When choosing an audio interface, there are a few things you need bear in mind and consider. With prices varying from £50 to £500, it's important to choose the right one for what you need.
A general rule of thumb is that what you're trying to record will only sound as good as the equipment allows it to. Lower end models like the Lexicon Alpha Desktop or the Tascam US-100 have fewer inputs and less controls on the unit itself.
The Lexicon Alpha and Tascam US-100
Both have one 1/4" jack input on the front and 1 XLR input on the back. This is the guitar lead style jack (pictured below) and the standard microphone input. These inputs will work with any instrument or microphone, but XLR microphones will need an external power source (batteries or mains supply) as the unit does not supply Phantom Power. Both units have a volume control (the Lexicon has a volume control for both channels) a balance control between the input and the computer and an output level. Both are powered by USB.
For a little more money, you move into the realms of the Lexicon UX2 which has 4 inputs and phantom power. This gives you a little extra versatility with the amount of inputs but obviously gives you greater freedom with the Phantom Power to use higher end microphones.
Upwards of that, you'll see the Focusrite 8i6 - This is great for recording a band or multiple musicians with 8 inputs and 6 outputs as well as Phantom Power for your microphones.
However, buying an interface can still leave you needing the essential cables and suchlike to actually make it work, so helpfully we also have a couple of all in one kits -
The Focusrite Package comes with the 2i2 interface, the CM25 microphone, HP60 Headphones AND an XLR cable - all at a great price. For a little less money, there's also the Presonus Package which comes with their own branded Microphone, Headphones and Cable. Well worth considering for setting up a small home studio on a budget!
The Focusrite Scarlett Recording Package and the Presonus Package.
Of course, it's impossible to cover the vast array of various makes and models in one post, especially given the wide array of possible uses - these are just some of your options and the ones I'd recommend. For more advice, contact our Sales Team.