A great craftsman needs excellent tools. This is why a brilliant professional audio interface is your one-way ticket to creating a masterpiece in your recording studio.
No matter how big or small your studio is, an excellent external audio interface should be your preference. If you have a fantastic interface, there is no doubt your soundtracks will come out as high-quality products.
Using an audio interface for Mac is the best move you can make as a home producer. If you love to spend your time producing videos, recording podcasts, or music production on your Mac, you need to have a good interface.
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What is an Audio Interface for Mac?
If you are a beginner with great ideas and a creative mind, you need to know – A Sound Card is what most Mac computers come with. This feature is pretty much similar to an audio interface technically. However, in reality, an interface is much more advanced.
The best audio interface for Mac offers many more features than your sound card.
A reliable audio interface provides you with the power to record and produce music. It sends and receives information to and from any audio device connected to your Mac, such as headphones and speakers.
The best part is that these interfaces can put all available inputs simultaneously. On the contrary, you can record only one track at a time with your default sound card.
Why Do You Need an Audio Interface for Mac?
If you are passionate about producing videos, recording podcasts, or creating music on your Mac, you need an audio interface.
Having an audio interface will enable you to enjoy high audio quality. Moreover, you can connect multiple instruments and studio gear while recording your sessions.
You’ll record electric and acoustic guitars, microphones, synthesizers, and every musical instrument with output directly into your preferred DAW.
Not only that, the best audio interface for Mac can enhance your Mac’s sound capabilities with features like:
Excellent Quality Converters
If you have a high-quality audio interface, the quality of your converter will be equally brilliant. The best audio interface for Mac pro or air can convert digital files to analog files more effectively than many sound cards, resulting in the outstanding overall sound.
Recording more than one input at a given time is impossible with your default sound card. For instance, you can not connect your guitar and microphones to your Mac to create great music. Instead, you will have to record with one input at a time.
However, with an audio interface, you can record with as many inputs as your interface can offer.
Just like you can have only one input with your sound card, you can only have one output.
On the contrary, you can output as many different sounds as possible with an audio interface. You can have them all from monitor outputs, Line outputs, headphones outputs, and ADAT to MIDI outputs.
If you record on your computer, you might often experience a delay in sound using the Sound card.
For instance, when you playback your voice recording, you hear sound after a few milliseconds despite not adding any pause to the track. This is what you call latency.
However, with a good quality audio interface, these latency experiences are reduced.
Reduced CPU Workload
You may not realize it, but your Mac’s sound card puts a significant workload on the CPU. In contrast, the best audio interfaces relieve your computer of this burden.
You’ll also find a sound meter, World clock outputs, and SPDIF, among other features with an interface. All of these features help in improving your sound quality overall.
In addition, you can also consider buying digital additions, headphones options, MIDI interface, Mic preamps, and other essential extras.
8 Best Audio Interface for Mac
Here’s a list of excellent Mac users’ interfaces to save time and energy. Each item is worth your purchase with excellent quality, from a multiple-input Thunderbolt audio interface for Mac to a USB audio interface.
Read this post further to select the audio interface for your needs.
Audient iD4 MkII
Ardent is a brand with a history of creating the best audio interfaces for Mac, and that is something the Audient ID4 MkII can attest to.
The Ardent ID4 has a class-A mic preamp and an excellent audio-to-digital conversion rate.
This gear isn’t at all bulky. Don’t be fooled by its small size; this two-input device has a 24-bit/96-kHz sample rate, usually sufficient for most users. With its big volume button, you can control a lot, even your recording parameters.
You can also use this device for connecting condenser mics because it has phantom power. It also contains a DI for multiple musical instruments such as your bass or guitar.
This best audio interface for Mac connects through a USB cable and an Apple camera connection kit, allowing you to work with it seamlessly. The best part is that it is the perfect combination of value and usability, bringing together quality and inexpensiveness.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2(4i4)
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2(4i4) is an excellent choice, with almost 10,000 positive reviews on Amazon. You can purchase the 2i2 or 4i4 versions on Amazon, which are both the best audio interfaces. This device is designed to deliver high-quality sound swiftly and portable manner.
