Best Affordable 1 Channel Audio Interfaces

The best 1 channel audio interface is one that is affordable (pretty much all of them are), can connect to your sound setup, and can produce clear recordings.

The reality is that the single channel interface market is full of low to mid-tier products. If you’re looking for near professional quality recordings, you’ll need to look at 2 and 4-channel audio interfaces.

But if you just want to get in the home recording game with a decent device that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, then I’ve got a list of four audio interfaces that fit the bill.

Keeping It Simple

There are a lot of bells and whistles out there in the world of audio recording. For your average home recording artist, most of these bells and whistles are completely useless.

There’s no reason to pay for an expensive piece of equipment, when something half the price will do everything you need with equal results.

You’ll see marketing around high resolution audio with extremely high bit depths and ungodly sample rates.

You’ll see interfaces that advertise the ability to record over 100 channels simultaneously.

For the most part these things are completely unnecessary.

If you have a guitar and a voice, and even if you have an acoustic drum kit, you can create wonderfully powerful recordings with only one channel and standard recording specs. And by that I mean recordings whose quality is indistinguishable from your favorite popular artists.

Minimums To Get Professional Quality Sound

I’ve discussed the process of recording in relative detail many times. When you look at this process you realize that you can cut down all the noise and arrive at a few key transitions that determine the final quality of your recordings.

  1. The quality of your microphone (or other recording device)
  2. The quality of your preamp (often happens inside the audio interface)
  3. The quality of your digital converter (this happens inside the audio interface)

These three items are far and above the most important items in determining recording quality. Anything else is negligible, as long as you meet the minimum requirements, and all modern recording devices meet those minimum requirements.

Number of channels is rarely important for home recording. You can almost always record all your parts with only one input.

Note: I consider a MIDI input indispensable for my home recording purposes, but even that may not be necessary for you.

If you can get a good quality microphone and an audio interface with good preamps and digital conversion process (this process is basically always good enough with modern interfaces), then you can create professional (or near professional) recordings at home.

After that, only your ability to write good music and mix your recordings well will determine the quality of your final product.

Now I want to say that in general, the professional quality audio interfaces start out at 2 channels. You can get great results from a one channel interface, but usually to get near professional quality, you need at least a 2 channel audio interface.

Single channel interfaces are the cheapest way to get into home recording, and for that they are amazing.

Always Do This Before Buying An Audio Interface

One of the most frustrating situations to be in when you get your new audio interface is being unable to get it working with your home computer. Most of the time this happens because there is a problem with the software connecting your device to your computer (or there is no software).

This software that connecting your audio interface to your computer is called a “driver.”

Every interface will have a number of drivers to connect to different computer setups. For example, you would need different software to work with Windows 7 or Windows 10. And so on and so on.

Many audio interfaces will work perfectly with one setup, but will have issues with a different setup. Maybe one will work great with MacOS X 10, but will have a lot of issues with MacOS X 9.

When you become interested enough in an audio interface to consider buying it, you should always do some research to make sure that

  1. The product will actually work with your home setup
  2. It’s unlikely to have major issues on your home setup

In my opinion the best way to do this research is to read through bad reviews for the product and then check the products specifications.

The 1 and 2 star reviews for an audio interface will usually have a handful of people who had driver issues. This is a good place to pick up on possible problems you may have with the driver software.

You can also just check the available drivers for a product by searching “[Product Name] drivers” and clicking on the (usually) first result in Google. This will tell you if drivers are actually available for your system for that product.

That should be enough to avoid a major problem. So now let’s get on with the list!

Behringer U-Phoria UM2 Audio Interface

  • The most affordable interface to get into home recording
  • Single channel with a preamp and phantom power
  • Works with Mac and Windows computers
  • Lower quality recordings

Behringer has the most affordable single channel audio interfaces out there. This UM2 audio interface is actually the cheapest interface I could find.

It has a single flexible input that accepts both XLR microphone input or a 1/4 inch instrument line. The input has phantom power which will allow it to work with microphones that require it. This input also has a XENYX preamp to improve the strength of your vocal recordings.

This product has drivers that make it compatible with both Mac and Windows machines.

Here’s the thing…this device is not going to give you high quality recordings. If you’re looking to start experimenting with recording for the first time, then this is a great way to get into it. But don’t expect super clear, noise-free recordings, even if you use a professional microphone.

Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 Audio Interface

  • Very affordable interface for getting into home recording
  • Single channel with a preamp and phantom power
  • Works with Mac and Windows computers
  • Still lower quality recordings

The Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 is a very similar product to the UM2. It still has one input that will accept the XLR input or the 1/4 inch instrument line. The input still has 48 volt phantom power to use with higher quality microphones.

The main difference with this interface is the preamp. The UMC22 has a MIDAS preamp, which is a higher quality that the XENYX preamp on the UM2.

You can reasonably expect recordings with less added noise and better clarity.

However, this is still a low end audio interface, and as such it is unreasonable to expect to produce high quality recordings with it. It’s super affordable and again a great product to get you foot in the door with home recording.

Rode AI-1 Audio Interface w/ Rode NT1 Condenser Microphone

  • Comes with a good caliber condenser microphone
  • Package that can produce quality recordings for an affordable price
  • Single channel with preamp and phantom power
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows

Now it would be misleading to say that you can get professional quality recordings with this audio interface/condenser mic package. However, you can absolutely expect cleaner, noise free recordings, and can create legitimately good recordings with this set up.

Remember those three items to produce studio quality sound?

  • Good microphone
  • Good preamp
  • Good digital conversion process

You’re getting all three here. Again, it’s not top tier gear, but I believe this is the cheapest setup you can find that will result in good recording results.

Like the other audio interfaces on the list, this one comes with a single input that takes XLR or 1/4 inch instrument line. It also comes with a (higher quality) preamp for that input.

An incredible value for what you’re getting in terms of quality.

Caveat: this audio interface connects with USB C, which is not a connection type you will find on all computers. Make sure this connection type works for your setup.

Zoom U-22 Portable Audio Interface

  • Capable of producing clean, noise-free recordings
  • Portable, battery powered device great for recording outside the studio
  • Single channel with preamp and phantom power
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows

Here’s another audio interface that comes at a very low price because of its simplicity. But don’t let the low price fool you. This interface is capable of clean, noise-free recordings that can compete with interfaces 4 times the price.

Like the others on this list, it has a single input with a preamp and phantom power that accepts XLR or 1/4 inch line.

One big selling point of the Zoom U-22 is that it is battery powered. This means it serves as a portable recording device as well as an audio interface.

If you like to record outdoors like me, then you won’t have to spend extra money on an outdoor recording device (like I did).

Just like the other devices on this list, the U-22 isn’t really capable of professional quality recordings, but it is capable of high quality recordings (unlike the behringer interfaces).

If you have use for a portable recording device that doubles as an audio interface then you won’t find a better value than this device.


A one channel audio interface is a great way to enter the world of home recording for a affordable price. And while you’ll have a hard time finding an interface capable of professional level recordings, you won’t have a hard time finding one capable of clean, noise-free recordings.

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