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12 Best Sound Cards For Music Production (In 2022)

External sound cards (audio interfaces) are the best way to improve your music production, but they can be expensive.

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The good news is that there are a lot of great options out there. But with so many choices, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you and your budget.

We put together this list of the top 12 external soundcards based on price and performance, so you don’t have to waste time researching yourself!

In A Hurry? Check Out Our Top Picks Below

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
RME Babyface Pro FS
RME Babyface Pro FS
  • 12 in/12 out with 24 total channels
  • 2 microphone preamps and 2 instrument preamps
  • Rugged aluminum chassis
Latest Price
Best Value
Audient iD4 MKII
Audient iD4 MKII
  • 2-in/2-out with 1 Mic Preamp
  • Software Bundle – Mac/PC/iOS
  • 2 Headphone Outputs
Latest Price
Best For Beginners
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen)
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen)
  • Two high-headroom instrument inputs
  • Two balanced line inputs 
  • High-performance converters
Latest Price
Best Budget
Audient EVO 4
Audient EVO 4
  • 2 in / 2 out USB audio interface
  • 2 microphone preamplifiers with 58 dB gain
  • 1 JFET Instrument Input
Latest Price

FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 4I4 3RD

Best Audio Interface For Beginners

  • Connector: USB-2.0 & USB-3.0
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 12
  • Digital Connector: ADAT and SPDIF
  • MIDI: Yes
Best For Beginners
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) With Pro Tools

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) With Pro Tools

  • Two of the best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable Air mode to give your vocal recordings a brighter and more open sound.
  • Two high-headroom instrument inputs to plug in your guitar or bass.
  • Two balanced line inputs for connecting synthesizers, drum machines, and other line-level sources.
  • Four balanced outputs for clean monitoring and sending audio out to effects pedals.
  • High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.

 

What do you mean that our first pick is obvious?

Does everyone put the Scarlett at the top of their list of best external sound cards?

Well, that’s because the Scarlett is simply one of the best options out there. It has been for a while, and it will probably stay. 

Now, am I saying that it’s perfect? No, of course not. Everything has its flaws. But come on, the 3rd-gen Scarlett unit is too good to ignore and gives you amazing value for your buck.

This is what we’ve come to expect from Focusrite’s Scarlett series; high-quality external sound cards that won’t leave you without your rent and food money. 

I had the Scarlet 8i6 first generation, which served me well for years before I upgraded. 

This is definitely an excellent choice if you are just starting.

Pros
  • The “Air” transformer emulates the stage perfectly.
  • The improved preamps are superb.
  • The latency is still low thanks to the Control app.
  • The drivers are reliable, which means no crashing.
  • It comes with some decent recording software.
  • You also have the new ISA transformer preamp emulation option.
Cons
  • Requires mains power.
  • The Windows drivers can be a pain to install.
  • You cannot control the monitor and headphone volume separately.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

Universal Audio UAD Apollo Twin MkII

Best Thunderbolt Audio Interface

  • Connector: Thunderbolt
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 2/6
  • Digital Connector: Optical To-slink
  • MIDI: No
Best Thunderbolt
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo

  • Comes with a premium suite of 5 award-winning plug-in titles from Teletronix, Pultec, and UA — a $1,300 value.
  • Next-generation Apollo A/D and D/A conversion and 2 Unison mic preamps that offer stunning models of classic tube and transformer-based mic preamps and guitar amps.
  • UAD DUO Core Processing for tracking through vintage compressors, EQs, tape machines, mic preamps, and guitar amp plug-ins with near-zero latency.

 

At first glance, the MkII version of the Apollo Twin looks pretty much the same as the original, minus the color.

You can connect it to your PC – it’s compatible with Macs, don’t worry, Apple fans – start it up and use it to record studio-quality vocals.

Just a warning: this thing eats up a ton of electricity, so no bus power, I’m afraid.

The sound card comes with the same game-changing preamps, just like the previous version.

The Unison preamps are fed power by the Mic/Line and Hi-Z ins.

Even if you don’t have the best microphone for home recording, you can turn your little make-shift studio into something genuinely professional.

This is why Apollo Twin ranks so high on our list of the best external sound cards. 

Pros
  • It comes with super-useful UAD-2 plugins that are easy to use
  • Just as sturdy, reliable, and long-lasting as the original version of the card
Cons
  • Requires mains power
  • Thunderbolt cable is not included

Want to see more? Check out the video below.


