Musicians who love to play guitar know how vital it is to have a high-quality audio interface for their instruments. Not only will this give you better sound quality, but with things like latency issues, a good audio interface is a must.
An audio interface is an important part of any musician’s setup. It can provide a crucial connection between your guitar and computer. It lets you record music in a studio setting or take advantage of digital effects for live performances.
That’s right. Audio interfaces aren’t just for recording. I’ve used an audio interface to hook up my guitar and use my laptop as a guitar effects processor, too!
Nowadays, many options are available, but some are better than others depending on what you need. An audio interface with great sound quality is necessary if you want to rock out on your electric or acoustic guitar!
But I’m getting ahead of myself, before we cover the best audio interfaces for guitar, it’s probably a good idea to first go over what an audio interface actually is.
What is an Audio Interface?
Audio interfaces are devices that convert audio signals from analog to digital, or vice versa. They are often used in recording studios and on stage with live bands. Its features vary depending on the model – some have built-in preamps, while others offer MIDI inputs for connecting external equipment.
Moreover, they are an easy and affordable way to connect instruments like guitars, basses, microphones, synthesizers, and drums to your Mac or PC. It will also help to eliminate any potential issues during a session, such as distortion, bad sound quality, noise, etc.
In short, if you want to hook up your guitar – or any other instrument – to your computer, you’re going to need an audio interface.
What to Look for When Looking for an Audio Interface for Guitar
When looking for an audio interface for guitar, there are some factors that you need to keep in mind.
- It is important to check that your future audio interface has all the inputs and outputs you need. If you’re just recording a single guitar, you’re probably good with just one unless you’re recording an acoustic guitar and want two mics on it.
- People search for the best quality at the lowest price when designing their studio – budget is one of the deciding factors.
- An interface’s key attributes are durability, reliability, and feel. Metal chassis and knobs are ideal because they can withstand knocks and bumps better. Size is also important especially if you want to carry it around. Some audio interfaces are small enough to throw in a bag, others are pretty big and should stay put after getting them set up.
- Monitoring controls and low latency are crucial features when selecting an interface for recording and mixing. If your interface has too much latency, all of your guitar playing will sound late and be off time.
- Check how the interface gets its power. Some smaller audio interfaces are powered just by USB, meaning you’ll only need one cord. Other audio interfaces will need an extra wire connecting to a power source.
Top Picks of Best Audio Interface for Guitar
Let’s have a look at the top-notch audio interface of the guitar.
IK Multimedia Axe I/O Audio Interface
This product makes live performance easier than ever. It has been made with professional-grade components, so you don’t have to worry about low-quality sounds.
Furthermore, it will give you top-of-the-line sound control with just the click of a button. The built-in high-resolution preamp provides impeccable quality for your audio recordings as well.
- The ultra-low noise floor will enable you to record high-gain sounds with accuracy and clarity.
- The interface is very simple and takes up very little space, making it perfect for touring musicians.
- Amp out socket
- Includes MIDI inputs and outputs
- Connect external control pedals/switches
- The tuner is unreliable.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
This interface is perfect for any guitarist looking to take their game to the next level. The Focusrite Scarlett is a USB-powered interface with two best-performing mic preamps.
With its high-performance mic preamps and highly-accurate converters, this device lets you record and mix with the finest sound quality. It also comes with a quick start tool so that you can get up and running easier than ever.
- Its innovative design makes it simpler than ever to record at home without the hassle of cables and complicated connections.
- The mic inputs are significant for recording vocals, and the balanced line inputs make this interface great for live performances.
- Works well with vocals
- The new, improved preamp design
- Software bundles are unbeatable
- It requires an external power supply.
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2
You might be wondering what Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 is and what it does. In a nutshell, it allows you to produce audio with exceptional quality. It is a compact, high-quality interface designed with instruments requiring XLR or TRS connectors.
It can provide a crucial connection between your guitar and computer. It lets you record music in a studio setting or take advantage of digital effects for live performances.
- It comes with an analog and digital connection, which gives you more freedom to record anything you want.
- The dual-combined input on the back of the interface allows you to plug in two mics together at once for recording.
- Sleek and stylish design
- Big volume knob for quickly adjusting the output level
- Compact and super convenient
- Pain to set up.
