The 4 Best Multitrack Recording Sound Cards – Reviews 2019

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Multitrack sound cards still play a role in modern recording setups even if many recording engineers prefer audio interface boxes. These sound cards basically convert a single USB input on your computer into a hub of audio inputs, allowing you to quickly and easily record multiple simultaneous tracks without the need for a mixer.

The biggest question you need to answer before you start shopping for an external sound card is how many tracks you need to record. Generally speaking, the more channels you need to be able to record, the more the sound card is going to cost you. Even still, your average sound card will cost less per channel than your typical audio interface, the main practical advantage of the sound card in the modern recording set-up. We’ve reviewed four of our favorites below.

These are our recommendations for the best multitrack recording sound cards on the market:

Ammoon 2-Channel External Sound Card

At first glance this sound card from Ammoon looks more like a mixing deck, and the truth is it’s a little bit of both. It has the inputs and controls you’d expect from a mixer, but with an integrated USB interface so your computer will recognize it as a sound card—basically the best of both worlds in one compact device.

The Ammoon 2-Channel Sound Card (see full specs) includes both XLR and TRS inputs. Both inputs support phantom power, so this little beauty will work with any microphone. Each channel has independent controls for the EQ and level so you can do a lot of your mixing straight through the sound card. If you’d rather use mixing software or a DAW, it communicates beautifully all operating systems and recording equipment.

This unit usually does cost a bit more than your typical sound card. On the other hand, it’s still more affordable than most mixing decks. If you’re looking for an affordable way to making multi-track recordings with professional microphones, this is one sound card that’s right up your alley.

Driver Genius 7.1 Sound Card

Not every great sound card can be found in the recording equipment category. This sound card from Driver Genius is designed to function as a surrogate receiver for a 7.1-channel surround sound system. The good news is this gives it an impressive array of inputs, along with studio-quality sound and basic on-board controls for volume that give you a lot of options for your home recording.

The main caveat about this sound card is that it’s only compatible with Windows operating systems, so Mac and Linux users will have to look elsewhere. It also doesn’t supply phantom power, so it isn’t compatible with XLR microphones.

These caveats aside, the stats are good on the Driver Genius sound card. It has support for both 44.1 and 48 KHz sampling rates, along with analog recording and playback capabilities. The simple plug and play operation makes the set-up super convenient, too. This is among the best multitrack recording sound cards for the money.

Yamaha AG03 3-Channel Mixer / External Sound Card

Here’s another affordable mixer that has the capability to function as a high-end external sound card for your computer. The Yamaha AG03 has built-in 2-track recording and is compatible through USB with both Mac and Windows operating systems. It’s a bit more of an investment than most sound cards, but it also gives you everything you need to make your recordings sound their best.

This mixer (see full specs) doesn’t just come with the tactile faders and knobs you’d expect. It also includes a download of Cubase AI recording software, giving you access to a full range of effects and tone shaping options. It’s easy to install the software and hook the mixer up to your system, even if you’ve never done any recording before.

If you’re getting an external sound card, you’re likely looking for better sound quality—and that’s where this Yamaha really excels. It has a high signal resolution and can also be operated independently of your computer, if you want to do some recording on the go—among the best USB sound cards for multitrack recording.

Using The Yamaha AG03 Mixer Audio Interface

Behringer U-Control UCA222 DAC /External Sound Card

On the other side of the spectrum, here’s the most budget-friendly option on the list. The Behringer U-Control UCA222 gives you two input channels and two output channels in a convenient, compact casing for a song. It’s a plug-and-play unit that’s compatible with both Mac and Windows systems, making it an easy choice for hobbyists.

Maybe most surprising for the price is the fact that this mixer comes with a version of the Audacity software. This gives you an editing program along with effects plug-ins and virtual instruments to add more layers to your recordings.

As far as the device itself, it is a bit smaller than the other options on the list, both in terms of physical size and the number of input/output options. For a singer/songwriter or casual recordings of small groups, it’s just as much sound card as you’ll need, and at a price you’ll love.

Behringer UCA-222 USB recording interface

Why Use a Multitrack Recording Sound Card?

You’ve noticed these are all external sound cards, which might confuse some who think that sound cards are things you push into slots inside your computer. Don’t be confused. Most sound engineers prefer an external rather an internal card because the latter adds more inputs along with improving the sound.

Of course, we have to mention again that professional recording engineers today will largely use AI boxes. If you’re using a multiple-microphone set-up, this is likely more the direction you’ll want to look. These units can be pricier than sound cards, whether external or internal, but you can still find good options that will meet your needs better than anything on this list.

Where the external sound card is still very useful is for home recording, especially for hobbyists who want their equipment to pull double-duty. A multi-channel sound card can serve as a receiver for surround-sound speakers run through a computer, as well as functioning as an audio interface for recording and playback.

The main key is to consider the type of equipment you’re going to be using. If there’s at least one XLR microphone in the list, your sound card options get significantly more limited. Along with this is the number of inputs that you’re looking for. The whole point of a sound card is to expand your connectivity options, so if it won’t accomplish this to your needs it’s time to look elsewhere.

Hopefully these reviews have helped you get a better idea of what’s out there, and which is the best multitrack recording sound card for you. Good luck in your search!

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