21 Best Audio Interfaces: Home to Pro Performance (2024)

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In the world of music production and sound engineering, an audio interface acts as the central hub that bridges the gap between your musical instruments, microphones, and the digital realm of your computer. As the pivotal link in the chain, the quality and functionality of the audio interface you choose can make or break your recording experience.

Whether you’re an aspiring musician looking to lay down your first tracks, a seasoned producer desiring more ins and outs, or a professional sound engineer in search of the ultimate sonic clarity, 2024 offers an array of audio interfaces tailored to every need and budget.

In this definitive guide, we’ll explore the top 21 audio interfaces available in 2024, dissecting their features, evaluating their performance, and offering insights to help you make an informed decision. Whether it’s the sample rates, preamp quality, connectivity options, or the bundled software you’re curious about, we’ve got it covered. Dive in and discover the best audio interface that matches your studio requirements and creative ambitions.

Our Top Picks
  • Antelope Orion Studio Synergy Core
  • RME Fireface UFX II
  • Universal Audio Apollo X8p
  • Prism Sound Atlas
  • Apogee Symphony Desktop
  • MOTU 828es
  • AVID | HD I/O
  • Apogee Symphony I/O MK II
  • Lynx Aurora (n)
  • SSL 2+ Audio Interface
  • Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen
  • Steinberg UR22C
  • Arturia AudioFuse Rev2
  • Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
  • MOTU UltraLite-mk5
  • Apogee Duet 3
  • RME Babyface Pro FS
  • Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB (Heritage Edition)
  • Audient iD44 MKII
  • Universal Audio Volt 76 Series
  • Audient EVO 4 & 8

Best Audio Interfaces: Professional & High-End

Best Audio Interfaces: Antelope Orion Studio Synergy Core
(Image Credit: )

Antelope Orion Studio Synergy Core

Unparalleled Power in a Rack-mountable Design

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: Thunderbolt 3, USB
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 12 Mic/Line Inputs, 16 Line Outputs

Benefits:

  • Flexible Connectivity: Thunderbolt 3 and USB options cater to various recording scenarios.
  • Stunning Converters: Ensuring maximum clarity and detail in every recording.
  • Synergy Core Technology: Offloads plugin processing to onboard DSP, ensuring minimal CPU usage.
  • Expanded I/O: Versatile input and output options to handle complex recording sessions with ease.

Overview:

The Antelope Orion Studio Synergy Core stands as a testament to what modern audio interfaces should aspire to be. Designed with professionals in mind, it combines top-notch sound quality with the versatility required in today’s ever-evolving recording landscape.

At its heart, the Orion Studio boasts 12 world-class preamps ensuring that any recording, whether it’s a vocal performance or a multi-instrument ensemble, is captured with utmost clarity. The A/D and D/A converters further refine the audio, guaranteeing that no detail is missed.

The inclusion of the Synergy Core technology is what truly sets the Orion Studio apart. This onboard DSP platform allows users to run Antelope’s suite of premium effects without any strain on the computer’s CPU. This not only ensures smooth recording sessions but also provides users with a range of sonic possibilities right out of the box.

Rounding up its features, the flexible connectivity options cater to a wide range of recording needs, whether you’re in a state-of-the-art studio or on the move.

Final Thoughts:

Antelope’s Orion Studio Synergy Core is more than just an audio interface; it’s a powerful recording hub designed to meet the demands of modern professionals. With its premium sound quality, unparalleled DSP power, and expansive I/O, it’s a valuable addition to any recording setup, promising an unmatched audio recording experience.

Best Audio Interfaces: RME Fireface UFX II
(Image Credit: RME)

RME Fireface UFX II

Premium Performance Meets Remarkable Flexibility

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 30 x 30

Benefits:

  • Exceptional Audio Quality: Thanks to top-tier AD/DA converters and optimized analog circuits.
  • High Channel Count: 30 Input / 30 Output channels provide ample connections for various recording needs.
  • Advanced DSP: The TotalMix FX offers an array of professional mixing and effects tools.
  • Ultra-stable drivers: Ensures reliable and seamless performance across sessions.

Overview:

Diving into the realm of top-shelf audio interfaces, the RME Fireface UFX II emerges as a paragon of sound quality, versatility, and robustness. This interface doesn’t just promise premium sound—it delivers it, owing much to its advanced AD/DA converters and precision-optimized analog circuits.

A highlight of the UFX II is its comprehensive I/O, boasting 30 input and 30 output channels. This vast array of connectivity options makes it ideal for multi-instrument recording sessions or elaborate audio projects. Alongside this, the four digitally controlled microphone preamps provide pristine amplification for vocals or acoustic instruments.

One cannot discuss the UFX II without mentioning its robust DSP capabilities. The integrated TotalMix FX mixer offers a suite of professional-grade effects and mixing tools, enabling users to sculpt and perfect their sound without relying on external software. This, combined with the ultra-stable drivers RME is known for, makes the recording experience smooth and efficient.

