The Best USB Audio Interfaces - 4 / 8 / 16 Channel

The Best Audio Interfaces

As you take your home recording to the next level, you will outgrow your 2-channel audio interface. This guide is designed to help you with this expansion, featuring the best stand-alone audio interfaces that have 4 or more analog inputs.

NB: We have separate guides devoted to 2 Channel & Budget and iPad audio interfaces.

The Best USB Audio Interfaces

Click on a model name for further details or scroll down to read through all of them:

What to look for in an Audio Interface

  • Number of Inputs vs Channel Count

    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. Many of them include digital input channels to their devices such as SP/DIF or ADAT in the channel count, even though these would require another piece of hardware acting as an audio interface (EG some mixers and mic preamps also provide A/D conversion) to actually allow them to be used. 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.

  • Mic Level, Instrument Level and Line Level Inputs

    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. Combo XLR/TRS inputs usually have preamps embedded, so they are mic ready. Some units have versatile line level and instrument level switching for specific ports.

  • Preamp and Phantom Power

    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.

  • Power Options

    As the channels increase, so does the complexity of the circuit, and its power requirement. 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.

  • Analog to Digital Bit Rate and Sample Rate

    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 current highest standard is 24-bit/192kHz, but there is a lot of debate about sampling rates so if you'd like to know more see: The Science of Sample Rates (When Higher Is Better — And When It Isn’t). The main thing to know is that a sampling rate of 44.1kHz will capture all of the frequencies that most people can hear. Also note that the preamp usually plays a bigger role in recording quality.

  • Operating Systems, Connectivity and Drivers

    Most audio interfaces come with specific custom low latency drivers for Windows and Mac that allow you to use the audio channels in your recording software and often control inbuilt hardware features such as effects/DSPs. 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. Using these drivers you may not be able to access some of the extra features of the hardware but the basic audio/midi channels will work.

    If you're looking for compatibility with iOS devices such as the iPad (via the Apple USB adaptor) then the device will need to be USB Class Compliant anyway. It's still best to make the manufacturer specifically mentions compatibility though. You can check out our iPad Audio Interface guide if you're looking for dedicated iPad audio interfaces.

  • Bundled Software

    Most audio interfaces come with bundled software, some of which include "Lite" versions of popular DAW software like Pro Tools, Cubase, Ableton Live and more. 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.

Methodology

We surveyed the market for audio interfaces with four or more channels and focused on those that were popular and widely available from online retailers in the USA. We then gathered their ratings and reviews, which totalled to just under 3000 sources and fed all of them to the Gearank Algorithm. The resulting scores together with the rest of the information that we gathered were used to narrow down the list to just the best rated ones. You can see all of them below, divided into categories based on the number of their channels: You can find out more about this process in How Gearank Works.

The Best 4 - 6 Channel Audio Interfaces

4-input audio interfaces offer portability while having more input and output options than 2-channel interfaces. These are great for beginners and are also affordable options for those who want to expand their home recording without spending too much.

Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD 4-Channel USB Audio Interface

Behringer is not one to pull punches, so they really brought out the big guns with this affordable audio interface, packing it with features that helped make it a favorite in the entry to mid-tier market. With its up to date 24-bit/192kHz resolution, four MIDAS (a preamp and mixer console manufacturer acquired by Behringer) designed preamps, and its impressively wide complement of controls, this audio interface easily outclasses others on paper - and what's more impressive is how it performs in the real world, as proven by the many positive responses that it continues to rake in.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 4 x 4
  • Inputs: 4 x XLR/TRS Combo, 4 x 1/4" Inserts
  • Outputs: 6 x 1/4". 2 x XLR, 2 x Stereo, 1 x 1/4" Headphones
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 4 x MIDAS-designed mic preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Low latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software: Tracktion 4

Pros

It is no surprise that many prefer this audio interface because of its value for many, some even favor the U-Phoria UMC404HD over their other existing audio interfaces, which are priced much higher. Its four combo jack inputs with MIDAS preamps received a lot of praise for both the quality of the sound, and the quantity of sound sources that you can simultaneously record. Its small footprint and USB bus powered operation were also commended, great for both home studios and on-location live performance recordings .

Cons

There was one user who cautioned that the phantom power switch controls all four channels, so you have to be careful when recording mixed sources. Others were let down with the lack of instructions, but they still gave high ratings because the learning curve was easy.

