September 2022

Audio Recording Interfaces: Meta Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Audio Interface rankings posted by key online experts, as of September 2022.

Summary

As of 8 Sep 2022, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed audio interface with 6 expert endorsements. 3 experts out of 6 recommended it as the '#1 audio interface' this month. It is followed by Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII and PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 , with 5 and 4 expert endorsements respectively.

At a glance - September 2022 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Audio Interface
Musician on a Mission
WireRealm
Wirecutter
Music Radar
Consordini
Your Guitar Brain
Music Critic
We Rave You
EDM Sauce
Sweetwater
1
- Check price
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
2
3
1
-
2
1
1
-
-
-
2
- $2791
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII
8
1
-
4
1
-
-
2
-
-
3
- $100
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
6
4
15
4
- $300
Solid State Logic SSL2+
-
-
-
2
-
-
-
8
-
11
9
- Check price
Apogee Element 46
-
-
-
-
9
-
2
-
-
-
10
- Check price
Apogee Duet
10
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
-
11
- Check price
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
-
10
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
12
- $108
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2
-
-
-
5
-
-
-
5
-
-
13
- $250
Tascam US-2x2
-
-
-
-
4
-
7
-
-
-
14
- $595
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
6
-
-
-
-
5
-
-
-
-
15
- $500
Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB
5
-
-
-
-
-
9
-
-
-
16
- $180
Steinberg UR22C
-
-
-
13
6
-
-
-
-
-
17
- $349
Black Lion Audio Revolution 2×2
-
-
-
8
-
-
-
-
-
12
18
- $160
Mackie Onyx Producer 2-2
-
-
-
12
8
-
-
-
-
-
19
- $299
Universal Audio Volt 276
-
-
-
11
-
-
-
-
-
9
20
- $490
Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre
-
-
-
10
-
-
-
-
-
10
21
- $280
Audient iD14
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
9
-
16
22
- $269
Motu M4
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
7
-
19

We ranked Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 #1 in September 2022 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Musician on a Mission

Recommended for Solo Artists and Mobile Recording

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WireRealm

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Wirecutter

The best two-channel USB audio interface

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Consordini

The best budget audio interface

Pros
Extremely low latency guaranteed with the Direct Monitor circuit.
New “Air” button for adding brightness and openness.
Wired to protect against power surges that could damage the interface.

Cons
Uses a USB-C type cable instead of a normal USB cable, so it may not be easily compatible with older computers.

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Your Guitar Brain

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Music Critic

Pros
Comes equipped with a rugged metal unibody case for durability and aesthetic appeal.
A great make by one of the best in the business.

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We ranked Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII #2 in September 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Musician on a Mission

Recommended for Solo Artists

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WireRealm

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Music Radar

High-quality audio and DSP-powered plugins

Pros
Incredible audio quality
Superb UAD-2 plugins

Cons
Thunderbolt only at the moment
No MIDI

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Consordini

The ultimate best audio interface in 2022

Pros
Built-in microphone for talkback when in the studio.
Comes with the Realtime Analog plugin bundle which has all you will need for basic mixing.
With Unison technology you can achieve high quality emulation of classic tubes, preamps, guitar amps, and microphones.

Cons
UAD plugins are ones you will have to pay for if you want more than just the Realtime Analog bundle.
Apollo audio interfaces are easily some of the most expensive ones on the market, this one is no exception.

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We Rave You

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Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Audio Recording Interfaces.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Audio Recording Interfaces, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for September 2022 ranking

We ranked PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 #3 in September 2022 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Musician on a Mission

Recommended for Solo Artists and Mobile Recording

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We Rave You

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EDM Sauce

Pros
Includes free downloading of more than 6 GB of third-party resources
Has high-performance instrument inputs
Features zero-latency monitoring

Cons
May face some compatibility issues with various software

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Sweetwater

Pros
Value-packed interface perfect for beginners
• Includes Studio One Artist DAW
• 2 combo inputs accommodate mics and instruments
• 5-pin MIDI I/O for connecting older MIDI devices

Cons
Channels share phantom power; for individual phantom power, check out the MOTU M2 in this article
• Headphone jack is located on the back; the PreSonus AudioBox iTwo has a front-panel headphone jack

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We ranked Solid State Logic SSL2+ #4 in September 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Get 'that SSL sound' at an amazing price

Pros
Great signal path for the money
The 4k button does add a 'sound'
Solid build quality

Cons
You might not like the RCA outputs

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We Rave You

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Sweetwater

Pros
Legendary SSL sound for your home or portable studio with 2 class-leading microphone preamps
• 4K Legacy mode imparts 4000 series analog console sound
• SSL Native software bundle with Vocalstrip 2 and Drumstrip
• Solid build quality, with heavy-duty chassis, Neutrik connectors, and Alps pots

Cons
• None to speak of at this price point

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We ranked Apogee Element 46 #5 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

World class sound in 12 inputs and 14 outputs

Pros
The most high tech interface on this list with virtual control software and hardware remote controls.
Thunderbolt multi unit support for using multiple interfaces on the same computer.
Has a ton of great sounding inputs and outputs and the ability to connect to external devices.

Cons
Only compatible with Mac and iOS devices.

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Music Critic

Pros
12 in x 14 out Thunderbolt audio I/O box, so that you can plug in as many instruments as you want.
This device comes with a 48v phantom power so that you can easily connect instruments, microphones, and line-level devices.
It also has 4 analog inputs and the best mic preamps.

