If you produce a regular podcast, you want to ensure that it is of high quality for your listeners. Choosing the right audio interface for podcasts is important for ensuring that your podcast runs smoothly every time. The following tips can help you to choose the best audio interface for podcasting.
- Our Recommendations
- What To Look At When Purchasing An Audio Interface
- Mobile Interfaces
|Our Top Choice!||Focusrite Scarlett Solo|
|#2 Choice||Focusrite Scarlett 2i2|
|Runner Up||PreSonus AudioBox iTwo|
If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to read this entire review article featured here, I would recommend the Focusrite Scarlett Solo as the top choice.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo
- It works great!
- Has little to no latency
- Plenty of different options for number of inputs.
- Just select the size you need.
A good quality option is a must for uninterrupted podcast sound recording. The good news is there are many in the market to choose from. However, the bad news is most of these products are worthless if you want good audio. You could end up wasting your money on buying a poor-quality product. As such, it becomes essential to check out a thorough overview of a top-notch podcasting audio interface such as the Scarlett solo instead of a podcast mixer to ensure you get the best podcasting product for your particular needs.
Specifications and features
It includes a signature mic preamp of Scarlett with ample even gain. You also get one instrument input for handling top guitar pick-ups. The package also includes stereo line outputs to connect to home speakers. For gain control, the interface features one pair of headphones. Other inclusions are Softube time and tone bundle, Loopmasters samples (2GB), red plug-in suite and various pro tools.
Making music with Scarlett solo is pretty easy. Ideal for songwriters and singers, it sports the legendary preamp as well as the crystal-clear DI for a guitar, bass and/or keys. The unique gain halos of the device make it really effortless to control your levels. In addition to this, the direct monitor switch, large volume dial and the headphone jack make monitoring a breeze.
It features a super low latency for enhanced performances. It is a known fact that performances get better when you have a good sound monitor mix with all that you need to hear to stay inspired – for example, delay and reverb on a guitar solo. The super low latency feature of the Scarlett solo allows you to monitor with native plug in effects in real time. As such, you can hear parts while you envision them and eventually record better performances.
The Scarlett solo is well equipped with a pristine and vibrant preamp. It lets you capture great podcasting audio. Aside from this, the front panel indicators allow you to keep an eye on your levels. The innovative halo indicators let you know when you have a good signal level for recording. Above all, the audio interface comes with a sturdy built that can stand the testing of time and constant usage.
While it comes with so many amazing features, it does not include a mic stand or pop filter. Some users also say that the interface does not work well with MACBOOK. Other than that, there are hardly any drawbacks.
Picking the best device is the key to successful sound recording. With a top-rated product such as the Scarlett solo, you could enjoy seamless recording to your fullest satisfaction. Sturdy built, effortless recording interface, economical price, etc are a few of the perks of the Scarlett solo. On account of these reasons, majority of music enthusiasts use this. If you are serious about enjoying effortless sound recording without any hindrances, take a look at the features and benefits of Scarlett solo and you will never repent on your purchase decision.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation Interface
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a USB version that improves on its predecessor on quite a few fronts. The name 2i2 indicates the two-input and two-output setup. The input jacks accept both 1/4″ instrument cables and XLR microphone cables. These two inputs let you record two instruments or two microphones simultaneously, or one instrument and one mic. Let’s talk more about the hardware and other aspects of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation in the following paragraphs.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 doesn’t come with any SPDIF or MIDI inputs/outputs. It is a pretty basic interface with a couple of balanced outputs that connect the 1/4″ TRS cables with the speakers. Also, there is a 1/4″ audio-in jack at the front with a dedicated volume dial.
Both the inputs can switch between instrument and podcast line. For the ideal sound with direct input (DI) guitars, you must set it to line and instrument for mics.
One of the improvements seen in this 2nd generation 2i2 is the 8dB improved headroom attached to instrument inputs that facilitates hot pickups. This addresses the clipping issues there were with the first gen 2i2. Other upgrades include increased surge safeguard circuits to the outputs and inputs, along with upgraded converters that handle 24-bit, 192 kHz sampling.
