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Studio Live Today: Best USB Audio Interfaces under $100

Studio Live Today Pete Johns shows off a couple of great audio interfaces you can use on iOS, and pick up for under $100. In fact I was surprised to learn that the UR12 is just $50!

Video Description:

NOTE: These prices were current as of November 25th, 2018 for customers in the US.

Check out these Steinberg USB Audio Interfaces on Amazon:
Steinberg UR12 Audio Interface - https://amzn.to/2P0jRfZ
Steinberg UR22mkII Audio Interface - https://amzn.to/2S9QgTe

Best USB Audio Interfaces under $100.

In this video, I take you through my favourite USB Audio Interfaces, the Steinberg UR12 and UR22mkII.

If you are getting serious about your home or mobile recording, then a USB audio interface is a great investment to get the best quality sound from you microphones, guitars and other audio source.

An audio interface enables you to connect to your PC, Mac or iPhone/iPad (using the lightning to USB adapter) via USB to record your microphones and other audio sources in much better quality than the standard microphone or line in jacks on your computer or mobile device.

The Steinberg UR12 and Steinberg UR22mkII are a great option, an deliver:
• Quality D-Pre preamps - low noise floor and great clarity
• Excellent built quality - they are built like tanks
• Multiple power options - ability to power via USB bus or a 5v DC connection (like a mobile powerbank)
• Great reliability - class compliant for "plug and play" compatibility across all devices

Head on over to http://studiolivetoday.com for more audio goodness.

== Web & Social ==

Web - http://studiolivetoday.com
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Email - studiolivetoday@gmail.com

November 26, 2018  | person_outline Tim Webb
I wish I'd seen this video a few days ago. I ended up ordering a PreSonus Audiobox iTwo for $150 USD, which should arrive in a few days. I also picked up an iConnectivity mio for just a quick & dirty MIDI i/o.

I wasn't aware of the Steinberg box as an iOS option. Sweetwater didn't bring it up in its iOS interface search. The UR's get better reviews than the Presonus. Sounds like it's pretty rugged, though the Presonus is also supposedly built pretty well. Anyway, hopefully the Presonus is good. One complaint people had was that it didn't charge the iPad in use, so you had to plan around that. I think there was some kind of Apple adapter to allow charging & USB access. Perhaps a powered hub might work.

Does anyone have any options about the Presonus vs the Steinberg?

I guess if I don't like the Presonus, I can exchange it.
November 26, 2018  | favorite_border stub
Ah, audio interfaces! An unending quest! (For me, at least.)

Part of the difference between those hardware devices by DAW makers PreSonus and Steinberg is in the bundled software. Not that it really makes a difference on iOS (Steinberg only bundles Cubasis LE) or if you already have a favourite DAW. But that’s one way manufacturers try to differentiate themselves.
The Wirecutter article about USB Audio (from 2016) does list the PreSonus Audiobox iTwo as a runner-up to their top pick. They criticize the UR22mkII for some design flaws.
https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-usb-audio-interface/

Sounds like the UR12 is actually $100USD, new ($130CAD). Through that link from the video, you can go to the Amazon listing with used ones starting at $49 through Amazon Warehouse, but only in the US (the Canadian equivalent starts at $120CAD, so $90USD). In this season of impressive deals, this one doesn’t sound like it’ll cause me major FoMO.

Did buy a Steinberg UR22mkII, some months back. Had issues with MIDI notes getting stuck. Didn’t have the same problem with other MIDI interfaces. Tried different things, nothing worked. Emailed to get some support, never got any news. The sound performance wasn’t that impressive to my ears. Decided to return it after a few days. It might have ended up working properly, but it wasn’t worth the effort of figuring out these things. On Friday, was finally able to apply the remaining store credit to the purchase of the IK Multimedia UNO at 33% off. Now, that’s been a whole lot of fun.

In the meantime, got a used Roland FA-66 for really cheap. It’s FireWire, which is why it was so cheap. But my 2012 MacBook Pro does have a FireWire port and it’s really nice a good interface. It also complements my iPad Pro pretty well through Inter-Device Audio and MIDI.

Started thinking about interfaces again, after getting some hardware synths (aforementioned UNO and a used MicroBrute through Kijiji).

Somewhat interested in the cheap Behringer ones despite that company’s track record with sites covering their unsavoury practices. Tascam and Focusrite don’t suffer from those same problems and a few models are reasonably priced. Last year, Focusrite had some good Boxing Day specials (the day after Christmas). Ordered an interface only to cancel it quickly, after rethinking my decision. Their service was so good that it actually made me feel good.

Otherwise, though, it’s hard not to be tempted by the iConnectAudio4+ (and ica2). In a way, it can provide for a cross-platform equivalent to IDAM. And the specs are quite good. The ability to host several USB devices is nothing to sneeze at, in the ica4+ case. But the more reasonably-priced ica2 could make for a fun experience.

So, my search for the ideal price-to-feature ratio in the audio interface world isn’t over. Finding a used ica4+ might put an end to it, but that remains to be seen. (There’s one on eBay right now but it sounds like the seller only ships within the US.)
November 26, 2018  | favorite_border Enkerli
@Enkerli

Thanks for this reply. It's reassuring that I might have picked a more trouble-free option.

My main needs are getting MIDI in and decent audio out for live synth/sampler playing; also, working with more elaborate MIDI realtime control of iOS synths, like Zeeon, or external synths/effects, via control surfaces and enhanced by MIDI Designer.

I'll probably start a little thread in the forum to follow up, after I try things and learn more.
November 27, 2018  | favorite_border stub
I read the wire-cutter article. Thanks!

It's funny, both the Steinberg AND the Tascam are available at Sweetwater, but neither one came up in their list if iOS interfaces. I had to dig down to the bottom of their reviews to see that not all is 100% sunny with... well... ANY of them. And everyone's ears are different, so I'll just have to try out this Audiobox and see. If the audio is decent and the latency is respectable, and the MIDI has no glitches, then I'll be happy. Of course it's never that simple, though. Box arrives today.
November 28, 2018  | favorite_border stub
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