Six pro audio interfaces for home recording

All the inputs you need to record with ease.

home studio
Record a full band at home.Wes Hicks via Unsplash

There once was a time when music recording was synonymous with pricey studio rates, gigantic mixing consoles, and finicky tape machines, but those days are long gone. It’s now easier and more affordable than ever to record a full band or ensemble at home. The prevalence of computers and the rise of microprocessing technology have ushered in a musical renaissance, and at the center of it all is a treasure trove of compact, capable, and affordable all-in-one recording devices that anyone can use from home. While great recording products on the market today come in many forms, choosing an interface with four or more inputs can make a world of difference when inspiration strikes, saving you precious time and focusing your creative energy. Whether you’re recording acoustic demos in the bedroom, a fully loaded drum kit in the garage, or an eight-piece salsa band out on the sidewalk, these products have everything you’ll need to record your next opus.

Here are six of our favorite recording interfaces currently on the market.

Universal Audio Apollo x8 Thunderbolt Audio Interface

Universal Audio Apollo x8 Thunderbolt Audio Interface
Record and monitor without latency.Amazon

The latest iteration of Universal Audio’s flagship interface Apollo is an 18-input/24-output behemoth that sports Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, two Hi-Z instrument inputs, and four Unison microphone preamps. A standout feature of Apollo ownership is that it enables access to Universal Audio’s enormous library of proprietary plugins, which run directly on board the Apollo’s six DSP chips, saving you precious computer processing power for other tasks. Best of all, it comes with the Analog Classics Plug-In bundle out of the box so you can instantly apply timeless character to your projects.

Behringer Black (ADA8200)

Behringer Black (ADA8200)
Expand your rig.Amazon

If you have a recording project that requires quick cable swaps and the ability to accommodate spur-of-the-moment inspiration, this interface will help you get from point A to point B without slowing you down. The ADA8200 boasts eight MIDAS microphone preamps and line-level inputs on an easy-access front panel, complete with individual volume controls. The analog-to-digital conversion is where this unit shines, and you can use the onboard preamps or hook up your own to take advantage of its world-class converters. You’ll need an existing interface to add this to your rig using the industry-standard ADAT connector.

PreSonus Studio 68c 6x6, 192 kHz, USB-C Audio Interface

PreSonus Studio 68c 6x6, 192 kHz, USB-C Audio Interface
Small form, big functionality.Amazon

This interface packs four microphone preamps, four line outputs, and a headphone output into a discreet and space-saving box. The smallest of our choices here, it plugs into your computer using a USB-C connector and is ideal for mobile recording rigs or small apartment studios where every square inch is valuable. The PreSonus Studio 68c is the mid-sized model in the entire family of Presonus c series interfaces, which includes a 2-input and an 8-input version if you need a little more or a little less.

Tascam US-16x08 Rackmount USB Audio/MIDI Interface

Tascam US-16x08 Rackmount USB Audio/MIDI Interface
Sleek German design on a budget.Amazon

This stylish 16-input USB interface is a surefire ticket to streamlining your home recording workflow. It features eight Ultra-HDDA microphone inputs on the front panel and eight line inputs on the rear, two of which are switchable to instrument level so you can record bass and guitar directly. It also features a monitoring mixer complete with EQ so you can monitor your inputs without pesky delays in your audio. It does it all (and looks cool doing it), but that’s not even the best part—it’s also our value pick for those on a budget.

M-Audio M-Track Eight

M-Audio M-Track Eight
All the monitoring options.Amazon

M-Audio is a long-time player in the home recording market, and the newest incarnation of their 8-channel interface shows that they’ve got usability down to a science. This USB interface comes with XLR-¼-inch combo inputs to accommodate any microphone, guitar or keyboard you throw at it. Use the front-panel direct monitoring knob to quickly toggle between computer playback or real-time input monitoring and use its two headphone outputs to share with a friend. As an added bonus, they’ll throw in a vast selection of software and plug-ins that take any recording experience to the next level.

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface
Comes with Pro Tools.Amazon

This USB interface has arguably the most bells and whistles of the bunch, and sports thoughtfully-crafted features that would be welcome in any pro studio. An onboard talkback mic allows communication between artists and the control room and a speaker switcher offers the ability to check your mixes between multiple sets of speakers without the hassle of plugs. Hit the “air” button for a high-end lift on your inputs and give your recordings a pro-studio quality sheen.