The 4 Best MIDI Audio Interfaces at Different Price Points

I really enjoy writing music and recording at home. Most music I write and record uses a full band sound. So guitars, bass, drums with a healthy dose of cameo instruments (horns, synths, random sound effects, etc.).

And a major part of my recording process is using electronic drums and a keyboard to send MIDI recordings into my editing software.

4 out of 5 audio interfaces today don’t have MIDI input and output, so it’s important to pay attention to the features available before buying.

I’ve done quite a bit of research and used my own experience recording with MIDI to bring you a list of 4 excellent, great value audio interfaces with MIDI input and output. Fortunately, these 4 MIDI audio interfaces also do lots of other things really well, so you’ll have great options for recording in a number of ways.

Why I Only Buy Audio Interfaces With A MIDI Input

I don’t own an audio interface without a MIDI input.


Two reasons. First, because I use an electronic drum kit to record drum parts, and that kit has a MIDI output that works really well for recording. Second, because I like to use my keyboard (with a MIDI output) to record into a MIDI channel. Then I use that recording to experiment with all kinds of different sounds, from trumpets to synth effects.

It’s a great way to create recordings that are free from outside noise and can be manipulated with the click of a button. You can experiment with dozens different sounds extremely quickly.

So if you’re like me and MIDI is a significant part of your recording process, then a lot of the audio interfaces on the market today just won’t work for you.

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 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!

1. RME Fireface UFX+

  • Highest quality and most features
  • MIDI input and output
  • 4 mic preamps
  • USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt connection for lowest latency
  • Requires external power

The RME Fireface UFX+ is about the most flexible and highest quality audio interface available today. It’s a studio quality product, which means it’s likely too much for your average home recording artist.

I found in my search for the best MIDI audio interfaces that if you want the low latency of USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt connection, you will usually have to pay for it. The interfaces under $500 with MIDI and USB 3.0 all have major issues with their drivers, so I can’t recommend them in good conscience.

This is actually the only interface on my list with the faster USB 3.0 connection.

You’ll be getting 4 flexible inputs (XLR w/ phantom power or 1/4 inch jack) with top of the line preamps, MADI connection which increases your simultaneous track count by 64, and built in mixing capabilities.

The RME Fireface UFX+ is a long term investment and likely isn’t worth the money for smaller operations, but it’s definitely one of the best MIDI audio interfaces available today.

Note: Page with this device’s drivers

2. Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 3rd Gen

  • High quality and more than enough features for most home recording artists
  • MIDI input and output
  • 4 mic preamps
  • USB 2.0 connection
  • Requires external power

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 is what I consider to be a high end home recording audio interface. The one thing it’s missing that I prefer is the USB 3.0 connection. You can achieve low enough latency with USB 2.0, but in my experience USB 2.0 slows down occasionally and makes recording more difficult.

However, apart from that, this audio interface has everything a hobbyist could want: four dual input channels (XLR w/ phantom power or 1/4 inch line) each with high quality mic preamps, four outputs, MIDI in and out, and high quality drivers for Mac and PC.

This products also includes some free recording software if you don’t already have software of your own. Just keep in mind that these free versions have serious limitations, like possibly disallowing the use of plugins.

Note: Page with this device’s drivers

3. TASCAM Series 102i

  • Great quality and enough features for most home recording artists
  • MIDI input and output
  • 2 mic preamps
  • USB 2.0 connection
  • Requires external power

TASCAM has been a big name in home recording for a long time and they have some of the best value audio interfaces available. This Series 102i is what I consider to be your average home recording audio interface, at least in terms of features.

It’s a 2 channel audio interface, having two flexible inputs (XLR w/ phantom power or 1/4 inch line) with great quality microphone preamps, which is kind of the standard today. But you’ll also be getting a MIDI in and MIDI out of course, which is not standard.

You can use this device on Mac or PC and the drivers will work well in most environments. Overall, an excellent value for a mid-range audio interface.

Note: Page with this device’s drivers

4. Roland Rubix 22

  • Good quality and enough features for most home recording artists
  • MIDI input and output
  • USB 2.0 connection
  • No external power needed
  • Works only on Windows

Roland is perhaps best known for their top tier electronic drums. In fact, my E-drum kit is an old Roland TD-4 and it has held up incredibly well through years of indoor band practices and home recording sessions.

And as I’ve mentioned already, I record those drums with a MIDI connection. It’s works great for me and in many cases the resulting drum sound is better than what I could get from an acoustic kit.

So what I’m saying is that Roland does MIDI really well.

The Rubix 22 is a lower end audio interface, but if you plan to use a lot of MIDI then this is one of the best value products you can buy.

If you want higher quality recordings from your vocals, then I’d recommend going for a TASCAM Series 102i or Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. But if you’re doing all instrumental recordings (or don’t care a lot about quality of vocal recordings) then this Rubix 22 is a great choice.

Note: Page with this device’s drivers


Recording with MIDI is just an unmatched way to experiment with all kinds of different sounds. In my opinion, if you’ve not utilized MIDI in your recording, you’re missing out on an opportunity to find new sounds and styles.

All four MIDI audio interfaces that I’ve listed are excellent values, provide good to professional quality recordings, and just generally do everything that a home recording artists needs in the 21st century.

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