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Recording yourself while playing drums, guitar, keys, or singing is always a great experience and also necessary to improve your own skills.
Since there are hundreds of ways to record an instrument – some good – some bad – I'd like to shed some light on the best 4 input audio interfaces available at the moment.
Why would I talk about 4 input audio interfaces?
These interfaces aren't that expensive and still you will be able to record yourself and maybe 2 or even 3 other musicians playing at the same time.
Drummers will be able to record bass drum, snare and 2x overhead mics, which is enough for great sounding demo-recordings.
Does that sound interesting?
The best 4 input audio interfaces
Here are a few of the best 4 input audio interfaces, IMO, which are available at the moment.
Further down, I will go into more detail, why I find these worth considering for your next purchase:
Zoom H5 4-track portable audio-recorder
I own a Zoom H5 since 2016 and even before I ordered mine, I was able to test is for quite some time.
I fell in love with that awesome device, because:
These are a few advantages, but there are more.
You can connect the Zoom H5 to any Mac or PC computer and make it your external audio interface. This way, you can directly record onto your computer's hard disk.
In case you run the Zoom H5 as a stand-alone device, it will record onto an SD card.
I still recommend it.
It's great for drum set recordings, because the built-in (interchangeable) XY condenser mics work perfectly for overhead recordings of your drums.
The 2x extra inputs can be used for snare and bass drum microphones, so that you can record 4 drum tracks simultaneously.
The Steinberg UR44C is a USB 3.0 audio interface which works great on Mac & PC, but it can also be connected to an iPad!
Yes, that's amazing!
This little extra feature allows musicians to record on the road! Wherever and whenever creativity hits, you can capture your ideas on an iPad using the Steinberg UR44C.
To run the UR44C, all you need is a USB type C connection for power supply.
Steinberg Plus – What's that?
If you are still not convinced, that the UR44C is a fantastic audio interface, here's another argument:
Watch the video for more information.
Here you can find even more information about this excellent USB audio interface and its features.
To see the latest price, please click here and choose your preferred store.
TASCAM US 4×4 HR
The Tascam US 4×4 HR also comes with an iPad connectivity. But you would also need to connect the audio interface to the power supply unit when recording with an iPad or iPhone.
Although this audio interface is a lot cheaper than the Steinberg, the feature list is quite similar.
BEHRINGER UMC 404
The Behringer UMC 404 is the cheapest audio interface in this line-up.
Is it bad, though?
No, not at all!
Still, this audio interface doesn't come with the same features as the ones I mentioned before.
You can't connect it to an iOS device, and you always need to connect it to the power supply in order to run it properly.
It works on Mac & PC and there are 4 mic inputs with built-in Midas preamps.
For more information about the Behringer UMC 404, please click here and pick your favorite store.
Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
In a blog post about 4 input audio interfaces, mentioning Focusrite is a must!
The Scarlett 18i8 is another high-quality USB audio interface in the mid-price range worth mentioning.
This model is equipped with a USB-C connection, 4 Scarlett mic preamps and +48 V phantom power.
For more information about the Focusrite 4 input audio interface, please click here.
Things to consider before buying an audio interface
Before you buy an audio interface – no matter what price – you need to consider a few important things:
Are you using PC or Mac?
Yes, this makes a difference.
Not always, but there are some audio interfaces which only run on Mac computers. None of those, I mentioned above, but it's worth checking before you buy one.
In case you own an iPad, it can be a great idea to use it also for recordings when you are on the road.
There are several audio interfaces, like the Tascam, which can be connected to an iPad. This combination allows high-quality recordings wherever you are.
Do you need a recording set-up which is easy to carry?
Do you require a battery run system, which also works without any external power supply?
Then you should consider a field recorder like the Zoom H5, which you can see here.
USB, FireWire & Thunderbolt
USB is the most common connection for audio interfaces these days. But still, there are other ways audio interfaces can connect to computers, which are FireWire and Thunderbolt.
The good thing is, that FireWire and Thunderbolt are the more sophisticated solutions for audio-professionals.
If you are interested in a comparison between these connection standards, please click here.
Which is the best 4 input audio interface for me?
Every single 4 input audio interface I mentioned in this article is a great choice. Depending on your budget and what you really expect from devises like these, you should be able to find the perfect solution for your home studio.
If you are completely new to recording, and you just want to test the waters, I would recommend the Behringer audio interface.
In case you own an iPad, you might consider those 4 input audio interfaces with iOS connectivity instead.
What are your (recording-) needs?
Please let me know in the comments, what your recordings needs are. Maybe we can find the perfect 4 input audio interface together.
In case you want to record your drum set, my article about the best mics for toms might be interesting for you as well.
Thanks so much for reading, and enjoy making music and playing drums!