If you’re a musician who’s starting to get serious about recording your work yourself, you need a USB audio interface that lets you connect any microphone to a computer or iPad and record multiple tracks at once. We tested nine audio interfaces and found that they all record clear audio, but the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 offers the best combination of features, portability, and ease of use.

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is our favorite USB audio interface for musicians who want to record up to two tracks simultaneously onto a computer. Due to its logically arranged inputs and adjustment knobs, the 2i2 is easy to set up and use to record vocals and acoustic or electric instruments to any digital audio workstation.

The interface works with iOS, macOS, and Windows devices and comes with versions of popular recording software. Its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to toss in your backpack or suitcase for mobile recording sessions. The 2i2 lacks a built-in MIDI interface, but unless you have a lot of older MIDI instruments lying around, this shouldn’t be a big issue.

If the Focusrite 2i2 is unavailable, or if you have a lot of older gear with five-pin MIDI connectors, the PreSonus AudioBox iTwo is a great alternative. It has the same iPad functionality and portability as the 2i2, but its smaller clipping lights and less-intuitive front-panel design make it a little harder to use.

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