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Sound cards are essentially audio interfaces. A professional music producer understands that the sound cards and audio interfaces are basically the same things with different names. In short, Audio interface is the “upgraded version” of the traditional PCI sound card with more functionalities and options. Thus, you are going to read the reviews of the 5 best audio interfaces for music production!

To build a career in music production, you’re going to need a better and professional sound card. You will need a powerful sound card for the excellent I/O and to handle all of the information that’s being processed during the process.

The pre-installed sound card in your computer probably is not able to handle all of the works. Because of that, you need to upgrade your computer with a new external sound card. To help you with that process, we are going reveal you the best sound cards for music production. Whether you are producing music at home office or studio, these top sound cards will get you going!

See the tableview of the best audio interfaces for music and audio production first. After that, we will show you a very useful video, where a professional music producer explains how to choose the best audio interface for music production. Finally, we will review each of the sound cards presented on the table. Buckle up!

Best Sound Cards/Audio Interfaces for Music Production 2021

Audio Interface/ External Sound card Price
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Under $200
Steinberg UR44
Under $300
RME Babyface
Under $800
Apogee Duet 2
Under $700
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 
Under $500

We recommend you to watch the video below before you jump into the reviews!

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4-2nd Gen- Top sound card for music production-2021

Looks good! Image Credit: Amazon.com
Looks good! Image Credit: Amazon.com

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 is a great interface for recording music, DJs and music technicians. It is compatible with both MAC and Windows platform and it is pretty lightweight and portable.

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 comes with 2 mic preamps and 4 analog inputs. To make sure it can handle the seriously hot guitar pick-ups, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 included 2 instrument inputs on the latest version (2nd Generation).

You can expect the sample rate of up-to 192KHz/25 bit on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4. Latency on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 is ridiculously low.

You can use this external sound card right out of the box, thanks to the Ableton Lite Live and the customized Focusrite creative pack included in the package!

You can expect a quality output with this product and since it is really affordable, it can serve as a great starter. Don’t let that cheap price confuse you though. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 is a solid gadget for professional music producers as well!

Price & More Details – Focusrite Scarlett 2i4

Steinberg UR44- Budget sound card for audio recording

Compatible with iOS, Windows & Linux! Image Source: Amazon.com
Compatible with iOS, Windows & Linux! Image Source: Amazon.com

The Steinberg UR44 is a quality sound card for an affordable price of under $300. Whether your operating system is iOS based, Windows based or Linux based, the Steinberg UR44 got you covered. All you have to do is focus on music production and let this beast handle the rest!

With Onboard DSP plug-ins, the Steinberg UR44 comes with 4 mic preamps and has the sampling rate of up-to 192kHZ on 24bits.

The Steinberg UR44 is compatible with virtually any OS and any software for music production out there.

The included dspMixFx software guarantees the latent-free monitoring. Whether you are performing live or trying few different things for your next creation, the Steinberg UR44 will not disappoint you on the performance part! Highly rated and available for cheap price of under $300, a music producer can’t ask for more!

Price & More Details – Steinberg UR44

RME Babyface- One of the best sound card for music production under $1000

Light & portable but powerful! Image Source: Amazon.com
Light & portable but powerful! Image Source: Amazon.com

Once you open the package, you will find audio interface, breakout cable and extension cable, carrying bag and a USB cable. The entire sound card and external hardware weigh in just at 1.1 pounds, although it has all sorts of different connection outputs for you and your music production.

The RME Babyface comes with a standard USB port, 2 XLR inputs and 2 XLR outputs, two ADAT/SPDIF optical connections, two quarter inch headphone connections, one Hi-Z instrument input and the optional power supply, if you want to up the amount of power the hardware is able to receive (or if you want to reduce the strain on your PC).

You can expect a sample rate of up-to 192kHz on the RME Babyface interface.

Rounding up, this is a very nice sound card for music production and upgrading your computer with this external sound card will make your music production job much easier and the sound output more professional.

Price & More Details – RME Babyface

Apogee Duet 2- Best sound card to record and produce music on Mac and iPad

Produce music on iPad with this! Image Source: Amazon.com
Produce music on iPad with this! Image Source: Amazon.com

The Apogee Duet 2 is an excellent external sound card that you can use to upgrade your system to a much higher level. The Apogee Duet 2 comes with a breakout cable, a USB cable and a power supply in the package.

It is much lighter, weighing just a little over 1 pound. This device is compatible with Mac and iPads only.

The Apogee Duet 2 has a single USB port, two XLR/TRS inputs, two TRS outputs, a single stereo headphone connection and also an optional power supply.

Expect the sampling rate of up-to 192kHZ at 24 bits. As you can see, this configuration is able to record audio at the same level as the other sound cards reviewed here, although it does not have as many inputs or outputs.

With good design and available for an affordable price, this is one of the best audio interface for music production!

Price & More Details – Apogee Duet 2

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 – Best audio interface for professional music production

Professional Audio interface for an amateur price! Image Source: Amazon.com
Professional Audio interface for an amateur price! Image Source: Amazon.com

The 18i20 is the perfect sound card for professionals.

With 18 inputs and 18 outputs, the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 comes with 8 mic preamps. If the 2i4 won’t cut it, the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 will!

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 has sampling rates of up-to 192kHZ on 24 bits. Latency is very minimal to none and you can expect fantastic I/O from the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20.

This is the best audio interface for studio and home recording. Portability isn’t great when this beast weighs more than 10 pounds. But hey, we warn you. Your music could end up being too good to be true when you have the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20!

Price & More Details – Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

To conclude this article about the best audio interface for music production, we would like to re-affirm that we are very confident on the quality of the sound cards we mentioned. These sound cards will be your great asset whether you are performing live, playing guitar, playing drums, working on your new album or for any sort of music production!

Of course, there are many good sound cards and it is virtually impossible to list them all. If you have any questions about the best sound card for music production that we review, please use the comment section below to communicate with us!