Overall

If budget is limited, or if you're looking for an affordable backup, the 4-channel Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD is highly recommended.

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (1st Gen)

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 425+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$250
Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (1st Gen) 6-Channel USB Audio Interface

Founded in 1985, Focusrite is a relatively new company that has gone to the top of the heap with their quality preamps and consoles. They are very popular in the portable audio interface market, thanks to their Scarlett series. Earlier this year, the company updated the Scarlett series, including the 6i6. Unfortunately, the 2nd generation model was not as warmly received as its predecessor, which is why the 1st Generation Scarlett 6i6 is the one that made it to this list. While its analog to digital resolution maybe a bit lower at 24bit/96kHz, its main selling point is still the two Focusrite mic preamps, all of which are housed in their popular red metal unibody design.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 6 x 6
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x 1/4", 1 x SP/PDIF
  • Outputs: 4 x 1/4", 2 x 1/4" Headphones, 1 x S/PDIF
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 2 x Focusrite preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, Softube's Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite Plug-in Suite

Pros

It's impressive how reviews of the 1st Gen Scarlett 6i6 are consistently positive years after it was first released. And up to today, people are still praising it for its pristine sound quality and the details that it captures. The unit's trademark red finish unibody design was also mentioned numerous times, along with its reliable performance. Interestingly, a number of users found other uses for the 6i6, to be specific, as a standalone headphone amplifier for monitoring in live performance situations.

Cons

While most users and experts are all praised on the hardware itself, some are not too happy with the accompanying software, MixControl. And since you need it to install the drivers needed, some consider it as a one time annoyance, albeit a minor one. Another important downside is the availability of the 2nd generation model, which while currently hit with driver issues, is still considered as an improvement to this version by the manufacturer.

Overall

The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is popular for good reason, be it the 1st or 2nd generation model, it should be at the top of your list if you're in the market for a 6-channel audio interface.

Apogee Quartet

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1395
Apogee Quartet 12-Channel USB Audio Interface

The Apogee Quarter is a USB audio interface specifically designed for Mac and iOS devices, featuring four analog combo XLR/TRS inputs, four Apogee preamps, a Lightpipe input for expanding to 12 inputs, and it has a versatile set of eight output ports. Still, the main selling point of this interface is its premium quality AD/DA conversion at 24-bit/192kHz, which compliments Apple's popular smartphones, tablets and computers really well. All these features are packed into a desktop-friendly angled form factor with an intuitive interface that include an OLED display, assignable touch pads and a single main knob.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 12 x 8
  • Inputs: 4 x XLR/TRS Combo, 1 x Lightpipe
  • Outputs: 6 x 1/4". 2 x XLR, 2 x Stereo, 1 x 1/4" Stereo 5.1 Monitor
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: USB
  • 4 x Apogee mic preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software: Tracktion 4

Pros

As one review put it, "Don't be put off by the cute, small form factor; this is no toy". The market response to the Apogee Quartet is overwhelmingly positive, with most reviewers pointing to its sleek appearance, intuitive design and premium quality converters as its main selling points. While Apogee is not known for preamp quality, there are a number of users who commended the quality of the preamps, including self professed snobs who prefer 3rd party dedicated mic preamps.

Cons

One user was concerned that the unit may tip over when heavy cables are plugged into all the ports at the back. Others were looking for basic features like the ability to be powered by a dedicated power supply and a simple power button. Finally, there are a few that reported software related issues.

Overall

If you are looking for a matching audio interface for your Mac/iPad/iPhone, then you will definitely want to look at the Apogee Quartet.

Steinberg UR242

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Steinberg UR242 4-Channel USB Audio Interface

Steinberg is mostly known for music production software products, which include the popular DAW - Cubase. They have since branched out to produce hardware, and have been successful with their audio interfaces, including the 4-channel UR242. Features include two class A D-PRE microphone preamps, 24-bit/192kHz resolution, multi-operating system compatibility and Loopback functionality for live internet streaming.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 4 x 2
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x 1/4"
  • Outputs: 2 x 1/4". 1 x 1/4" Headphones
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0, iOS
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 2 x D-Pre Class A preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software: Cubase AI

Pros

Solid build quality were mentioned by a good number of users, while others were impressed by the UR242's intuitive controls, easy installation process and overall operation. Many also reported noticing the quietness and clarity of Steinberg's D-PRE preamps, especially more experienced musicians and engineers.

