Useful Stuff to Know » article » Top 3 USB Audio Interfaces under $1000 » May 15, 06:38 PM

Top 3 USB Audio Interfaces under $1000

If you’re looking to upgrade your audio interface, or start off with a top notch unit that will last you many years, then read on. What do you get with a higher end interface?

First, the headphone and monitor outputs are much better in terms of clarity, volume, smoothness, and accuracy. This is important when mixing and mastering. Connecting a nice pair of studio monitors to a PC sound card or poor interface takes away from the usefulness of the monitors.

Second, the microphone preamps tend to have more clean gain and clarity. This means more signal and less noise, and a sound that is punchier and truer to the source. Some mics like the SM7B need a lot of clean gain (at least 60 to 70dB) and the quality of the interface preamps has a large effect on how great the mic sounds.

Third, the conversion of the analog audio signal to digital format will be better. Again, this leads to increased clarity, lower noise, and a more pristine sound versus the lowest end interfaces.

And fourth, there may be additional features (such as additional inputs), better software drivers, increased reliability, and a more durable design.

So without further ado, here are the top three interfaces under $750. These work for both PC and Mac.

1. Focusrite Forte ($499 @ Amazon)

2. RME Babyface ($729 @ Amazon)

3. Roland OctaCapture ($599 @ Amazon)