Top 7 Best Audio Interfaces Under $1000 – Intro To The High End Segment

167-Best-Interface-Under-1000

Just like every other piece of audio gear, there are various levels of audio interfaces. Those who either have a good budget or simply require the best, will often turn to the high-end range. We are talking about devices that go for $1000 or so. Needless to say, these are going to be some of the best interfaces on the market. Today we are going to show you 7 of our top picks, which we think deliver the best bang or your buck. Later on,we will talk about the benefits of going for the high-end segment of the market.

Top 7 Best Audio Interfaces Under $1000

ImageStudio Headphones / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid

Total of 4.88/5  

Definitely one of the more interesting solutions for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

+ - RolandSTUDIO-CAPTURE RolandSTUDIO-CAPTURE

Total of 4.83/5  

The epitome of versatility, sound quality and practicality in a rugged package.

+ - Focusrite Clarett 8Pre Focusrite Clarett 8Pre

Total of 4.77/5  

A very capable package that combines fast Thunderbolt speeds and solid hardware.

+ - PreSonus Studio 192 PreSonus Studio 192

Total of 4.80/5  

Lots of features, I/O options combined with rock solid hardware solutions.

+ - Steinberg UR824 Steinberg UR824

Total of 4.80/5  

Brilliant fusion of great hardware, equally good software and very practical design.

+ - MOTU 828x MOTU 828x

Total of 4.72/5  

One of the most versatile rack mount models you will currently find.

+ - Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO

Total of 4.72/5  

Simple, minimalist interface that is full of practical solutions and impressive performance.

MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid

MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid

Design:
Features:
Performance:
Value:

High end segment of the audio interface market is a place where you will see a whole lot of different and unusual designs. One of them goes under the name of MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid, and it packs a mean punch. This interface features a rack mount format, with a very sturdy chassis and plenty of features to boot. The main thing that makes it stand out is its use of Firewire/USB hybrid system. However, that is only the beginning of it. MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid packs 28 inputs, 32 outputs, a whole array of built in tools and more. You can even use it as a standalone mixer thanks to all of these features. It is truly a magnificent device.

RolandSTUDIO-CAPTURE

RolandSTUDIO-CAPTURE

Design:
Features:
Performance:
Value:

Roland's high end line of audio interfaces is really something else. There are many models in there which are worth mentioning, but Roland STUDIO-CAPTURE really stands out. This model brings an impressive amount of features, which are paired with rock solid hardware. Roland didn't spend too much time trying to make STUDIO-CAPTURE pretty. Instead, they have spent all of their efforts into making it a proper and professional piece of gear. With its 16 inputs, 10 outputs and 12 impressive preamp units, Roland STUDIO-CAPTURE promises to be one of the most versatile devices of its kind on the market. Those who need studio quality sound and features can easily rely on this bad boy to get the job done right.

Focusrite Clarett 8Pre

Focusrite Clarett 8Pre

Design:
Features:
Performance:
Value:

Focusrite was made popular by their Scarlett series of budget audio interfaces. Clarett line, which we are talking about today, is the new kid on the block. In many ways, it is threatening to completely overshadow the Scarlett lineup in near future. For starters, Focusrite Clarett 8Pre uses Thunderbolt. That means much lower latency, which then translates to your ability to apply plug ins directly onto your input signals. Then we have the masterful Clarett pramps with their highly transparent sound. Easy to use and very versatile, Focusrite Clarett 8Pre represents the upper limit of home studio recording. It might be heavy and cumbersome, but it is absolutely one of the best choices you can find at this very moment.

PreSonus Studio 192

PreSonus Studio 192

Design:
Features:
Performance:
Value:

When you step into the higher end segment of the market, PreSonus is the brand that tends to give you the most bang for your buck. Their vPreSonus Studio 192 is a proper audio interface that is built for professionals and enthusiasts alike. The core of this package are its numerous inputs and outputs, as well as the impressive list of features which are built into the device. On top of that, you are looking at a USB 3.0 interface that yields near zero latency even under heavier load. All you really need is a decent rack and you are set to go. Last but not least, PreSonus Studio 192 comes with a great software suite that's prettyextensive.

Steinberg UR824

Steinberg UR824

Design:
Features:
Performance:
Value:

When most people hear the name Steniberg, the first thing that pops into their mind are DAWS or other audio related software. While they are by far one of the authorities in thatindustry, Steinberg also offers a number of great hardware solutions. Their Steinberg UR824 is all the proof you willever need. Featuring a rack mount format, this audio interface brings simple design paired with excellent hardware choices. You get 24 inputs, 24 outputs divided into analogand digital clusters, and a set of awesome Yamaha D-Pre preamps. As expected, the software side of the deal is extensive and includes both their DAW as well as a plethora of VST3 plug ins. Overall, this is an impressive package.

