This one wouldn't have made it into the list on the basis of some user experiences but if you think you can avoid these issues then there's a bargain to had. In the USx08 Tascam have produced a really good piece of hardware at a great price but it has been hampered by issues with its drivers over a period of time and this is reflected in the mediocre Gearank score. However if you are prepared to do your research and take the chance that you'll end up troubleshooting driver issues then you'll stand a good chance of ending up with a bargain. This unit offers a full 16 channels of inputs, 8 of which are Ultra-HDDA microphone preamps plus 8 line level inputs.
The unit is USB Class compliant so you should be able to use the basic IO features without needing Tascam's drivers and this also provides compatibility with 'driverless' devices such as the iPad. Most users are impressed with the quality of the preamps, complimenting them for their strong signal and low noise operation. As expected, being affordable and easy to setup came up a number of times. A significant minority of reviewers say they have experienced consistent problems with the drivers, with reports of crashing, high CPU usage, and audio interruption. The problems seem to be more prevalent with Windows OS, while Mac users have generally fared better.
Those who have contacted Tascam support were unimpressed with what help they received as is a common theme with many manufacturers. That said, most users haven't experienced these problems and a fair few have found them fairly easy to resolve. Some report that they are able to bypass the problems with the Tascam drivers by using Class Compliant drivers instead. If you're looking for 16 channels of input on a budget then this is a great option. Most users who buy this are very pleased with the performance it offers and unless you strike driver problems you will be too.
This is the number of analogue inputs that can be transferred through to separate tracks on your computer which sounds pretty simple. However we think some manufacturers fudge the number a little bit to give a higher channel count. So an "18 channel" interface might only be able to handle 8 analogue inputs by itself. This is why we've classified the interfaces in our guide by the number of analogue channels that can be input and be sent as separate channels via USB. This is not to say that these extra digital input channels aren't a handy option when you want to expand but they won't help you if you don't have another compatible audio interface.
In addition to knowing the number of inputs, you also have to know the type of inputs available be it line level low impedance or instrument level high impedance inputs. Instrument level ports are for electric guitars and basses with no active preamp, while you can plug keyboards, amps and other electronic instruments in to the line level input. XLR inputs are usually accompanied by a preamp to handle microphones.
Some units have versatile line level and instrument level switching for specific ports. Built-in preamps allow you to connect microphones and they also can provide phantom power to condenser mics when needed. But they're not just for connectivity, because they can also effect the character of the sound and are responsible for keeping noise at bay. Thankfully, manufacturers rarely skimp on the quality of their preamps, often equipping their entire range of audio interfaces with the same preamp found on their flagship model.
Note that not all inputs will have a preamp, so it is important to consider the actual number of preamps available, particularly for recording with condenser mics. As the channels increase, so does the complexity of the circuit, and its power requirement.
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So you can expect most of the units listed here to require wall power adaptors to keep them running. Still there are a few that can be bus powered via USB from a computer. Note that none of them can be powered via the USB from an iOS device so thankfully they all have an option to run via a mains power wall adaptor. This specification describes the resolution of your converted digital audio, and the general idea is that the higher the sample rate, the more details are captured. The main thing to know is that a sampling rate of Also note that the preamp usually plays a bigger role in recording quality.
However we've consistently found that most of the serious user complaints about audio interfaces come from a small number of owners who can't get these drivers to work properly. Often these can be attributed to people not setting things up properly but there are some cases were it appears there are genuine problems with the drivers on some systems. Furthermore many users find that the manufacturer support in the event of driver problems is lacking and some of them are slow to release fixes for these issues.
By and large we've chosen the interfaces that have the least problems for our guide but few are immune to some degree of complaint. To reduce the chances of encountering these problems you should check to ensure that there are drivers available for your version of operating system and check to see whether other owners have had problem with systems like yours. One way to avoid manufacturer driver issues is to use a USB Class Compliant interface audio and possibly MIDI which means it can use standard drivers that are usually already available in your system.
