This is our thorough review of the Best Audio Interface for guitar players.
The market for audio interfaces is saturated with countless options, including some excellent models which are worth checking out. However, choosing the best interface isn’t very easy.
I’ve been a guitarist and recording musician for over 20 years, and I still own the Irig from about 8 years ago. It’s been in my work van since I bought it. As you can see it’s still going strong!
When you’re looking to buy a new audio interface, there are many important things that you should keep in mind – otherwise, you might end up buying something that doesn’t suit your needs.
I’ve carefully rounded up the best 7 Audio Interfaces for us guitarists.
*Remember each brand offers kits with extras. Like mics and software for different scenarios. Make sure you click on the links to find the equipment that best suits your needs, as the following reviewed brands can cater to all your musical requirements.
Let’s get into it..
Best Audio Interface For Guitar: Full Review
1-IK Multimedia Irig HD 2 Digital Guitar Interface
- For iPhone, iPad, Mac, and PC. Robust high-definition digital guitar interface
- Headphone output with preamp and level control
- Switchable output “FX” and “Thru” with 1/4″ Amp Out jack
- Preamp with high-quality, low-noise, and high-definition sound Ideal for recording
- Conversion to a high-quality 24-bit A/D format
- 96kHz sampling rate – the highest in its class
- The device is linked to a computer, tablet, or USB port.
- Small enough to fit in your pocket, laptop bag, or gig bag.
- AmpliTube 4 for Mac/PC Included
- Unlocks full version features and gear of AmpliTube for iOS (from the App Store)
The IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 brings you high-quality, low-noise recordings to your mobile devices.
Featuring a metal mic preamp and digital guitar interface with a 1/4” output jack for use onstage, the IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 has an input frame control that lets you adjust it to your instrument or mobile device.
The switch modes also allow dual-purpose operation: THRU functions as outputs for wiring up both live performances and simpler setups without an amp or mixing board, while FX allows for experimentation by enabling musicians to process sound from their mobile device through any external amplifier of choice!
There’s no need to buy two products when one does so much work on its own!
The IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 digital guitar interface is the successor to the popular, best-selling iRig HD. It’s equipped with a 1/4” instrument input for use with your guitar, bass, or other instruments.
The signal is boosted by its 1/4” AMP output so it can be exported to an external amplifier without needing an adaptor.
Along the side of the product are two extra features that allow for higher-quality sound production – a headphone jack to listen in on what you’re playing and have any added effects come through silently, and a switch that allows you to toggle between FX (effect) mode when connection speakers are plugged in or THRU (straight thru) mode when plugging in.
And as always, one of the key benefits of the HD 2 is that instead of having to carry an amp around along with your equipment as most USB interfaces do, this unit has a built-in 1/4″ output.
This allows you to connect the interface directly to an amplifier for a much more satisfying sound.
What can I say, at this low price this is absolutely a great starter product.
2-Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD, 2-Channel
- 2 x 2 USB 2.0 audio interface perfect for microphones and instruments
- Audiophile 24-bit/192kHz resolution
- It’s compatible with a wide range of current recording applications.
- 2 x inputs/outputs with ultra-low latency
- 2 x MIDAS designed mic preamplifiers with +48V phantom power
- While monitoring, you can get direct feedback without any latency
- The amplifier offers level control and direct monitor selection on powerful phones.
- Status, signal & clip indications
- USB port for connection and power
- Impact-resistant metal casing
The BEHRINGER U-Phoria UMC202HD is a USB-powered 2-channel sound card and audio interface that provides up to 192 kHz resolution recording.
It has two impressive mic inputs, with +48 Volt phantom power for condenser microphones, capable of capturing pristine audio without the use of converters.
The console also has room for dedicated space for monitors or speakers so you can hear yourself while recording.
With two 8 preamps and +48V phantom power, this interface can record high-quality sound for any musician such as singer-songwriter or producer on the go.
Record with dynamics that will blow your mind! Thanks to Behringer’s impressive U-Phoria UMC202HD, professional sound is just a cable away.
An incredible 2-Channel USB audio interface, it has everything you need to record like the pros – and at an unbeatable price.
With low latency streaming of up to two channels (2 inputs / 2 outputs)*, ultra-high-quality onboard microphone preamplifier* and premium 90KΩ potentiometers for the highest possible signal integrity. It’s easy to get professional results in no time.
You can also monitor your input signals along with playback – without any latency – thanks to the direct monitoring function.
