We’ve reviewed a wide range of audio interfaces here at Higher Hz, and in this article, you’ll find the best audio interfaces under $200 to buy in 2023.
Some of our choices also feature in our best budget audio interfaces list. The difference is we are now focusing on the $150-$200 range and leaving out the cheapest end of the budget market.
What you will get from this list are excellent value for money and more flexible I/O configurations.
These are the best audio interfaces under $200 right now:
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Motu M2
- M-Audio AIR 192|6
- Audient iD4
- Universal Audio Volt 2
- Focusrite Scarlett Solo
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
The Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen is easily one of the best entry-level interfaces on the market. The 2i2 is practically unmatched in terms of value to cost, usability, as well as reliability. The interface features two XLR/TRS combo inputs, as well as two balanced TRS outputs.
As is custom with Focusrite’s more recent models, the Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen features Air mode, which emulates the sound of Focusrite’s ISA preamps. This function adds some slight saturation and high-end crisp that can be incredibly useful when recording guitars or vocals.
The unit offers A/D resolution at 24-bit with a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz. It also has a dynamic range of 110.6 dB (A-weighted), giving you ample headroom for your recordings.
While the Motu M2 may not have as many features as other audio interfaces, such as the Volt 2 or Scarlett 2i2, the unit’s performance outdoes the two of them in several ways.
Like the aforementioned units, the Motu is a 2-in, 2-out interface with 24-bit depth and a max sample rate of 192 kHz. However, the unit’s dynamic range is a whopping 120 dB (A-weighted). The unit also features the same converter technology found within Motu’s higher-end models, which is nothing short of a godsend.
The only downside here is that the unit has unbalanced RCA outputs rather than TRS, but considering how great the interface is when it comes to recording, the trade off is worth it.
M-Audio AIR 192|6
The M-Audio AIR 192|6 is an amazing interface with solid preamps, high-quality recording power, and an extremely user-friendly layout.
The unit is equipped with two XLR/TRS combo inputs, two TRS inputs, two balanced TRS outputs, as well as MIDI I/O. Perhaps making this unit the most flexible of all the interfaces on this list.
The mic inputs also feature M-Audio’s high-quality Crystal preamps, which are incredibly transparent and low-noise. Overall, what more can you really ask for?
While the Audient iD4 Mk2 may be somewhat limiting with only one combo input and one output, the preamps make up for this ten times over.
The preamps on the iD4 Mk2 boast an impressive dynamic range of 120 dB, as well as a gain range of 58 dB on the mic input (although this number is smaller for the instrument-in). They offer a high level of neutrality, transparency, and are dead quiet.
Part of why the preamps perform so well is that they are the exact same preamplifiers that can be found on Audient’s ASP8024-HE, which are high-end units that can run the gamut between $40-100K (depending on which model you’re looking at).
For recording quality of this level, $200 is an absurdly good deal.
Universal Audio Volt 2
Despite all the hype around the Volt 2, the unit has done well to prove its validity in the recording studio. The Volt 2 is a 2-in, 2-out unit, and boasts an A/D conversion of 24-bit depth at a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz.
The unit has solid preamps, which are equipped with UA’s Vintage mode. The preset was inspired by UA’s iconic 610 tube preamp, and it adds a layer of saturation and warmth to your recordings.
The unit is essentially a “carbon copy” of the Focusrite 2i2 3rd Gen, and while its performance is practically the same, we had to take points off for originality. It’s also slightly more expensive at $189, although you do get MIDI I/O and two combo inputs, which is preferable.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo
The Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen is one of the most reliable audio interfaces on the market. Its great recording quality, preamps, and attractive price point set the unit at the top of its class.
The unit has two inputs, one for XLR and the other for TRS, as well as two TRS outputs. Just as the Scarlett 2i2, the Solo features 48 V phantom power and Air mode, giving you plenty of agency over your recordings.
For $120, the Solo offers a powerful foundation to the budding audio engineer.
While there are hundreds of thousands of other audio interface we could have mentioned, fitting them all onto one single list would be sisyphean and masochistic. Hopefully, we’ve provided a decent bedrock of information so that you can make an educated decision.
Ultimately, it’s not about what we tell you, or your friends, or even family – all that matters is that you’re happy with the final outcome. Take your time to think, and choose the unit that’s best for you.