This will also 'future proof' your device in the event that the manufacturer stops releasing drivers for newer operating system versions. It's still best to make sure the manufacturer specifically mentions compatibility though. You can check out our iPad Audio Interface guide if you're looking for dedicated iPad audio interfaces. Others even come with extras like virtual instruments, samples, in depth software control over the interface and more.
All of these should be enough to get novice users started. Initially, we surveyed the market for audio interfaces with four or more analog inputs, focusing on those that are highly rated and popular. To make sure that you can actually buy the ones that make the list, we limited our scope to those that are easily accessible from online retailers in the USA. To better reflect current market sentiments, we took yet another look at the data, including the most recent reviews and ratings up to January of We ended up gathering over 5, sources, which were then processed by the Gearank Algorithm.
The resulting ratings out of along with the information we gathered were used to narrow down the list to just the best rated ones. Finally, we've divided the list based on the number of their analog inputs, to make it easier to find one with enough connectivity options to suit your needs. You can find out more about this process in How Gearank Works. Hi I have a question about the Tascam. Without drivers however you won't be able to use the DSP functions or Tascam's special software but these are more add-on features. There are people who use the Tascam in class compliant mode on Windows but there's a chance that some fiddling could be required to stop it from wanting to use the drivers.
Regarding the 8 output Tascam, will it interface with qlabs on a MacBook pro running version It looks like no one running the exact same setup as you has answered your question, so even though I haven't used that specific combination myself I can let you know that it will function with your computer in it's basic mode without advanced features because it is Class Compliant - the standard USB drivers will take care of that for you. As to the features requiring the Tascam drivers, I don't know. As a result of today's update, the following interfaces were removed from our recommended list, but you can still read what we have to say about them:.
Or will they work simultaneously and will the software recognize two units? There were a few who encountered clipping issues when recording guitars and other pickup-equipped instruments. Experienced users noted that gain adjustments can be a bit tricky at first, but should be a non-issue once you got the settings dialed in just right. All in all, the Focusrite iTrack Solo Lightning is a worthy yet affordable audio interface that is highly recommended. These interfaces work with the iPad because they are USB audio Class Compliant which means they don't need proprietary drivers.
The standard USB adaptors won't be able to charge your iOS device and generally won't supply enough power to these interfaces so they will need their own power supply. Whatever music gear you're looking for, there's a good chance that Behringer has an affordable alternative. The U-Phoria UMCHD is a great example, a highly rated audio interface that gives you more bang for your buck, without compromising features.
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These features should be enough for most home studio tasks, while extras like the switchable input pad and double insert jacks makes for even more flexibility. Since using a powered USB hub or battery also charges you're iPad, its cost is easily justifiable. While many use it for guitars, there are plenty of good reports of this interface working with different types of mics and instruments. Almost everyone agrees that it gives you the most features per dollar and that it is good enough for most recording purposes. While not iPad related, it should be noted that there are reports of driver issues with Windows and Mac systems, thankfully many solved them by updating the drivers.
There were also a few users who had to update the firmware to make it work with the iPad. The current production line should ship with updated firmware so this should be a non-issue for brand new units, unless a major iOS update has been released. There's no denying Yamaha's reputation for quality and value for money, and the iPad-compatible AG03 is a great example.
Far from being just another audio interface, this one comes with mixer-like functionality and multi-platform compatibility. The first channel features Yamaha's popular D-Pre mic preamp, while the second channel lets you switch between Hi-Z instruments or line level sound sources. It also comes with impressive control options including a dedicated fader for channel 1. Other features include built-in DSP effects reverb, compression, filtering and Loopback, which lets you broadcast via realtime online streaming platforms. Alternatively, you can connect the extra USB slot to a power bank for mobile use.
