11 Best Audio Interfaces For Mac In 2023
If you’re serious about producing high-quality recorded music on your home computer, then you’ll probably want to invest in an audio interface.
If you have an apple computer (either a laptop or more likely a desk-based computer), then you’ll need to make sure that the audio interface you choose is compatible with the Mac’s software.
There is a huge range of audio interfaces out there on the market right now. They vary massively in terms of their quality, their capabilities and of course, their price.
What you intend to use the audio interface for will likely dictate what specific model suits you best.
Regardless of what features are most important to you, you’ll find an audio interface to suit you on this list of the best audio interfaces for Mac.Table could not be displayed.
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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools, Red (AMS-SCARLETT-2I2-3G)
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This is a great option if you are simply looking for an easy-to-setup, convenient but high-quality audio interface to get started recording your own music.
The easy to use start tool means that you can literally be up and running in minutes.
What’s more, the jazzy red design will pair well with most Mac devices.
The hardware on this device is also pretty impressive. The interface comes with an array of jacks and ports, but it also has very solid preamps built in.
This allows for very accurate sound reproduction, so if you are routing your computer sound through this, you are going to get insane accuracy.
The amps have a lot of headroom build in, meaning high peak powers and volume will not be an issue either.
This device comes with a lot of in-built and related software as well, including a valuable three-month subscription to Splice and a free virtual instrument for XLN Addictive Keys.
Video: “Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen Review and Test”
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2×2 USB Audio Interface, Blue, PC/Mac – 2 Mic Pres
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This is another one of the best audio interfaces for Mac, but it is also suitable for use with windows devices, so you can share it with your mates if you want.
This device has 24-bit resolution, like many of the other devices featured on this list, but it does have noticeably slower sampling rates than the device featured previously.
For instance, this product from PreSonus can sample at a maximum rate of 96 kHz, compared to 180 kHz on some similar products.
This is only important if you are very concerned about capturing the intricate details of your music, and for most purposes this will be more than sufficient.
Plus, this device makes up for a lower sampling rate with its broad frequency range, simple USB connection and the fact that it comes with PreSonus acclaimed Artist DAW software, allowing you to mix audio to your hearts content.
Video: “PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 Audio Interface – Overview and Demo”
BEHRINGER Audio Interface (UMC404HD)
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This is one of the most modern and best audio interfaces for Mac available on the market right now.
The biggest difference compared to the previous models is in the number of inputs and outputs.
This is a 4×4 interface, meaning you can connect 4 inputs and 4 outputs simultaneously. This allows you to very easily mix a whole band’s music in one go.
There are lots of other advantages as well. For instance, with this tool you can provide ‘phantom power’ to devices such as condenser microphones that need a supply of (48 V) electricity.
This device also allows for ultra-low latency, which means you can adjust and edit the sound essentially in real time.
This is one of the hallmarks of a high-quality audio device. With the strong aluminum frame and detailed engineering, this truly is a ‘studio in a box’.
Video: “Review Of Behringer U Phoria UMC 404HD Audio & Midi Interface”
Apogee Duet 2 – 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording Mics, Guitars, Keyboards on MAC and iOS Devices
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This device features a trimmed-back, stylish and minimalist design that is certainly a departure from the blocky design that most musicians would associate with audio interfaces.
This is very much in keeping with the Mac inspired theme.
This simplicity runs throughout the whole design. It can be connected to your Mac by an ordinary USB cable, and it features two high-quality inputs and four outputs.
It has high-frequency converters built in which capture the analogue signal with high precision and convert it to a very accurate digital replication.
The input lines are versatile, allowing you to connect microphones, instruments, or other line level devices such as external pre-amps or mixing boards.
This is designed to work seamlessly with your Mac, and you can actually control hardware parameters such as the input selection from the accompanying software.
Video: “Apogee Duet 2 Audio Interface | Reverb Demo Video”
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo (APLTWDII)
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When it comes to the best audio interfaces for Mac, this is on a different level.