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We ranked Apogee Duet #6 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Musician on a Mission

Recommended for Solo Artists and Mobile Recording

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Your Guitar Brain

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We ranked Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 #7 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
WireRealm

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Wirecutter

A fantastic interface with a unique design

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We ranked Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 #8 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A compact, slick 2x2 audio interface at a competitive price

Pros
Super compact
Very slick and stylishly designed
Decent five-part input metering

Cons
No scaling on the controls

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We Rave You

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We ranked Tascam US-2x2 #9 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

The best audio interface for a home studio

Pros
Rugged metal housing for taking it on the road, it can stand up to rough handling very well.
Fits well in a home studio due to its compact size and very low self noise.
Comes with Cubase LE software.

Cons
Best for ensembles or singer songwriters, so do not expect to record a large group unless you are using a condenser for a room mic.
Needs special drivers to be installed before using it.

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Music Critic

Pros
XLR 1/4" combination input jacks to give you maximum sound quality.
This sound card has zero-latency.
Angled design and aluminum body make it easier for desktop visibility.

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We ranked Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 #10 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Musician on a Mission

Recommended for Full Bands and Project Studios

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Your Guitar Brain

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We ranked Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB #11 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Musician on a Mission

Recommended for Solo Artists and Mobile Recording

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Music Critic

Pros
Two Clarett Mic pres with lots of gains.
Low latency level.
Compatible with IOS and Windows.

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We ranked Steinberg UR22C #12 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A rugged 2-in/2-out audio interface with Yamaha preamps

Pros
Built to last
Yamaha preamps
Built-in DSP processing

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Consordini

An all-around workhorse interface

Pros
ASIO, Core Audio, and WDM compatible.
Comes with Cubase AI and Cubase LE for iOS devices.
Has MIDI inputs and outputs for use with external hardware or transferring notes to a DAW.

Cons
The maximum headphone volume is a bit low.
The mic preamp is a bit weaker than others, so make sure you power it through the DC.

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We ranked Black Lion Audio Revolution 2×2 #13 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

This mid-priced interface runs rings around more expensive devices

Pros
Solid build quality
Clean interference-free audio
Extensive visual feedback

Cons
Fairly heavy

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Sweetwater

Pros
USB interface with professional-grade AD/DA conversion and clocking
• 2 premium mic/line/instrument preamps offer exceptional audio capture
• Cutting-edge Macro-MMC Clocking technology
• Fully decoupled I/O and noise reducing PG-i technology

Cons
Software package not as comprehensive as some interfaces; to expand your production tool chest, explore the affordably priced Black Lion Audio Revolution 2×2 & iZotope Music Production Suite 4 Bundle from Sweetwater

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We ranked Mackie Onyx Producer 2-2 #14 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A hard-wearing 2-channel interface with high audio quality

Pros
Up to 24-bit/192kHz operation
Robust build quality
MIDI input and output

Cons
Zero latency control affects monitor output

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Consordini

An optimal choice for singer-songwriters

Pros
Includes MIDI inputs and outputs to use with MIDI controllers, synths, and other MIDI compatible devices.
Hi-Z switch allows you to direct input record your bass and guitar.
Comes with Mackie’s DAW Essentials Collection of plugins and the Tracktion T7 DAW.

Cons
Could have a couple more connection options other than just USB 2.0 like USB-C or Thunderbolt.
Adds a little bit of warmth and coloration which could potentially be a con if you prefer more clean, transparent preamps.

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We ranked Universal Audio Volt 276 #15 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Great interfaces with hard-to-resist recording history magic on top

Pros
Classic UA recording channels and Vintage and 76 Compressor embellishments
UA quality at an affordable price
Attractive, intuitive, easy to use, plug-and-play design

Cons
No scope for expansion beyond the limited I/O

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Sweetwater

Pros
Top-flight analog circuitry and class-leading 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA conversion
• Selectable Vintage Preamp Mode employs solid-state electronics for tube-like dynamic saturation and clipping
• Convenient input metering makes setting levels a piece of cake
• Built-in 1176-derived analog compressor with 3 expert presets

Cons
• Does not include onboard DSP for UAD DSP-powered plugins; the Universal Audio Apollo Solo features onboard DSP

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We ranked Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre #16 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Handy software control alongside a rock-solid audio performance

Pros
Crystal clear mic preamps with plenty of headroom
Air transformer input emulation
Useful JFET instrument inputs

Cons
Bus powering requires a 15W USB-C connection

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Sweetwater

Pros
• 2 ultra-low noise Clarett+ mic preamps
• Air circuit engages an analog model of classic transformer-based ISA mic pre
• Upgraded 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA conversion
• ADAT optical, for expansion of up to 8 additional input channels

Cons
• None to speak of at this price point

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We ranked Audient iD14 #17 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
We Rave You

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Sweetwater

Pros
2 Audient Class A console mic preamplifiers with +48V phantom power
• JFET instrument input accurately reproduces your guitar, bass, or keyboard signal
• High-performance converters with 120dB of dynamic range
• 8-channel ADAT optical input lets you expand to a total of 10 channels

Cons
• None to speak of at this price point

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We ranked Motu M4 #18 in September 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Audio Recording Interfaces” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
We Rave You

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Sweetwater

Pros
ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology delivers 120dB of dynamic range and superb audio quality
• Optimized drivers yield round-trip latency as low as 2.5ms at 24-bit/96kHz with a 32 sample buffer
• Full-color LCD screen supplies convenient front-panel metering
• 2 great-sounding microphone preamps with individual gain and phantom power

Cons
Not expandable via ADAT optical; shop MOTU interfaces with ADAT optical inputs

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