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Reviews show that it simplifies recording, podcasting and music production setups, and that it is useful in various situations, including video streaming, podcasting, recording, and more. Many also commend its clarity and zero latency operation. If you are in the market for a multiplatform audio interface that doubles as a mixer, the Yamaha AG03 is highly recommended.
It is designed to be class compliant, so it works with the iPad and other iOS devices, just as it does with Mac and Windows based computers. Thankfully, this slight inconvenience is minor compared to the benefits of utilizing Audient quality recordings on the go. Other features include zero-latency monitoring, mix and pan controls, 2 separate headphone outputs, and a console like interface. The Audient ID4 continues to get acclaim from users with different experience levels, including musicians, voice over artists, home studio owners and many more.
Most reviewers not only praise its performance, but go as far as recommending it for small home studios, or for those who do onsite mobile recording. The sound quality received the most commendation, followed by ease of use and portability. There are a few users who had qualms about the ID4 resetting its headphone output settings when turned off, but still praised the unit for its solid build and transparent sound.
The Best USB Audio Interfaces - 4 / 8 / 16 Channel - Jan | Gearank
Overall, the Audient ID4 is the ideal portable audio interface for those who want to take advantage of the iPad's mobility, without compromising sound quality. And since Audient mic preamps are highly sought after, they are expected to improve the recording quality that you get from the iPad. But it's not just microphone recordings that will benefit, because it also comes with a dedicated instrument input with JFET DI circuitry. Finally, the Audient 22 comes with in a compact and stylish form factor that make it easy on the eyes and easy to carry around.
Clean and quiet are two words that nicely capture what most users feel about the Audient ID More importantly, there are no questions when it comes to sound quality, because almost everyone is in agreement that it makes their recordings sound better. Build quality and aesthetic appeal also scored them some high ratings, and even recommendations from experienced producers and musicians.
Other than a few who feel that the price is out of their reach, there are no consistent or noteworthy complaints. If budget is not an issue, then you might as well check out the iD22 from Audient. German manufacturer RME enters this list with its class compliant portable audio interface, the Babyface Pro.
This unit comes with many interesting features that easily set it apart from the competition, most notable of which is its extended range of 76dB, which increments in 1dB steps. This extra gain allow for improved clarity and compatibility with low level microphones. Another noteworthy feature is the redesigned XLR socket, which saves space and better secures connection.
All of these features are packed inside a compact yet solid aluminum housing that's equally at home in portable and home studio applications. Market response to the RME Babyface Pro continues to be overwhelmingly positive, which is impressive considering its premium price tag. It gets most of its commendation from users who are impressed with its excellent headroom and clarity. And while many bought the RME for portable use with their iPads, it has been reported to be equally viable in home studios, especially with it premium look and space saving size.
The price tag is on the higher end for the average home studio enthusiast and mobile producer, but those who have bought the Babyface Pro found the premium cost justifiable. Having to use proprietary breakout cables were frowned upon by a few users, but they do understand that this is a necessary compromise to make the unit smaller and lighter.
The RME Fireface is a premium audio interface meant for professional Firewire-based studio use, with up to 30 channels available for use along with built-in DSP features. It has 12 analog inputs, four of which feature RME's popular mic preamps, while the unit's instrument inputs add to its overall routing flexibility.
As the name implies, this digital interface is primarily designed to connect to Firewire ports, but it is also compatible with USB devices like the iPad. Finally, the RME Fireface allows for latency-free monitoring with built-in effects that include EQ, dynamics, reverb, and delay. Overall market response continues to be positive, with users pointing to its clean and transparent sound as its best feature.
A lot of users also appreciate the RME Fireface 's connection options, which makes it viable for professional use. Satisfied reviewers come from different backgrounds, from DJs to musicians to recording engineers. Still, the price tag is over the budget for many, but those who invested in it have nothing but good words to say about the value that it adds to their music production process.
