Log InCreate An Account
  1. KVR Audio
  2. »
  3. Articles
  4. »
  5. Buying Guide
Best Budget Audio Interfaces for Music Production Studios Under $250

Best Budget Audio Interfaces for Music Production Studios Under $250

By The Article Master on

When it comes to purchasing or upgrading a music production studio, selecting the right audio interface is a pretty important step to planning your setup. It is essentially the bridge between all the elements that make up your production environment, from your computer and DAW, to your speakers and any external hardware you may have. While you can technically get away with a built-in interface on your computer or laptop, at some point you are most likely going to want better audio drivers, more connectivity, additional options for recording and better control over monitoring. Fortunately, you don't need to break the bank to find a high-quality interface these days. Here's a look at what we consider some of the best budget audio interfaces under $250, perfect for both budding producers and seasoned musicians looking for compact solutions. All interfaces below are USB interfaces for easy connectivity and feature options for both recording and monitoring as well as compact form factors.

Solid State Logic SSL2+ USB Audio Interface

The Solid State Logic SSL2+ brings the legendary SSL sound to your home studio. With two high-quality preamps and SSL's Legacy 4K analogue enhancement, it adds character and clarity to your recordings. This interface is perfect for producers and engineers who want professional-grade recordings without the overhead of a full SSL console.

Included Software:

  • 3-month FREE SSL Complete subscription

  • BFD Player + Pop Essentials LE

  • SoundID Reference from Sonarworks

  • Arcade by Output

  • Antares Auto-Tune Unlimited

  • AmpliTube 5 SE

  • Native Instruments: Hybrid Keys & Komplete Start

  • Ableton Live 11 Lite

  • AAS Session Bundle

  • Melodyne Essential from Celemony

Price: $249.99 at Sweetwater

Audient iD4 MKII USB-C Audio Interface

The Audient iD4 MKII brings Audient's console-grade preamps to a compact, budget-friendly interface. With a high-quality mic preamp and a JFET instrument input, it delivers a clean, accurate sound. We love the intuitive ScrollControl mode that allows you to use the volume knob to scroll through your DAW, adding that extra bit of versatility for producers.

Included Software:

  • Sonarworks

  • Steinberg Retrologue 2

  • Strymon BigSky

  • Waldorf Edition 2 LE

  • Arcade by Output

  • Spitfire Audio Cinematic Pads

  • Cubase & Cubasis LE 3

  • 3 Free online courses from Produce Like a Pro

  • Loopcloud Subscription

  • Gforce M-tron Select

  • Torpedo Wall of Sound

Price: $199.00 at Sweetwater

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 USB Audio Interface

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 is a solid option for any producer. With 2 inputs and 4 outputs, it's suitable for recording instruments and more complex monitoring setups. The outputs are DC coupled too, so the Komplete Audio 6 can pass CV to drive a small Eurorack rig. It also comes with a range of software, including Maschine Essentials and Ableton Live Lite, making it a great package for producers looking to start creating right out of the box.

Included Software:

  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Maschine Essentials
  • Komplete Start
  • iZotope Elements Suite

Price: $179.00 at Sweetwater

Universal Audio Volt 2 USB-C Audio Interface

The Universal Audio Volt 2 brings Universal Audio's renowned sound into a budget-friendly package. With two inputs and outputs, this interface offers classic analog preamp emulations to add warmth and depth to your recordings. It's a great choice for musicians and podcasters alike looking for Universal Audio's signature sound without the high-end price tag.

Included Software:

  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Melodyne Essential
  • Softube Marshall
  • Plugin Alliance Ampeg
  • Relab LX480 Essentials

Price: $189.00 at Sweetwater

Steinberg IXO22 2x2 USB Audio Interface

Brand new from Steinberg, the IXO22 is an entry level interface featuring a compact and lightweight design, great sound quality and ease of use. Drawing on Yamaha's experience creating quality audio hardware, Steinberg interfaces offer great value, and are a no-brainer especially if you are wanting to delve deeper into their award winning DAW, Cubase.

Included Software:

  • Cubase LE
  • Cubasis LE
  • Steinberg Plus which includes:
    • HALion Sonic
    • Groove Agent SE
    • Retrologue
    • Anima
    • 2GB sounds and loops

Price: $169.99 Sweetwater

Arturia MiniFuse 2 USB-C Audio Interface

Compact and feature-packed, the Arturia MiniFuse 2 is a great choice for producers. With two inputs and outputs, it offers intuitive controls for monitoring and volume. It also includes a suite of software tools to get your production started, including Ableton Live Lite and Arturia's own Analog Lab Intro.

Included Software:

  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Analog Lab Intro
  • 4 x Arturia FX: A world-class preamp, plate reverb, tape echo and chorus effects
  • Auto-Tune: 3-month subscription
  • Guitar Rig 6 LE
  • Splice subscription: 3 months free

Price: $149.00 at Sweetwater

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 4th Gen USB Audio Interface

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo 4th Gen stands out for its high-quality preamps and straightforward operation. Ideal for solo artists and vocalists, this interface delivers crystal-clear recordings with its single mic preamp and a dedicated instrument input. Its Air mode adds a bright, more open sound to your vocal and acoustic recordings, emulating Focusrite's legendary ISA console transformers.

Included Software:

  • Antares Auto-Tune Access
  • Softube Marshall Silver Jubilee 2555
  • Native Instruments Massive
  • Landr Studio (plus five free masters)
  • Brainworx bx_console Focusrite SC
  • Focusrite Red 2 & 3 Plug-in Suite
  • XLN Audio Addictive Keys
  • XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2
  • Relab LX480 Essentials
  • Fast Balancer
  • Sonnox VoxDoubler

Price: $139.99 at Sweetwater

Conclusion

The options highlighted offer a range of features to suit various recording needs, from solo vocal tracks to multi-instrument setups. These interfaces prove that affordability doesn't mean compromising on quality or functionality, ensuring that your music production studio is well-equipped to bring your creative visions to life.


This article includes affiliate links from Sweetwater.com.

Read More Buying Guide


Discussion

Discussion

Discussion: Active
BONES
BONES
2 February 2024 at 11:44pm

I'd take a Zoom U-24 over any of these options, It is the quietest interface I have ever used (and I've owned a dozen or so over the years) and it has more features than any of these others, including full-size MIDI in/out ports. It is super lightweight and designed to easily slip into your laptop bag without having to worry about damaging the unit.

Price: $159 at Sweetwater

rafa1981
rafa1981
20 February 2024 at 1:50pm

It used to be that for latency, at least on Windows, the best ones were RME, Motu (the M2 would fit on this list) and more recently Zoom. Has this changed?

E.D.L.
E.D.L.
21 February 2024 at 6:43am

I wonder why the very popular MOTU's M2 is not listed. Had NI and Audient Interfaces in the past, but M2 is simply the best in terms of macOS integration, and it sounds great.

VELLTONE MUSIC
VELLTONE MUSIC
21 February 2024 at 6:37pm

Scarlett 4th Gen is the best budget tool imho.

Gen 3 was better, than these mentioned, Gen 4 is step ahead as specs and sound.

Expensive studio for home producers with budget.

Don't know why i always sound like i advertise something, somebody to start pay me :):):).

Please log in to join the discussion