Best UK Audio Interface
Just Updated: May 2020
Here are our top ranked selections in the category of best audio interface to buy in the UK.
#1 Pick: Overall Review Score = 98%
#2: Top Ranked Alternative
#3: Also Great Value For Money
Audio Interfaces: A Buyer’s Guide
More and more people are playing and making music at home. And why wouldn’t they? Home studio tech is exploding in a big way. Thanks to the evolution of the internet and technology in general, it has never been easier to create some great sounds and to arrange them via your PC or Mac. The need for fantastic audio interfaces and mixers, therefore, has grown hugely in the last decade or so. Pieces of tech which you’d otherwise just see in a studio environment are making their way home. This means, thankfully, home producers have more flexibility than ever before.
But what if you’re just getting started with home production? Why should you buy an audio interface? What’s more, what should you be looking for in the products you compare? Should you be thinking about durability, the number of inputs you receive, or the brand? What’s really separating these devices from one another apart from the cost?
It can all get a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve set up this buying guide. Before you go ahead and buy a catch-all audio interface for your home recording needs, make sure you read everything we have to say! We’ll be looking at the basics you need to consider, as well as what separates the very best systems from the lesser options on the market.
At the end of the guide, we will also look into what people are asking online. This way, you can always be sure that you’re investing in the right technology for your needs!
Why Buy an Audio Interface?
Making music or recording audio is evolving with the technology available to us. Therefore, if you want to get the crispest sounds, or make use of as many instruments as possible, you’re going to need a flexible hub of sorts that lets you upload everything into a digital suite. You might be a musician, a podcaster or even recording spoke audio for a living. In any case, for the best results, you are going to need to think carefully about how to get the best quality sound from your devices, as well as from yourself!
You’ll need to find a midpoint system that lets you bring everything together pretty easily. What if you have speakers or studio monitors? What if you want to record several instruments and microphones at once? Surely the easiest way to do this would be to connect everything up to a PC, laptop or Mac. You could even do the same through a tablet such as an iPad. An audio interface lets you collaborate all of your instruments and inputs before transferring your sound over to somewhere that you can easily manage it all.
You’ll need a good PC or Mac to begin with, along with a decent editing suite. That’s for a different buying guide, of course – as right here, right now, we want to think about what’s going to make for your perfect interface. There are a lot of fancy features and added gizmos which will likely sway you one way or the other. These may even confuse you! Therefore, for the purpose of this guide, we’re keeping things simple, and focusing on adaptability as well as sound quality.
What to Look For in an Audio Interface
An audio interface, ultimately, should make your life and recording experience easy. There should be no need for you to fiddle around with too much tech! Therefore, instead of just throwing down a stack of money for a top range item, make sure you consider all of the following before you make a final choice.
Channels and Inputs
Think carefully about what you are going to plug into an interface. Do you need plenty of jacks for microphones? What about guitars, MIDI controllers and the like? You should always buy an audio interface based on your eventual goals. Never purchase a system based on how much tech you have right now. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with very limited flexibility further down the line. It pays to be smart and to future-proof your audio setup.
Therefore, do look carefully at how many inputs you can use in an audio interface. Can you easily switch between them? What are the channel adjustments like, can you take a good amount of control over your levels? If an audio interface has plenty of channels but very limited tweakability, you might want to look elsewhere.
Ease of Use
Think about your skill level as a producer or recorder. Do you know what all those little knobs and dials mean? When looking around, you’ll likely find that there are some interfaces with a mind-boggling array of dials and switches. This is all well and good when you know what you’re looking for, but if you’re a novice, keep it simple.
You should also think about the software or suite you’re using. Plenty of effects and adjustments can be made directly on your PC or Mac. Therefore, if you decide there’s little need for an interface with all the bells and whistles, that’s going to work in your favour.
Make sure to choose a system that’s compatible with your PC or Mac. Look carefully at system requirements. Check compatibility with any software you’re using, too. Most accessible audio interfaces will have USB connectivity, of course, which means you only really need to plug in to get going. Some interfaces will even have MIDI switches, too, which means there’s even less need for you to invest in separate equipment. Of course, your needs may vary, so do take this connectivity staple with a pinch of salt.
You should also check that your interface is compatible with modern tech and software. You want a unit which is easy to upgrade and to grow with. Otherwise, you are going to be diving headfirst into obsolescence for quite a lot of money. Be careful!
We’ve mentioned inputs, but what about outputs? You might just assume that using a PC or Mac is enough of an output for what you need. That’s fair enough! However, if you want to take greater control of your mixes, you might want to look for an interface with headphone or speaker outputs. It’s sometimes good to monitor a mix which might get lost in translation on the way to a PC or Mac. Therefore, don’t always buy an interface that’s going to play through a PC alone.
The higher the frequency, the more capable your interface is likely to be. If you need a device that’s going to be especially sensitive to specific sounds, you should look for a wide range. However, that doesn’t always work best for everyone. You also won’t always find the widest ranges for the highest prices. Look around and see what appeals to you. As always, it makes sense to check what verified users and buyers have to say, too. Try and check out a few video reviews to see if you can get a good measure of frequency and sound quality.
Durability and Robustness
You may only be using an audio interface at home, but durability is a must. Who’s to say quite what will happen to your tech if you’re not careful? Try and look for an interface with a solid design and which is protective against dust or spillages. Do also remember that the more dials and sliders there are, the more gaps there are likely to be. Gaps mean dust, dirt and nuisance for cleaning. Look for something that’s easy to maintain for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s time to consider what people ask when they look for audio interfaces for the first time. Here are just a few common queries we’ve sourced for you to help you along.
Why Should I Buy an Audio Interface?
People generally buy audio interfaces to improve the quality of their sound when they play or record directly into a computer. What’s more, it’s a great way to manage and control several instruments and microphones at once, particularly when you are working with a modern suite.
How Much Do Audio Interfaces Cost?
You can buy some audio interfaces as cheaply as £30 to £40. However, more often than not, it is worth looking at paying a little more. The more you pay, as with a variety of technology, the better engineering you are likely to receive. If this is a long term investment for you, do not be afraid to pay upwards of £200.
Can I Use an Audio Interface with ‘X’ Program?
‘X’ meaning the name of your chosen suite or software! The best audio interfaces will work with most modern music production or audio editing suites. However, you should ensure to check compatibility both with your interface manufacturer, and with the suite you’re using. Otherwise, you might end up paying a lot of money for two bits of tech that just won’t communicate.
Audio interfaces are affordable pieces of kit which are great at keeping several inputs together, and for maintain great sound quality on the way to your computer. Setting up a home studio? It might be time to make an investment.