with a detailed Buying guide for your ease. So, let’s get on with the options!
10 Best Audio Interfaces Under 200
|Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
|4.8 out of 5 stars
|4.4 out of 5 stars
|MOTU M2 2×2
|4.7 out of 5 stars
|4.4 out of 5 stars
|Steinberg UR22MKII 2
|4.4 out of 5 stars
|Mackie Audio Interface
|4.3 out of 5 stars
|Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
|4.6 out of 5 stars
|Steinberg UR242 4
|4.6 out of 5 stars
|4.5 out of 5 stars
|Native Instruments Kom.
|4.5 out of 5 stars
1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools
Focusrite is one of the leading brands when it comes to preamp mic and audio interface devices. Their 30 years of experience made Scarlett 2i2. The device itself is one of the affordable audio interfaces for all songwriters, DJs, and producers.
Moreover, Focusrite has its own community that you can log on to through an account. This community can help you free download and come with lots of perks. Thus, it is ranked No. 1 in our list of the best audio interface under 200. Now let’s dive into some of its highlighted features.
Amazing Mic Preamps
Indeed, Focusrite is famous for its 30 years of service for mic preamps. Therefore, they have also included two of the best mic preamps in the Scarlett range too. Moreover, with the help of a switchable air mode, you can record your material with a more open sound. The noise is reduced for brighter recording results.
Moreover, the two high-headroom instrument inputs are also included in Scarlett. It can easily plug into your guitar or bass. Furthermore, the two balanced line inputs are very suitable for connecting all kinds of line-level sources.
You can easily convert your mix according to the desired frequencies. You can enable the converter to mix your track and record at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz. Moreover, you can join their community too to keep yourself updated with their tidal wave releases.
Moreover, You get a free plug-in almost every month on your Focusrite account. Thus, the manufacturer keeps you and your system up to date for musical success.
Pro Tools and software
Focusrite Scarlett comes with many pre-installed tools, kits, and software. First of all, it comes with a Quickstart tool for you to get it on and start running it easily and smoothly.
Then we have a series of advanced tools in its Pro kits like Ableton Live Lite for live recording and multiple instrumental effects. It also comes with Focusrite Creative Pack, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, and a 3-month Splice subscription.
Furthermore, you can get one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument of your choice if you download it upon purchasing and registering your Scarlett device on their manufacturer’s website. How exciting!
2. PreSonus AudioBox iTwo 2×2 USB 2.0/iOS Interface
PreSonus AudioBox iTwo may seem like an entry-level interface but is packed with amazing features and mind-blowing attributes for all amateurs and professionals. Moreover, from the dial to the inputs and outputs and even the software, each and everything part of the system is built with Compatibility with the different Operating systems. Thus, it is ranked second in the best audio interfaces under 200 dollars list.
Inputs and Outputs
This best audio interface under 200 has a powered BUS USB 2.0 that enables you to the audio box with iPad audio or any interface of your choice. It has two input ports with low noise, Class A microphone preamplifiers, and high headroom. These ports are ideal for combo microphones, line inputs, and even instrumental inputs. Furthermore, +48 V Phantom power is also available along with ¼” TRS Main output and ¼” Headphone output.
Moreover, it has 5 dedicated dials for multiple purposes. 2 dials are dedicated to gaining control modules, one is for the DJ mixer, one is for monitor level and the rest is for mains.
For the IOS operating system, you can record your song with Capture Duo. The Capture Duo is an easy one-tap recording application. Then, you can finish the recording with the wireless transfer. Moreover, Studio One music production software is already installed into the Audio box which is compatible with Mac and Windows.
Software and tools
PreSonus AudioBox iTwo has multiple software that is almost compatible with iPad, Mac, and Windows. This software includes 4 virtual Instruments, 27 Native elements, and 6 GB of different beats and samples.
Moreover, it has a 24-bit resolution for Studio quality results. It includes 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sampling rates as well.
3. MOTU M2 2×2 USB-C Audio Interface
MOTU M2 2×2 USB-C Audio Interface is one of the decent interfaces for entry-level musicians, songwriters, and producers in the market. It has remarkable and dynamic ranges along with a full colorful LCD that helps the user in monitoring not just multiple inputs but output as well. Due to its amazing build and features, it is ranked third in our list of the best audio interface under 200.
