Best Audio Interface under 1000 Dollars in 2020

The best audio interface under 1000 dollars is the Roland UA-1610 Studio-Capture. This premium model has a sturdy build, excellent bitrate, and lots of ports.

An audio interface is a handy piece of equipment that allows you to expand and improve the musical capabilities of your computer. It lets you connect various pieces of musical hardware such as instruments and microphones to your device, and you can use the interface to manipulate and perfect sounds.

It’s a near-priceless tool if you’re a fan of listening to or creating music, and there are plenty of quality audio interfaces available at a fair price. We picked out the best audio interface under 1000 dollars plus other top models for your consideration.

Our seven recommended best audio interfaces under $1,000 are:

Reviews of the Best Audio Interfaces Under $1,000

Roland UA-1610 Studio-Capture
Input: 16Output: 10Interface: USB 2.0XLR: 16TRS: 10Headphone Output: 1

Roland gear has become near-legendary in the audiophile community, and this is because the brand manages to produce quality offerings across multiple segments. Their Studio-Capture audio interface system is by far one of the best systems available, and it rightfully takes top honors on our list.

This interface has been created in such a way as to be compatible as a rack-mounted model, or to simply set up right next to your desktop. It’s compact enough for both options!

It features a supremely solid aluminum chassis and focuses all of its major control options towards the front of the panel. This is why you’ll notice that there’s hardly any free space in this portion of the interface, as Roland has packed the front panel to the brim with features.

This busy design lends a unique aesthetic appeal to the overall look of this model.

When discussing features, we’ll be hard-pressed to find a model that boasts so many options. Up front and center are the 12 incredible microphone preamps that are a part of Roland’s elite series of processors. These are purely digitally operated and offer a healthy dose of versatility to the product.

You’re also given a total of 16 inputs that include 12 XLR/TRS combos and four quarter-inch line ports. You also have access to 10 output channels, and all of these are of the analog set to maintain authenticity of sound. You can access four of these inputs readily on the front panel while the rest are placed behind the device.

All of the features of this nifty device are focused into a centralized control interface that has an LED display screen to help you easily access the features. The use of AUTO-SENS technology allows you to make the most of your preamps and sets the ideal volume levels for your work.

All this processing is done using a 40-bit DSP that allows you to execute some effortless cue mixing. The USB 2.0 gives you sampling at 192kHz/24-bits.

Roland STUDIO-CAPTURE Overview (USB2.0 Audio Interface)

PROS

  • The Roland brand is a winner on its own.
  • One of the most popular products in this segment.
  • Great options for inputs and outputs.
  • Incredible design and features.
  • 12 premium microphone preamps.

CONS

  • Does not remember its status when power is removed or re-applied.

Focusrite Clarett 8Pre

Best Home Recording Gear

Focusrite Clarett 8Pre
Input: 18Output: 20Interface: ThunderboltXLR: 2TRS: 2Headphone Output: 2

The Focusrite brand has become popular for creating highly affordable audio interface units, and this model has got to be your top choice if you’re working on a home studio.

A gorgeous red and black color palette has been used for the exterior of this model, which lends it a brilliant finish and offers loads of appeal. An aluminum chassis has been used to give this 19-inch product a sturdy exterior. All the functions are fairly distributed between the front and back panels of this model.

These functions are indeed top of the line, as you’ll see a thunderbolt connection used to attach your interface with your processing unit. This cable offers incredible speed and low latency, thereby significantly improving the overall quality of your work.

All the preamps in this product are standard Clarett units, with the exception of Focusrite’s air effect feature that offers a unique sound to the output. The front panel has space for the two XLR/TRS combo inputs, while the remaining six mic/line inputs are placed in the back of the model.

You will also find ADAT ports that allow you to access a vast number of digital pathways simultaneously.

All these features can be remotely controlled as well, thanks to the use of the Focusrite iOS control app that’s free with this purchase. You will also have access to a wide range of software that’ll help you master your craft, and this includes Ableton Live Lite, along with a vast number of plugins and sound effects.

Focusrite // Clarett 8Pre - Recording Seryn

PROS

  • Includes eight Clarett mic presets.
  • Low latency while recording over thunderbolt.
  • Dual headphone outputs.
  • Software included.
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac.

CONS

  • Can get warm while running.

Steinberg UR824 Audio Interface

Best Fusion of Hardware and Software

Steinberg UR824 Audio Interface
Input: 16Output: 16Interface: USB 2.0XLR: 8TRS: 8Headphone Output: 2

Steinberg is a German giant in the world of audio engineering, and they’ve created some world-class high-end equipment thus far. The UR series by this brand is a well-respected model, especially for featuring a brilliant balance between the hardware and software specifications.

Most rack-mounted gear tends to look busy because manufacturers are vying to fit multiple features into a limited space. However, Steinberg is a master of design, and this shines through when we examine the external features of this model.