The 2i2 has two mic preamps, a sample rate of 24-bit/192kHz, and a Frequency Response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz. You can now enjoy the third generation, which has experienced upgrades to practically all of its components.
With its 48v phantom power, you can easily connect your condenser microphones. In comparison, the “air mode” in the mic preamps gives your sound a genuine analog warmth, all with the push of a button. This is how you have options to switch.
You can monitor your inputs as they happen with the Focusrite “direct monitor” mode; this is ideal for recording and mixing with zero-latency monitoring. Focusrite Scarlet also stands out because of its comprehensive bundle, including Pro Tools, Focusrite Control, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time, Tone Bungle, etc.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII
One disadvantage of audio interfaces is that not all of them can connect to the Thunderbolt port.
The good news is that the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII features a Thunderbolt 3 connector compatible with a dynamic range of Mac computers.
Universal Audio, the device’s producer, creates high-quality production tools such as audio equipment and plugins. As a result, they have spent the same energy on their Apollo Twin MKII as they do on their other devices.
Where most interfaces can’t run plugins without requiring a CPU, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin can. This equipment uses Real-Time UAD processing to track antique compressors, EQs, guitar amp plugins, mic preamps, 4 line outputs, and tape machines with almost no latency.
MKII has a 24-bit/192 kHz sampling rate, the industry standard for audio conversion. The analog design of this universal audio model is well maintained. In addition, it has two analog monitor outputs.
The best part is that the Universal Audio Apollo Twin has two high-quality inputs and six outstanding outputs. In addition, designers of this beauty left some room at the back for an optical cable, allowing you to expand your inputs.
Native Instrument Komplete Audio 2
The Native Instrument Komplete Audio 2 is a two-output and input interface with two mic/instrument/line inputs.
You can switch between the line outputs and instrument interfaces with individual selection switches. In addition, its phantom power is 48V, which is shared across all inputs through a single controller, allowing you to utilize every microphone, including a condenser, with this feature.
You will find a knob for monitoring hardware used as dual headphone outputs with independent control on the front of this device.
In addition, you can control the device’s primary output level through a large knob located at the top. Then there are input meters, phantom power, and USB class compliant midi. The connector for USB B is located on the back, along with balanced outputs on quarter-inch jacks, dual headphone outputs, and a slot for Kensington Security.
Another excellent audio interface for Mac is the Steinberg UR22C. It has a USB 3.0-bus, with Type-C USB connectivity on each interface.
It transmits data at a 32-bit rate, which is higher than every other interface on this list. It also has a 192kHz sample rate, resulting in a 32-bit/192kHz audio resolution that satisfies your needs.
When monitoring with the dspMixFx mixer, the incredible DSP produces a zero-latency effect. In addition, the interface features a two-channel USB audio/MIDI interface.
You will not face any difficulty installing its drivers. It’s built like a tank to offer durability. Therefore, you can stuff it in your backpack and know it’ll still look brand new when you get it out.
Moreover, its sound quality is excellent since there are balanced Neutrik combination inputs and a Yamaha D-PRE mic preamp.
SSL 2+ Audio Interface
The SSL2+ audio interface promises much affordable equipment, making you feel like you are recording a billion songs with high-quality facilities accessible by everyone.
The 2+ and older SSL2 are different from each other as the 2+ features two outputs for the 2’s two-in and two-out layout, MIDI In and Out, with an additional independent headphone output. Both of which can be used for monitoring various mixes. Moreover, there is a 4k button to make you feel like a ‘pro.’
Two combi mic and line inputs and Hi-Z choices allow you to switch between the guitar signals and the bass signals, along with the synth and drumming machine. Both the condenser and the dynamic microphones are compatible for use with a +48v option.
The SSL 2+ is highly recommended for incredible monitoring and recording quality with flexible I and O configuration.
