I'm doing some signal processing research where I would like to record multi-channel (3-4 channels would be enough) audio on my Macbook Pro.

I just want the raw data so the hardware I'm looking for would just have inputs (e.g., 3.5 mm phone plug) for 3-4 microphones and an output (USB or firewire) to send the multi-channel digital audio data to my Macbook. I don't need the hardware to have any mixing controls or the like.

Everything I can find seems like overkill and is expensive. I'd like to spend no more than about $200 or so.

Any suggestions for hardware that does this?

UPDATE: Would it work to buy a 4-port USB hub and then purchase four USB mics? A four port hub is only $16...

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    I just have to say a lot of times it's pay now or pay more later. I wouldn't cheap out too much on an interface. I'm not sure what you're trying to do, but if you enjoy doing it and want to keep doing it you'll be very happy if you have a solid interface to work with. Better to save up for something decent than to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Jun 5, 2015 at 19:12
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    what do you want to record: music/sound/noise? in which location? this determines what you should buy, because recording soft sounds with noisy microphones is not possible for example. Jun 7, 2015 at 12:33
  • @ArnoudTraa, I'm doing speech processing in the presence of background noise (music, typical house noises, other people, etc.). The speech won't be soft, but I'll want a high quality signal.
    – minou
    Jun 7, 2015 at 15:17

3 Answers 3


Here is 4 channels for $250 with mic pre amps and dedicated outputs should you need them. There are a handful of 2 channel units for under 200 here is a 4 channel right at the $200 mark. You are brushing right up on the lowest quality level at that price. You may sacrifice quite a bit of quality which may impair what ever research you are doing.

Side note: you could always look for a nice used unit on ebay. I really like the stuff from MOTU and you may be able to get an older ultralight for under $200 if you are patient.


PlayStation Eye is one of the best and cheap recommendations. It is a microphone array with 4 microphones in row with only 35 dollars. Check amazon

  • Would it work for a mac? Are the channels seperate?
    – n00dles
    May 13, 2016 at 14:30
  • I have tried it with linux and also windows. In linux all its 4 channels can be accessible but in windows only 2 channels you have. But about Mac i dont know anything. It depends on voice card and its driver. May 13, 2016 at 14:38

Focusrite do a wonderful range of low cost adda and preamp hardwear (scarlet range) that will serve your purposes very well

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