I'm looking for a simple/cheap interface (preferably USB) to plug a guitar or a bass in my Mac. I know about full-featured interfaces like M-Audio Fast Track but they're a bit overkill for me. I already have a good USB mic to record voice/acoustic guitar and just want a simple way to plug my guitar and record some riffs using software amp simulation.

I found this one at Amazon for $20, but I don't really know if it's good or not. Any recommendations?


You might want to check out the Line 6 Pod Studio GX, which has nothing more than a guitar input and headphone out. The nice thing is that it comes with their PodFarm software which gives you some nice guitar effects that will work at low latency. I've got its predecessor the TonePort GX, and also the TonePort UX2 which has more inputs and outputs and phantom power.

  • Hey, great suggestion! I was looking at a TonePort UX2 for the future, but I didn't know about that one... For about $60 at Amazon it seems like a great deal, thanks! – Rodrigo Sieiro Jun 2 '11 at 2:07

The absolute cheapest way is a 1/4 inch to 1/8 adapter and plug direct to your soundcard in.

  • Very much this. ASIO4ALL helps with latency issues. The quality isn't perfect but I amplify with Guitar Pro so you can only notice the quality loss when I'm using "clean" – RyanScottLewis Jun 1 '11 at 22:59
  • Well, I guess I'm going to try it just to see how noisy it is... At least until I buy something :) – Rodrigo Sieiro Jun 2 '11 at 2:08
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    the noise is probably the least of your problems: latency is potentially worse. in windows, I needed an ASIO driver, and I set my sampling rate to 96k to get the lowest latency. – horatio Jun 2 '11 at 13:43

The one you have linked is an unbranded version of the one that Behringer sells. It's EXTREMELY noisy, especially with single coil pickups. It's also incredibly flimsy.

The lowest end interface that I would go with for guitar would be the Tascam US-100 if you need USB. It's around sixty or seventy dollars (US). It's the least expensive audio interface that has the features of most standard interfaces.

  • What would you recommend that is better than Tascam US-100 (preferably something that isn't USB)? I thought I once saw sound cards by M-Audio that you could directly connect your guitar to without needing a DI box or preamp? – Lèse majesté Sep 10 '13 at 5:42
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    This: m-audio.com/products/en_us/Delta44.html is the closest to what you are looking for, but you still need a guitar pre on the way in. – Zeronyne Oct 4 '13 at 21:24
  • Would something like this Behringer PB100 be fine, or is there anything I need to look for in terms of quality/features (all the ones on Musician's Friend are like $200+)? – Lèse majesté Oct 4 '13 at 22:44

The easiest way is to use a 1/4"mono to 3.5mm stereo adaptor (guitar cable to headphone cable). This isn't hard to make (with some rudimentary soldering experience) from a cheap guitar cable and a pair of broken headphones (usually less than $20). Also, many cheap adaptors exist to downsize the 1/4" guitar plug to a 3.5mm headphone plug.


All guitar amp modelling software is just emulating a mic in front of an amp cabinet. Do you have a guitar amp already?

Given that you already have the mic and the amp (I'm guessing on that), the cheapest way for you to get a good guitar sound is to use the mic you have and mic your amp. (Unless you need to use the mic for something else while playing guitar, or can't play loud where you are.)

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    Unfortunately, I don't have a guitar amp. I used to play with a POD XT Live only, but I sold it a while ago. – Rodrigo Sieiro Jun 2 '11 at 2:08
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    That's a shame! (Also keep in mind that cheap USB interfaces are going to have latency issues.) – Goodbye Stack Exchange Jun 2 '11 at 2:08

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