Mixing knobs with Hardware monitoring
It has one-touch hardware monitoring for all inputs. You can easily rotate the knobs to desired live input with computer playback. Moreover, with the help of an LCD monitor, you can adjust the knobs too to the desired level. You can also hear the music with any playback tracks at the same time.
Loopback Channels and Low Latency
The Loopback feature is ideal for podcasting and live streaming. You can easily loop back channels on your computer as a host. This helps you in connecting the computer audio with the live microphones while using the DAWs, Skype, or any VoIP programs. Moreover, you can also use the loopback feature with live streaming on apps like Twitch and YouTube.
Furthermore, the ultra-low latency is amazing when it comes to monitoring the inputs through your host computer. It delivers a round trip of latency in 2.5 ms for a 32-sample buffer at the frequency of 96 kHz.
MOTU M2 2×2 USB-C Audio Interface comes with a pre-installed range of software which includes Ableton Live Lite and MOTU Performer Lite. It also has DAWs that can facilitate the music production and recording process. Moreover, it has 6 GB of free loops, sounds, and samples along with more than 100 instruments too.
4. BEHRINGER Audio Interface
BEHRINGER UMC202HD Audio Interface is the best inexpensive audio interface with extensive 4 inputs and outputs. At an affordable price, it offers to direct monitor with zero latency. Moreover, the addition of 4 analog inserts and the best DAW Tracktion makes it highly professional. Therefore, it ranked 4th in our best audio interface with under 200 reviews.
4×4 I/O variety
The rare panel has a USB 2.0 slot along with many analog playback options which include ¼” TRS, RCA, and XLR. It includes 4 analog inserts for external effects also. Moreover, the Built-in MIDI I/O allows the user to connect the external keyboard and outboard MIDI hardware as well. It also includes 24-bit/192 kHz precise recording.
Zero Latency experience
The mixing control is exceptional on this cheap audio interface. It allows you to attain zero-latency direct monitoring. This feature ensures that the musician can perform live without any delay and lag when it comes to signals. It is not just beneficial for live music but also for recording too. Thus, it is highly preferable for DJ cueing.
Tracktion is one of the brilliant DAWs for recording, composing, mixing, and editing. It is included in BEHRINGER UMC202HD Audio Interface that allows the user to experience and create their masterpiece like a Pro.
It gives you unlimited track counts along with VST and AU plug-in recording support. Moreover, traction is all-in-tool due to the availability of a library and it is very easy to use for producing studio-grade tracks.
5. Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel USB Interface
Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel USB Interface is an amazing choice for entry-level musicians and music production. It features 192 kHz of professional recording and has compatibility with many software and even instruments too. Moreover, the addition of latency-free hardware monitoring and multiple MIDI compatibility makes it perfect for audio editing. Thus, it is placed in 5th position in our review of the best audio interface under 200.
Design and Construct
Overall, the Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel USB Interface has a high-quality durable build with a 2 x 2 USB 2.0 audio interface. It has two class A D-Pre mic preamps that are compatible with all kind of microphones. Moreover, it has the ability to work with any MIDI too.
Furthermore, it is basically designed with the compatibility of MAC OS and all versions of Windows as well.
The Loopback feature is a great help when it comes to podcasting and live streaming. You can connect your computer audio as well as live mic and instruments too. You can also stream live on broadcasting channels and applications like YouTube.
This best audio interface under 200 has a comprehensive selection of software and tool for recording and editing. Cubase AI is a musical production software that helps in combining audio and different MIDI recordings.
Other than that, it has Cubasis LE which is a compact version of Steinberg’s streamlined especially for iPad. For editing, podcasting, and publication WaveLab LE suite is also added.
6. Mackie Audio Interface, Onyx Artist 1X2 USB Audio Interface
Mackie Audio Interface, Onyx Artist 1X2 USB Audio Interface is one of the best value audio interfaces you will ever have. It is built with durability to overcome the tough days of running and usage. This little box cannot just help you in making music but also helps in podcasting and live streaming with the help of the loopback feature. Thus, it is the sixth entry in our list of the best audio interface under 200.
All Metal Design
Mackie Audio Interface, Onyx Artist 1X2 USB Audio Interface is made with a heavy-duty and durable metal body. Thus, it is ideal for traveling and can survive day-to-day abuse as well without any breakage.
Moreover, the robust construction has Bus-power that helps in mobile recording without any power adaptor. The USB offers 2.0 connectivity with low latency recording.