The numerous features of this USB audio interface have been neatly fitted into a 19-inch aluminum chassis, and despite that minimal space, the unit looks brilliantly designed and well-spaced.

You have a standard set of control clusters that allow you to manipulate various channels, and the interface is conducted using analog dials and buttons. A mix of analog and digital I/O, along with a combination of eight XLR/TRS inputs and eight quarter-inch output ports are a standard in this model.

Two pairs of ADAT optical I/Os, along with 16 input and output ports, are also found on this interface.

Preamps make the interface, and this is why the D-Pre preamps provided in this model are truly top of the line and have a +48V phantom power. The quality of this unit is further enhanced with the help of signal syncing technology and a built-in DSP.

You can utilize the full power of this console with the help of Cubase AI and various other VST3 plugins included in the purchase.

When you put these various facets together, you have a powerful interface on your hands that offers consistent performance in both hardware and software. The sound quality generated by this device is truly spectacular, and you’ll be amazed by the world-class work you can produce from the comfort of your home.

PROS

  • Includes 8 D-Pre Class-A mic preamps.
  • Two pairs of ADAT optical I/O connect with 16 in and outs.
  • Powered by a latency-free DSP monitoring system.
  • Includes native VST3 plugins.

CONS

  • Poor compatibility with Pro Tools.

MOTU UltraLite AVB Audio Interface

Best Audio Interface for Mac Under 1000 Dollars

MOTU UltraLite AVB Audio Interface
Input: 18Output: 18Interface: USB 2.0XLR: 1 on the front, 1 on the backTRS: 6 on the front, 6 on the backHeadphone Output: 2

If you’re a Mac user who’s looking for an interesting and compatible interface, this model by MOTU is sure to appease Mac users the world over.

This is a feature-rich model that includes a total of 36 audio channels. This can be broken down into 10 analog inputs and eight analog outputs that feature an optical input cable to increase overall capability. Transferring data between this interface and your system is also extremely easy, thanks to the USB 2.0 connection that has the option of being upgraded to 3.0.

The Ultralite AVB digital mixer comes with 48 channels and 12 busses that can be cumulatively controlled using your Mac system. This makes it an ideal component during recording sessions.

You even have the option of expanding on the AVB by using the MOTU AVB switch, and this allows you to connect with up to five MOTU interfaces. This option drastically increases the competency and versatility of your system.

In the end, it’s safe to say that this system is great if you’re planning to hook up the interface to a Mac in order to use it in live setups, home studios or even professional studios.

PROS

  • State-of-the-art mic preamps.
  • Sturdy and durable metal chassis.
  • Sleek design.
  • Includes various software.
  • Two-year manufacturer warranty.

CONS

  • Slow boot-up.

RME Audio Interface

Best Ultra-Portable Interface

RME Audio Interface
Input: 2Output: 2Interface: USB 2.0XLR: 2TRS: 2Headphone Output: 2

The Babyface Pro model by RME is a real game-changer as it redefines the size you’d expect from a quality audio interface. This miniature model is packed with solid features despite its ultra-diminished size, and is the ideal audio-interface to carry when you’re about to hit the road.

It includes XLR input and outputs, MIDI and ADAT input/outputs and Line recording to give you a wide range of hardware options. The device is well-protected inside an aluminum chassis and can be powered by bus power or an external power supply.

The internals of this system are high-end as well, and it boasts “steady clock technology” that dramatically helps with noise-reduction and enables you to attain crystal clear clarity in your sound.

PROS

  • 24-channel interface despite small size.
  • Tough aluminum chassis.
  • Top-quality internal circuitry.
  • Comes with RME’s TotalMix FX software.
  • Two-year manufacturer warranty.

CONS

  • Software isn’t straightforward to use.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo

Best High-End Audio Interface

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo
Input: 2Output: 6Interface: ThunderboltXLR: 2TRS: 2Headphone Output: 2

This is a genuinely high-end product created by the Apollo brand and is good enough to do justice to any home or professional studio.

It sports two XLR/TRS combination inputs, a four-line output and an optical input to give you a wide range of options while recording or mixing.

The internal circuitry of this model is world-class, and this is reflected in the use of the Thunderbolt connectivity cable to offer high-speed data transfer from your interface to your system. This high-quality circuitry also reduces the latency to sub-2ms, which is excellent for this segment.

You’ll also receive a Universal Audio Plug-in Bundle with this purchase, which includes the following:

This model is also packed with some surprising additional features such as a built-in talkback microphone, and this is a priceless asset to have in a professional setup.

All of these features make this a fantastic purchase if you’re willing to shed some extra dough on a quality product rather than go for a cheap audio interface.

PROS

  • Compact design.
  • Close to zero-latency.
  • Includes a talkback microphone.
  • Uses unison technology to provide classic tube and transformer-based preamp models.
  • One-year warranty.

CONS

  • Priced on the steeper side of the scale.

