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Audio interfaces are an essential component in any production setup.
Two-channel interfaces are perfect for beginners, live use, and as backups.
Here are the best 2 channel audio interfaces you can buy!
Audio interfaces have improved by leaps and bounds in the last two decades. They have become more capable, smaller, and cheaper, and thus the gap between consumer and professional grade interfaces has shrunk considerably.
And in a truly mobile world, 2-channel audio interfaces are used by some of the top musicians, producers, and engineers to work on ideas and mixes from their hotel rooms or backstage in the middle of a tour.
Naturally, beginners also gravitate to these complete recording solutions due to their reduced costs and incredible characteristics.
2 balanced line inputs, suitable for connecting line-level sources
Unique, intuitive halo level indicators for optimized gain staging
Direct Monitor circuit for monitoring your input with guaranteed low-latency
Balanced TRS L/R monitor outputs with level control
The third-generation Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 features two upgraded Scarlett mic preamps, high-performance 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA converters, optimized preamp gain structure, low latency, and instrument inputs that can handle hot sources.
To top it off, the mic preamps now come with Focusrite’s Air mode which provides the Air effect modeled on the company’s legendary ISA console transformers to provide your voice and instrument recordings a brighter, more open sound.
This interface runs on USB bus power and features two mic/line/instrument inputs for simultaneous recording and playback of up to two channels. All of this with independently controllable headphones and monitor outputs.
In a direct answer to its customers, Focusrite added compatibility for iPad Pros with USB-C ports. Just plug into your compatible iPad Pro and open your music-making app. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
The Scarlett 2i2 also features halo indicators to let you know when your signal level for recording is optimal. If the halo is red, your signal is clipping, and you need to cut back on the gain.
The halo will momentarily turn amber as the level becomes acceptable at which point it will turn green. This ensures you will always be recording at the optimal level!
This interface is also great for mobile recording and comes with a comprehensive software bundle headlined by Ableton Live Lite and the Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack. You also get Softube’s Time and Tone Bundle, the Focusrite Red Plug-In Suite, and access to the Focusrite Plug-in Collective.
This makes the Scarlett a fantastic choice for beginners looking for their first interface.
2. Universal Audio Apollo Solo Heritage Edition Thunderbolt 3
For decades, Universal Audio has been the maker of some of the most revered pieces of audio equipment in the world. From compressors to limiters and preamps, UA gear holds a special spot in the audio world.
Their Apollo series of interfaces are nothing short of impressive, with not only fantastic preamps and overall features, but an ecosystem of modeled plug-ins that rival the originals they are based off.
The Apollo x4 Heritage Edition comes with a premium suite of 10 award-winning plug-ins, along with the Realtime Analog Classics Plus bundle, arming you with accurate emulations of vintage analog hardware.
It allows you to take control of your interface’s monitoring, talkback, and headphone systems, track and overdub with UAD DSP-accelerated plug-ins in real-time, and benefit from full software-based control over Apollo’s Unison mic preamps, without leaving your production software.
Another breakthrough feature that Universal Audio includes with audio interfaces is the UAD-2 processing power. It allows you to take the processing load off your computer and instead be handled by UAD’s super-powerful Analog Devices SHARC processors.
Universal Audio’s Apollo Solo interface has one of these SHARC processors built-in, which gives you enough power to track small sessions and start building your mix.
The UA Apollo Solo is a Thunderbolt 3 audio interface. UA also produces an Apollo Solo with USB-C instead. However, thunderbolt is one of the most important technologies to impact audio production in years, and UA was one of the first to adopt it.
It provides extremely fast connectivity, lower latency, and greater stability than USB or FireWire, with the convenience of a single cable. With the Apollo Solo’s Thunderbolt 3 connection you will be able to run projects with high track counts at incredibly low latency.
Additionally, this interface comes with the renowned UAD Powered Plug-ins bundle. The UAD platform features superb processing power that has made these plug-ins so popular among discerning professionals.
The Audient EVO 4 interface offers great sound quality and is our pick for the most portable interface on this list. (???)
This USB 2.0 audio interface fits in the palm of your hand and is a 2-in/2-out, 24-bit/96kHz solution for recording on the road and on the go. It can easily fit in a backpack and offers ultra-low latency performance, Smartgain automatic level setting function, and more.
The Audient EVO 4 features two inputs on two EVO mic pres as well as an innovative Smartgain function. This function helps you set gain quickly and accurately so you can get to work without worrying about clipping and distortion.
All you have to do is press the Smartgain button and choose the channels you want to use to record. Once you start playing, singing, or speaking into your microphone, the Smartgain function will automatically set the input level.
If you live stream, then the Audient EVO 4 has a loopback functionality that will be of great help. It lets you blend your mic or other input signals with the output from your computer, then sends the blended signal back to your computer.
This significantly simplifies recording your computer’s output for streaming purposes.
This 2 channel interface also includes the EVO Control app, compatible with both macOS and Windows. This app lets you make easy adjustments to the EVO 4’s hardware directly from your computer, enabling you to set and monitor levels, mute microphones, activate Smartgain, and more without even touching the audio interface itself.
The Audient iD14 is a bus-powered, expandable two-channel interface audio interface. It features 2 ASP Console Class A preamps, and is compact and user-friendly, with the potential to expand to ten channels thanks to its 8-channel ADAT input.