Increased sample rates and lower latency are other major changes that come with this. Let’s understand the latency part of the equation with some numbers. The first generation 2i4 latency would not go down lower than 12.4 ms at 48 kHz setting and 64 DI guitar recording samples. The latency would go further down to 9.5 ms at 96 kHz; however, this latency is achieved at double the hit on the CPU.
The identical 48 kHz and 64-sample setting on this second gen 2i2 offers latency as low as 7.79 ms, which is quite an improvement. Moreover, with the added assistance of higher rates, the setting can be dropped down to 48 kHz and 32 samples to go further down to 5.17 ms. Lower latency assists with total CPU usage, since you could employ increased buffer settings without sacrificing much latency.
Sound Quality, Drivers and Software
The sound is clear with zero noise for your podcast. Compared to the previous generation, the sound is much better. But the podcasting audio may not be similarly superior when compared to multiple other audio interfaces in the same class.
As far as Windows drivers go, you may come across a few hiccups initially. However, once the updates come through from Focusrite, sailing should be smooth. In fact, podcast audio playback would be glitch-free and clear even when you run the CPU at 90 percent.
And the software that comes bundled in is class-leading. The Pro Tools pack and Live Lite 9 add some really cool pedal effects. Both DAWs are slimmed-down versions but still offer quite a few features. Some plugins are packed in too with the software package.
- Lower latency
- Solid build quality
- Quality sound
- Zero clipping
- No S/PDIF or MIDI outputs or inputs
- Headphones cannot be set to monitor individual output
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, yet potent podcast product with solid build, low latency and clear sound, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 second generation is a serious option. You could face certain issues with drivers, but those aren’t unprecedented or non-remediable.
Some other quick picks from the same podcasting audio interface company:
PreSonus AudioBox iTwo Audio Interfaces
PreSonus AudioBox iTwo is basically a USB-enabled device made for two-channel recording apps. It comes with a couple of Class A instrument/mic preamps and 96kHz/24-bit recording quality for your production convenience. This enables your setup for stereo recordings and instrument/vocal combinations. Also, there is a MIDI input and PreSonus software that shall help you with recording and mixing music.
Weight and Connectivity
The PreSonus AudioBox iTwo is light and small, weighing a scanty 1.35 pounds. The USB interface works with a PC, Mac and iPad. The front panel has a couple of XLR/1/4″ combo jacks, which take care of line, instrument and mic inputs. To connect an instrument, you must press the instrument button that has a small guitar sign over it. There is also a 1/4″ audio jack at the front. The back panel comprises MIDI out and in jacks, 1/4″ primary right and left outputs, a device port, and USB port. You may connect this to your computer as well, using a USB B cable.
Setting Up and Usage
Setting up the unit is quite simple and also fairly intuitive for a podcast. Mix control is one feature that may baffle you a bit initially. But once you understand how it works, you shall be fine. Make use of the instructions manual that’s bundled in. There is the free Capture Duo app for iOS recording. The mic preamps are quite good as well, especially for a product within this price range.
If you were to compare this to a more expensive tool such as the FMR Audio 8380, you would not see much standing between the two. The PreSonus may not sound as rich as the FMR, but it would still be more than just comparable. For critical tracking requirements, you may always hook up an external microphone pre if needed.
This compact tabletop interface offers good value to computer production and recording artists. Everything functions as per advertised. The audio quality would be better than what you can realistically expect in this class. There is also free software thrown in.
It would set you back by another $30 when compared to the previous model, but you would also be getting an additional mic preamp for that money. Moreover, the Mix control more than justifies the extra money you’re paying.
- Value for money
- 96 kHz, 24-bit audio support
- Both inputs take in instrument or podcast, mic and line-level signals
- Mix control offers an easy solution to monitor low latency
- iOS compatibility isn’t full-fledged
- A MIDI controller cannot be bus-powered
- The included guide doesn’t offer much information
The iTwo is certainly not your high-end podcast studio equipment. However, it’s still potent enough to churn out good quality recordings, which shall satisfy the majority of home or beginner users. By the way, if you do not have a recording equipment currently, you can buy PreSonus’ iTwo Studio pack that comprises a microphone, a pair of headphones, and XLR cable.