In all, you have everything you need to capture life’s brilliant performances as they happen from right in front of you.
3-Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools
- 2×2 simultaneous I/O with 2 preamps
- Preamps with Air capabilities give vocals and acoustic instruments a brighter, more natural sound.
- USB-C connection for even lower latency (includes USB-C to USB-A cable)
- 24-bit/192kHz AD-DA converters to guarantee the same clean sound
- Low latency is hardly noticeable
- High-headroom instrument inputs allow you to record without distortion or clipping.
- Focusrite’s gain Halo meters offer instant, simplistic levels of readings
- Quickstart tool for driver setup and registration
- Focusrite’s trademark reliability, complete with a three-year warranty and fantastic global support
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) presents the artist with an interface that provides simple and intuitive control, great sound quality, and features found in more expensive interfaces to make a recording at home easier than ever before.
The Focusrite USB interface is perfect for amateur and professional musicians alike
With the latest version of Focusrite’s 2i2 Interface, you can enjoy monitoring with unrivaled clarity.
With two upgraded third-generation Scarlett mic preamps, this interface gives vocals and acoustic recordings a brighter sound that is full of life.
You’ll be able to capture crisp sound without the need for expensive hardware upgrades. Crystal clear audio thanks to up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution with the best sound card drivers in its class.
Similar interfaces can be expensive. Now recording guitar or bass has never been easier because its high impedance inputs give it enough power to capture your music effortlessly.
If you’re looking for a high-quality audio interface that’s built to last, the Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface is perfect.
Given all the gear we put through its paces in our testing lab and on the road, we can attest to how this rugged little device handles intense studio and live sessions alike.
It comes with two huge pieces of software: Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack, which includes over 100 virtual instruments, plus expansions from companies like Allihoopa–and best of all? You even get 3 months’ worth of Splice Sounds!
The hugely popular Focusrite series continues. Get involved. You won’t be disappointed.
4-Steinberg UR22C 2×2 USB 3.0 Audio Interface
- 32 Bit integer / 192 kHz
- 2 Class-A D-PRE microphone preamplifiers with +48 V phantom power
- REV-X Hall, Channel Strip, and Guitar Amp Classics are included as VST3 and AU plug-ins for latency-free DSP-assisted monitoring.
- Monitor mix control
- Mono switch
- 2 Microphone / Line combo inputs: XLR / 6.3 mm jack – Hi-Z switch at input 2 for electric guitar
- 2x Line outputs: 6.3 mm jack
- MIDI input and output
- USB 3.0 power supply (optional power supply required for USB 2.0)
- Cubasis AI and Cubasis LE DAW app for iPad (download versions) are included.
Perfect for every artist because the Steinbergs rugged construction and portability allow you to take it with you on location, from studio sessions to open mic nights at barstools across the country.
With the UR-C, Steinberg has combined all at once considerable user-friendliness, world-class audio quality, and excellent reliability in a single compact package for studio or on the road.
The interface’s core feature is its amazing bandwidth of up to 192 kHz. Its USB 3.1 connectivity ensures transfer rates far beyond what USB 2.0 can achieve when connected to your computer with a Type C cable–fitting neatly into any touring musician’s arsenal.
The device also includes built-in DSP processing that will prevent latency in the digital signal chain when using this type of interface within one analog realm, while emerging to anything you could imagine when employed between different types of equipment–making it versatile
The Steinberg UR22C is a USB interface designed specifically for musicians, producers, and home recording enthusiasts. The UR-C series features D-PRE preamps, providing amazing sound quality in this price range.
When plugged into AC power, the 24bit/96 kHz digital converter provides pristine audio that’s up to 3x better than near field monitors when run on battery power.
The Steinberg offers you two preamplified, balanced mic/line inputs with independent gain control and dedicated low-cut filter, MIDI ports for connection to master keyboards, controllers, or hardware sequencers; Hi-Z input jack (guitarist’s delight) for connecting guitar or bass; stereo line outputs; 24-bit converters for exceptional sonic performance; zero-latency monitoring mode to eliminate delays during tracking while saving CPU power; high resolution 44.1 kHz sampling rate
The Steinberg family of Audio Interfaces is very impressive, and in my opinion, a very safe place to start.
5- Ik Multimedia AXE I/O Solo
- Designed specifically for guitarists
- Hi-Z instrument input on the front with Z-tone (variable impedance)
- Active circuitry for optimum operation with active pickups, and subtle harmonic additions utilizing a JFET circuit.