While the other products may be sufficient for podcasters or amateur singer-songwriters, this audio interface is targeted at more professional groups.
It takes advantage of the best new technology. For example, instead of connecting to your computer through a traditional USB port, it connects via a thunderbolt connection.
This allows for much faster and efficient transfer of information. This is part of the reason for the ultra-low latency on this device, achieving latency of less than 2 ms.
The benefits of this device don’t stop there either. It allows for ultra-accurate 24-bit, 192 kHz conversion, and has 6 output lines.
This includes outputs for line outputs, headphones and studio monitors.
The input preamps are tuned to perfection, resulting in less distortion and a wide frequency range.
Video: “Apollo Twin Duo MK2 Unboxing + Set-Up (Best Audio Interface?)”
Tascam US-4×4 USB Audio/MIDI Interface with Microphone Preamps and iOS Compatibility
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This is another great type of audio interface from a reputable brand with years of experience in crafting killer music-oriented technology. In fact, this is just one of a series of interfaces.
You can get nearly any arrangement of inputs and outputs, from tiny 1×2 interfaces to gigantic 20×20 interfaces for orchestral sessions!
Obviously, the prices vary according to the number of inputs and outputs you opt for.
One of the major pros of the in-line preamps in this model is that they can provide up to 57 dB worth of gain with very little distortion or inadvertent coloring of the signal.
This is a huge plus, especially if you don’t have the cash to shell out for an expensive external pre-amp.
Of course, it also offers excellent HDDA conversion, so that you can edit all the tiny details from the input signal.
Mac is the software-partner of choice for this audio interface, and it has simple plug and play compatibility with all Mac devices.
The process is a little bit more elaborate for windows devices, but it can be used in conjunction with those devices too.
The XLR input connector also has the ability to supply phantom power to attached microphones, and there are a number of other types of input ports available as well, such as MIDI input lines.
This device had been designed with ergonomics and the end-user in mind, hence it has an angles design making it easy to control and adjust from a desktop position.
Video: “Indigo Oak Studio – TASCAM US-4×4 Audio Interface review & demonstration”
Roland UA-1610 STUDIO-CAPTURE 16-input, 10-output Hi-speed USB Audio Interface
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If capacity is what you’re looking for then this may be the answer to your prayers. This offering comes from a trusted player in the audio interface market and offers the user an unrivalled 16 inputs and 10 outputs.
It hasn’t cheaped out on the other features either. All the inputs are combo XLR and TRS inputs, meaning that it can be connected to virtually any instrument or audio device that you can think off.
What’s more, connecting it to your Mac couldn’t be simpler, with a single USB 2.0 connection.
For such a high-capacity piece of kit, it is actually very convenient to transport as well. It comes with a handy travel bag which allows you to carry it around to gigs, events or just for the next jam session at your friend’s house.
It features top of the range 24 bit/ 192 kHz audio quality and very solid drivers that make outputs sound slick and full-bodied.
This is definitely one of the industry leading audio interfaces that is well suited to up and coming bands or just some creative minds looking to experiment.
The incorporated driver promises to deliver very stable operation and low latency monitoring of your music, making it easy to make adjustments and edits in real time.
If you’re looking for one of the best audio interfaces for Mac, then look no further than this offer from Roland.
Video: “Roland STUDIO-CAPTURE Overview (USB2.0 Audio Interface)”
Steinberg UR44 Audio Interface
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Drawing from Yamaha’s (their mother company) hardware manufacturing knowledge, the audio interface offered by Steinberg has become a favorite in the market.
The UR44, an interface with four superior quality preamps, is their representative in the 6-channel category. Together with amazing preamps, this interface even has two line inputs present at the back.
This will prove to be very helpful if you prefer using external preamps. You can easily plug them into the interface straight away. No coloration of sound is needed at all.
Steinberg UR44 comes with many output options. There is one main monitoring output and also four other outputs that can be used for the effect units or headphone amps.