MOTU 828x

MOTU 828x

Design:
Features:
Performance:
Value:

MOTU 828x represents what you could consider to be the optimal audio interface package. By this we mean a combination of numerous well implemented tools and a super fast Thunderbolt connection. With 28 inputs and 30 outputs, chances are you won't lack any connectivity. Where things really get interesting is when you start browsing the built in features on MOTU 828x. There are so many tools at your disposal, including various analytical features. The metering cluster makes it easy to figure out levels and keep everything under control. Once dialed in properly, this bad boy really proves that home recording can yield professional results. Those looking for a serious solution and a no nonsense approach should check this model out.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO

Design:
Features:
Performance:
Value:

Those looking for top tier audio interfaces have probably ran into Apollo Twin MkII Duo.Unless you know what you are looking at, you might just think that this model is an overpriced piece of equipment. Judging by its deceptively simple design and small form factor, it's easy to understand why someone would come to that conclusion. However, Apollo Twin MkII Duo pack a very mean punch. It is a Thunderbolt design with an impressive set of preamps and converters. On top of that, it features some of the best software solutions on the market. Thanks to its high speed connectivity, you can apply numerous effects to your input and still be able to monitor without suffering from high latency.

What To Expect From A $1000 Audio Interface?

When you start investing this kind of money into recording gear, you aren’t looking at just better sound quality. That much is implied. The main advantages can be divided into several categories, all of which are essential to professional music recording and production. The first one is connectivity, or the type of platform an interface uses to communicate with your computer. Then we have the I/O cluster and finally the built-in features. Lets take a closer look at each one of these and explain why they matter.

Connectivity – USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt.

Expensive audio interfaces use all three of these standards. Contrary to popular belief, USB 2.0 is still a very viable solution even when you have up to 30 inputs in your interface. With that said, you will be see many more Thunderbolt and Firewire solutions in this segment of the market. There are some Thunderbolt models in the $500 price range as well, but in most cases those are meant to serve as an enthusiast platform.

Just one quick glance at our list reveals all kinds of designs. We have rack mount friendly models, large desktop units and more. Each of these are created to work efficiently in a professional environment. At the end of the day, selecting what kind of connectivity standard you should get will depend on the gear you use. For some, there is simply no incentive to pay more for a Thunderbolt model if they can get by with USB 2.0. Similarly, some producers and audio engineers may require that near zero latency that Thunderbolt is known for. It is all about finding what works best for your specific needs.

I/O Options And General Versatility

One of the main benefits that is more or less reserved for $1000 audio interfaces is a versatile I/O cluster. Sure, there are some pretty diverse models even in the $200 segment of the market, but that is only scratching the surface. The most common layout for professional audio interfaces is to offer at least 8 analog inputs and analog outputs. The rest are usually your ADAT ports which allow you to expand that number of I/O ports for addition 10 at the very least.

Digital channels may be a very niche feature, but they are additional channels nonetheless. This represents the most common solution, but not the only one. There are interfaces which focus mainly on instrument inputs. That’s why we have models such as the MOTU 828x, which features only 2 mic inputs, while the remainder of its analog inputs are all instrument lines. You will see a variety of I/O combinations in this segment.As always, choosing the right one comes down to your own needs and preferences.

Built-In Features

Alongside inputs and outputs, built-in features are probably the next most important benefit of owning a high end audio interface. Features can come in a many forms. For example, some audio interfaces include EQ tools, various effects and other stuff. Some have very complex metering clusters or even analytical tools. It all depends which model you go with. This is actually where most users have to make their decision. If you don’t really need these additional features, chances are that you can get by with a much cheaper interface. However, if you are serious about your work and demand the highest level of both performance and versatility, the features we have listed are an essential factor.

Things To Look For In A High End Interface?

Since you are here and reading this guide, we can only assume that you are in the market for one of these behemoths of audio recording world. You probably already know exactly what you need. However, there are those who just want to get something great and future-proof their setup in a way. If this describes you, we urge you to do as much research on these devices as you possibly can. Our first advice would be to determine the range of projects you plan on doing. How many instruments or vocals are you going to record at the same time? What kind of hardware are you running? These things matter. If you need something that is simple to master, you can’t go wrong with one of the fully analog models. On the other hand, if you are bold and like a challenge, we strongly encourage you to go for what your hear desires. Mastering equipment always takes time, but it is far from impossible.

Conclusion

High-end audio interfaces are expensive, but they definitely have plenty to show for that price tag. The models we have listed above are by far some of the best on the market rightnow. We tried to find a variety that covers most of our reader’s needs, just so you would know roughly what is available out there. This type of gear transcends your regular audio interface experience. With a high-end unit like the ones on our list, you are entering the professional territory where performance has to be guaranteed. Anyone of these models will meet and exceed most expectations.


Reader Interactions

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *