Best Audio Interface for Podcasting and Voice Over in 2022

by The Greatest Song

and The Greatest Song Team

Looking for the best audio interface for podcasting and voice-over, our highest priorities were sound quality and ease-of-use. We unboxed and tested these six popular interfaces to find our favourite.

For the audio clips below, we tested these six audio interfaces recording with a Neumann TLM 102 Microphone, Logic Pro X, with zero compression or EQ added. The text is from The Mad Gardener’s Song by Lewis Carroll.

See The Test Drive section below for more details about our test.

Comparison Chart: Best audio Interface

for Podcasting and Voice Over

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4

(full review..)

Our Rating: 5.0

focusrite scarlett 4i4

today’s best deals:

Pros

  • Pre-amps that rival expensive interfaces
  • Great price
  • Low latency
  • Virtual Channels for Loopback
  • works on iPad pro with USB-C

Cons

  • No MIDI I/O
  • Useless display lights
  • Knobs are tiny

Universal Audio Apollo Solo

(full review…)

Our Rating: 4.7

Universal Audio Apollo Solo

today’s best deals:

Pros

  • The best portable audio interface you can buy
  • Best pre-amps and digital converters. 
  • Low latency
  • Outstanding plug-ins included
  • Virtual channels for Loopback

Cons

  • no cable included (!!)
  • expensive 
  • no MIDI I/O

SSL 2+

(full review…)

Our Rating: 4.6

SSL 2 plus audio interface

today’s best deals:

Pros

  • Good pre-amps
  • Versatile
  • Our favourite build
  • Display lights make levels easy to set
  • 2 separate headphone outputs
  • MIDI I/O
  • Two stereo monitor outputs

Cons

  • No Loopback options included

Audient ID4

(full review…)

Our Rating: 4.5

Audient ID4 Audio Interface

today’s best deals:

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Quality build and design
  • Virtual channels for internal Loopback
  • Works with any IOS device with Lightning or USB-C ports using IOS 6 and up.

Cons

  • only one XLR input
  • no MIDI I/O

Presonus Revelator IO24

(full review…)

Our Rating: 3.0

Presonus Revelator io24 Audio Interface

today’s best deals:

Pros

  • Solid build
  • Loopback and Streaming made easy with the audio driver software
  • Intuitive LCD controls

Cons

  • Poor sound quality

M-Audio Air

(full review…)

Our Rating: 1.0

M-Audio Air Audio Interface

today’s best deals:

Pros

  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Poor sound quality from the pre-amps
  • Gain shelf jump from too quiet to too loud
  • No loopback options included

Priorities in Rating for Podcasting and Voice over

Sound quality and Ease-of-use

An audio interface is the hub of your home studio for podcasting and voice-over work. This hub makes your life easier in the following ways: 

  1. Converts the analog signal of your microphone into a digital signal that your computer can understand
  2. Provides a pre-amp to make sure your microphone has enough power and provide you with high-quality audio
  3. Helps your computer with some of the heavy processing (DSP)
  4. Simply has the right female connections for different audio cables  

Loopback

Our next priority was the ability to simultaneously record a microphone as well as the audio from applications such as Zoom or Skype (internal loopback). How easy the interface makes your life when it comes to internal loopback was an important consideration in our final rating.

I would like to note that one can still accomplish internal loopback of the audio from video conferencing applications using an application like Black Hole (free) or Soundflower (free) or by manually re-routing the audio out with a cable back into the interface.  

The downside of using a cable is that you use up one XLR input and one stereo output. The downside of using other applications is that the process is not headache-free and requires patience that you might not have.

For more information about choosing a mic, see our post, Best Microphone for Podcasting and Voice Over.

See here for more information on getting started with podcasting. If you need tips on how to edit a podcast, we have you covered. Finally, for considerations on your entire set-up, check out all our audio gear reviews and info.

Without further ado, on to the tests and reviews. 

Table of Contents

    The Test Drive: 6 Audio interfaces, Same Mic

    For the audio clips above, we tested these six audio interfaces recording with a Neumann TLM 102 Microphone, Logic Pro X, with zero compression or EQ added. (for more info on mic choice, check out some of our mic reviews.)

    If the interface had any added colour enhancements or EQ boost, we left those options off. The text is from The Mad Gardener’s Song by Lewis Carroll.

    With spoken word using only one track, the differences sound quality are subtle. The differences have to do with the quality of the analog to digital converters and the pre-amps in the interface.

    The poorest sound quality came from the M-Audio Air and the Presonus Revelator io24. Both sounded muffled and overworked on the most basic of applications.

    The Universal Audio Apollo Solo and Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 sounded the clearest and most honest to our ears – in that order. Coming in 3rd and 4th, the SSL 2+ and the Audient ID4 delivered clearly.

    We recommend a listen with headphones to hear the subtleties yourself.