Audient iD4 MKII

Best Value Audio Interface

  • Connector: USB-C
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 96kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 2
  • Digital Connector: None
  • MIDI: No
Best Value
Audient iD4 MKII

Audient iD4 MKII

  • Equipped with both a jack and mini-jack connection and a powerful headphone amp capable of driving headphones up to 600Ohms.
  • Designed to replicate the input stage of a classic valve amplifier, iD4’s harmonically rich JFET Instrument Input is the perfect sonic foundation for your guitar or bass.
  • The virtual scroll wheel – Quickly dial in settings, adjust faders or even write in automation without spending hours staring at the screen.

 

Look up Audient iD4. Google around for a bit. Go on YouTube, watch some reviews. Visit a forum or two while you’re at it. Go ahead; I can wait. 

Done? Great! What do people say?

Well, I bet that a vast majority of them say that Audient iD4 is possibly the best sound card you can get below $200; If not THE very best!

Not only that, the iD4 has recently undergone a facelift with the launch of the MK II.

The iD4 is a simple piece of hardware.

It has two inputs and outputs. It offers a great mic preamp, complete with a phantom power option, which comes in handy if you’re using a condenser mic.

There’s even an instrument input there if you want to plug in your bass or guitar and record some riffs/song ideas. 

It doesn’t require extra power. You can plug it into your USB socket, and it will work.

It comes with an Apple connection kit, which allows you to plug it into your iPhone/iPad and record on the go.

You can conduct interviews, record ambient sounds, or collect noises you can later sample without worrying about the quality. 

Pros
  • All-metal design.
  • Easy to use (Plug & Play).
  • Scroll Control (Controls onscreen parameters).
  • Delivers true Phantom Power.
Cons
  • Supplied cables are short.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

SSL 2+

Best External Sound Card for People Chasing “That SSL Sound”

  • Connector: USB-2.0 & USB-3.0
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 12
  • Digital Connector: ADAT and SPDIF
  • MIDI: Yes
Best For That SSL Sound
SSL2+

SSL2+

  • 2 x SSL-designed microphone preamps.
  • Legacy 4K – analog color enhancement, inspired by classic SSL consoles.
  • 2 x Professional, high-current grade headphone outputs: create a second independent headphone mix

Do you want your recordings to sound sleek? You’re looking for that high-end-studio sound, aren’t you? But you don’t want to spend a 6-figure sum on a studio, right?

For all of those chasing that mystic “SSL sound,” I’ve got a treat for you.

The SSL 2+ is the older brother of the SSL 2.

The two cards are the same; however, the SSL 2+ comes with two additional outputs, a MIDI input and another headphone out.

The last one comes in handy when you’re trying to monitor different mixes. 

There’s also the addition of the “4K button” that gives you some additional presence, so your vocals sound just right.

The high-end boost will make you feel like you’re monitoring a signed performer in a professional studio. You have to use your imagination a bit too. 

There’s also the combination of Mic/Line inputs.

It has the impedance option, allowing you to instantly switch between bass/guitar signals to those from a drum machine.

The +48v preamp also will enable you to power a condenser microphone. 

Pros
  • The monitoring is exceptionally flat and honest.
  • It features a fantastic signal path and preamps.
  • The new “4k button” does add some quality to the sound.
Cons
  • Not a full metal build.
  • The headphone sockets are on the back.
  • No power switch.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2

Best 2×2 Audio Interface

  • Connector: USB-2.0 & USB-3.0
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 12
  • Digital Connector: ADAT and SPDIF
  • MIDI: Yes
Best 2×2
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2

  • Choose from two flavors – same pristine audio quality, different ways to plug in and playback.
  • The full package for creating – All the software you need to record and build tracks, plus synths, effects, and more.
  • Plug in a pair of mics together using the two combi-XLR/Jack inputs.

The 2-imput/2-output sound card comes with a pair of identical microphone/instrument inputs.

You can find the connections on the space-saving XLRs, which have individual switches. These switches allow you to select and deselect single instruments. 

Besides the inputs, the front of the card also has a nicely-sized balance knob. This controls your primary output levels.

At the top of the panel, there are nice and bright input meters and USB indicators. You can find the headphone output here as well. 

The back houses a USB connector paired up with two TRS jacks and a single Kensington Security slot.

Throw in some good software, and you get massive value for less than $150.

That’s how Native Instruments KA2 found itself on our list of best external sound cards. 

