7 Audio Interfaces that Come with Software

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The quality of your audio interface can very well make or break your sound quality. If you are a first-time buyer or looking to purchase an upgrade, you don’t want to be battling with noisy preamps or unwanted sound coloration thanks to a low-quality interface.

And while it is important you get an interface that is great quality out of the box – in today’s market that may not be enough to justify a purchase. As more and more people start investing in recording gear, the companies producing the interfaces have begun to look for new ways to help their product stand out from the crowd.

One way they achieve this is by bundling additional software as keys or licenses alongside the interface itself. Today we will be taking a look at 7 audio interfaces that come bundled with software.

Audio Interfaces that Come with Software

You may find yourself wondering which interface is the best value for money with regard to the bundled software. More importantly, you may wonder what exactly the bundled software does, and how it can help you increase your show’s production quality.

If either of these questions has crossed your mind when searching the market for the perfect interface then we have good news for you, because today we will be taking you through our top 7 picks for audio interfaces that come with software – and breaking down what exactly this software means for you.

Audient iD14

Connectivity: USB 2.0

Inputs: 2 x XLR / 1/4” jack

Preamps: 2 x Class-A Microphone Preamps

Gain range: 66dB

Noise EIN: < -127.0 dBu

Description: Our first pick, the Audient iD14 comes packed with Audients flagship mixer software – the iD Mixer. Previously only available with high-end interfaces, 2018 saw this software up for grabs alongside budget interfaces such as the iD14.

The iD Mixer is a standalone piece of software that acts as a virtual mixer, allowing you to route headphone signals, and audio sources to help manage who hears what and when. Virtual mixers such as this prove incredibly helpful when routing for a podcast recording over phone/skype etc. as DAWs typically struggle to route internally.

By providing a clean and simple interface to manage your audio signal flows, the iD Mixer is great for those struggling to grapple with their routings when recording.

The iD14 can be found here at Amazon.

M-Audio AIR 192

Connectivity: USB/USB-C

Inputs: 1 x XLR / ¼” Jack, 1 x ¼” Jack

Preamps: Transparent Crystal Preamps

Gain range: 55 dB

Noise EIN: -128 dBu

Description: If you are looking for a budget interface that comes with a plethora of software, then the M-Audio AIR 192 is a solid choice. The software included consists of:

Ableton 9 Lite, and Pro Tools First (M-Audio Edition), two stripped back versions of industry-standard audio interfaces, giving you a choice between different workflows without making big financial commitments off the bat.

Air Creative FX, and AVID Effects Collection, two separate plugin bundles, offer a wide selection of signal processing devices to help you sculpt the perfect sound for your show in post-production.

And finally, 6 sample banks and virtual instruments for music production purposes – each of which would require a separate article to scratch the surface of.

The AIR 192 can be found here on Amazon.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)

Connectivity: USB-C

Inputs: 2 x XLR / ¼” Jack

Preamps: 2 x Focusrite Analog

Gain range: 56dB

Noise EIN: -128dBu

Description: Another widely popular budget interface, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 comes with plenty of software to boot. Included are keys to Ableton and Pro Tools basic editions, Focusrite Creative Pack, Softube Time and Tone, and Focusrite Red Plugin-suite.

The two DAWs are a nice addition – each with enough functionality to confidently record your shows on with no hiccups. The three plugin packs are the cherry on the top of this already incredible bundle. Having three separate sources of plugins allows you to pick and choose the devices that you prefer when it comes to post-production, a luxury typically only afforded to those that invest large amounts of money in plugin libraries.

To learn more about the interface itself see our Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) guide.

If you’ve read this and think it’s right for you, it can be bought over at Amazon.

Universal Audio Apollo Solo

Connectivity: Thunderbolt 3

Inputs: 2 x XLR / ¼” Jack, 1 x ¼” Jack

Preamps: Unison mic

Gain range: 55dB

Noise EIN: -108dBu

Description: What the Universal Audio Apollo Solo may lack in quantity of plugins (relative to the previous two bundles), it makes up for in quality. Included with this interface are the Realtime Analog Classics bundle of plugins.

Universal Audio is well known for its analog plugins which can be found in legendary studios across the globe. What these plugins provide are software emulations of these widely popular models of compressors, equalizers, amplifiers, and limiters.

Along with the analog classics, a software reverb, guitar, and bass amp emulation, and guitar pedal emulator plugins are bundled in to ensure you are getting an incredible value for money.

Click here to get more information and to see the latest price over at Amazon.

Steinberg UR22MKII

Connectivity: USB 2.0

Inputs: 2 x XLR / ¼” Jack

Preamps: 2 x Class-A Yamaha D-PRE

Gain range: 48dB

Noise EIN: -130dBu

Description: Our next pick – the Steinberg UR22MKII comes with two software keys bundled. Packaged with both Cubase AI, and LE editions give you the capacity to record, mix, and produce both on desktop and mobile.

Cubase AI is a stripped back edition of Steinberg’s DAW. Cubase AI has all the essentials required to help you record and produce a high-quality podcast, and if you find yourself wanting additional features, then you can purchase an upgrade to the full version.

Cubase LE is the same as AI, however for mobile. This is a great asset to those looking to record on the road, as this IOS app can work on an iPhone or iPad, circumventing the need for a laptop in your recording setup.

If you would like to learn more about how the UR22MKII stacks up to the Scarlett 2i2, click here to read more.

Click here to see the latest price on Amazon.

PreSonus 2 AudioBox USB 96

Connectivity: USB 2.0

Inputs: 2 x XLR / ¼” Jack

Preamps: Class-A Mic Preamps

Gain range: 45dB

Noise EIN: -95dB

Description: The AudioBox USB 96 is another interface that comes jam-packed full of additional software. With Presonus’ Studio One and Ableton 9 Lite, you have options for DAW’s right out of the box. Both of these DAWs are more than capable of effectively recording and producing a podcast; however, it is up to you which suits your workflow best.

Additionally, the 2020 Studio Magic pack gives you access to 6 VST instruments, 9 Effects plug-ins, and a selection of Melodics tutorials. Not only does this pack provide you with the means to elevate production, but it also provides you with the necessary lessons to learn to use them efficiently.

Get the latest price and see more information here at Amazon.

Tascam US-2×2

Connectivity: USB 2.0

Inputs: 2 x XLR / ¼” Jack

Preamps: Ultra-HDDA

Gain range: 57dB

Noise EIN: -127dBu

Description: Our final pick for audio interfaces that come with software is none other than the Tascam US-2×2. This interface comes packaged with 2 DAW’s – Ableton Live 9 Lite, and Cakewalk SONAR X3 LE.

Ableton Live Lite is the stripped back version of the basic package of Live, known as Live Intro. Live Intro is itself the lowest of three tiers of the Live DAW, the other two versions being Standard and Suite. These full versions offer enhanced capabilities, not to mention an increasing number of plug-ins and software instruments.

Cakewalk SONAR LE is a relatively unknown DAW, however, it is definitely worth experimenting with both DAWs before committing to one, as each has its pros and cons that become evident through exploring the software.

The US-2×2 can be found over at Amazon.

Final Thoughts

This has been a list of our favorite audio interfaces that come with software. While this list is nowhere close to exhaustive – which would be an incredible feat with such a vast market – hopefully by now you should have a better understanding of the advantages of the different software included in interface bundles.

While this article has broken down the add-ons that are included with popular audio interfaces, you may be left wanting to know more about which interface is right for you. If this is the case, you should head over to our article on which is the ‘Best Audio Interface for Podcasting’.