Never before has it been more advantageous to purchase one of the top guitar audio interfaces. It’s now simpler than ever to record your guitar in a home studio and achieve a superb tone thanks to some significant technological developments. However, to do that, you’ll need an audio interface, which is where this guide comes in.
Simply described, an audio interface is a gadget made to link instruments like your guitar or microphone to your computer so you may record sounds through them. The field of audio interfaces used to be dominated by items made specifically for professional use with microphones, but today several major music tech manufacturers are providing guitar-specific audio interfaces to ensure the success of your guitar recording sessions.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo
- Desktop 2x6 Thunderbolt audio interface for Mac and Windows with world-class 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion, uncompromising analog design, superior...
- Real-time UAD processing for tracking through vintage compressor, EQs, tape machines, mic preamps, and guitar amp plug-ins with near-zero (sub-2ms)...
- 2 premium mic/line preamps; 2 line outputs; front-panel Hi-Z instrument input and headphone output, 2 digitally controlled analog monitor outputs, 8...
The Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo MKII has a very straightforward appearance. It has one primary control knob and is a 2-in-6-out, and it certainly looks stylish, if perhaps a little too simple for something in this price bracket. There is, however, undoubtedly more to this than first appears. The Unison technology of the Apollo distinguishes it by fusing the analogue front end with Unison-driven plugins via the UAD platform. These plugins combine impedance switching and gain staging on the analogue front-end with component-level software circuit modeling to simulate a variety of mic preamps, guitar amps, and stompboxes. In the end, it provides a variety of guitar tones of studio caliber at a cost that is relatively affordable.
The Apollo Twin MKII DUO, despite its small size, features the same renowned Unison preamps, SHARC processors, and top-notch analog circuitry as UA’s flagship Apollo interfaces. The Unison preamps, which can emulate the impedance and gain structure of iconic studio preamplifiers, and the onboard DSP, which opens up the potent, creative world of UAD Powered Plug-ins, are what set the Apollo Twin apart for guitarists. With the Realtime Analog Classics plug-in bundle that comes with the Apollo Twin, you can record and listen to your guitar with UAD Powered Plug-ins with extremely low latency. This package features some of the best-sounding Marshall Plexi and Ampeg SVT-VR emulations available. Additionally, LUNA, Universal Audio’s free DAW software, is available to Mac users. Basically, you get access to some of the most in-demand plug-in emulations available plus a great-sounding interface. This is the Best Audio Interface for Guitar in 2023.
IK Multimedia Axe I/O
- THE IDEAL INTERFACE FOR GUITAR RECORDING: The perfect combination of performance and value, this 2-in / 3-out USB audio interface offers exclusive...
- ACTIVE/PASSIVE PICK-UP SELECTOR: Match pickup types with your guitar or bass to ensure the best possible tone when recording, with active pickups or...
- Z-TONE CONTROL: This unique impedance adapting circuit lets you dial in sharper or bolder tones from a single guitar or bass.
Nobody is more adept at making DI guitars sound good than IK Multimedia. It’s not surprising that IK created an interface with guitarists in mind as they have a great reputation for modeling guitar amps and effects pedals.
The AXE I/O is a 2-in 5-out audio/MIDI interface with all the customary monitoring and input choices, but it stands out for having specialized guitar inputs. These have variable input impedance that you can adjust with a knob to regulate how the unit interacts with your pickups, and they can be adjusted for passive or active pickups. Additionally, it has a “Amp” output that can be used to connect to amplifiers and effects pedals before being redirected back into the DAW, which makes it very simple to capture your sound. For those who want to record with microphones, it also has XLR combo inputs.
Every recording guitarist must take tone into account, and the Axe I/O has a ton of options because it includes IK Multimedia’s Amplitube 4 Deluxe amp/FX modeller, which includes digital amplifiers, cabinets, and stompboxes as well as an eight-track recorder and looper. The Axe I/O offers dual mic/line connectors for stereo recording and a reamp option to re-record DI’d passages through a preferred amplifier if you want “out of the box” recording.
The AXE I/O can do pretty much everything the other interfaces on this list can, and it also has MIDI inputs and outputs. However, it is much more focused on directly collecting and enhancing the sound of the guitar than any other interface is. It is without a doubt the best guitar audio interface available at the moment.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
- Pro performance with the finest pre-amps - Achieve a brighter and a more open recording thanks to the best performing mic pre-amps the Scarlett range...
- Get the perfect guitar and vocal take - There’s no need to sacrifice your tone with two high-headroom instrument inputs to plug in your guitar or...
- Low-noise for crystal clear listening - Two low-noise balanced outputs provide clean audio playback. Hear all the details and nuances of your own...
It wasn’t by accident that the Focusrite Scarlett became the interface with the largest global sales. Podcasters, producers, and guitarists all praise this interface for its dependability. And although its straightforward design has made it a fantastic first option for newcomers, its focus on quality has led to the continued preference of experts as well.