Arturia MiniFuse 2
The Arturia MiniFuse 2 is an ultra-compact USB-powered 2-in and 2-out device with mic instrument inputs and line, MIDI I and O, and an output for headphones. It is a USB audio interface with an external power drain is less than 250mA.
MiniFuse 2 includes an Introversion of Arturia’s acclaimed Analog Lab and four effects along with Native Instruments Guitar Rig LE and a trial of three months for subscriptions to Auto-Tuner Unlimited and Splice Creator.
With very neat main outputs with sufficient loudness, the MiniFuse 2 sounds pretty well. The device’s input sound is impressive, and it’s nice to see dual-mic instrument inputs and lines too that are identical. However, the overall performance shines, with several backlit buttons with LED controls that make it easy to see what’s going on.
Although there are less expensive 2-in and 2-out solutions, the MiniFuse 2 is an excellent gadget with many features and additions that aren’t often available at this expense. You’ve got yourself a pretty good deal when you consider this amazing recording software bundle, five-year guarantee, and color options.
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is a USB audio interface for Mac built to last, with a heavy-duty steel chassis.
It has a 24-bit resolution and supports 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sample rates.
The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 has two combination instrument inputs. They provide a high-performance, low-noise, high-headroom microphone preamp and a perfect blend of an input signal.
You can expect little to no latency when using the inbuilt analog mixer. In addition, the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 has 48 phantom power, which is excellent for power mics.
It is powered by USB 2.0 and is MIDI compliant. LED indicators for an input signal are an excellent audio interface for GarageBand because it is compatible with a wide range of workstations.
How to Choose the Best Audio Interface for Mac?
An audio interface should be an integral part of your studio as a home producer. Once you have the best audio interface for Mac, nothing can stop you.
However, the market is flooded with multiple interfaces to choose from. In this situation, you might wonder how to select the best one for yourself. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Here are some aspects of audio interfaces you must keep in mind while shopping:
The Number of Inputs and Outputs
The first thing you should decide on is how many inputs and output features you need. It is useless to buy an excellent audio interface with multiple outputs and input features.
If you plan to record your speaker and guitar, go for the one that serves the purpose.
However, to be safe, you can get an interface with a few more outputs and inputs than the I/O devices you may need. This will help you cater to futuristic purposes.
Check Your Mac’s Compatibility
Since you will be operating Mac to carry out most of your activities, you’re in good hands.
Yes, it is safe to say that Mac is audio interface compatible with most models because almost all of them have a USB cable connection.
On the contrary, new interfaces allow recording with smartphones and tablets. So if you plan to record with your mobile device, you must purchase accordingly. In addition, USB connection, USB ports, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and PCle, can be used to see whether or not your device is compatible.
Best Sound Quality
We all want the best when it comes to audio quality, especially for recording. Unfortunately, however, you can’t find the best sound quality in all USB audio interfaces available on the market.
The classic analog sound is also something to look for.
So, if you want to produce high-level recordings and mix work, you need to look but bit depth, sample rate, and converter quality.
For instance, if you are recording audio for sharing with friends or your work colleagues, you do not need to get an interface with a sample rate of 24-bit/96kHz. Instead, it would help if you bought an audio interface that can produce a sample rate of 16-bit/44.1kHz.
Know Your Budget
There is no doubt that your budget is the main aspect you keep in mind while shopping. However, when buying an audio interface, you can get the one that fits your needs within a preferred budget. Yes, every audio interface can do the same job. The only difference you will find is in their output quality.
Computer Platform/OS and Workstation
Not all audio interfaces are compatible with all workstations. You must check which audio interface is compatible with your digital audio workstation.
In a nutshell, Mac’s solid-state makes it the perfect choice as a system tool to produce music. In addition, if you combine a high-quality interface with Mac, you become invincible as a producer.
Depending upon your needs and, more importantly, your budget, there are plenty of incredible choices for you to select from. First, however, you must keep in mind which best audio interface for Mac matches your instrument connections.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your best audio interface and start making great music.