8-channel ADAT input lets you expand to a total of 10 channels
The Audient iD14 features a Scroll control ID mode, which makes controlling your DAW a more streamlined experience. This interface comes with an endless rotary encoder which you can assign using the illuminated buttons, and set it to speaker or headphone control.
Other features include Mono sum, Talkback, Polarity reverse, and Cue-mix monitoring, all assignable to the previously mentioned scroll feature.
You can also opt to operate it by hovering your mouse over any function. This lets you use the rotary dial in place of your mouse wheel, helping ease workloads within your DAW.
There are two combined XLR/TRS inputs and two jack outputs, as well as a JFET DI out and a headphone auxiliary out.
The JFET DI is engineered in the same way as a standard valve amp input and guarantees that the signal is matched to your instrument for optimal recordings. It also gives the Line-in tone coloration, adding a vintage amp vibe.
The I/O on the Audient iD14 is expandable because it has an optical input that works as a regular S/PDIF but supports ADAT (Alesis Digital Audio Tape). That allows you to connect further preamps if you wish and can be expanded to a ten in, two out interface.
The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 interface is the bigger brother of the Audio 1. These are two entry-level audio interfaces created specifically for beginners interested in music production and recording.
The Komplete Audio 1 and Komplete Audio 2 are both 2-in/4-out bus-powered USB 2.0 boxes, differing only in the nature of those ins and outs. For simplicity, we’re going to focus on the Audio 2 in this write-up.
2 XLR/DI combi inputs with 48V phantom power for flexible stereo recording
Stereo output jacks for use at home, the studio, or onstage
VU Meter for accurately adjusting levels
Direct Monitoring: zero-latency, high-power output
Big volume knob for easily adjusting the output level
The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 interface features a design in whichhalf of its top panel houses LEDs for two input ladder meters, USB connection, and 48 V phantom power, while the other half features a big output volume knob.
It is quite portable weighing only 360 g, and measuring just 140 mm x 52mm x 112mm.
This audio interface features a single stereo headphone output and two main outs on 1/4″ jacks, for serving professional studio monitors and the like. The big knob on top controls the main out level, and the headphones get their own volume control on the front panel.
The Komplete Audio 2 also features two combo XLR/ jack inputs, both phantom powered and independently switchable between the instrument and line levels.
With this interface, you can simultaneously record two mics, or bass and guitar, or the left and right outs of a synth, etc. The latency is in line with a typical USB 2.0 interface, from 7.55ms round trip at 44.1k Hz with a 32-sample buffer, to 51.8 ms at 1024 samples.
It comes with two channels of solid 24-bit/192kHz audio, low-noise Crystal preamp/TRS input with +62dB of gain for driving studio condenser mics to stage dynamics, along with a hi-Z input for keys and guitars. This is our best value option for this list.
Another great feature of the AIR 192X4 is the direct front-mounted 1/4″ instrument input guitar and bass. Additionally, this 2×2 audio interface includes the Eleven Lite FX suite which features several virtual amps, cabs, and stomp options to choose from, so you can leave your amp and pedalboard behind if you wish.
The M-Audio AIR 192X4 sports a rugged tabletop form factor that is desk-friendly and places all essential controls right at your fingertips, with an ergonomic tilt that improves desktop and remote use visibility.
Its large central volume knob provides easy access for setting desired monitoring levels. The all-metal chassis feels great and gives this interface a sense of durability and sturdiness, despite its small size.
The M-Audio AIR 192X4 is a USB-C protocol (also compatible with USB 2.0) interface that helps minimize latency when you’re tracking and monitoring.
To top it off, this interface comes with all the software you need to get you started recording like the pros: Pro Tools First, Ableton Live Lite, Avid Eleven Lite guitar/bass processor, and more.
Overall, this is a great option for beginners that have a limited budget and don’t want to sacrifice much.
7. Solid State Logic SSL2
A Solid State Logic audio interface with two channels at an affordable price? You bet! SSL has been the maker of some of the most renowned recording consoles for 40 years, with some costing more than your parent’s house!
With the SSL2, this legendary company brings a set of pro-grade preamps and stunning 24-bit/192 kHz converters to the home studio, at a price that even beginners can afford.
The SSL2+ comes stocked with a set of pro-grade preamps, stunning 24-bit/192 kHz converters, and a host of helpful I/O options, including four line outputs, two headphone jacks and 5-pin DIN MIDI in and out.
Legendary SSL sound for your home or portable studio
2 class-leading microphone preamps
Pristine 24-bit/192kHz AKM converters
Solid build quality, with heavy-duty chassis, Neutrik connectors, and Alps pots
Intuitive front panel design with easy-to-read meters
The SSL2 audio interfacefeatures that natural sound and excellent build quality for which SSL is recognized. Equipped with two class-leading microphone/line/instrument inputs and 24-bit/192 kHz converters from industry-renowned manufacturer AKM, the SSL2 offers fantastic quality in a small form factor.
This audio interface is housed in a sturdy, attractive enclosure and features Neutrik connectors and Alps pots.
Its front panel design offers an intuitive workflow with easy-to-read meters and an ergonomically satisfying feel that will surely be welcome at your home studio. The SSL2 also features a high-current headphone amp for precise monitoring.
The first is a musical, high-frequency EQ boost that will push a vocal or instrument forward in the mix, for a deeper, more dimensional sonic profile. Then, a subtle addition of harmonic distortion sweetens the sound and adds personality to the signal.