budget audio interfaces
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Is There any Difference Between Budget and Expensive Audio Interface?

Is There any Difference Between Budget and Expensive Audio Interface?

Are you planning to get your hands on a new audio interface? Then surely a lot of questions and dilemmas are popping up in your mind. The most common questions usually concern the budget. Especially buyers seem to be inquisitive concerning is there any difference between budget and expensive audio interface or not. To shed light on this matter, we’ve dredged out the variances and rounded up the major differences in the following. Before finally making the purchase, read the article carefully for your better understanding, so that you don’t regret it later.

Also, read: What Is Audio Interface?


Difference Between Budget and Expensive Audio interface

There are certain differences between budget and expensive audio interfaces. Although their main function would be more or less the same, yet with raising the bar of the budget you can have better input/output options or better connectivity options, or even better sound quality. To have a better idea of the major differences check out the following points –  

Connectivity Options:

There are different connectivity options to choose from depending on your budget. The available connectivity options are PCIe, USB, Firewire, and Thunderbolt. Among the four the cheapest option would be for you is FireWire. But the hitch that comes with this connectivity option is that not all devices are compatible with this system. 

Is There any Difference Between Budget and Expensive Audio Interface?

So, it may happen that even after saving a few bucks getting this model, you will have to spend more to buy a separate FireWire card to connect it to your device. However, when you know it is compatible with your device you may go for it, but then you will have a minimum speed or data transferring and a higher latency range. On top of that, compared to other versions of the audio interface, this model lags behind in not upgrading to new functions. 

On the flip side, the PCIe version may seem a lot expensive to you, but the functionality and perks it brings are incomparable. Its top-notch preamp and high-end noise cancellation feature are sure to leave you in awe of it. Moreover, it comes with zero latency and as a result, it literally transfers data in real-time. In addition, to provide the best quality performance, it brings a sheer professional touch to your recording. On top, it comes with no connectivity issues as you can directly connect it to the motherboard of your device. 

However, when you have a limited budget you are better off with a USB and Thunderbolt connection. Both of the audio interfaces are compatible with all types of computer systems. Besides, their latency and speed range both vary with the prices. So, when you pick any one of these two models, you have the liberty to choose the latency and speed range according to your budget and needs. The budget audio interface will get you less speed and high latency range, and with the increase in budget, you will get better speed and lesser latency range accordingly.

Input/Output Configuration:

The budget spent on the overall audio interface partially depends on the number and type of input/output configuration attached to it. The number and type of input and output again depend on what type of sound you want to record. 

Is There any Difference Between Budget and Expensive Audio Interface?

In case you are just a starter or even a singer or doing just a voiceover, you just need a pair of I/O and your interface will still be professional. Even if there are different instruments like guitar and piano, you can record those and vocals separately. A budget audio interface will do for you in this simple recording. Even a whole band can get away with a minimum number of I/O. They just have to record the sound, track by track. However, to record the live performance of the band, more I/O is needed and it depends on the number of members of your band. Then you cannot stick to a budget option, instead, you will have to upgrade the budget to a great extent. 

Whether you want 2 I/O or 20, what you should be careful about is the type of I/O configuration as it can make the sound quality better or worse. The preamp can boost the signal no matter what type of device is on the input side. So, you can go on with your recording with just a pair of I/O configuration if you spend the money on its quality.  

Find out Reasons Why You Need Audio Interface!

Bit Depth Range:

When you’re not ready to splurge more on your audio interface you’ll have to pick an option with a lower bit depth range. To your knowledge, the standard bit depth range is 16-bit, any model with a lower range can make your recording worse instead. On the other hand, if you can raise your budget up and buy any options between 24-bit or 32-bit, you will have better clarity and precision in your recording. 

Is There any Difference Between Budget and Expensive Audio Interface?

Sample Rate:

You can’t really overlook the sample rate when buying an audio interface because the efficiency of the audio interface depends largely on it. And again, like the other features, the lesser budget will get you a lower sample rate and vice versa. If you’re planning to retain a professional touch then you’ll have to upgrade your budget to get your hands on a model of 96 kHz frequency. Although, the audio interface models with 44.1 kHz frequency will offer you a moderate performance. We advise you not to go below the 44.1 kHz frequency range if you do not want your recording to deteriorate.


We’ve found many buyers to be skeptical regarding is there any difference between budget and an expensive audio interface or not. If you too have this question in mind then this article is here for your rescue. We have rounded up the distinction precisely in the article and clearly addressed the major setbacks you’ll be caused due to budget cuts. Now, that you’ve done reading this, we hope our article has cleared up all your confusion. 

You can also read: How do You Know It’s a Good Audio Interface?

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