Compatible Audio Interfaces Devices

What audio interfaces are compatible with Audacity? I am looking at some options on Musician’s Friend, such as M-Audio who have many different ones. I am looking to plug my guitar into my PC and use Audacity to convert to MP3’s for my online music course with Berkely College Of Music.
Thank you.

It depends on what platform you are on.

Audacity does not support ASIO drivers as standard, but most Windows sound cards will also work with WDM drivers (you should check before you buy).

Some multi-channel sound cards use multiple WDM drivers instead of a single multi-channel WDM driver - essentially they appear to Audacity as multiple stereo devices rather than a single multi-channel device, but Audacity can only access one recording device at a time, which means that in such cases Audacity will only be able to record 2 channels. For multi-channel recording, the device must use a multi-channel WDM driver.

On Linux, you should check that the device is supported by Linux - you will probably find some information about supported sound cards on the ALSA web site.

Macs are a mystery to me.

PCI sound cards are generally better performing and more robust than USB sound cards, though for use with a laptop you don’t have the option of PCI. I think there are now some PCIE sound cards, but on a desktop PC I would probably stick with the tried and tested PCI format.

I use a Creative SoundBlaster Live Value (CT 4832) and it works great. Performance and sound quality are surprisingly good for such an old (and inexpensive) sound card.

I also use a Behringer UCA 202 (Line level USB sound card) - it’s very much a “no frills” device, but again works surprisingly well considering the price. Noise and distortion are very low and I find it to be very stable and trouble free.

There is some additional information in the Audacity wiki (link at top of page) including a short list of sound cards that are known to not work with Audacity.