- Switchable 48V phantom power for line and microphone signals
- Mic/line input on the rear via XLR / jack combo socket
- 1 Front amp output for re-amping
- 2 Rear balanced line outputs on 6.3 mm TRS jack
- For real-time control of virtual guitar effects, equipped with two inputs for expression pedals or footswitches.
- AD / DA conversion with 24 bit 192kHz
- Comprehensive software package (download) with AmpliTube 4 Deluxe, AmpliTube 5 SE, 10 T-RackS processors, and Ableton Live Lite
The Ik Multimedia AXE I/O Solo is a 21st-century audio interface.
This sleek and minimalistic device operates in a 2-in / 3-out USB audio interface format with an ACTIVE/PASSIVE pick-up selector, the input stage has been designed to have PURE with ZTone® impedance adapting circuit for getting low noise recordings without any added external microphones needed.
When it comes to sound quality, this baby packs a punch with XLR microphone inputs able to handle high resolutions without losing smooth sound.
Additionally, there’s 24Bit 192 kHz of best-in-class analog/digital conversion and ultra-low noise floors on this drum machine that will hold no flaw near or far.
For the DIY musician, the Ik multimedia AXE I/O Solo is a versatile and innovative way to get more out of your music.
The triple-topology instrument input offers you six inputs from the large-diaphragm condenser, ribbon, dynamic mics combined with four stereo line inputs on the back of one sleek interface.
You’ve got 100 presets that can sort your sound into rough categories like “acoustic amp simulation” or “guitar crunch distortion.” Check out the new Slash preset!
Switch between these presets with a simple click of a button while chasing down every last nuance in tone for your groove’s sonic mix. Giving you some extra power features included an onboard tuner so you can polish off any performance without any hassle.
6-Audient Sono Guitar Recording Audio Interface
- 24-Bit / 96 kHz
- 10 x 4 Amp Modeling Audio Interface
- 2 x Combo inputs mic/line with Audient Class-A microphone preamp (60 dB gain)
- Guitar input with tube preamp including 12AX7 tube and 3-band tone control
- ADAT optical input (8-channel / 48 kHz, 4-channel / 96 kHz)
- 2 TRS jack line outputs
- Latency-free monitoring
- OnBoard Two Notes DSP
- 3 Freely configurable cab presets
- Two notes Torpedo Remote Software is included
The Sono from Audient is a powerful audio interface for guitar players.
It features 2 effects loops, 12AX7 preamp valve technology from ‘Two Notes Engineering’. The designers of some great tube amps have been making waves across YouTube these past few years. The experts in their field! – as well as creating their own matching speaker cabs which are being released much sooner than expected.
It also includes a tone stack on all inputs for shaping your sound to perfection. It has 10 inputs via ADAT connection as well as 24-bit/96khz digital recording capability, so you can always be sure of capturing those iconic tones every time you plug into this incredible piece of gear.
The Audient Sono is a 10 in/4 out USB interface, ideal for guitar amps and other instruments. You can record up to four inputs simultaneously directly into your digital workstation software, all at the same time with incredible sound quality.
Add some ambiance using the new re-amping functionality by sending signals from your DI box back into the cordless Fender cabinet simulation preamp section for that authentic vintage tone!
The Sono has three-band tone control on each channel as well as a 2 x Console Mic Preamps which are perfect for vocalists and drummers alike. This rock star stalwart comes with two notes power amp and cab simulation, 18dB of headroom courtesy of 220V high-density circuitry.
A real professional piece of kit created for you the guitarist in mind.
7-Universal Audio Apollo Twin X Duo Heritage Edition Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface
- A limited-edition version of UA’s highly regarded Apollo Twin X user interface — complete with a premium suite of 5 award-winning Teletronix, Pultec, and Pultec plug-ins.
- The Apollo X rackmount interfaces’ elite-class A/D and D/A conversion is derived from it.
- Unison mic preamps have a wide range of vintage tube and transformer-based microphone preamps and guitar amps.
- UAD DUO Core Processing for tracking through vintage compressors, EQs, tape machines, mic preamps, and guitar amp plug-ins with near-zero latency
- Runs UAD Powered Plug-Ins via VST, AU, and AAX 64 formats in all major DAWs
- Compatibility: Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Cubase, Ableton Live, and more
- Studio talent and recording slate cues may be communicated with through the built-in Talkback microphone.