At the front side are also present two headphone outputs. You will certainly love this if you plan to record someone else. Also, it will be helpful if you want someone else to listen when you track.
One more amazing thing about this interface is its MIDI Out and In for your many digital instruments.
Steinberg UR44 is an amazing, feature-rich interface that can handle mobile as well as home recordings. Thus, it is a great choice for one and all.
Video: “Steinberg UR44 – USB audio interface”
Audient iD4 USB 2-in/2-out High Performance Audio Interface
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This is another of the simpler variants of audio interfaces available on the market right now.
It features a class A mic preamp, so you can be sure that you are going to get a good frequency response, with high overhead and very respectable gain.
For a relatively affordable price, you get high quality sound reproduction capabilities, albeit with a limited capacity for inputs and outputs.
The sturdy but stylish design of this product is another positive aspect. It has a very stylish, brushed aluminum finish, which is aesthetically appealing, especially when combined with the tall output control knobs.
These knobs give you fine control over the headphone outputs, allowing you to make adjustments via the hardware, not just the associated software.
Audient is a very reputable manufacture who have been in this industry for years, so you can be sure that the build and design quality of this product is very high.
Reliability is an important factor to take into account with audio interfaces, because a good device should serve you loyally for many years.
Video: “Audient iD4 Feature Overview – 2in / 2out Audio Interface”
RME Audio Interface (BABYFACEPRO)
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The clean and simplistic design of this product makes for a nice contrast compared to some of the more busy, cluttered designs currently on the market.
And the strong design is not just superficial either, with some clever features under the hood as well.
For instance, this device is designed to offer supreme fidelity and accurate reproduction, by minimizing that unwanted distortion that can affect audio technology.
This is combined with very low levels of latency and good-energy efficiency, which could actually save you considerable money if you use this equipment regularly.
The pre-amp can provide up to 76 dB of gain, which is a lot more than its commercial competitors, and the gain is adjustable in steps of just 1 dB, which gives you ultimate freedom and flexibility, as the creator.
This provided adequate gain for even extremely low-level microphones, and it can also provide phantom power to on-line condenser microphones.
Flexibility is key with this audio interface. That’s why it is capable of being used with either 3 bus USM or USB 2.0 ports, with no detectable difference in stability or latency levels. If you have either of these connections, then you’ll be fine.
This is a high-end yet highly portable product that is perfect for bands on the go, or long studio sessions.
Video: “Babyface Pro Audio Interface – Feature Overview by RME Audio”
Apogee One – Audio Interface for Vocals and Instruments with Built In Studio Quality Condenser Microphone for iOS, Mac & Windows PC
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This clever device merits inclusion on the definitive list of the best audio interfaces for Mac. It includes all the specs and features that you might expect from a high-end audio interface.
For example, it includes two input and output ports that are suitable for a range of devices and adapters, and it uses leading AD/DA conversion technology to produce a high-quality digital reproduction of the analogue input.
But Apogee One also does a lot more than this. Unlike any of the other products featured on this list, this has a built in, high-quality, omnidirectional microphone that allows you to capture sound directly on the device itself.
You can then pair this with other inputs such as connected instruments or sound boards.
As well as having a built-in microphone, this has a built-in amp and driver, that allows you to play high quality audio direct from your computer.
This can greatly improve your listening experience and is a welcome feature.
These novel features, as well as the overall build quality and seamless conversion technology, makes this a firm favorite for someone looking to buy their first audio interface.
Video: “Apogee ONE for Mac – USB audio interface & mic in one cool package”
What To Look For In The Best Audio Interface For Mac?
Video: “How To Choose The Best Audio Interface For Your Home Studio”
When deciding to buy an audio interface for your computer, there seems to be so much to think about.
As I have shown in this comprehensive list of the best audio interfaces for mac, each product can have a different set of features and specs, and you need to have some basic knowledge to be able to compare them.
