What is the Best Audio Interface for Windows 10?

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Looking for the perfect audio interface for your computer running on Windows 10? You’ve come to the right place! Our article about 7 best audio interfaces for Windows 10 is here to explain all the things you may or may not know about audio interfaces and help you make up your mind and select the best audio interface for your needs.

What is an Audio Interface?

An audio interface is a device that allows you to record all the instruments and vocals. As you probably know, all the instruments (including your voice) deliver analog audio and, in order to record all that audio and transfer it to your PC, you have to convert it to digital because computers can only process digital information. An audio interface is that bridge that converts all the incoming analog audio into digital and transports it to your PC for recording and/or processing and editing. Digital-to-Analog conversion is the primary purpose of every audio interface. So, an audio interface is a device that makes recording possible.

The audio interface also allows you to monitor all the recorded audio – it has a built-in digital-to-analog converter. That’s the secondary purpose of an interface but it’s still important and it’s very convenient. After all, every recording artist wants to hear the product of his work.

Do All Audio Interfaces Come with Windows 10 Drivers?

Most audio interfaces come with both – macOS and Windows drivers. Older interfaces may come with Windows 7 drivers but, in most cases, they are also compatible with Windows 10. Regardless of the fact that there’s a great chance that the interface is perfectly compatible with Windows 10, you should still pay attention to the drivers that come with the unit and always check if it comes with Windows drivers.

Recommended : Do You Need an Audio Interface for Ableton?

Another thing to be careful about is the type of connection. Audio interfaces have either a USB connection (USB Type-B or USB Type-C), Thunderbolt connection (which physically looks the same as USB Type-C but has greater capabilities), or Lighting connection. Those with Lightning connection are designed specifically for Apple devices and you should probably avoid them. In some cases, they also come with appropriate USB adapters for PCs and with Windows drivers, but in most cases, they will only work with Apple devices. 

Units with Thunderbolt connections are usually quite expensive and are primarily designed for macOS, but since the connection is physically the same as USB-C, they are all compatible with PCs running on Windows. However, you will never get the same kind of performance when using PCs and computers running on macOS (USB-C is simply much slower than Thunderbolt).

All USB audio interfaces that we know of, whether they are USB Type-B or USB-C, are compatible with both Windows and macOS and come with drivers for both operating systems.

Our Top Picks

This post contains affiliate links. See the affiliate disclaimer here.

ProductPriceOverall RatingReview
BEHRINGER UMC22Check Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
Shure MViCheck Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96Check Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
Tascam US-2×2Check Price on Amazon4.4Read Review
PreSonus Studio 24cCheck Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
Focusrite Scarlett 18i8Check Price on Amazon4.8Read Review
Roland RUBIX22Check Price on Amazon4.2Read Review

How Much Does a Good Audio Interface for Windows 10 Cost?

Well, it all depends on your needs. If you’re just looking for your first audio interface for a small home recording studio or for podcasts, then you can get a great 2IN-2OUT interface for $200 or less. If you’re on a budget, then you can get a decent audio interface for less than $100. Higher-quality interfaces with better mic preamps and higher D-A/A-D conversion rates cost a little bit more. Also, interfaces with multiple inputs/outputs will cost you $500 or more. Professional audio interfaces are even pricier. Some Antelope Audio and Universal Audio interfaces are priced well over $2,000.

As you can see, the price varies a lot. Your choice depends on two things – on your needs (how many instruments/mics you want to connect and what kind of sound you want to achieve) and on your budget. If your budget is tight, then you will probably have to make some compromises, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get the kind of performance you are looking for. Affordable audio interfaces can be surprisingly good.

So, now that you have some basic understanding of audio interfaces, you can check out our top suggestions. Our selection of 7 best audio interfaces for Windows 10 is divided into price-based categories (best under $100, best under $500). We did our best to make a comprehensive selection and offer something for every budget. Good luck finding the perfect interface for your needs!


BEST AUDIO INTERFACES FOR WINDOWS 10 UNDER $100

Best Budget USB Audio Interface – BEHRINGER UMC22

BEHRINGER UMC22

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

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Impressions

UMC22 is a simple and intuitive 2IN/2OUT USB interface made for home use. It’s a perfect choice for beginners on a budget. 