Cons

Of the few negative comments that users have written, software and driver issues were somewhat prominent. There are also some users who reported having issues installing the bundled software Cubase AI.

Overall

With its iOS compatibility and solid build, the Steinberg UR242 is definitely worth checking.

Komplete Audio 6

86
GEARANK

86 out of 100. Incorporating 700+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$229
Komplete Audio 6 6-Channel USB Audio Interface

Native Instruments is another music software developer that has crossed over into the hardware side of the business, and have done so successfully with popular products like the Komplete Audio 6. This 6-channel 24-bit/192kHz audio interface has been well received by both experts and home recording enthusiasts, thanks to its intuitive design. While rack style units have most of their controls at the front, Native Instruments decided to add more controls on the top section, which makes adjusting and monitoring parameters easier. It also comes bundled with software that includes virtual instruments and effects, as well as tools for sequencing, recording and DJ's.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 4 x 4
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x 1/4" Inserts, 2 x S/PDIF
  • Outputs: 4 x 1/4", 2 x S/PDIF, Headphones
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 2 mic preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • USB Powered
  • Bundled Software: Komplete Elements, Cubase LE, Traktor LE 2

Pros

"Rock solid and excellent" is an actual quote taken from one of the many positive reviews, and it is a good summary of how majority feels about the Komplete Audio 6. Most of the reviewers find the extra volume knob on the top to be very useful and practical, so much so that some even commented that they haven't looked at other audio interfaces for a while. Even experts rate it highly, stating that it's reliable and very easy to use. As expected from a software developer, the bundled apps were well appreciated by many users.

Cons

There are some users who complained about driver and operating system compatibility issues, although this may have been resolved with software updates that the company continues to provide. There was one who reported crackling sound and dropouts, but it seems to be more of a computer issue than the audio interface itself.

Overall

For electronic musicians and DJs, the Komplete Audio 6 is an excellent audio interface to complement your setup. It is also ideal for those who utilize Native Instruments software.

Steinberg UR44 (6 Channel)

89
GEARANK

89 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Steinberg UR44

Drawing from their mother company's (Yamaha) hardware manufacturing expertise, Steinberg's audio interfaces have become quite the market favorite. The UR44 is their representative in the 6-Channel category, featuring 4 class A D-Pre preamps, iOS compatibility and built-in Digital Sound Processing capabilities. This makes the UR44 a versatile interface that can handle both home and mobile recordings. As expected, this interface is designed to integrate well with Steinberg, but it can also be used with other DAW software.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 6 x 4
  • Inputs: 4 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x 1/4"
  • Outputs: 6 x 1/4" 2 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" Headphones
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0, iOS Compliant
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 4 Class A D-PRE preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Onboard DSP with Built-in Effects
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software: Cubase AI, Steinberg FX Suite VST 3 Plugins

Pros

Most users and experts agree that this is a reliable and high quality audio interface. Many commented that its solid construction is matched by its reliable operation, thanks to well developed and regularly updated drivers. Experts point out that you get the best out of the UR44 if you use it in conjunction with Cubase, especially when it comes to monitoring and reduced latency. The built in reverb, channel strip and the bundled mixing app also got a lot of thumbs up.

Cons

Some users commented on the lack of digital output, but this is correctly represented on its spec sheet. While it should work well with other DAWs, there a few that could not make it work with their Pro Tools setup. Finally, there was one who noted that the UR44 is not as plug-and-play as he expected, and requires a bit of experience and know how to setup.

Overall

If you're using Steinberg's Cubase then you should take advantage of the extra mileage that you can get out of the UR44.

The Best 8 Channel Audio Interfaces

When you're planning on recording more than four sound sources simultaneously, like when miking an acoustic drum kit, a singing group, or a band - you'll need a capable audio interface with more inputs. Here are the top rated interfaces that you should look to when you're considering further expansion of your recording capabilities.