If you have the budget and you're looking to expand your home studio equipment with premium gear then do check out the RME Fireface While many USB audio interfaces can work with the iPad via Class Compliant mode, they require certain accessories to work and is a bit complicated to setup. Thankfully, there are interfaces built to work directly that connect directly with the iPad, complete with Apple's proprietary Lightning Connectors.
They are the best choice if you want to avoid the complications of having to buy adapters. Note that older iPads use older pin connectors, so be sure to check whether the interface you're buying support these. These are audio interfaces that utilize industry standard USB drivers to work, and as such they work seamlessly with multiple operating systems, including iOS.
While being able to switch between your iPad and your computer is a good thing, they will require you to buy an Apple USB Camera Adapter to connect to the lightning interface on you iPad. More recently the Lightning to USB 3. Note that USB interfaces generally won't be able to draw enough power via these USB adapters to operate so see the following section on power consumption.
The iPad is designed to limit the amount of power supplied to external devices, and while this can preserve battery life it also presents challenges for the said external devices. This is the reason why most audio interfaces made specifically for the iPad required their own power, a few are even capable of charging your iPad, making them ideal for long recording sessions.
Those interfaces that are 'bus powered ' have to contend with the iPad's limited power so they tend to be small one channel interfaces and features like phantom power are scaled down, if not totally turned off. That said they are the most convenient and portable options you find. When it comes to compatible USB interfaces connected through a lightning adaptor, you will generally need another supply of power. Interfaces that are USB bus powered will usually not get enough 'bus power' via the lightning adaptor to function.
This is where interfaces that can use their own power supply come in handy. The solution for interfaces that can only be USB 'bus powered' is to use a powered USB hub and although this works it does add another box and cable to your setup which can reduce the portability and convenience of the setup. Check out the video below on how to connect bus powered interfaces with the iPad:. So look out for connections or switches labelled 'Instrument' or 'Hi-Z' to see if an interface can handle these properly.
A workaround for this is to use a DI Box before going into the audio interface.
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Another important consideration is 48V phantom power capability, which is the standard when you're planning to use condenser microphones. Thankfully, many of today's affordable audio interfaces come with the same mic preamps as their expensive counterparts. This means that even in the entry level market, you are getting really good sound quality.
If you're looking for tried and tested preamps, brands like Focusrite, Audient, Yamaha and more have iPad friendly interfaces that provide top notch sound recording, worthy of being included in the final mix. For this update, we looked at best sellers and top rated iPad compatible audio interfaces, including those that are compatible with Apple's Lightning cable, and those that are class compliant - iOS compatible. We ended up with a slightly longer list of viable interfaces, which required us to gather around relevant data sources that include reviews, ratings, forum discussions and more.
All these data were then fed to the Gearank algorithm to give us the scores that we used to identify the best audio interfaces that are worth recommending. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works. I'm noticing there arn't any two-channel bus powered interfaces on this list. If you want a high-quality audio interface for studio, rehearsals and gigs you have to look at this.
It sounds great and is supremely flexible.
Certainly one of the best audio interfaces for guitarists you can buy. Antelope Audio Zen Tour. One of the best audio interfaces for Mac on the market, the Element 46 prioritises function over form: Everything else is handled by software, with that aforementioned Remote Control or a free iOS app providing extra hands-on interaction should you wish. Apogee Element Prism Sound has quickly developed a reputation as a go-to choice for many professional users and studios seeking exemplary audio quality at the interfacing stage.
In use, Atlas feels like a thoroughbred interface from the moment it's up and running. Atlas is a sumptuous interface, offering unparalleled sound quality. Prism Sound's reputation is further enhanced with its arrival and, since the quality of its interfaces was already seen as excellent, that's a glowing endorsement. Prism Sound Atlas. MusicRadar The No.
Image 1 of 4. Image 2 of 4. Image 3 of 4. Image 4 of 4. Image 1 of 2. Image 2 of 2. A hard-wearing 2-channel interface with high audio and build quality. Zero latency control affects both monitor and headphone output. Image 1 of 3. Image 2 of 3.