Final Thoughts:

The RME Fireface UFX II is a testament to high-end audio engineering and design. It excels not only in delivering impeccable sound quality but also in providing the features and flexibility modern producers demand. Whether you’re recording in a professional studio or a home setup, the UFX II is an investment in audio excellence.

Best Audio Interfaces: Universal Audio Apollo X8p
(Image Credit: Universal Audio)

Universal Audio Apollo X8p

Elite Audio Conversion with Unison Preamps

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: Dual Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 18 x 22

Benefits:

  • Top-tier Audio Conversion: Superior AD/DA conversion for professional-grade sound.
  • Unison Preamp Technology: Offers genuine tube and transformer-based mic preamp emulations.
  • Onboard UAD Processing: HEXA Core processing allows for tracking through UAD plugins with near-zero latency.
  • Expandable Connectivity: Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports enable daisy-chaining of up to 4 Apollo interfaces.

Overview:

The Universal Audio Apollo X8p stands tall as a pinnacle in modern audio interfaces, offering unparalleled sound conversion and an array of features tailor-made for professional studios. With elite-class AD/DA conversion, every recording captured through the X8p promises pristine clarity and depth.

A distinguishing feature of the Apollo X8p is its Unison mic preamp technology. This tech provides genuine tube and transformer-based preamp emulations, ensuring that users can capture the character and warmth of classic recording hardware. With eight such preamps onboard, the possibilities for capturing vibrant, character-filled sound are extensive.

Beyond its conversion and preamp capabilities, the Apollo X8p shines with its HEXA Core processing. This allows users to tap into UAD’s revered library of plugins, tracking with near-zero latency. This feature streamlines the production process, letting artists and engineers monitor their performance with plugins in real-time. Additionally, the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports offer expansive connectivity options, including the ability to chain multiple Apollo interfaces for larger setups.

Final Thoughts:

The Universal Audio Apollo X8p is more than just an audio interface—it’s a gateway to sonic excellence. From its top-tier conversion capabilities to the character-rich Unison preamps and expansive UAD plugin library, the X8p is a choice investment for those seeking unmatched sound quality and studio flexibility. Every aspect of this interface is designed to elevate the recording and mixing experience, solidifying its place in the pantheon of premium audio gear.

Best Audio Interfaces: Prism Sound Atlas
(Image Credit: Prism)

Prism Sound Atlas

Precision, Power, and Purity in Audio Recording

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 8 Analog In, 2 Instrument Inputs, 2 Mic Preamps, 8 Analog Out, Stereo Digital I/O

Benefits:

  • High-End Converters: Delivers premium AD/DA conversion, ensuring clear and detailed recordings.
  • Flexible I/O Options: Suitable for various recording scenarios, from solo artists to bands.
  • Overkiller Soft Limiter: Protects your recordings from unwanted digital clipping.
  • Low-Latency Performance: Ensures seamless monitoring and overdubbing experiences.

Overview:

The Prism Sound Atlas stands as a testament to uncompromised audio quality and flexibility in the realm of audio interfaces. Designed for both the discerning professional and the ambitious home studio owner, the Atlas doesn’t cut corners in delivering world-class AD/DA conversion, ensuring every recording captures the nuance and detail of the original performance.

At the heart of the Atlas is its versatile I/O options, making it adaptable to various recording scenarios. Whether you’re tracking a full band or a solo vocalist, the Atlas provides clarity and precision at every turn. The Overkiller soft limiter is a unique feature that ensures your transient peaks are handled gracefully, preventing digital clipping while preserving the dynamic range.

An additional feather in the Atlas’s cap is its low-latency performance. For artists, this means a more natural and responsive monitoring experience, making overdubbing and live recording a breeze. Plus, with its MDIO expansion capability, the Atlas offers future-proofing, ensuring it remains a relevant part of your recording chain for years to come.

Final Thoughts:

Prism Sound’s reputation in the audio industry is hard-earned, and the Atlas further solidifies its standing. With its blend of top-tier audio conversion, versatile I/O, and forward-thinking features, it’s an investment in the future of your recordings. For those who won’t settle for anything but the best, the Prism Sound Atlas is a compelling choice.

Best Audio Interfaces: Apogee Symphony Desktop
(Image Credit: Apogee)

Apogee Symphony Desktop

Premium Sound Quality in a Compact Design

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB Type-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 2 Analog In, 2 Mic/Instrument Preamps, 4 Analog Out, Headphone Output, Stereo Digital I/O

Benefits:

  • Flagship Symphony Sound: Provides the esteemed sound quality of Apogee's flagship Symphony I/O Mk II.
  • Touchscreen Control: Intuitive touchscreen offers immediate access to input and output levels, and more.
  • Onboard DSP: Utilize premium Apogee FX plugins directly from the interface without taxing your computer.
  • DualPath Monitoring: Provides direct monitoring of the recorded signal with near-zero latency.