PreSonus Audiobox USB 96
This one would make a great addition to your studio or live performance setup. Unlike other audio interfaces, this product will plug right into your computer’s USB port, eliminating the need for a separate power supply. Moreover, it is a versatile and high-quality product that is perfect for both beginners and experts.
- It will work on either a Mac or PC without requiring an external power supply.
- It has a powerful mic preamp with professional-quality A/D and D/A converters for optimum sound quality.
- Great sounding preamps
- Value for money
- Outstanding build quality
- Average performance at low/high frequencies.
SSL 2+ USB Audio Interface
This interface has several capabilities that make it easy to use and worthwhile for musicians. It is a huge benefit for those live performers who need to mix their sound with vocals or use effects for music. It features built-in microphone preamps and two professional headphone outputs. One of the great benefits of this product is its affordability, so it’s available to everyone.
- The core 4K feature enhances recordings with analog color enhancement, inspired by classic SSL consoles.
- It has 2 x headphone outputs so that you can have a second independent headphone mix.
- The great signal path for the cash
- Excellent preamps. Beyond expected
- Awesome interface for audio recording
- The cord connecting to the computer is too short.
The Audient iD4 is the perfect tool to set up your gear and take your performance from good to great. The USB-C audio interface features two inputs and two outputs, as well as one Microphone Preamp for your guitar or vocals.
It can run on bus power, eliminating the need for additional power cables or adapters. You can also use this for DJing, field recording, podcasting, and more.
- This interface is compatible with Windows and Mac; it is the perfect solution to use it with multiple devices.
- The USB-C connection will also allow you to plug into your mobile device or laptop without the need for an adapter.
- Class-leading converters
- Robust, stylish construction
- Exceptional headphone amp with dual outputs
- The digital LED meter could be better.
Mackie Onyx Producer 2.2
Mackie Audio Interface is a good choice for anyone who wants to record at home. It has two onyx boutique-quality mic preamps with class-leading fidelity and dynamic range, perfect for recording any instrument. Furthermore, it has a high resolution 2 in x 2 out, which allows you to plug your microphone into it.
- This interface is bus-powered for easy mobile recording without requiring an external power adapter.
- It comes with USB 2.0 connectivity to enable fast transfer speeds and low latency and a Built-Like-A-Tank design to improve durability.
- MIDI ports
- Robust build quality and compact footprint
- Good compatibility with programs and windows
- The green LED light is too bright.
This interface is an excellent solution for anyone interested in recording music professionally or practicing electric guitar without disturbing others. It will give you the chance to record with studio-quality vocals when you are in the recording session. It adds a warm, rugged feel to your music that lets you play with your heart and not just your fingers.
- It also has a built-in cabinet emulation that can emulate three different types of cabinets–two open back and one closed.
- This audio interface has two mic preamps which are perfect for recording high-quality vocals.
- Good-sounding preamps and converters
- Two Notes cabs sound excellent
- Very versatile
- Noisy through headphones.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo MKII
This model is no doubt the best audio interface for guitar players around. It offers a range of noteworthy features that make it stand out from the competition. It provides world-class audio conversion, exceptional build quality, and flawless analog design.
- The Thunderbolt audio interface can convert the audio signal with a 24-bit conversion, rendering fantastic quality sound.
- The two premium mic/line preamps provide clean and transparent audio, so you can be sure your guitar will sound great.
- Stellar audio quality
- Very easy to use
- Worth the money
- The sound card heats up very fast, but it’s normal.
One of the unique features of this interface is converting monophonic guitar signals into MIDI notes on your computer. When you pick up this interface, the first thing you notice is how lightweight and compact it is.
Two stereo channels and eight mono channels produce an excellent sound in all ranges and frequencies. You don’t have to fret about compatibility because it also works with GT-100 Version 2.0 sound patches.
- It comes with premium amps and effects, so you have a wide array of tones to choose from.
- The interface offers various outputs, which can be used in different situations to get the desired sound.
- MIDI guitar works well
- Great Unit for Re-amping
- Best quality for a great price
- Very easy to use but not mind-blowing.
In the end, if you want to take your guitar playing to the next level, you must invest in a high-quality audio interface. In addition to improving your performance, a good one will give you more options for recording and digital effects when performing live.
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Josh is the founder and main author of Songwriter Nation. He has played music for over twenty years and even studied music at university earning a minor in music.