    Our Pick

    Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen)

    Rating for Podcasting and Voice-Over

    5.0

    Pros

    • Pre-amps that rival expensive interfaces
    • Great price
    • ‘Zero latency’ option
    • Virtual Channels for Loopback of audio from a Zoom call or similar.
    • works on iPad pro with USB-C

    Cons

    • no MIDI I/O
    • display lights don’t really help in setting levels
    • knobs are tiny
    focusrite scarlett 4i4 thumb

    Today’s best deals:

    Bottom Line:

    Ideally priced with two XLR inputs, built-in loopback software, and crystal clear pre-amps.

    This is the most popular audio interface for a reason. Its pre-amps are not as clean as the UA Apollo, but they come close. And, it is one-third the price.

    We loved the way this thing sounds.  

    The ‘Zero-Latency’ feature is a game-changer. Universal Audio units have had this feature for years but now Focusrite Scarlett interfaces have it as well. It means you have an option to send the signal directly through the interface and not through your computer, allowing you to hear a real-time version of your voice or instrument regardless of how bulky and memory-hungry your project is.  

    If you ever find yourself deep into a project with loads of plug-ins and suddenly latency (what you hear in the monitor is delayed as it runs through your system) becomes an issue in recording, it can be a real headache.

    The build is solid. The design is okay. The knobs are tiny and the display lights make a bit of guesswork necessary sometimes to set levels. It includes 2 XLR/instrument inputs and 4 line outputs. It also lacks any MIDI inputs.

    We did not test it with an iPad, but apparently, it also works on any iPad pro with a USB-C input.

    The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 is perfectly suited to podcasters. With an option for two mics, built-in loopback software, and crystal clear pre-amps, you can’t go wrong.

    For voice-over projects that require only one microphone (one XLR input) and no loopback features, you could spend less and get the same low latency and great pre-amps with the Focusrite Scarlett Solo.  

    Universal Audio Apollo Solo

    Rating for Podcasting and Voice-Over

    4.7

    Pros

    • The best portable audio interface you can buy
    • Unrivalled sound quality from the pre-amps and digital converters.
    • Zero-latency option
    • Outstanding plug-ins included
    • Virtual channels for Loopback

    Cons

    • no cable included (!!)
    • expensive
    • no MIDI I/O
    Universal Audio Apollo Solo Audio Interface

    Today’s best deals:

    Bottom Line:

    Universal Audio’s Apollo line audio interfaces are the best portable audio interfaces money can buy.

    In our opinion, the Apollo line interfaces are the best portable audio interfaces you can buy. The Solo (previously known as the Arrow) is the baby of the line, with the same high-end analog to digital converters and flawless pre-amps as the top-of-the-line rack mounts. The sound quality is top-notch in every way.

    For podcasters and voice-over artists, this unit paired with a quality mic gives you truly professional studio-sounding results. The software driver allows for real-time, zero-latency monitoring.

    It comes with two XLR/instrument inputs if you’re using two mics. And, it has virtual channels for internal audio loopback of other computer applications.  

    If your requirements extend beyond the spoken word, this unit is highly recommended.

    I usually think the software that comes with audio interfaces (other than the audio driver itself) is just marketing fluff. However, in this case, the plug-ins that come with UA Apollo units are some of the best audio plug-ins available. The Pultec EQ, Teletronix LA-2A compressor, and the UA 610-B pre-amp plug-ins are outstanding and extremely versatile.  

    The main downside of course is the price. At nearly three times the cost of a Focusrite Scarlett unit, it better deliver the goods. Thankfully, it does.

    Setting up loopback was not as straightforward as I had hoped however, with the help of this tutorial, you can get up and running. We didn’t test this unit on Windows but some Windows users have reported compatibility issues with this unit, so be warned.  

    The build is a solid chunk of metal, lacking any parts that might snap off or get lost in transit.

    It did not come with a USB-C/Thunderbolt cable. At the price of this unit, that is unacceptable. On this point, Universal Audio should be ashamed of themselves.  

    SSL 2+

    Rating for Podcasting and Voice-Over

    4.6

    Pros

    • Good pre-amps
    • Versatile
    • Our favourite build / design on this list
    • Display lights make levels easy to set
    • Two separate headphone outputs with independent volume controls on board.
    • MIDI I/O
    • Two stereo monitor outputs

    Cons

    • No Loopback options included
    SSL 2+ Audio Interface

    Today’s best deals:

    Bottom Line:

    A versatile audio interface with great connectivity and nice pre-amps.

    If you’ve always wanted an SSL console in your home, here’s your chance. We got our hands on an SSL 2+ but it is worth noting that if you don’t need the extra monitor output, extra headphone output, or the MIDI I/O you can get the brother SSL 2 (no plus) for about $100 cheaper.

    The SSL 2+ had very good sound quality in our test. It comes with an EQ boost button (‘4K’) that boosts the air frequencies of the sound source and adds harmonic colour meant to simulate classic analog SSL consoles. We tested this with acoustic guitar and liked the results.  

    We liked the build. It’s very solid and bigger than most consoles but still portable. It has two XLR inputs, two dedicated pre-amps, MIDI in and out (for MIDI controllers, keyboards, or drum machines), two balanced monitor outputs, and two separate headphone level knobs and a monitor mix knob on the interface – very useful for podcasters using two microphones on a project.