Inputs and Outputs
It has one of the best onyx mic preamps with amazing and world-class dynamics. It also includes a 48V phantom power range with a condenser mic of ¼” TRS input. Moreover, it comes with a Hi-Z switch for using guitar and other instruments too. Furthermore, the output ports include a 1/4″ output for monitor 1/4″ headphone output as well.
Software and Compatibility
There are many traction music production software included in the Mackie Audio Interface and Onyx Artist 1X2 USB Audio Interface. Thus, you get an easy guide to compose and produce music and edit it as well. Moreover, it has compatibility with Mac OS and Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 too.
7. Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools
Scarlett 2nd generation audio device is one of the best versions of USB powered- audio interface with various unbeatable options. Want to create your own music, then this device is the best choice. It has two natural-sounding mic preamps, two instruments input, and two outputs to connect the professional studio with a monitor whose controlling knob is present at the front side of the device. It is powered with 94 kHz/24 bits and can be used without DSP. Thus, making it the best budget USB audio interface.
This device is beautifully designed in red and black; its upper and side covering are of red color which make it look stunning and fabulous. On the front side of this device, there are multiple options, like three input plugs and various controlling knobs for different purposes. To set levels of gain, monitor, input to playback, and set earphone volume.
HUBs and MIDI
So, if we look around the back side of the device there is one USB hub, two plugs for MIDI OUT and another for MIDI IN, then there are four circled small plugs, two of them of white color for line output and the other two of red color are for unbalanced. Lastly, black plugs are for balancing. As it is the best audio interface under 200, each I/O port is well-defined and sorted.
It has super cool software which helps you to create your own best music. All software is easy to operate, and handle, and can easily connect to Windows 7 and other Windows, and Mac too. It has pro tools like, First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Loopmasters, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, XLN Audio – Addictive Keys, and Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite
Moreover, all these software have amazing features like XLN audio- Addictive keys have a controlling keyboard for instruments to record them in an artistic way.
Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite is for equalizer and compressor. Furthermore, Ableton Live Lite and First Focusrite Creative Pack are software for making music, and Loopmaster gives 2GB of royalty-free sample libraries.
8. Steinberg UR242 4-Channel USB Interface
Steinberg UR242 is an incredible audio box specially designed for professionals and its multiple working options are super amazing. It is the best value audio interface and advanced portable production studio with ultra-mobile features.
This audio device has all major audio editing, and music production software, MR816 interface, D-PRE-Class-A discrete mic preamps, and URs convertors. It can easily connect with both Mac and Windows. Therefore, it is ranked No. 8 in our list of the best audio interface under 200.
Steinberg UR242 is beautifully designed with multiple options for professionals. Its size is very adapted, can easily carry anywhere within laptop bags. It has a cuboid shape, and input and output knobs are featured on both sides front and back.
Plug-in options for the D-Pre mic/line, earphone, and control knobs for input and outputs are preen tar front side of the audio box. Power button, USB2.0, input and output plugs, and line input and line output, all these plug-ins are present at the back side of the device.
The plus point of this device is its software, it has all major editing, mastering, and tracks creating software that can easily operate on both Mac and Windows.
Simply you have to connect this device to a computer and laptop and get high-quality sound with the help of its software.
Moreover, one of the most interesting software is REV-X reverb which has a complex reverb algorithm, Yamaha developed REV-X built into the UR824, UR28M, UR44, and UR242.
Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip
The sweet spot morphing channel strip is entailed of the sidechain-enabled compressor and a three-band parametric equalizer which helps to generate high-quality musical sounds and tracks. This is very useful for professional musicians.
D-PRE microphone preamps
All the UR comes with the D-PRE microphone preamps feature, D-Pre is the best feature, which is perfect for professionals because it records, creates high-quality sounds, don’t amplify any specific components of the signal. It is beautifully tuned to be able to record the true expression of performance or audio and can be edited.
9. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2×2 USB Audio Interface with Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite DAW Recording Software
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is specially designed for musicians who travel, so they could have their own studio with a portable facility. This is the best cheap audio interface any musician, podcaster, vlogger, and producer can easily afford and can create their own tracks. It comes with class-A mic preamps which record high-quality audio. Therefore, it is the ninth entry in our list of the best audio interface under 200.