Pros
  • The design is super-compact, so you can easily carry it around.
  • Considering the price, the design is surprisingly sleek and stylish.
  • The 5-part input meeting is more than decent. 
Cons
  • Feels a bit plasticky.
  • Poor customer service from Native Instruments.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

The RME Babyface Pro FS

Best Audio Interface Under $1000

  • Connector: USB-2.0 & USB-3.0
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 12
  • Digital Connector: ADAT and SPDIF
  • MIDI: Yes
Best Under $1000
RME Babyface Pro FS

RME Babyface Pro FS

  • 12 in/12 out USB Audio Interface with 24 total channels.
  • 2 microphone preamps and 2 instrument preamps.
  • Full SteadyClock FS circuit as in the ADI-2 Pro FS for lowest jitter and highest jitter immunity.
  • Rugged aluminum chassis that is durable and portable enough to take with you on the go

Our top pick is the sound card I have been personally running in my own home studio over the last year.

With the original version of the Babyface Pro, the RME proved that they’re committed to superior craftsmanship and delivering the best sound processing under $1,000.

With the latest Babyface Pro FS version, RME is out to prove itself to the new consumers. 

Created from a single aluminum block, this high-end sound card is surprisingly portable.

Like all of the other RME sound cards, it comes with a real-time mixer that allows the Babyface Pro FS to record and perform with equipment when needed. 

With Class compliance, you don’t need to install any drivers to use the Babyface. The device is automatically recognized when you activate the CC mode.

The TotalMix FX software gives you full control over the card and lets you create, store, and load preset mixer settings, along with having a fantastic loopback option. 

RME BabayFace Pro FS - TotalMix FX
RME BabayFace Pro FS – TotalMix FX

It also comes with the excellent Digicheck spectrum analyzer for metering, testing, measuring, and analyzing digital audio streams, along with USB Breakout and MIDI cables, all packaged in a hard plastic case for safe transportation.

RME BabayFace Pro FS - DigiCheck
RME BabayFace Pro FS – DigiCheck
Pros
  • Incredible build quality and looks amazing.
  • Market-leading drivers.
  • Sounds awesome.
  • Being able to loop back in Total Mix-FX.
  • The Digicheck Spectral Analyzer is fantastic.
Cons
  • It’s expensive.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

Audient Evo 4

Best Budget Audio Interface

  • Connector: USB-2.0
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 2
  • Digital Connector: None
  • MIDI: No
Best Budget
Audient EVO 4

Audient EVO 4

  • Get the most from your microphones with the 2 clean, warm and accurate EVO preamps – offering 58dB of gain range.
  • Hear your recordings more accurately than ever with 113dB of dynamic range.
  • Plug your guitar or bass straight in through the JFET instrument input and start recording instantly.

Are all the other interfaces a bit too expensive for your taste? Do you want to save a few dollars more? Then look no further than Audient Evo 4.

Launched at the last NAMM Show, the sound card has gotten rave reviews in just a few short months since it has been out on the market. 

The Evo comes with two inputs on the back and one instrument input on the front for bass/guitar.

By turning one input on, you override the first one. There are also two outs for speakers and the main dial, which controls your monitors’ output levels. 

People who buy their first sound card don’t want a ton of knobs, dials, and switches to confuse them.

That’s why Evo’s big dial is good. It’s a perfect solution for people who want to have a hard-wearing and straightforward desktop card; they can carry around in their backpack.

Audient Evo 4 will solve the problems you didn’t even know you had. 

Pros
  • Audient Evo gives its users a powerful, clean recording sound.
  • The single dial makes the card easy to operate for beginners.
  • The Monitor Mix solution works for experienced and inexperienced users alike.
Cons
  • The build quality feels a bit cheap.
  • The lights are situated on the top and can be hard to see unless you are looking directly down onto it.
  • The monitors mute when you plug in the headphones (Some users may like this feature).

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

Mackie Onyx Producer 2.2

Most Robust Audio Interface

  • Connector: USB-2.0
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 2
  • Digital Connector: None
  • MIDI: Yes
Most Robust
MACKIE ONYX PRODUCER 2.2

MACKIE ONYX PRODUCER 2.2

  • Two boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps with class-leading fidelity and dynamic range XLR/TRS combo inputs accept mic, line, and instrument sources 48V phantom power for use with Studio condenser mics.
  • High-resolution 2 in x 2 Out 24-bit/192kHz recording plus MIDI I/O zero-latency direct monitoring of Analog inputs dedicated outputs for connecting studio monitors powerful headphone output.
  • Bus-powered for easy mobile recording with no power adapter needed USB 2. 0 connectivity for fast transfer speed and low latency Built-Like-A-Tank design to survive day-to-day abuse.