What To Look At When Purchasing An Audio Interface
Price Considerations For What Sound Best
When searching for the right audio interface, you will quickly find that they vary widely in both price and functionality. The first thing you must consider is your budget. These can range in price from $100 to as much as $2,500. The right interface for you will depend on your budget restrictions and how much you are willing to spend on this technology. Keep in mind, however, that trying to purchase one in the lower price range will leave you with less options in your selection.
Mic Inputs Required
The next thing you need to consider is the number of mic inputs on the audio interface. The mic inputs are the part of the device that connects the analog microphone to the computer. This is what gives your sound a crisp and clear sound through your recording software. When purchasing, you need to know exactly how many mic inputs are needed. The number of mics you need will depend on whether you are doing a solo podcast or whether you have other people on the show with you. If you are doing a podcast with someone, or have guests joining you for interviews or discussions, you will need additional microphones. Ideally, each participant should have one microphone and one input in the audio interface, so be mindful of this. You should also be aware that there are line-in inputs that can be used for instruments but this is likely only to be used by podcasters who are creating their own music to be recorded on the podcast.
Audio Phantom Power
You must also consider the volt phantom power that is needed for your microphones. Some microphones are charged by 48 volt phantom power to help them run properly and deliver clear sound, so you should look for an audio interfaces that has 48 volt power.
Type and Number of Outputs
When choosing the right audio interface for your podcast, you should also consider the type and number of outputs required. Some podcasters use theirs to record and then playback the audio to check for clarity. This requires different types of input and output functions because when you record the podcast the sound is recorded on your computer. But in order to play podcast audio back the sound needs to travel from your computer and be processed before the sounds can be transmitted to your headphones or speakers. Most audio interfaces will have a headphone output as well as studio speaker outputs so that you can perform both functions, but this is something you will need to check when comparing different recording interfaces.
Some have midi as well but you probably won’t need that.
Podcast Best Audio Sound Quality
The sound quality on these systems vary widely. Sometimes you won’t know the difference until you have purchased a couple and actually tried them out on your computer. Most buyers discover that there is often a trade-off between having better sound quality or having more inputs. This is because the less mic inputs an interface has, the better the sound quality tends to be. The most expensive audio interfaces, such as those costing thousands of dollars, are usually the exception, as they have the capacity to combine high sound quality with more input and output devices. However, due to their high cost, they are often out of the price range of many buyers. If you are planning to budget under $1,000, you are more likely to get better sound quality with less inputs.
Podcasting Signals Are Sent To Your Computer
You may be interested in knowing how metering signals are sent to your computer with the audio interface. This is normally done with a USB cable, thunderbolt cable or FireWire that connects to your computer. It is important to remember that audio interfaces that use thunderbolt cables are usually only compatible with McIntosh computers, so watch out for this if you have a PC. Most standard products will work with a Mac computer but for podcasters who have a PC, a bit of extra research is required when choosing your audio interface.
Some Other Quick Audio i/o Options
Some other honorable mentions in the audio interface for podcasts category:
Some podcasters do all of their recording in a single room or studio which makes it easy to set up your equipment. However, some podcasters are constantly traveling and like to record their podcasts on the road. For these people, they will be glad to know that portable audio interfaces can be purchased which can work with Ipads and other ios devices. These recording interfaces provide good sound quality without the bulkiness of carrying heavy equipment along with you when you are traveling.
In conclusion, there are many factors you need to consider when choosing an audio interface for your podcast. Your budget will be the main deciding factor which will limit you to a specific range that you can purchase within. But it is important to also consider how your podcast is going to work and what your individual needs are. This means asking yourself questions such as how many mic inputs it has and whether the cabling is compatible with your Mac or PC. If you are unsure which audio interface is right for you, speak to some other podcasters and ask them which interface devices they use and whether they have any recommendations. You may be able to use their system to test out the interface to see if it will work for you. You should also read reviews online before purchasing an interface. With a little careful research, you should be able to select a good quality audio interface that will make you sound great and an excellent addition to any podcasting kit.