Roland Octa Capture

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500
Roland Octa Capture

The Octa Capture audio interface is true to its name, having eight combo XLR/TRS inputs with 8 Roland designed VS preamps that direct the signal to its 24-bit/192kHZ AD/DA converters. The VS preamps are designed to deliver increased headroom and dynamic range while keeping noise levels low, making it applicable for louder instruments like acoustic drums, guitar cabinets and more. The first two combo inputs are compatible with both microphones and Hi-Z sound sources. Other features include a 40-bit DSP driven cue mixing feature, built-in reverb, and Roland's Auto-Sens technology which automatically sets the ideal input levels, to make setting up this 8-channel interface more convenient and novice-friendly.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 12 x 10
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS (Hi-Z) Combo, 6 x XLR/TRS Combo, 1 x S/PDIF
  • Outputs: 2 x TRS, 6 x TRS, 1 x TRS Headphones, 1 x S/PDIF
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 8 x Roland VS preamps
  • Internal 40-bit DSP Processing
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Auto-Sens Technology and low latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite

Pros

The overall market impression for the Roland Octa Capture is that it is an A+ product, in terms of build quality, sound quality and ease of operation. Experts were impressed by its versatile software and effects routing capabilities, while still retaining an intuitive interface. The Auto-Sens feature also got a lot of commendations, with users commenting that it is especially useful for balancing more input sources, simplifying setup by quite a big margin, compared to other interfaces.

Cons

Most of the few complaints point to driver and operating system compatibility issues, and since the issues are spread across different OS types, we can safely say that it could be computer issues on the user end. There are some who are taken aback by the price, stating that it should be a bit more accessible.

Overall

If you are looking to expand your recording capabilities for recording acoustic drums, singing groups and the like, then the Roland Octa Capture should be high on your list.

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen)

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

Part of Focusrite's second generation of audio interfaces, the Scarlett 18i20 carries over the best of the original version with upgraded 24-bit/192kHz resolution, improved drivers and software bundle. It gives you the 8 combo XLR/TRS inputs with Focusrite's popular mic preamps, a 2-channel S/PDIF input and an optical ADAT input for expansion to a total of 18 channels. This second generation version also benefitted from the recently started collaboration between Pro Tools developer AVID and Focusrite, resulting in improved software control and the inclusion of the Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack into the software bundle included with each unit.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 18 x 20
  • Inputs: 8 x XLR/TRS Combo, 1 x Optical ADAT, 1 x S/PDIF
  • Outputs: 8 x 1/4", 2 x 1/4" Monitor, 2 x 1/4" Headphones, 1 x Optical ADAT, 1 x S/PDIF
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 8 x Focusrite preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software: Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite, Loopmaster samples and more

Pros

Even with its premium price tag, most of the users agree that the Scarlett 18i20 is well worth the money. And most of the positive remarks point to the Focusrite preamps, with some reporting that the quality difference is noticeable when compared to other interfaces in this price range. Users have reported successfully capturing vocals, acoustic guitars, drums and even electric guitars with the unit, and have done so with a variety of DAW software.

Cons

No thanks to regular operating system updates, most of the issues raised about the 18i20 pertain to problems with OS updates and driver compatibility. And while Focusrite does the best they can to keep up with them, there are still some who quickly write up negative reviews without waiting for updated drivers to solve their issues. Aside from software issues, there are a few who feel that Focusrite should've added more analog input ports, considering the price.

Overall

When you're looking for a great sounding audio interface for your growing recording needs, then check out the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20.

M-Audio M-Track Eight

84
GEARANK

84 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$400
M-Audio M-Track Eight

Introduced in 2000, M-audio is a popular brand that is well known for it's audio interfaces. The M-Track Eight is the largest of M-Audio's M-track line and it delivers a straightforward no-frills 8 channels of mic preamp or line inputs. Each input channel has a dedicated gain control and level display and with a high headroom input that features M-Audio's Octane Preamp Technology. The two front inputs can be switched to allow Hi-Z instrument inputs such as guitar. There are two headphone outputs with independent levels. The unit does not come with a MIDI interface which is a little surprising given that this is one of M-Audio's strength's but the philosophy here seems to be to focus on the A/D and do that well. The included software looks pretty comprehensive with a waves plugin bundle including AudioTrack, Eddie Kramer Effect Channel, TrueVerb, L1 Ultramaximizer, and Manny Marroquin Delay in addition to Cubase 7 LE.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 8 x 8
  • Inputs: 8 x XLR/TRS Combo (2 switchable to Hi-Z instrument)
  • Outputs: 8 x 1/4" Balanced. 2 x 1/4" Output Monitor. 2 x 1/4" Stereo Headphones
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI : No Midi Connections
  • 8 x Octane Preamp Technology
  • Phantom Power: +48V switchable for channel 1-4, 5-8
  • Zero-latency monitoring
  • Bundled Software : Cubase 7 LE, Waves plugin bundle

Pros

Many reviewers praised the crystal clear audio quality as well as the 'bomb proof' build of the unit. The convenient front gain controls and level meters were also popular as was having two headphones outputs.