MOTU 828es Audio Interface

Best USB Audio Interface Under 1000 Dollars

MOTU 828es Audio Interface
Input: 28Output: 32Interface: USB 2.0/ThunderboltXLR: 2TRS: 2Headphone Output: 2

This is one of the easiest audio interfaces to like because it’s packed with some serious features and is a truly high-functioning model.

You can access its ample features by either using a USB or Thunderbolt connectivity, making this one of the rare models in the market to offer this feature.

Thanks to the 28 inputs and 32 output channels, you can carry out a lot of work simultaneously and even take on large-scale projects in a professional session. These channels are available in various options such as XLR/TRS, MIDI, ADAT and Line.

A low latency of 1.6 ms is achieved by this model, thanks to the use of some high-quality internal circuitry. You even have the option of taking full control of this complex system with the help of a remote control interface. By simply connecting the interface to a web-app feature, you can conduct live or recording sessions remotely and effortlessly.

PROS

  • Rack-mounted system.
  • Near zero-latency.
  • You can check mixes easily with A/B buttons. 
  • Option to control this device using any OS.
  • Can expand to up to five MOTU interfaces.

CONS

  • Customers have reported difficulty connecting to Samsung products.

How to Choose an Audio Interface

It’s always useful to conduct background research when investing in a product, especially if it’s a type of technology or electronic device. There are a lot of moving parts in such models, and audio interface systems are no different.

Their capabilities have evolved dramatically in the recent past, and this has enabled musicians and music lovers to pick between a wide range of products. As the market is currently saturated with various high-quality audio interface systems under $1000, here’s a list of factors to consider before you narrow down your purchase.

Inputs and Outputs

Audio interface systems under $1000 can be put to a wide range of uses based on the needs of the user. This brings about immense diversity in the features of the models on offer at this range, and this is especially true when you consider the number of input and output channels available in various models.

While portable models tend to only feature a handful of inputs and outputs, you can expect to see far higher numbers in rack-mounted models. Thus it comes down to exactly how you want to use your new audio interface. 

Live bands, for example, will end up requiring far more channels, simply because the number of instruments involved in the recording session is much higher than say a solo singer or a podcast channel.

Understanding your needs will help you nail down the right interface for you!

Connectivity Options

Ports, ports, ports! Boy, there are a lot of options when it comes to hooking your interface onto a computer. Connectivity types today range from USB 2.0 and 3.0 to a USB C audio interface, or Thunderbolt and Firewire options.

These options are linked to the type of computer you intend on using and the speed with which you need your data to be transferred. If you’re looking to maximize your compatibility, you should ideally go for the USB 3.0 models, but if speed is what you’re after, then a Thunderbolt audio interface is your best choice.

Sample and Bitrate

The sample and bitrate of a given audio interface device directly impact the overall sound quality of your recording or processing experience. Thus when picking out a model, make sure to pay close attention to these values.

Most high-quality products in this segment come with a bitrate of 24-bits and have the capacity to create sample rates up to 192kHz. This makes them competent enough to tackle the high and low end frequencies of your average recording session.

When picking up an audio interface, make sure to seek out these values in your system. Anything higher than this is always a bonus and will reap the rewards during the final edits.

DAW Connection

DAWs or digital audio workstations are software that is installed onto your system in order to operate your audio interface. Some devices work better with certain DAWs so it’s important to understand these combinations and narrow down on the software that you’d like to use while operating your interface.

If you already have a preferred DAW, it makes sense to opt for a model that is best suited to work with this software. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Audio Interfaces

What Is an Audio Interface?

An audio interface is the front end of your computer recording system. It allows you to create or edit music using your system and other instruments using softwares.

How to Use Audio Interface?

Using an audio interface requires you to establish a connection between your various equipment, the interface system and your computer. You can do this with the help of MIDI cables.

Audio Interface-Off

It’s a great time to be a gearhead and an audiophile considering the wide number of quality products on offer to help you take on any type of musical endeavor. We listed out the best audio interface under 1000 dollars in the market today for your consideration, and we’d highly recommend three models in particular. 

The Steinberg UR824 Audio Interface is an extremely well-balanced model with high-quality hardware and software built into the device. It’s ideal for a wide range of musical and recording projects and is a great first audio interface system.

Meanwhile, if you’re working on a home studio and looking for an excellent model to complement this space, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than the Focusrite Clarett 8Pre. This is a brilliant device for home spaces and comes with enough channels and ports to help you take on substantial projects.

The winner of the round-up, however, has to be the Roland UA-1610 Studio-Capture. This is a high-end model that’s backed by the reputed Roland brand and is a trusted choice among amateur and professional engineers alike. It has a sturdy build, excellent bitrate, a large number of input and output ports and great DAW compatibility to let you execute your greatest ideas.

This is the mother of all audio interface systems on the market today, and it’s sure to get you rocking to your own beats in double time!

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