Next up, we have the Mackie Onyx Producer, version 2.2. Clean sound? Check. Analog connections? Check. A more than the capable interface that’s both simple to use and complex enough to give you a clean signal? Double-check. 

That’s why Mackie Onyx regularly finds itself on our top of the best external sound card lists. 

The user can connect up to 2 microphones/instruments at the same time.

The inputs are a combination of jack/XLR connectors, so you don’t have to worry about buying new cables, no matter what connectors you might already have. 

Just like the previous two entries, the Onyx also has a large mix knob. It allows you to monitor your performer during the recording with zero latency.

The front of the card features a headphone output, with an additional level knob for monitoring purposes. 

Around the back, there are two quarter-inch jack inputs where you can connect your monitors.

The card’s back also features 2 MIDI connectors, which can come in handy when you’re doing your demos.

Throw in a metal case, and you have one quality card at a laughably low price. 

Pros
  • Built like a tank.
  • It gives you a quality recording at 24-bit/192kHz.
  • Unlike most sound cards on the list, this comes with MIDI input and output.
Cons
  • People have reported driver issues with Windows 10.
  • No power button.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

Steinberg UR22C

Best Audio Interface For Cubase

  • Connector: USB-C and USB-3.0
  • Audio Resolution: 32-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 2
  • Digital Connector: None
  • MIDI: Yes
Best For Cubase
Steinberg UR22C 2x2

Steinberg UR22C 2×2

  • Industry-leading converters providing up to 32-bit/192 kHz audio resolution.
  • Class-a D-PRE mic preamps to capture all the subtleties and expressiveness of any audio source.
  • Separate headphone level control.

Steinberg’s famed UR line of interfaces has recently got a welcome boost in the form of 3.0 versions for PCs and mobile devices.

You can’t go wrong by picking any sound card from the 3.0 series, but since we’re focusing on cheap home recording, I decided to go with the most cost-effective card from the bunch, the UR22C.

Like the rest of the series, this card connects to your computer via a Type-C USB connector. That allows the UR22C to operate at a 32-bit/192kHz resolution.

There are MIDI functions here too. The user also has the DSP at their fingertips to make use of UR22C’s zero latency capabilities while you’re monitoring the recording. 

The hardware comes in the instantly recognizable Steinberg metal casing that will look awesome on your workstation. 

Pros
  • Solid build quality.
  • It uses Yamaha preamps that make the sound crisp.
  • Comes with built-in DSP processing capabilities.
Cons
  • Poor tech support from Steinberg.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

MOTU 828es

Best Rackmounted Audio Interface

  • Connector: Thunderbolt 2/USB 2.0 / Ethernet
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kH
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 24 inputs / 30 outputs
  • Digital Connector: ADAT Optical
  • MIDI: Yes
Best Rackmount
MOTU 828es

MOTU 828es

  • 60 simultaneous audio channels / 28 inputs and 32 outputs, all independent.
  • Renowned ESS Sabre32™ DAC technology delivers a 123dB dynamic range and the same proven, award-winning audio quality as MOTUs flagship 1248.
  • A full-fledged 48-input digital mixer delivers 7 stereo aux busses, 3 groups, access to 64 network inputs, and DSP effects including reverb, 4-band EQ, gate, and compression.

MOTU 828es is a seriously powerful rack-mounted audio interface that can be used for both studios and live performances.

It has been designed with musicians in mind, but it also works well as an interface for recording vocals or instruments.

It has an incredibly dynamic range of 123 dB and latency as low as 1.6 ms, making it perfect for recording or live mixing.

With this device, you can use up to 24-bit/192 kHz resolution with a host DAW or as a standalone mixer and be compatible with Thunderbolt and USB on Mac OS X and Windows systems.

The 828es has 28 inputs, including eight 1/4″ TRS inputs and two XLR-1/4″ combo jacks for mics or instruments.

You won’t find anything like it anywhere else!

The outputs on this device are just as plentiful – it has a total of 32 outputs, such as eight 1/4″ TRS ports, two pre-converter 1/4″ sends, balanced XLR main outputs, and independent 1/4″ TRS headphone outs.

