More and more in the music industry, it can get to feeling like there's a battle between digital and analog. But they don't have to be at odds - in fact, some of the most widely-used production techniques rely on combining the two. For instance, some things (like guitar pickups) will always be analog, and using them in tandem with a digital audio workstation is a routine part of turning a performance into a finished track. But you do need something to translate the signal when you're going between digital and analog, and that's where these USB audio interfaces come into the picture: they're plug-and-play converters in a box, designed to make it quick and easy to get all your gear connected.
Choosing the best USB audio interface for your needs can be as easy as deciding what kind of scale you're looking for. Take the Behringer Guitar Link UCG102 USB Interface for example: it's a no-frills portable interface for guitar (or bass in a pinch) that comes in really handy for mobile recording setups or digital effects software. On the other hand, if you're planning on outfitting a studio with a full-size multi-channel rack-mounted interface, you'll probably be more interested in something like the Presonus Audiobox 1818VSL 18-Channel USB Interface. Or maybe you're thinking about an interface that comes with software so it's ready to use right out of the box? In that case, the Line 6 POD Studio GX with POD Farm and the Avid Pro Tools Quartet with 1-Year Pro Tools Subscription are just two suggestions to get you started.
Every pro audio setup, from the commercial studio to the high-end hobbyist recording rig, relies on its hardware to get the best results. But everyone has his or her own opinions about what the best actually is, not to mention entirely different needs in terms of channels, features, connectors and more. So there's no single perfect option in this lineup of USB audio interfaces - it's up to you to take a look at what they all have to offer and make that choice for yourself. The good news is there are plenty of interfaces to choose from, so there's no doubt the right one is waiting.