Cons

As with many units a small number of users had significant problems getting the USB connection working properly with their computer, and those that did suggested the drivers seemed to be at fault. It was also commonly reported that the unit can get quite hot although this did not cause any malfunctions. The lack of midi input was also noted.

Overall

If you're looking for a straightforward high fidelity rackmount interface with 8 mic preamps then this is a good option.

The Best 16 Channel Audio Interface

16 channels seems to be about the limit of simultaneous audio inputs for a stand alone USB interface before you start talking about hooking multiple devices together via connections like MADI or ADAT. In this category we were able to only find one device that we can recommend wholeheartedly although there is another option available for the brave of heart when it comes to audio drivers.

Roland Studio Capture 16 Analog Inputs

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$800

Studio Capture is the flagship model of Roland's line of audio interfaces, and as expected, this one carries all the big guns, meant for professional studio use. It has a host of input options, including 12 combo XLR/TRS jacks, 4 TRS line inputs, and 1 S/PDIF input. The output options are equally impressive, with 8 TRS and 2 XLR outputs, as well as a S/PDIF out. The same extra features are available in support of the multiple input/output options, including Roland's Auto-Sens technology, and the built-in 40-bit DSP capabilities.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 16 x 10
  • Inputs: 12 x XLR/TRS Combo (Instrument & Mic), 4 x 1/4" Line, 1 x S/PDIF
  • Outputs: 8 x 1/4" TRS, 2 x XLR, 1 x S/PDIF
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 12 x VS Preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V
  • Internal 40-bit DSP Processing
  • Auto-Sens Technology and Zero latency monitoring

Pros

Experts appreciate the generous input and output options that this unit provide, and after putting their units to the test with maxed input and output options, they found that the Roland Studio Capture passed with flying colors. Reviews are mostly positive, pointing to its sound quality, solid and reliable build, and easy operation - and all of these are from people who use different DAW software and operating systems, from those with Cubase on Windows to Pro Tools on Macs.

Cons

There aren't that many complaints, other than sporadic driver and software update concerns.

Overall

If you're looking for a reliable audio interface with 16 analog inputs, then get the top rated Roland Studio Capture.

Editor's Pick

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.

Tascam US-16x08

79
GEARANK

79 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Tascam US-16x08

In the US-16x08 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.

Features:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Simultaneous I/O: 16 x 8
  • Inputs: 8 x XLR, 8 x 1/4" Balanced (2 switchable to Hi-Z instrument)
  • Outputs: 8 x 1/4" Balanced. 1/4" Stereo Headphones
  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • MIDI: In/Out
  • 8 x Ultra-HDDA microphone preamps
  • Phantom Power: +48V switchable for channel 1-4, 5-8
  • Functions as 8-channel microphone preamp when not connected to USB
  • Onboard DSP mixer with 4-band EQ and compression on each input channel
  • USB Class Compliant

Pros

Most users are impressed with the quality of the preamps, describing them as low noise with a very strong signal. Many also praised the build quality and the great value for money is very much appreciated. Most users do find it easy to get set up and working with their DAWs.

Cons

A significant minority of reviewers say they have experienced consistent problems with the drivers crashing, using high CPU and interrupted audio. The problems seem to be most prevalent with Windows 7 and 10 and while newer drivers have been released there are some who continue to have problems. 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. Users report that they are able to bypass the problems with the Tascam drivers by using Class Compliant drivers instead.

Overall

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.

Comments

hi i have a question about

Hi I have a question about the Tascam. to use it with my daw (studio one) would i need to use it's drivers anyways?

Hi nils, You shouldn't need

Hi nils, You shouldn't need to to use drivers to use the core interface capabilities as it can operate as a USB Audio Class Compliant Device. 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

Regarding the 8 output Tascam, will it interface with qlabs on a MacBook pro running version 10.12.6

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