The interface comes with all the necessary drivers for Windows (downloadable from Behringer’s website). It’s also compatible with macOS. The unit is compatible with all the most popular DAW software tools and comes with 150+ free plugins and virtual instruments. You can also download the Tracktion DAW software but you can use any software you prefer.

The unit has a solid metal chassis with a simple connection/control scheme. On the front, you have one XLR/TRS combo input and one standard ¼-in TRS instrument input, each with its own gain knob and with two LED indicators (signal/clip). The front panel also houses one headphone output with a volume control dial and a button for direct monitoring. On the back, there’s a pair of line outputs, a 48V ‘phantom power’ switch (in case you want to use a condenser mic), and a USB port for connecting your PC (USB port is, at the same time, used for power supply).

The interface uses high-quality MIDAS mic preamp and has a max sample rate of 48kHz.

Advantages

  • Cheap
  • Compatible with macOS (no drivers needed) and Windows (downloadable drivers)
  • Solid build
  • Simple and intuitive connections and controls
  • XLR/TRS mic combo input x1
  • MIDAS mic preamp
  • ¼-in TRS instrument input x1
  • Separate gain controls
  • Two outputs – headphone output and RCA line output
  • Features 48V phantom power switch
  • Supports direct monitoring 
  • Max sample rate – 48kHz, max bit depth 24bit

Disadvantages

  • Mild hiss with high mic gain
  • Lacks dedicated power supply

Best Audio Interface for Windows 10 for Mobile Use – Shure MVi

Shure MVi

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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Impressions

Shure MVi is a super-compact audio interface, perfect for desktop and mobile use. It’s primarily made for iOS devices (iPhones and iPads), but it’s also perfectly compatible with Windows devices and macOS devices. The unit comes with two cables (micro USB-to-Lightning cable and micro USB-to-USB) and with all the necessary software. Drivers are installed automatically when you connect the interface to your computer.

On the front, there’s a touch-sensitive panel that allows you to control the mic/instrument gain, headphone volume, and select one of 5 available modes (speech, singing, loud, flat, acoustic). The controls are fairly simple and responsive.

On the back, there’s a single combo input (XLR/TRS) allowing you to connect either microphone or instrument. The input is compatible with Hi-Z instruments and will automatically switch to Hi-Z mode when a ¼-in connection is used. The rear panel also houses one headphone output and one micro USB port.

For additional controls when using iOS and Android devices, you can download the ShurePlus Motiv app.

The unit delivers perfectly stable performance with a clean audio output. The max bit depth and sample rates are 24bit/48kHz. The biggest downside is the lack of versatility (you can use only one mic/instrument at a time).

Advantages

  • Fairly affordable (priced under $100)
  • Super-compact 
  • Made for iOS (MFi device) but compatible with Windows and macOS
  • XLR/TRS input x1 (for microphones and hi-z instruments)
  • Headphone output
  • Simple, intuitive, and responsive touch-sensitive control panel
  • 5 sound modes for different purposes
  • ShurePlus Motiv app for iOS and Android
  • Max bit depth – 24bit, max sample rate – 48kHz

Disadvantages

  • Lack of versatility (has only one combo input)

Best Audio Interface for Windows 10 Under $100 – PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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Impressions

USB 96 is one of many boxy and compact USB audio interfaces on the market. It’s one of the best deals and one of the most versatile interfaces under $100. It is perfect for beginners – it can be used for mini home recording studios, for podcasts, and for many other purposes.

The interface comes with a USB cable (Type-B to Type-A). You can download the Studio One DAW software, Magic Plug-In Suite, and a bunch of third-party software tools and use them for editing.

The front panel houses two combo XLR/TRS inputs. They are compatible with all kinds of microphones and instruments. There are also 5 dials – two gain dials with clipping indicators (one for each input), two volume dials (one for headphones and one for monitors), and one INPUT/PLAYBACK mixer dial that allows you to monitor your recordings with minimal latency. Also, there’s one 48V button designed for condenser microphones.

The rear panel houses monitor outputs, headphone output, two MIDI ports (IN/OUT), and a USB port for connecting your PC and for power supply.

The interface delivers stable and reliable performance. It’s compatible with all the most common DAW software tools so you don’t have to use the included DAW software. The max supported bit depth is 24bit and the max sample rate is 96kHz.

