We have reviewed a wide range of products to bring you what we consider to be the best budget audio interfaces in 2023.
Most of our top picks lie around the $200 range, making them ideal for beginners, but we included a few outliers to give you more ideas.
However, it’s not just about the price; these interfaces deliver quality that should please even the more experienced users.
We made our choices based on value for money and functionality. In other words, we have put together a selection of audio interfaces that genuinely has something to offer for everyone.
These are the best budget audio interfaces you can buy in 2023:
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen
- Motu M2
- Audient iD4 Mk2
- M-Audio M-Track Solo
- M-Audio AIR 192|4
- Arturia MiniFuse 2
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
The most longevity
The Komplete Audio 6, while being a little bit pricier than the other interfaces featured on this list, is completely worth the expense.
This unit boasts ample connectivity, having two XLR/TRS combo inputs, two TRS line level inputs, four TRS outputs, MIDI I/O, as well as S/PDIF I/O.
A/D resolution also runs at 24-bit depth with a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz.
Not only is the unit perfectly accessible for beginners, but it’s flexibility and connectivity make it that much easier to grow with.
While the Scarlett 2i2 is an obvious choice for most, its limitations start to become more apparent over time.
On the other hand, if you’re serious about making music, the Komplete Audio 6 offers a functional longevity worth every penny.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen
The most well-rounded
For most, the Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen is one of the more obvious choices for those of you on a budget. It’s extremely well-rounded, offering excellent sound quality, build quality, and cost efficiency.
The unit is a 2-in/2-out interface with two XLR/TRS combo inputs, both of which are equipped with 48 V phantom power.
It performs well in most other areas as well, with a dynamic range of 110.6 dB (A-weighted), and solid A/D resolution.
What makes Focusrite products unique, is its signature Air mode; a preamp effect designed after Focusrite’s ISA circuits. This adds a layer of saturation and high-end sparkle to your recordings.
Besides this feature, the Scarlett 2i2 is predominantly a no-frills interface, offering you high-recording quality at a low cost.
The Motu M2 might surprise a few of you, but rest assured that this unit goes above and beyond the norms of your average interface.
It’s a 2×2 interface, with 24-bit depth and a max sample rate of 192 kHz. The unit also has a dynamic range of 120 dB, well above the average for most budget-level interfaces.
The converter technology is equally impressive, being the same circuitry found within Motu’s higher-end models.
The only flaw of the M2 is its RCA outputs in place of balanced TRS. This isn’t the end of the world, but does affect your monitoring quality.
Still, the trade-off of great audio running in rather than out is fair in our eyes.
Audient iD4 Mk2
Even though this interface may be somewhat limiting, the preamps are worth their weight in gold.
The iD4 offers an impressive dynamic range of 120 dB and a gain range of 58 dB.
The preamps feature the exact same technology found in Audient’s ASP8024-HE; high-end units that can run you anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 depending on where you’re looking.
That being said, they’re neutral, transparent, and incredibly low-noise.
For audio quality of this caliber, the iD4 has to be one of the best sounding interfaces for the price.
M-Audio M-Track Solo
The best cheap interface
While the M-Audio isn’t perfect, for under $50 it’s pretty close. The M-Track line has been around for some time, but this latest edition is the ideal interface for beginners.
The unit offers one XLR/TRS input and one instrument/line level input. Its design is user-friendly, intuitive, and extremely well built.
Plus, its A/D conversion technology is excellent, far surpassing any expectations one would have for a unit at this price point.
The unit’s software bundle is also possibly worth at least twice as much as the interface itself; offering two DAWs, a variety of virtual instruments, and 20 free plugins from Avid.
M-Audio AIR 192|4
Great entry-level unit
While this interface lies on the cheaper side of things, its high-quality performance would make you think otherwise. This unit offers solid preamps, excellent recording quality, and an incredibly intuitive layout.
Equipped with two XLR/TRS combo inputs, two TRS inputs, two TRS outs, and MIDI I/O, this unit offers ample connectivity at a low price. The mic inputs feature M-Audio’s Crystal preamps, which are super neutral and noise-free.
Overall, this is a great entry-level interface for anybody who’s serious about wanting to make music.
Arturia MiniFuse 2
The MiniFuse 2 is a perfect candidate for any novice looking to get their feet wet in audio.
This no-frills unit offers high-quality performance at low cost, and while it might not provide much more, it’s on par with most of the other interfaces on this list.
The unit features two XLR/TRS combo inputs, two TRS outputs, and MIDI I/O. It also provides A/D resolution at 24-bit depth with a max sample rate of 192 kHz.
At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a perfect interface. Even the upper echelon of music producers are constantly modifying, rearranging, and swapping out their equipment for something better.
All that matters is what works best for you and your current situation. If that means getting something for $50, then do that. Quality is subjective and if your music is good, nothing else matters.