Four great recording interfaces for musicians on a budget

If you’re a musician on the move, then the chances are you’ve already got a laptop or tablet PC ready to go.

However, to connect your guitar or keyboard, you’re going to need a suitable interface. Today, we’re going to take a look at what we think are the best value interfaces available on the market.

The Lexicon Alpha
Lexicon Alpha
Keeping things as simple as possible, the Lexicon Alpha – much like the Telecaster – offers everything you need and nothing you don’t. It contains two different input channels: a standard instrument input (suitable for guitar) and an XLR microphone unit on the other. There is also the option to record through two 1/4 line inputs if you’re recording a stereo instrument such as a keyboard. The monitor mix can be adjusted using the dedicated knob and there’s also a dedicated output level control. The Alpha offers a set of stereo RCA outputs, as well as a left and right TRS outputs. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone port on the device. For first time users, the Alpha is an excellent place to start.

The Alexis iO2 express

alesis-i02
For those that require everything necessary to make full demos but don’t want to max out their credit card, the Express is a quality piece of equipment. Its two 48v microphone inputs have phantom power as standard (which is necessary when powering studio condenser microphones). It also contains two separate channels, which is great for anyone recording two tracks at once (guitar and vocals, for instance). Dedicated gain controls are available for both sides of the mixer, so you can adjust the levels of each accordingly. The unit is also portable, powered solely by the USB connection and comes complete with a light edition of the Steinberg Cubase recording production software. It’s even got I/O ports for using MIDI devices.

Line 6 Pod Studio UX2

line 6 pod studio
Line 6 is a guitarist’s company. Their most famous product is the amp-simulating kidney bean known as the POD. However, the UX2 is actually a full recording input that’s capable of being tracking everything from vocals to bass (and obviously guitar). It’s the most expensive product on this list but for guitarists especially it’s well worth splashing out on. It comes complete with two instrument inputs and two XLR sockets (one of which is phantom powered), and includes mixing dials for both microphone inputs. Included as part of the device is the POD Farm software, which contains emulations of different guitar and bass amps, as well as famous studio pre-amps and effects that enable the vocalist to record their voice with layers of reverb or echo, as well as other cool effects. For those that want a genuine, all-in-one-box solution record-making solution, the UX2 is well recommended.

The M-Audio M Track Plus

M Audio M Track Plus
Again keeping things simple, the MTrack Plus is an interface designed to be used on the move. Its chassis might not look like much but it still offers everything a musician on the move might need. Phantom power, two mic inputs, two standard line inputs and dials that enable the user to adjust gain and output levels are all included. If you’re constantly on the move, the MTrack Plus could make the perfect travelling companion.

Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of difference magazines and news publications. Follow her here: @Debbie_Fletch18

Post Author: Luke Glassford

Post written by Luke Glassford - founder, editor, writer and everything else at All-Noise.