Advantages

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Compatible with macOS and Windows
  • Two XLR/TRS combo inputs (compatible with microphones and instruments)
  • Compatible with condenser mics (48V)
  • Supports direct monitoring
  • MIDI input/output ports for connecting MIDI equipment (like keyboards, controllers, etc.)
  • Two outputs – headphone output and RCA line output
  • Works with all kinds of DAW software
  • Max bit depth – 24bit, max sample rate – 96kHz

Disadvantages

  • Installing all the included free software tools is a bit of a hassle
  • The build quality is not the best

BEST AUDIO INTERFACES FOR WINDOWS 10 UNDER $500

Tascam US-2×2

Tascam US-2x2

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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Impressions

Like the previous interface, Tascam US-2×2 is a simple, boxy, and user-friendly audio interface. It’s designed for Windows and macOS devices, but it’s also compatible with iOS devices (power adapter required and sold separately). The device doesn’t require drivers for macOS and iOS. You can download Windows drivers from the manufacturer’s website. Aside from the unit itself, the packaging includes a USB cable and two DAW software tools (Ableton Live Lite and Cakewalk SONAR X3 LE).

Tascam US-2×2 has a very strong metal chassis. The unit is angled upwards and the whole idea behind this orientation was to improve the usability. You have two combo XLR/TRS inputs on the front. The inputs are compatible with all kinds of microphones, line-level instruments, and guitars (hi-z instruments). For each input, there’s a 48V phantom switch, input type selector (mic/line or instrument), and gain dial with two LED gain indicators (signal and clipping). On the front panel, there’s also a headphone output with a dedicated headphone volume dial, as well as two additional dials (monitor volume and INPUT/COMPUTER mixer dial).

The rear panel houses one pair of line outputs for monitors, MIDI connectors (IN/OUT) for connecting keyboards and MIDI controllers, DC power input (you’re supposed to use a DC adapter when the interface is connected to your iPad/iPhone), and a USB port for connecting your PC/Mac. When using the interface with your PC/Mac, you don’t need a separate power supply (but you can use it).

US-2×2 features high-quality NE5532 op-amps and Ultra-HDDA mic preamps (for low noise and distortion). It delivers clear, accurate, and undistorted sound. The performance is reliable and stable. The max supported bit depth is 24bit and the max sampling rate is 96kHz.

Advantages

  • Priced under $200
  • Compatible with macOS and Windows (drivers included)
  • Compatible with iOS devices (power adapter required)
  • Two combo XLR/TRS inputs with dedicated gain dials and gain/clipping LED indicators
  • Combo inputs are compatible with microphones, hi-z instruments, and devices with line-level outputs
  • Supports 48V phantom power
  • MIDI IN/OUT ports
  • Two outputs – headphone and line output (with dedicated volume dials)
  • Direct monitoring with zero latency
  • Max bit depth – 24bit, max sample rate – 96kHz

Disadvantages

  • The power adapter is not included (sold separately)

Best Audio Interface for Windows 10 Under $200 – PreSonus Studio 24c

PreSonus Studio 24c

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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Impressions

PreSonus Studio 24c looks very similar to the previous PreSonus interface, but it looks and feels more durable, it has a more intuitive interface, it features a USB-C connection, and most importantly, it enables much higher recording quality (up to 24bit/192kHz).

The unit comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable. It’s compatible with Windows and macOS devices. Like every PreSonus interface, the unit comes with the Studio One Artist DAW but it’s also compatible with all the most common digital audio workstations.

PreSonus 24c has a strong metal chassis and looks very professional. The user interface is quite nice. On the left end of the front panel, there are two XLR/TRS combo inputs (mic/line-level/hi-z). In the middle, there’s a display with 4 VU meters (two for gain/clipping and two for volume). On the right end of the front panel, there are 5 dials (two gain dials, two volume dials, and one input/playback mixer dial). Also, there’s a blue 48V button for phantom power.

On the rear panel, you have line-level RCA outputs, headphone output, MIDI ports (IN/OUT) for MIDI keyboards and controllers, and a USB-C port.

Thanks to XMAX-L preamps, PreSonus 24c delivers very clear and undistorted sound. The max recording quality is quite impressive (24bit/192kHz).

Two most important issues we’ve had with this unit are related to iPad compatibility and lack of INST/MIC switch. The unit requires additional equipment in order to work with iPads (powered USB hub and Apple’s USB adapter). Also, since there’s no INST/MIC switch, you don’t get to select the mode. Instead, the unit automatically recognizes the type of connected device and adjusts the gain.

Advantages

  • Priced under $200
  • Compatible with macOS and Windows
  • Simple and intuitive user interface
  • Two combo XLR/TRS inputs (Mic/Line-Level/Inst)
  • Four VU meters
  • Dedicated gain and volume dials for each input/output
  • Works with condenser mics
  • Supports direct monitoring
  • MIDI in/out ports
  • Two outputs – headphone and line out
  • Max bit depth – 24bit, max sample rate – 192kHz

Disadvantages

  • Can’t be used with demanding headphones (250Ω+)
  • Doesn’t have a MIC/INST switch (it will automatically recognize the type of device and adjust the gain)

Most Versatile Audio Interface for Windows 10 Under $400 – Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 (3rd Gen)

Focusrite Scarlett 18i8

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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Impressions

Focusrite 18i8 3rd GEN is a very versatile and very capable audio interface, perfect for band recordings and podcasts. The unit comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable. The packaging also includes a 12V power adapter and a software bundle (Ableton Live Lite, Control software, Plug-in Suite, etc.).

The interface has a recognizable red aluminum chassis with the Focusrite logo on the top. Both rear and front panels are quite crowded.

The front panel houses 4 combo XLR/TRS inputs, each of which has its own dedicated gain dial and gain/clipping indicator. The first two inputs can be used with hi-z instruments while the 3rd and 4th can only be used for mics and line-level devices. There are two 48V phantom power buttons for each of two pairs of front panel inputs. On the right end, you have two headphone outputs with two dedicated volume dials as well as one master volume dial. Next to each combo input, there’s a pair of LED indicators labeled as AIR and PAD. To activate these functions, you have to use the Control software. The first function emulates one of the Focusrite’s mic preamps and the second reduces the mic signal by 10dB. 

Focusrite supports direct monitoring but there’s no dedicated mixer dial or direct monitoring button. You have to enable phantom power from within the software.

The rear panel houses two pairs of RCA line-level outputs and two pairs of line-level inputs. Also, you have two MIDI ports (one IN and one OUT), an optical input port, two SPDIF ports (one IN and one OUT), a USB-C port for connecting your PC, and a DC power input. 

The unit provides more than satisfying performance and allows you to connect an impressive number of sources. The unit allows 24bit/192 DA/AD conversion, which makes it one of the most capable in its price range.

Advantages

  • Reasonably priced (considering the number of connections, features, and overall performance)
  • Recognizable Focusrite design
  • Intuitive user interface
  • 4 combo XLR/TRS inputs with dedicated gain knobs and gain/clipping indicators
  • Two combo inputs can be used for hi-z instruments
  • AIR and PAD functions
  • Two headphone outputs with dedicated gain dials
  • Two pairs of line-level inputs
  • Two pairs of line-level outputs
  • MIDI input/output ports
  • Optical input
  • SPDIF input/output ports
  • Max bit depth – 24bit, max sample rate – 192kHz

Disadvantages

  • Uses USB 2.0 protocol even though it has a USB-C port
  • Not portable (has to be plugged in)

Roland RUBIX22

Roland RUBIX22

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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Impressions

RUBIX22 is yet another simple and boxy audio interface. Compared to cheaper USB units with the same number of inputs/outputs, this one features much better build quality and provides much better performance, higher conversion rates, and higher recording quality.

The unit comes with a USB cable (Type-B to Type-A). The packaging also includes Ableton Live Lite DAW software. The interface is compatible with Windows, macOS, and even iOS devices. You have two power supply options – via USB Type-B connection or via micro USB cable. Micro USB cable and power adapter are not included in the package.

The front panel houses two combo XLR/TRS inputs. The left input features support for high-impedance instruments like guitars (you have to press the hi-z button when a high-impedance instrument is connected). There’s a gain dial and gain/clipping indicator for each input. Next to the second input, there’s a 48V phantom power button in case you are using a condenser microphone. Further to the right, there’s a headphone output with its own volume dial and a master volume dial.

On the back, you have one pair of RCA line outputs, MIDI in/out ports, USB Type-B port, and a micro USB port. Between two USB ports, there’s a switch that allows you to select the power supply port (5V DC via micro USB or USB Type-B). Between the line outputs and MIDI ports, there are two more switches – one for direct monitoring (mono or stereo) and one for ground lift. You can use the ground lift switch (move it to LIFT position) if you experience issues with the ground loop noise.

Rubix22 features high-quality mic preamps that deliver low-noise output and distortion-free sound. The max recording/conversion quality is 24bit/192kHz.

Advantages

  • Great build quality
  • Compatible with Windows (driver available on Roland’s official webpage), Mac, and iPad
  • Intuitive controls and input scheme
  • Two combo XLR/TRS inputs (one of them is compatible with hi-z instruments)
  • 48V phantom power
  • Direct monitoring (mono/stereo)
  • MIDI IN/OUT ports
  • Two power supply options (micro USB input for iPads and USB Type-B for Mac/PC)
  • Two outputs – line output and headphone output
  • Extremely low-noise output
  • Max bit depth – 24bit, max sample rate – 192kHz

Disadvantages

  • Micro USB cable and power adapter are not included in the package

This was our selection of 7 best audio interfaces for Windows 10. Hopefully, it helped you make up your mind and find the best interface for your needs. If you want to do your own research and check out some other models, we have prepared for you a simple buyer’s guide with some important tips and tricks on what to look for.


Buyer’s Guide – Things to Look for When Buying an Audio Interface for Windows 10

Windows 10 compatibility

Check if the unit comes with Windows 10 drivers. In some cases, especially when it comes to older interfaces, you will find drivers for Windows 7 and older versions but they are usually compatible with Windows 10. If you’re not sure, read about other users’ experiences and make sure that the unit works with PCs running on Windows 10.

Connection to your PC

As explained in the introduction, practically all USB audio interfaces are compatible with Windows PCs. Audio interfaces with Thunderbolt connections are usually compatible with Windows machines but don’t deliver the same kind of performance with macOS and Windows devices (they work better with macOS devices). Units with lightning ports are made for Apple devices and usually aren’t compatible with Windows devices.

Inputs (mic inputs, instrument inputs, optical inputs, MIDI inputs)

Depending on the number of microphones and instruments you want to use and record, you will be looking for a device with an appropriate number (and type) of inputs. The simplest (and cheapest) units have one or two mic inputs (XLR or combo XLR/6.35mm) and one or two instrument inputs. More advanced units have additional inputs (MIDI IN/OUT ports and optical) allowing you to connect additional audio equipment (mixers, MIDI keyboards, and drums).  

Outputs (headphone and monitor outputs)

Most units, even the cheapest ones, have at least one headphone output and/or monitor line outputs. Pricier audio interfaces have multiple headphone outputs and line outputs.

Controls and indicators

All audio interfaces have some knobs and buttons for controlling different features. Some units have only one knob and you first have to select the thing you want to control (gain, volume) and then use the knob to adjust the desired settings. Other units have separate knobs for each input and for each output. Also, some units have a single-LED clipping indicator while others have nice and more informative VU meters. The fact that some unit has only one knob or multiple knobs for each function doesn’t make it better/worse than the other. It’s just a matter of preference.

Additional Features

Most units (but not all) have 48V ‘phantom power’ button, which is very important when using condenser microphones. If you have one, make sure that your interface supports this feature.

Some interfaces have additional features like mic preamp frequency response modifications (AIR and PAD functions on Focusrite interfaces). More advanced and pricier interfaces have even more additional features and functions. Expensive UAD and Antelope Audio interfaces have internal processors that can process all the applied effects even before the audio reaches your PC. This allows you to unload the burden from your PC.

Price

As explained in the introduction, the market has something to offer for every budget and every need. The cheapest 1IN/1OUT and 2IN/2OUT units are priced under $100. You can find a pretty nice one for less than $200 or $300. More versatile and higher-quality interfaces are priced over $500. A bunch of high-end audio interfaces made by reputable brands are priced well over $1000. 

What’s the Best Audio Interface for Windows 10?

It’s impossible to give only one answer to this question. After all, we all have different budgets and different needs. The best advice we can give you is to check out our selection of 7 best audio interfaces for Windows 10 and find the one that meets all of your requirements.

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