So what’s the best Audio Interface you ask? Well I depends on what you are trying to accomplish as well as what you can afford. In reality, there really is no universally acclaimed “best” audio interface. There is so much information out there that you can get overwhelmed.
If you are trying to control your costs without breaking your bank account, these two audio interfaces listed below will provide you with the most bang for your buck. Next to choosing a computer, choosing an audio interface is the second most critical decision you will make when trying to get your studio up and going…so don’t skimp too much here.
Presonus – Audiobox iTwo – The Presonus Audiobox iTwo is great for mobile use as well as for the home studio. I own one of these and use it in my second studio as well as when I need to go portable. It is USB 1.1 powered and to your computer easily so it works well with virtually any PC or Mac, not just newer models. It also has just the right features for your basic recording needs—neither more nor less.
The AudioBox iTwo USB offers excellent audio performance, thanks to two dual-purpose front-panel mic/instrument inputs with sweet-sounding Class A mic preamplifiers and professional-quality, 24-bit converters that sample at up to 48 kHz.
Presonus – FireStudio Project – If you need more inputs, the FireStudio Project is definitely the way to go! This audio interface is the heart of my studio and it’s extremely reliable! What I like most about this audio interface is that you can daisy-chain it with a second FireStudio Project, or with any interface in the FireStudio family, which will provide you with up to 52 inputs and outputs! The FireStudio Project features six mic/line inputs and two mic/instrument inputs, each with high-headroom and some real nice sounding Class A solid-state preamps. The two mic/instrument channels even have insert loops so you can add outboard effects.
The FireStudio Project’s rear panel has eight General Purpose outputs and a pair of left/right Main outputs. All on balanced, ¼-inch TRS jacks. The audio source for the Main outputs is the same as that of General Purpose outputs 1 and 2 (DAW Playback 1 and 2, by default). The difference is that the output level of the Main outputs is controlled by the FireStudio Project’s front-panel Main volume knob.
The FireStudio Project also includes stereo S/PDIF and MIDI In and Out. Basically, with this audio interface, you will get all of the connectivity you are likely to need.