As you may have noticed, there is a lot of terminology or ‘techno-babble’ in this industry, and it can be very easy to get lost, especially for a novice.
But don’t worry, in the next few paragraphs I will explain a lot of the more important terminology and explain exactly which features you need to look out for.
Inputs and Outputs
This is probably the single most important factor you need to consider when buying an audio interface. The capacity of the audio interface refers to how many inputs it can take, and how many outputs can be connected as well.
This is often denoted in the format a x b, where a is the number of inputs and b is the number of outputs. For example, a 2 x 4 device would contain 2 input and 4 output connections.
The number of connections will play a large part in deciding the price. You need to carefully consider how many inputs and outputs you truly need, since extra ports can dramatically increase the cost.
If you are just interested in recording a solo acoustic piece, then you will probably just need one input for a microphone and another for your guitar.
This means a small, personal device would be more suitable. Large capacity interfaces are more suited for large band recording sessions.
You should also consider what kind of inputs and outputs your device can take. Many will have near universal functionality, meaning that they can take all kinds of connections for instruments, in line mics or other esoteric devices.
XLR and TRS are two common types of inputs that your device should be set up for, at an absolute minimum.
One of the major purposes of the audio interface is to convert an analogue signal (such as one produced by an instrument) to a digital signal that is suitable for further processing by the attached computer.
The accuracy of this ’conversion’ or replication process is one of the major factors which will affect the overall accuracy and sensitivity of the device. In the end, this leads directly to good sound quality.
You want to have good-quality converters. This is often reflected in the frequency of the sampling.
The higher the sampling frequency the more accurate the conversion process will be, and the more the digital signal will resemble the original analogue signal.
The industry leading sampling frequency is about 192 kHz, so you should aim for this benchmark. Sometimes may have a number of options for sampling speed, so you can flexibly approach this problem.
Frequency Range and Gain
The sampling frequency is unfortunately not the only number you need to look out. Try not to be confused by all the numbers floating about and remember to ask for help if it gets a bit confusing.
Two other numbers of importance are the frequency range and the pre-amp gain. The frequency range dictates what kind of signals the interface is capable of dealing with.
You want the frequency range to be as broad as possible, to capture all the little, intricate details of the music.
It should at least extend over the entire audible spectrum, from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz, but ideally it could extend further than this.
Gain can also be important. High quality pre-amps in the input lines will have high gain, of over 70 dB.
This is most important when dealing with low-quality mics, who only have low power pre-amps built into them. High gain allows you to process more information in the editing stage.
Gain vs Volume: What Is The Difference?
Latency refers to the time-lag (or lack thereof) between the input or output signal and the computer-based processing of that signal.
You should aim for as low a latency as possible. Often devices claim to be ultra-low latency or ‘zero’ latency. You should test this claim by asking what the latency time actually is.
For high-end devices it should only be a few milliseconds.
Low latency has a very real effect, as it will allow you to process and edit the sound essentially in real time, as you hear it!
There are a few other miscellaneous features and specs that you may come across during your research. Phantom power is a term that can cause some confusion, but the concept is actually very simple.
Some external condenser microphones need a power source which can actually be supplied from an audio interface (at 48 V).
Another thing you should consider is the driver or software that comes with the hardware package. You should take time to research the software since that will be the primary way you operate the audio interface.
Ideally the software should be powerful, easy to use and install, and not be too computer demanding.Table could not be displayed.
For any hardcore music enthusiast or amateur podcast, buying your first audio interface can be an exciting and daunting task.
We have outlined the best audio interfaces for Mac, but many of the devices featured in this list are actually equally compatible with windows devices.
The most important action point is to consider how you will use your audio interface. This should dictate what your priorities will be in terms of specs and features.
For example, having loads of inputs and outputs may not be a priority for you, but ultra-low latency might be.
The opposite may be the case for someone else. Ultimately this is a personal decision.
Now you have the knowledge and the terminology to go out and make an informed decision about what audio interface to buy.
I’m sure you’ll be happy with the end result!