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is perfectly designed for musicians who mostly travel, It has a very compact size that can be carried easily anywhere. Indeed, it is the best-value audio interface with amazing features. Moreover, it has multiple options for both, input and output, and analog for different purposes. This blue and grey box is beautifully designed for travel in a portable size.
This best audio interface under 200 comes with multiple software which helps songwriters, podcasters, and vloggers to create unique tracks. DAW recording software, Studio One Artist, and Ableton Live Lite are available with this amazing device.
Furthermore, it has a complete pack of software for recording which are best for traveling performers. These software are for both Mac and Windows.
It has two front panels which connect more than one mix and instrument at once, which makes it easy for live performances and to record them. It comes with class-A mic preamplifiers, professional-quality, and Studio-grade converters for 24-bit and 96 kHz recording and replay, all these are the plus factor that makes it special. It has USB 2.0 bus-powered and can easily attach to a laptop.
It has a couple of balanced line-level outputs, an ultra-loud, crystal-clear headphone out, plus MIDI I/O, which are best to have your favorite synth or MIDI controller. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is a modest, the best affordable audio interface, and mobile recording solution.
10. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 Two-Channel Audio Interface
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 is one of the most complete devices for all the music producers out there. It has dual inputs; one is for vocals and the other is for guitar. XLR input is for vocals and jack is for guitar and other instruments. Thus, the device is best for musicians, vloggers, and those who want to record audio, and plus point is that it is an affordable audio interface and the best audio interface under 200.
The box-shaped device is wonderfully designed for recording with multiple amazing options. It has a dynamic design and shape with a compact size. You can carry It with you easily anywhere and can attach to computers, and laptops easily.
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 comes with two inputs on the front side: an XLR mic with 48v phantom power and jack for different line instruments, and output at the back side of the device: Stereo RCA for hi-fi speakers. It also has a USB hub on its back side. It has a big volume knob on the upper side of the device which helps to adjust volumes up and down easily.
This best audio interface under 200 comes with much essential software, and still, you have enough space for too. It has software for recording, building track, and for synths effects. All software is so easy to operate and will help to create new and classy audio.
Furthermore, it has Monark that helps in controlling the audio and vocals while recording. Helps you to make a perfect track. Then it has Ableton Live 10 Lite which operate live recording, sessions, instruments, audio effects and every audio want to record, especially song. In short, the opportunities are endless.
Komplete Audio 1 comes with the software “Maschine Essentials”. Honestly, this software is a revolution since it provides you a list of sounds, instruments, and effects which will help to create new amazing tracks and songs. These great ideas will lead you toward your dream work. Moreover, you will get 2-month access to Maschine Essential to enjoy millions of tracks for free.
Things to Consider while Buying the Best Audio Interface under 200
When it comes to buying an audio interface, making a decision can be overwhelming. If you are new at buying the best audio for your studio then the multiple options in the market can be very confusing.
But worry not, we have compiled a list of some potential and crucial properties that can ease your decision-making process. Let us discuss them!
Inputs and outputs
While choosing the best audio interface, you need to consider the type and number of inputs and outputs according to your need. To understand how many inputs you need, do consider how many instruments and devices you are using.
If you are a music producer, the following are the things you can attach to your audio interface:
Clearly, with a live band and multiple instruments, you need an audio interface that works with more than two input and output ports or a number of channels. Similarly, as a DJ you use multiple output resources that include separate headphones and speakers.
But if you are a solo music producer and use a computer without any instruments then an audio interface with a maximum of two inputs is plenty enough.
Most of the audio interfaces have two types of inputs: XLR and ¼ inch. Both are often used with a combined connector for multiple uses. Essentially, they become a 2-in-1 port, that allows you to connect mics, synths, guitar, and other input devices with it.
In short, you do not need an extra port system or upgrade the entire system. This is a cost-efficient method.
Similarly, many interfaces work as phantom power options. These power options are ideally used for connecting microphones with the already working system. Mic Preamp can also be added to these I/O channels to produce accurate sound.
As outputs, the best audio interface under 200 may also have MIDI input and output resources. It saves the user from buying many external and separate MIDI gear.
Do remember, these are used for the MIDI keywords if you are interested to use otherwise it is not essential gear or requirements for most.
Power Supply Options
Another issue most users face is the device power supply compatibility. People buy an audio interface and connect it directly to their devices. The main power supply may cause great damage to their system and the newly bought audio interface too. The bus powering the main source can cause such a mishap.