Pros
  • Superb analog audio quality.
  • Has AVB/TSN Ethernet system expansion and audio networking.
  • You can connect two sets of speakers and check your mixes instantly with front-panel
  • A/B speaker select buttons.
  • Has a built-in talkback mic and front-panel talk button.
  • Excellent tech support.
Cons
  • Probably too advanced for a beginner producer.
  • It’s expensive.
  • Overcomplicated software for basic routing.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo

Best Portable Audio Interface

  • Connector: USB 2.0, Lightning, USB-OTG
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 48kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 2
  • Digital Connector: None
  • MIDI: Yes
Best Portable
IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo

IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo

  • iRig Pro Duo is the smallest full-featured dual-channel interface on the market. Its elegantly designed lightweight thermoplastic housing is designed to take the rigors of life on the road, session after session.
  • It features 2 channels with XLR/TRS combo audio jacks and phantom power that can accommodate everything from high-end phantom-powered condenser microphones to guitars, basses, keyboards, and more.
  • Each of iRig Pro Duo’s two channels passes through an ultra-low noise high-headroom pro-quality preamp that then runs through a 24bit AD-DA converter, giving you amazing clarity and pristine studio-quality sound.

The iRig Pro Duo is a new version of an old tried and tested product, which has already sold in tens of thousands.

It comes with two analog inputs, which you can use to record two vocalists, two instrumentalists, or a combination of the two simultaneously in different channels. 

Now, I have to mention that the preamps on this little piece of hardware are simply outstanding.

The card also gives you phantom power for large condenser mics. There are MIDI inputs and outputs here, too, along with a single headphone output. 

Just one press of the direct monitoring button will allow you to engage in latency-free listening.

The C-Type USB gives the card the speed and power it needs to operate seamlessly. It comes with dedicated drivers for your PC, so you don’t have to worry about hunting them down online. 

Oh yeah, the interface has a cool rubberized finish, so all of your friends will think it’s cool. That’s always a good thing.  

Pros
  • Due to its compactness, you can bring it along anywhere you go.
  • It’s compatible with multiple mobile devices.
  • It gives you the ability to record two channels at the same time.
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a power lead.
  • No USB port on the device (it does come with a converter cable, though).

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

Arturia AudioFuse Studio

Best Audio Interface With Bluetooth

  • Connector: USB-C Plus a USB Hub
  • Audio Resolution: 24-bit at 192kHz
  • Analogue Ins/Outs: 8
  • Digital Connector: ADAT I/O and S/PDIF I/O
  • MIDI: Yes
Best With Bluetooth
Arturia AudioFuse

Arturia AudioFuse

  • USB-C audio interface with 24-bit latest generation AD/DA converters at up to 192kHz sampling rate.
  • Robust metal desktop chassis Complete monitoring section with individual level control for speakers and phones.
  • 18 inputs, 20 outputs channels – Bluetooth audio receiver supporting aptX and AAC.

Finally, we’re at the end of this prolonged list of best external sound cards.

Let’s finish things off with something classy, shall we?

If you want to let loose and spend a few bucks more on a card, you should consider buying Arturia AudioFuse. 

Of course, it’s compatible with both Windows and iOS.

The card is pretty compact, but don’t let that fool you because there’s plenty of connectivity packed in there.

You can find the outpost for monitors, MIDI controllers, and digital interfaces on the front side. 

That’s right; there are even ADAT and S/PDIF connectors on the AudioFuse.

The 1st and 2nd inputs also have inserts, which allow the user to track through channel strips and/or channel compressors.

There’s everything but the kitchen sink here, including Bluetooth connectivity! 

By default, the card connects to your computer through a USB-C. However, there are a lot more options.

You see, the AudioFuse has a full-blown USB hub built into it.

It has three additional ports which you can use to connect.

If you want something modern, good-looking, and useful, spend your money on Arturia AudioFuse.

You won’t regret it. 

Pros
  • Lots of different connectivity options.
  • 18 inputs and 20 output channels.
  • Bluetooth audio receiver.
  • Built-in phono preamp for vinyl sampling.
  • Switch between 2 sets of monitors with the A/B switch.
Cons
  • The price.
  • Might be a little daunting for new producers.

Want to see more? Check out the video below.

What To Look For When Buying a Sound Card

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to record a good song. But when you don’t know what you’re looking for, spending more money makes more sense.

How can a $1,000 sound card be worse than a $100 one?

Yes, that makes sense. But your choice depends on your needs.

Chances are, you won’t need a $1,000 sound card.