Do you relax and enjoy the praise when you create the best-selling audio interface on the planet? If you’re Focusrite, no. With two upgraded Scarlett mic preamps, high-performance 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA converters, optimized preamp gain structure, vanishingly low latency, and instrument inputs that can handle scorching hot pickups, the third-generation Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 pushes the boundaries of USB audio interface technology.
To give your voice and instrument recordings a brighter, more open sound, the mic preamps now come equipped with Focusrite’s famed Air mode, which offers the coveted Air effect based on the company’s illustrious ISA console transformers. The Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen, which runs on USB bus power, is perfect for compact project studios or transportable rigs. It features two mic/line/instrument inputs that enable simultaneous recording and playback of up to two channels with individually adjustable headphone and monitor outputs. You can get started right away by launching the included program.
One feature that sets this line apart from other manufacturers of audio interfaces is that Focusrite updates its products annually, as opposed to other manufacturers who only do so every two or three years. The most recent Scarlett, the third generation, has been improved to produce better audio with sample rates up to 192 kHz and shorter latency. It has two XLR-1″ combo inputs, two 1″ line inputs, and two XLR-14″ combination inputs, making it highly versatile despite its small size. Additionally, it has a fantastic sounding mic pre-amp that anybody wishing to use their mics would undoubtedly value. The accompanying software package also includes a number of excellent plugins that will motivate DI guitarists.
Focusrite is lauded for its straightforward design and low latency, however one way they do it is by heavily relying on their software. For instance, unlike other items on this list, there is no button to enable a hi-Z input; instead, this must be done through the software.
Audient iD4 MKII USB-C Audio Interface
- 2-in/2-out USB-C Audio Interface with 1 Microphone Preamp
- Software Bundle - Mac/PC/iOS
- 2 Headphone Outputs
The Audient iD4 MkII is a really well-built piece of equipment, but one of its main selling points is how straightforward and uncomplicated it is to operate. It doesn’t make sense to purchase an interface with a ton of inputs they won’t ever utilize because many guitarists only record one track at a time. The iD4 MkII is a straightforward 2-in-2-out USB C powered interface with instrument-level DI for your guitar or bass guitar and a mic preamp with phantom power for condenser microphone use.
There is a phrase that says quality is expensive. One look at this interface, however, makes it clear that the Audient team does not adhere to that cliche. The iD4 is a straightforward two-in/two-out USB interface that also features high performance digital converters and class A mic preamps from the company’s top-end consoles. It is housed in a durable all-metal enclosure.
Although there is no stereo connectivity, there is a 48v phantom powered mic/line in for condenser microphones as well as the crucial Hi-Z guitar and bass inputs. The haptic iD knob operates the DAW’s on-screen switches and faders, and iOS support is available for recording while on the go.
The iD4 MkII also includes a smart scroll wheel that lets you adjust software settings, and unlike other less expensive interfaces, it offers dual headphone and two monitor speaker outputs. One of the best audio interfaces available is the iD4 MkII, which retails for less than $200.
Audient is able to keep costs down without sacrificing quality by limiting the quantity of inputs. Its mic preamp is actually of the same design as that used in Audient’s top-tier desks, and its all-metal construction gives it a premium feel that defies its low price. Dual headphone outputs are included in addition to the main speaker outputs so that two individuals may simultaneously monitor the sound. In the end, the iD4 MkII is one of the most affordable audio interfaces available.
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 Two-Channel Audio Interface
- Easily record audio into your computer
- Choose from two flavors – same pristine audio quality, different ways to plug in and play back
- The full package for creating – All the software you need to record and build tracks, plus synths, effects, and more
Guitarists may record their music with ease using the Komplete Audio 2, which has arguably one of the slickest-looking user interfaces out now. The 2-in-2-out interface, which is notable for having two XLR-14″ combo inputs, contributes to the device’s diminutive dimensions and 380g featherweight weight. These inputs allow users to switch between a mic and an instrument using independent selector switches, while phantom power can be turned on using a different global switch.
If you’re seeking for a basic guitar audio interface and want to expand your software library at the same time, this user-friendly Native Instruments alternative is an excellent choice. The two combination inputs on the device provide a respectable mic preamp, while the Hi-Z instrument inputs record guitar and bass without any problems. The two inputs can also be used to record a stereo line-level instrument. The audio interface’s knobs are solid, but the whole thing has a slightly plasticky feel to it. It is convenient to check input levels with the five-segment VU meter on top of the box, which is unusual for audio interfaces in this price range.
It is also quite easy to use in terms of monitoring, with a single large knob to adjust the primary output level and a straightforward five-point level display. However, one of the largest drawbacks of this interface is that direct monitoring, which enables the user to listen directly to the interface’s input signal, can only be done through headphones and not the main output.
Ableton Live 10 Lite, Maschine 2 Essentials, Monark synth, Phasis phaser, Replika delay, and Solid Bus Compressor are among the decent package of packaged content that comes with it. When considering mobility, aesthetics, usability, and this software package, the Komplete Audio 2 offers excellent value for the money for guitarists wishing to begin their recording careers.