If you've ever tried to connect a guitar or nice microphone to your computer, you've likely discovered that it's, well, not exactly possible.
Sure, if your have a USB or 1/8" microphone, you can plug it into the audio in port on your computer, but the results aren't great. And if you have an XLR or 1/4" device... you're kinda at a loss. No can do.
The first box I got was a Tascam US-122. It was $170 and got the job done, but only lasted a couple years before it just stopped working.
So I was in the market for another audio interface box, preferably under $100 this time. After a lot of searching, I finally found the M-Audio Podcast Factory. I got it refurbished for about $80. It works fairly well and allows me to connect guitars and microphones to my computer. Which is what I need it to do.
And right now, you can purchase one for $40.
If you've been looking for a way to record your guitar, or vocals, or lay down some tracks of your band, this may be the time to start working on your DAW. Granted, you get what you pay for, and the software this comes with is not what you want to use. But if you just need an audio recording interface for your computer, the entry price is really low at the moment.
Your Media Production Mentor