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Tools for the Task: Recording Interfaces

Svelte and user-friendly interfaces that make digital recording a snap.

Putting together a simple recording rig that can yield stellar tracks has never been easier, more affordable, and less space-hoggish. We’ve rounded up a few interfaces that can help transfer your ideas between instrument and computer.

Scarlet Solo

A sleek, light, USB-powered interface with phantom power that’s small enough to fit in a gigbag or backpack and tough enough for travel.


AudioBox iTwo

This portable, bus-powered USB 2.0 interface for iPad audio and MIDI has a pair of combo mic/line/instrument inputs with class-A mic preamps.



A compact, powerful, and portable interface featuring D-PRE mic preamps, 24-bit/192 kHz converters, and a loopback function for easy live-internet recording.



This 4-channel pro-level USB mic preamp/audio interface was designed for low noise and high-quality audio. It resides in a rugged, half-rack-sized enclosure.


M-Track Plus

This compact, user-friendly bus-powered USB interface accommodates most input sources. It comes bundled with light versions of Cubase, Ableton Live, and Waves Audio plug-ins.


Apollo Twin Solo

This 2x6 Mac Thunderbolt audio interface allows seamless tracking though Universal Audio’s Realtime UAD plug-in processing.


Studio Connect Lightning

This audio/MIDI interface for iPad features a front-panel stereo headphone/monitor jack.


iRig PRO

A pocket-sized yet full-featured audio/MIDI interface for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Also available: the new iRig HD-A for Android devices.

The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview
The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview on Johnny’s New Songwriter Album

The Man in Black returns with the unreleased Songwriter album. John Carter Cash tells us the story.

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This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

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Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.


Martin 0-X2E


Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

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