An 8-channel audio interface is an essential piece of equipment for any home or professional recording studio. With the ability to capture multiple tracks at once, they provide the flexibility needed to record everything from a single vocalist to a full band.
In this article, we will be reviewing the top 3 8-channel audio interfaces on the market: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen), PreSonus Studio 1824 C, and Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820. We will also include pros and cons from real customers to help you make an informed decision.
1. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen)
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) is a versatile audio interface that offers excellent sound quality and a wide range of inputs and outputs. It features eight of Focusrite’s high-quality preamps, which provide a transparent and natural sound, along with two instrument inputs and ten balanced line inputs. The 18i20 also includes ADAT and S/PDIF digital inputs, making it compatible with a variety of digital devices.
2. PreSonus Studio 1824 C
The PreSonus Studio 1824 C is a top contender in the 8-channel audio interface market, offering high-quality preamps that produce clear, detailed sound with plenty of gain. Its easy-to-use software provides a range of recording and mixing capabilities. However, some users have reported issues with the headphone output not providing enough volume for some headphones, and the lack of built-in DSP effects or processing may be a drawback for some users.
3. Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 is a budget-friendly option that still offers a range of features and capabilities for home recording. With a range of input and output options, including ADAT and MIDI, it provides flexibility for various recording situations. However, some users have reported durability issues with the power supply unit, and the preamps may not be as high-quality as some other options on the market, resulting in a slightly “muddy” sound. Overall, it’s a good option for beginners and home recording enthusiasts on a budget.
Choosing the right 8-channel audio interface for your needs can be a challenge, but the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen), PreSonus Studio 1824 C, and Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 are all solid options. The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) offers high-quality preamps and a range of input and output options, while the PreSonus Studio 1824 C provides easy-to-use software and high-quality preamps. The Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 is a budget-friendly option that still offers a range of features and capabilities. Consider your specific recording needs and budget when making your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
A multi-channel audio interface is a device that allows you to record and playback multiple audio channels simultaneously. It typically connects to your computer via USB or Thunderbolt, and provides a range of inputs and outputs for connecting microphones, instruments, and other audio gear.
The number of channels you need depends on your specific recording needs. If you’re recording a solo artist, you may only need two channels for a microphone and guitar, but if you’re recording a full band, you may need 8 or more channels. Consider the types of instruments and microphones you’ll be recording, and how many tracks you’ll need to record at once.
ADAT (Alesis Digital Audio Tape) is a digital audio format that uses optical cables to transmit up to 8 channels of audio data. Many multi-channel audio interfaces include ADAT inputs and outputs, allowing you to connect additional ADAT-compatible devices to your interface for even more inputs and outputs.
While multi-channel audio interfaces are primarily designed for recording, many can also be used for live performances. They often include a range of outputs for connecting to a mixer or PA system, and some even include built-in effects and processing for added versatility.
Preamps are an essential component of any audio interface, as they amplify the signal from your microphone or instrument to a level that can be recorded. High-quality preamps can improve the sound quality of your recordings, while low-quality preamps can introduce noise and distortion. When choosing a multi-channel audio interface, consider the quality of the preamps and how they will affect the sound of your recordings.