    It is worth mentioning that the gain lights on the front are the best on this list for setting mic levels.

    One downside for podcasters is that there are no loopback options included with the interface. 

    It comes with Pro Tools First and Ableton Live Light as well as other plugins and software.  

    If you’re doing songwriting projects or other musical projects in addition to spoken word, it would be a great choice. Its size, midi inputs and outputs, extra monitor outputs, and sound quality all make it an all-rounder. 

    Audient ID4

    Rating for Podcasting and Voice-Over

    4.5

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Quality build and design: knobs can control DAW, display lights help with levels
    • Virtual channels for internal Loopback
    • Works with any IOS device with Lightning or USB-C ports using IOS 6 and up.

    Cons

    • only one XLR input
    • no MIDI I/O

    Bottom Line:

    A quality audio interface that works like it should at a good price. A machine would serve any podcaster or voice over artist well.

    The Audient ID4 was competitive in our tests. The sound quality of the Audient ID4 was solid, not as clear as the UA Apollo but very good nonetheless.  

    The general ease of use was our favourite aspect of this machine. It plugged into my computer and worked immediately with my DAW (Logic Pro X). The special “ID” button on the interface allows you to directly control knobs and levels in your DAW or in the ID software it comes with, and this feature worked as it should without any fiddling on my part.  

    The software it comes with allows for very low latency and most importantly for podcasters, two virtual channels for easy internal loopback. The documentation was clear and it all worked as they said it would in our trial.  

    We didn’t test it with IOS but apparently, it works with any IOS device with lightning ports or USB-C ports providing the device is using iOS 6 or later. 

    Having a monitor mix dial on the interface is also really handy. I will now want this feature on every interface I use.  

    The downside for podcasting might be that its second input is an instrument input (not XLR). So if you wanted to record two mics for your podcast, you would need the ID14 which gives you another XLR input along with more outputs (and a lot of other bells and whistles) for about $100 more.  

    It is a well-built, steel brick of a machine. Overall, a good value interface that would be a quality assistant in any podcasting or voice-over project.

    Presonus Revelator io24

    Rating for Podcasting and Voice-Over

    3.0

    Pros

    • Solid build
    • Loopback and Streaming made easy with the audio driver software
    • Intuitive LCD controls

    Cons

    • Poor sound quality
    Presonus Revelator io24 Audio Interface

    Today’s best deals:

    Bottom Line:

    Sound quality: thumbs down.

    User-friendly for podcasting: thumbs up.  

    The Presonus Revelator io24 is marketed and designed to be a podcaster’s dream device. Presonus spoon feeds all of the details for streaming, taking callers with Zoom or other popular applications using audio loopback, and mixing your sources in its user manual.

    The question is, does it succeed in making life easier? Yes, but…

    The advantages of this interface are its user-friendly driver software, solid build, and intuitive design. The downside is the sound quality.  

    The pre-amps sounded muffled in our tests. Maybe this is why driver software almost insists on using EQ and compression enhancements. But if the machine doesn’t perform well without enhancements on a single spoken voice, we wouldn’t trust it in larger applications.  

    The driver software that it comes with is great at simplifying loopback and sending out a streaming audio mix. There are three separate headphone mixes and stream mix on hand in the driver window. The driver ships with compression and EQ plugins that are available with convenient presets also in the driver window.  

    The build is a solid square brushed aluminum box with two XLR/instrument inputs, MIDI in/out, and balanced monitor and headphone outputs.  The tiny LCD screen was great for setting levels and adjusting settings – all very intuitive.

    The onboard buttons were a bit confusing and unnecessary: preset buttons for audio enhancements, a back button that could be confused with loopback, and a monitor mute button.

    If great sound quality is not as important to you as a user-friendly setup for podcasting, you might consider this interface. But for a professional-sounding podcast or voice over, look elsewhere. 

    M-Audio Air

    Rating for Podcasting and Voice-Over

    1.0

    Pros

    • Inexpensive

    Cons

    • Poor sound quality from the pre-amps
    • Gain shelf jump from too quiet to too loud
    • No loopback options included

    Bottom Line:

    Don’t waste your money on this guy.

    The M-Audio Air audio interface has the lowest price tag on this list, but sadly it’s not worth even that. We had heard good things about this and thought it would be worth it to try out at least interface around the $100 mark. This confirms what I already knew: going cheap isn’t worth it with an audio interface. 

    The sound quality was muffled. Considering its poor performance with a single spoken voice, I wouldn’t want to try it with more complicated applications with multiple audio sources.  

    When adjusting the gain level for the mic, we discovered a sudden shift from not enough gain to too much. This shelf would undoubtedly become annoying in any project.  

    The interface is solidly built and very shiny. Other downsides include no loopback options for podcasters and only one XLR input (a second mic is not an option).  

    Investing in a quality audio interface is worth the money. A good audio interface simplifies the recording process. This interface reminded me that bottom-shelf options deliver poor sound quality and they make the process of recording more difficult than it should be.  

    Questions or Comments?

    Join the discussion here on Facebook.