Similarly, few use wall warts and power adaptor resources as the main supply. You always have to use a direct power source for them, which can cause clutter and a shortage of resources.
Since you are going for the best audio interface under 200, consider buying an audio interface that is powered by regular batteries too. This will make them easy to use in limited resources and ensures portability as well.
The audio interface also has different types of connectors like USB and ThunderBolt. Before choosing the best audio interface under 200, we recommend checking the compatibility of the set with your computer, laptop, and other smart devices.
Nowadays converting a USB connector type is not an issue since there are many converters available but again it is a hustle itself. And connecting an older version of the device may require additional adaptors too. For IOS system users you can use the Apple camera connector kit, the CCK.
Similarly, most of the audio interfaces are compatible with laptops, tabs, and desktops but issues surface when you have an IOS system. If you make music using your iPhone or iPad then select the direct IOS compatible audio interfaces.
The plug-n-play feature may seem amusing but check for manufacturer compatibility because many do not work for IOS, thus you can face the chances of a new update with no compatibility with IOS.
To use the audio interface, you need to have a good and understandable Digital Audio Workstation also known as DAW. These are like a bundle of software that eases the usability of the audio interface. Moreover, there are many cheap audio interfaces that come with such bundles pre-installed.
You can still find many DAWs for free too according to your taste and project preference, but they all have limited resources too. In short, you can use the free pre-installed software packages for mixing or recording or both your music.
Level of Latency in recording
The market has many contemporary audio interfaces available at different budgets that offer low latency for recording. The low latency recording actually offers you to free change or manipulate the project by adding or removing tracks.
The best audio interface under 200 may also provide you with different latency levels for you to play around with different effects and real-time audio as well. Therefore, the Disco jockey and Radio jockeys look for this feature to create their own piece. The choice of having low latency complete depends on the usage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best audio interface under 200?
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools is the best audio interface under 200. It has the best mic preamps that Focusrite ever created with an amazing range of frequencies.
To get you started it has a Quick tool power setup that is further followed by the best in-built software for sure. Thus, it is the best cheap audio interface for all songwriters, DJs, and producers
Does the audio interface matter?
Yes, it matters because the preamp in the interface is what amplifies the mic up to an acceptable level for recording. On its own, a mic produces a very low-level signal(voltage?). In most audio interfaces, the preamps are not going to be as good as those in a decent external one.
Can a mixer replace an audio interface?
To a degree … but do be aware if you purchase a USB mixer with the stereo output it will not do the same thing as a multichannel interface which will allow you to record multiple audio sources on separate tracks simultaneously.
Can you run two audio interfaces at the same time?
Without multi-device drivers, there’s no way to install and run two or more identical audio interfaces in a computer since the operating system would have no way to differentiate between the various units. … Those with two or more different audio interfaces can try a different approach.
Does an audio interface affect sound quality?
Audio interfaces expand and improve the sonic capabilities of a computer. They add inputs and outputs and can improve the sound quality of your computer. Audio interfaces are an absolutely essential component in computer-based audio production.
Do USB hubs increase latency?
A USB hub does decrease speed and add latency, but this increase is very small, it DOES matter for fast peripherals like external HDDs or SSDs, but not for mice or keyboards.
Do I need MIDI on the audio interface?
USB MIDI and a separate audio interface should work just fine on Mac or PC. The only time you might want MIDI on the audio interface is if you need to run a MIDI clock out from your computer to tempo-lock an external arpeggiator or if you have older keyboards that only have the 5-pin MIDI connector.
Final Verdict – The Best Audio Interface Under 200
The innovation in technology has made everything so compact that the dream of a composer and musician has shrunk into a box.
The audio interface not just helps in mixing and recording the music but also helps in adding your own style at home, traveling, or anywhere. As soon as inspiration hits, you are one connection away from interpreting it.
In this review, we have given the top 10 and the best audio interface under 200 after a careful and extensive survey of both market and a user’s requirements. Thus, you can easily understand and identify your needs and select them under a budget.
If you are in a hurry, then we will recommend buying Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools. Focusrite is one of the leading brands with 30 years of experience. Their Scarlett 2i2 is exceptionally the best.
It has the best Mic Preamp with two high-headroom instruments and two balanced line inputs. Moreover, the compatibility with different operating systems and DAWs makes it at the top of our list of the best audio interface under 200.