- Up to 8 channels of additional digital input via optical ADAT/SPDIF input
- Includes “Realtime Analog Classics” UAD plug-in bundle featuring UA 610-B Tube Preamp Legacy Pultec EQ, LA-2A and 1176 compressors, Marshall Plexi Classic, Ampeg SVT-VR Classic, and more
- Superior components, premium build quality, and an unwavering analog design
Apollo Twin X is not your typical audio interface with its “classic” look and feel.
Apollo’s powerful sound quality, legendary UAD plug-ins, and amazingly lightweight design make it essential to any musician or producer who wants to focus on what they do best: create.
With ample high-quality input/output options including analog I/O for people who still want that warm classic tone (we know you’re out there), and easy setup through Thunderbolt 3, this combo powerhouse will give you the freedom to stop messing around.
For the world’s most demanding recording artists, the best gear is just not good enough. The Universal Audio Apollo Twin X features two Unison-enabled mic preamps that let you track through exacting emulations of the coveted tube and solid-state mic preamps from Neve® and API® to Manley®and Helios® for a classic new sound.
No matter what great artist you have in mind-from guitarist Keith Richards or Whitney Houston to Elliott Smith, Tame Impala, or Brad Paisley -Apollo Twin X will get them there with detail and warmth every time.
Picture the scene: you’ve just pulled off a track that would rival any professional mixing engineer’s work! Now, all you need is the perfect gear to put your final touches on it. Enter The Universal Audio Apollo Twin X Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface.
This top-of-the-line USB audio interface features award-winning Class A/D and D/A conversion with 127 dB dynamic range and -117 dB THD+N measurements.
Powered by UAD software technology, this audio interface will make your mixing ambitions come true with the stunning studio sound of Universal Audio classics like Studer A800 consoles, Neve 1073 preamps, and Emory equalizers.
A truly top-notch piece of recording equipment for the pro musician. Your search for perfection is over.
What Is The Best Audio Interface?
The best audio interface for you will largely depend on the type of recording you wish to do, but as you are doing research, you should be paying close attention to the various input/output configurations available.
At the entry level, there are many affordable audio interfaces that provide two channels of input, usually for a microphone and instrument. However, high-end products can have dozens of inputs for recording many instruments and microphones at once.
If you plan on recording yourself playing and singing, you may only need two inputs. But if you have a whole band to record at the same time, it’s probably a good idea to look into extra inputs of various types to cover all bases.
Another consideration when choosing your interface, is whether you plan on plugging your instrument directly into the input, or do you plan on using your own amplifier and pedals?
If you require it for the latter, you will want to use the line in function of your audio interface. If you decide to record directly from your instrument, you will still have the opportunity to change the sound in the DAW to add effects later.
Finally, when choosing an audio interface, you need to know what kind of input your computer can accept and what type of output the device is using.
Common options include USB, Thunderbolt, Firewire, and PCIe.
Each of these connection types has its own advantages and disadvantages, but your computer is likely already set up to handle one or two. PCIe is a card-based standard that is not available on laptops, whereas USB is universal.
If you do not have the proper connection, you may need to purchase an adapter to make your audio interface work with your computer, laptop, or tablet.
How Do I Compare Audio Interfaces?
After you have decided what kind of inputs and outputs you want, the next step in choosing an audio interface is comparing the other features available.
For instance, an audio interface with a 48V button is made for handling condenser microphones. Microphone preamps are also an important feature if you will be recording vocals or instruments from microphones that do not produce a strong enough signal on their own for recording.
In addition, you should check whether the interface is balanced or unbalanced. An unbalanced interface may save you money upfront, but it can also cause ground loop problems and interference if you aren’t careful.
It is often better to spend the extra money on a balanced option so you don’t have to worry about this while you’re learning.
The ‘sample rate’ is another key feature to compare. A higher sample rate means that your interface is taking more snapshots of the signal you produce, and sending more information to your computer.
This ensures that the recording you make is accurate and of high quality. A lower sample rate may cause your recordings to sound less “full”.
Finally, you will want to look at ‘latency’ and whether the interface has a direct monitoring function.
Latency refers to the delay between the note being played, and the time it takes in getting back to your headphones or monitors. If the latency is too long, it can become difficult to stay in time with your recording.
The Direct Monitoring feature allows you to bypass the computer, and hear yourself in real-time while you are recording, ensuring you stay in perfect time. This is especially useful for recording vocals.