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An audio interface can make your life a lot easier when it comes to making beats and producing music. As you start to add more fx and progress as a producer, an audio interface will greatly enhance your experience as you produce music.
An interface is also important if you plan on doing any rapping or singer over the beats as you will definitely need one.
Not all interfaces are expensive and deciding on what you will need comes down to a few different things:
- How serious you are
I would recommend that you look into a keyboard for making beats if you’re really planning on getting into making beats. They’re not required, I just find them useful. Here is a list of my favorite keyboards.
When it comes to making your productions sound better, a lot of that is going to come down to the engineer. Just because you have some decent gear, doesn’t mean your beats are going to sound great right away.
What Is An Audio Interface?
Audio interfaces expand the capabilities of your computer. If you’re looking to make beats out of your small bedroom studio or your basement, you will want an interface.
Audio interfaces convert audio from microphones to digital data that you can then edit inside of your PC or Mac. In short, they act as the front end of your recording system.
When you plug your mic into the interface, the mic converts physical vibration of air into an electrical signal, which goes into your interface. The interface’s pre-amp then boosts the low-level-mic signal into a hotter line level.
If you’re planning on doing any rapping over your tracks, you’re going to need an audio interface.
You Don’t Need To Overspend On An Interface
One of the common mistakes musicians and producers can make is to instantly just break their bank on audio equipment. While this can make a big difference in certain areas, doing so with an interface isn’t as smart as say microphones or other equipment.
Once you get to a certain price point, spending over $1,000 isn’t going to make your productions sound better. That comes from other equipment as well as just getting better at engineering and mixing.
I have the belief that you can make great tracks without having crazy good gear as long as you put the time in.
When my band was first starting out, our drummer started to produce and engineer all of our demos. As he kept doing it, he eventually ended up producing and mixing our entire 3rd record.
You will need an instrument cable for your interface, but the good thing is, they’re relatively inexpensive.
When it comes to producing beats and to recording in general, you can thank Rupert Neve for everything that he has done to the engineering and audio game. He is one of the true pioneers of audio recording equipment.
Best Audio Interface For Making Beats
I have the opinion that there are more important things to improve your game as a producer when it comes to making beats. For example, knowing some hip hop chord progressions and adding some good VSTs to your game can go a long way.
Let’s take a look at a few great options below.
Audient EVO 4 USB Audio Interface – Budget Pick
The Audient 4 get my pick for the best inexpensive choice. This has everything you need right out of the gates to test the water for your hip hop productions.
There are 3 transparent and flattering preamps that will have you wondering how it’s so inexpensive.
With 2 mic inputs and one instrument input, you can start to build your hip hop productions the way that you’re envisioning them from the start.
The only thing that feels a little cheap with this is the plastic feeling chassis. I get why they would cut costs here as well.
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
The Scarlett 18i20 is an iconic interface that has been used for many a major hip hop productions. Boasting two colorful preamps at the front of its build, the Scarlett impresses offering incredible value.
It’s only fitting to lead this off with one of the most popular interfaces for not only hip hop, but all genres. The price point on this is great when you consider the quality.
There are two colorful Focusrite mic/instrument preamps at the helm of the front panel, which is exactly where you need them. On the back panel, you will find additional in & outs.
There are six additional XLR combo inputs & eight channels of ADAT I &, S/PDIF & MIDI I/O & clock out.
You will also notice an onboard talkback feature that allows you to communicate with your artists. I find this to be a cool feature.
This is an affordable option that is perfect to start making beats and hip hop production with.
You can adjust the gain on your mic inputs before anything reaches your computer. This will help so you’re not clipping or you’re not too quiet going in.
With USB 3.0, you are able flawlessly connect to your Mac or computers. This means you don’t have to take on the stress and struggles of Firewire.
The Focusrite Control software allows you to take control from an iPad or iPhone.
Sound Quality Of The Scarlett
When observing the preamps on the Scarlett 18i20, you will notice that they are extremely clean. Having a clean signal will allow you to dive deep into the fx side of things such as EQ, compressions, or delay.
Universal Audio Apollo x8p 16×22
The Universal Audio Apollo is one of the most popular interfaces in the world right now. This version is over 50x more powerful than its predecessor and it allows artists to record in real-time using their favorite plugins.
The Universal Audio Apollo is one of the industry standards. This thing has great drivers, preamps, and it also comes with a hefty price tag.
If you’re finding yourself getting into some crazy fx with your hip hop productions, then this is a great option.
HEXA Core processing
When you’re adding a lot of different plugins and fx, you will notice that your computer may start to really slow down and lag. This is where the HEXA core processing comes into play.
This processor yields 50% more power than its predecessor. Because of this, you can track in real-time while using your favorite plugins.
The Apollo uses thunderbolt to allow for ultra-low latency. It has far greater stability than Firewire and it also much faster. Thunderbolt connection is the most reliable connection you can have.
I’ve laid out the 3 best audio interfaces for making beats. While there are more choices, these are very reliable and test products in the industry. I also own and tour with the Apollo Twin interface to add to my experience.
What are you currently using for making beats? Let me know below!