We have picked out the best audio interfaces under $200 to make your decision easier.
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.
1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen
Still our favorite
We picked the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen as the best budget audio interface, so it makes sense it retains the top spot under $200. There are a few reasons to choose this interface, and none more so than its heritage. You know exactly what you get with any Scarlett interface; quality, reliability, and value for money.
It’s a two-in, two-out interface with two XLR/TRS combo inputs. Like other Scarlett interfaces, the 2i2 3rd Gen features the Air function that mimics Focusrite’s ISA preamps. Air mode creates some more space around your sound, lets it breathe, and adds a nice vintage/analog sound.
It competes with any interface in its class for audio quality, offering digital to analog conversion at 24-bit with sample rates up to 192 kHz. It captures all the expression in your performance with a respectable dynamic range of 110.6 dB (A-weighted).
It’s very well built and iPad Pro compatible, too; what more could you want?
2. Motu M2
The Motu M2 has fast become one of our favorite audio interfaces. It might not be the first name that comes to mind, but once you see it, it’s hard to beat.
The Motu M2 is a 2×2 interface, and it has two XLR/TRS combo inputs. One of the most impressive things about the M2 is the 120 dB (A-weighted) dynamic range, which places it near the top of its class. The impressive dynamic range is thanks to Motu’s ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology.
It delivers 24-bit audio with sample rates up to 192 kHz, which is ideal if you want to record frequencies outside of the audible range, then slow down playback to create different effects.
If that isn’t enough, the thing that we like most about this interface is the exceptional metering. The Motu M2 has a full-color LCD screen on the front panel, showing clear digital input/output meters. The LCD screen saves you from having to double-check with your DAW’s meters to make sure you have an accurate reading. It’s very handy in the studio and on stage/mobile.
3. M-Audio AIR 192|6
An awesome all-rounder
We love the M-Audio AIR 192 interface range because they do everything well. Other interfaces might perform better in a specific area, but as an all-rounder, these are rock-solid. In this price range, you’d get the 192|6, which records up to two channels of 24-bit audio.
Like all interfaces in the 192 range, it offers sample rates of up to 192 kHz. One of the things we love about it is the flexible i/o configuration. On the front, you have two instrument inputs, and on the back, you have two XLR/TRS combo inputs. The microphone inputs come with M-Audio’s lovely Crystal preamps, which are ultra-low noise.
It also has MIDI in/out on the back panel, which is something the smaller 192 units are missing. The build quality and design have made the 192|6 one of the most popular audio interfaces for home studios. It looks great, has a simple easy to use layout, and is exceptionally robust.
4. Tascam US-2x2HR
A clever design
The Tascam US-2x2HR is an interface that we feel has gone under the radar a little bit. It’s one of those times when people just don’t realize how good it is yet. But, it easily makes our list for its blend of audio quality, build quality, and sleek looks.
It’s a 2×2 interface with two XLR/TRS combo inputs with 48 V phantom power. When using a 1/4″ cable, you can switch each input between line and Hi-Z level.
In terms of audio quality, the US-2x2HR delivers 24-bit conversion with sample rates from 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz. It features two ultra-high definition Discrete Architecture (Ultra-HDDA) preamps. These preamps are very low noise and ideal for vocal recordings or stereo miking a guitar amp.
You’ll find a pair of MIDI in/out ports that expand the potential connectivity with external gear on the back panel.
Tascam did something really simple but effective with this interface, and we love it. Not only does the design look great, but the angled side panels hold the front slightly higher, making it easier to access. A fantastic choice.
See our full review (coming soon)
5. Steinberg UR22C
Built to last
If ever the term built like a tank was appropriate, it’s with Steinberg’s UR range of interfaces. The UR22C is one of the most rugged audio interfaces you’ll find at any price.
This 2×2 interface can be USB bus-powered, or DC-powered, depending on how you are using it. Unusually, it provides up to 32-bit analog to digital conversion, with sample rates as high as 192 kHz.
With 32-bit conversion, in theory, you could achieve a dynamic range of around 140 dB (A-weighted), but the UR22C mic inputs provide a dynamic range of around 102 dB (A-weighted). Compared to some of our other choices, the dynamic range could be seen as a little low.
It comes with two XLR/TRS combo inputs with Class-A D-Pre microphone preamps, providing professional quality recording. The UR22C has MIDI in/out connectors, which gives it something, not all similarly priced interfaces have. So, if you want to connect external MIDI gear or need an interface that will survive just about anything, check out the UR22C.
6. Audient iD4 Mk2
Scroll control is awesome
The Audient iD4 Mk2 is a modern audio interface that is just as useful on the road as it is in the studio. Since the release of the original version, Audient has made some significant improvements with the iD4 Mk2.
It’s a fairly compact audio interface, and everything is neatly arranged in a pretty good-looking package. The iD4 Mk2 has an instrument input on the front and an XLR/TRS combo input on the back. It captures 24-bit audio with sample rates from 44.1 kHz to 96 kHz and has a dynamic range of 120 dB (A-weighted). That kind of dynamic range is very impressive from an interface under $200.
The microphone input comes with a Class-A Audient Console preamp that delivers a beautiful low-noise performance. Another nice touch is that it has a high-quality headphone amp with dual outputs. Often, on smaller interfaces, you are limited to a single headphone output, which can be frustrating while recording.
Pressing the iD button activates one of the coolest functions we have seen on any small interface: Scroll Control. It turns the main knob into a scroller for your DAW and plugins, and that is a massive time-saver.
If we had to pick out a negative, it would be that the LED meter isn’t as accurate as we would like. But, overall, the iD4 Mk2 is an excellent little interface.
Many of the interfaces that made our list are the big-brother versions of interfaces that made our best budget audio interface list. So, we know them well, and we stand by every single choice.
Some might do certain things better than others, but ultimately, it’s about finding the one that fits your individual needs best.
Whatever one you choose, you can be sure it will deliver high-quality and excellent value for money.
For cheaper options, check out our recommendations for the best audio interfaces under $100/$50.