Luckily, some of the best external sound cards out there are both cost-effective and easy to use. 

Here’s what you need to know about external sound cards when selecting one.

16 bit at 44.1 kHz vs. 24 bit at 96 kHz vs. 32-bit at 192kHz

These refer to the resolution of a sound signal.

For the best quality, you need the highest sound resolution, Simple enough.

When you record a vocalist on your PC/Mac, you convert an analog signal to a digital one.

You’re transferring an audio signal into digital information. 

The more information you have stored, the closer it will sound to the original sound.

Keep in mind that the sample rate isn’t be-all-end-all, but it’s still important. 

USB-C vs. USB 3 vs. Thunderbolt

Why does the connection matter so much?

An audio Interface transfers sound data to your computer through a USB cable.

If you want the data to be transferred the best way, you need a quick connector. 

The best sound cards usually use USB-C connectors.

But make sure to check the USB type when buying because some of the cables look the same.

USB 3 and Thunderbolt are both excellent solutions but look for USB-C if possible. 

What Is Low Latency?

Latency is the time it takes the sound recording to reach your ears.

Ok, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

When recording, the sound needs to travel to your PC, go through the DAW, your plugins, and then return to the sound card’s outputs.

You need to look for a sound card with low latency if you don’t want your recording artist to be completely confused by the sound delay. 

12 Of The Best Sound Cards For Music Production

Those are some of the things you should pay attention to. But let’s get to the meat and potatoes of our today’s piece.

Below, my friends, you can find the 12 best external sound cards for music production on the market.

Audio Interface FAQ

How can I record music at home?

You don’t need to go to an expensive studio to record, mix, and master a song that millions of people can hear. To record a song, you need to have: 1. DAW: A Digital Audio Workstation, or a piece of software that you can use to record your vocals/instruments, edit the sound, and then mix the final version of the song. 2. Microphone: You can’t record a song without having a microphone; you don’t need a high-end one; you can buy a cheap condenser microphone and get to business. 3. Sound Card: If you want to have a quality sound card, your recording won’t sound professional as you probably want it to; that’s why getting a sound card is a must.

What is the purpose of the sound card?

A sound card, or an audio interface, is hardware that provides input and output of audio signals to and from a PC under a computer program’s control. The term sound card is applied to both internal and external audio devices used by professional and part-time musicians to record a demo and radio-ready songs. 

Does sound card improve audio quality?

Although your recording’s sound largely depends on your signal’s quality, the sound will be compromised without the right processing hardware. A sound card has a significant impact on the quality of your recording. The effect happens when you connect an analog mic to a standard port on your card. The best external sound cards for music production have quality A/D converters that ensure that your PC captures the sound you want perfectly. 

Why do you need an external sound card?

If you want to make a home recording studio, you need to have the best external sound cards to capture the sound as close as it sounds in person. A sound card allows you to turn an ordinary computer into a serious recording station and create complete songs from scratch. An external sound card also adds audio ports to your computer, which allow you to connect and power studio-quality microphones to it. 

What makes an external audio interface good?

The best external sound cards are essential for producers during the recording and the mixing stage of music production. An integrated, stock sound card won’t give you a professional-sounding recording. On the other hand, a quality sound card can turn a simple laptop and expand its capabilities greatly, with several different MIDI connectors, monitoring options, as well as inputs and outputs. 

Final Thoughts

Writing this article made me realize how lucky we are.

We can buy equipment for less than a couple hundred dollars, go back home, record a song, and create a hit!

However, It wasn’t always so easy.

The first home recording studios appeared half a century ago. Yes, you could record a song in your home, even back in the 70s. However, it took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to do it.

Of course, that’s not the main reason why no one made bedroom hits back then.

You needed a ton of money too. That was the bigger problem. For a raggedy home recording system, you had to shell out some $10,000 back in those days. 

In the past decade, CD sales have declined by 80%. People stream their music more than anything. That means the small guys can compete with the music industry now. 

Of course, you already know most of this. I’m not here to give a motivational speech. You have Shia GIFs for that. 

Instead, I’m here to help you have a good understanding of the importance of a decent audio interface and how you can get one for a relatively low price.

I have the RME Babyface Pro FS and absolutely love it.

It sounds incredible, has no latency issues, has fantastic build quality, and comes with some great software.

However, as you can see above, there are plenty of great options to choose from to suit most budgets.

I‘m pretty confident you’ll be able to find the right one for you.