Overview:

The Apogee Symphony Desktop is not just an audio interface; it’s a commitment to sonic excellence. Bringing the acclaimed sound quality of Apogee’s Symphony I/O Mk II into a sleek, compact design suitable for desktop use, this interface sets a new standard in its class.

Where the Symphony Desktop truly shines is in its meticulous AD/DA conversion. Every detail, every nuance, every subtlety of the recorded sound is captured with unparalleled clarity. This ensures that the creativity and expression of the artist come through in the mix, uncolored and true to the source.

The inclusion of an intuitive touchscreen interface simplifies the user experience, allowing quick adjustments and fine-tuning on the fly. But the Symphony Desktop isn’t just about sound quality; its built-in DSP and premium Apogee FX plugins allow for immediate sound shaping and crafting, all without putting a strain on your computer’s resources.

Final Thoughts:

With the Symphony Desktop, Apogee has once again redefined what’s possible in the realm of audio interfaces. It’s a compact powerhouse, blending top-tier sound quality with innovative features to elevate any recording or production project. Whether you’re in a professional studio or a home setup, the Symphony Desktop promises a level of clarity and precision that’s second to none. For those seeking the pinnacle of sound quality, the Apogee Symphony Desktop stands tall as an impeccable choice.

Best Audio Interfaces: MOTU 828es
(Image Credit: MOTU)

MOTU 828es

Advanced Audio Interface with Pro-grade Features

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: Thunderbolt, USB 2.0
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 28x32 I/O

Benefits:

  • Versatile Connectivity: With both Thunderbolt and USB connectivity, it seamlessly integrates into virtually any setup.
  • High-Quality Converters: Equipped with ESS Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC technology for impeccable sound quality.
  • Touchscreen Control: A full-color LCD offers touch control for the interface's stand-alone functionality.
  • Built-in DSP: Integrated DSP for mixing and effects, including reverb, EQ, and compression.

Overview:

The MOTU 828es is not just another audio interface; it’s a studio powerhouse. Packed to the brim with advanced features, this interface is tailored to the demands of professionals who seek nothing but the best in audio quality and flexibility.

A defining aspect of the 828es is its use of the renowned ESS Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC technology. This ensures that every nuance of your audio is captured and played back with precision and clarity. This fidelity, combined with a generous 28×32 I/O, means the interface can handle even the most demanding sessions.

The inclusion of a touchscreen is a boon for on-the-fly adjustments. Whether you’re toggling between presets or adjusting input/output levels, the full-color LCD ensures you have all the essential details right at your fingertips. Additionally, the built-in DSP further elevates the 828es, enabling you to mix and add effects directly within the interface, all without burdening your main CPU.

Final Thoughts:

The MOTU 828es is an investment in superior sound quality, versatility, and efficiency. Its feature set, combined with its uncompromising audio fidelity, positions it as one of the top choices for professionals in the music and audio production industry. For those seeking an interface that will remain relevant and robust as their needs evolve, the 828es promises to be a long-term partner in their audio journey.

Best Audio Interfaces: AVID HD IO
(Image Credit: AVID)

AVID HD I/O

The Ultimate Interface for Pro Tools HD Systems

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: Digital (ADAT, AES/EBU, TDIF), Analog, MIDI, Word Clock
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: Comes in configurations of 16x16 analog, 16x16 digital, and 8x8x8 analog and digital

Benefits:

  • Expandable Interface: Adaptable to the specific needs of your studio setup.
  • Premium Converters: Provides pristine audio clarity and ultra-low latency.
  • Integrated Soft Clip: Allows for natural-sounding limiting and prevention of digital clipping.
  • Flexible Digital I/O: Supports multiple digital formats for diverse connectivity.

Overview:

For those integrated into the Pro Tools ecosystem, the AVID | HD I/O stands as an exceptional audio interface tailored specifically for the demands of Pro Tools | HD. Built with the quality and reliability AVID is known for, this interface is designed to elevate the Pro Tools experience with impeccable audio clarity and ultra-low latency.

One of the standout features of the AVID | HD I/O is its modular design. This means that users can customize their interface according to their specific needs, be it fully analog, fully digital, or a combination of both. This adaptability makes it a favorite among professionals, ensuring they always have the right connections for any session.

The audio quality, as expected from AVID, is top-tier. The interface’s converters ensure that every audio detail is captured and played back with utmost clarity. Furthermore, the integrated Soft Clip feature is a great addition, preventing the harshness of digital clipping and allowing for a more analog-sounding natural limitation.

Final Thoughts:

The AVID | HD I/O is more than just an interface; it’s a centerpiece for Pro Tools | HD setups. Its blend of modularity, superior audio quality, and specific design for Pro Tools | HD systems makes it an invaluable asset for professionals. If you’re deeply rooted in the Pro Tools world and looking for an interface that speaks the same language, the AVID | HD I/O is a match made in audio heaven.

Best Audio Interfaces: Apogee Symphony IO MK II
(Image Credit: Apogee)

Apogee Symphony I/O MK II

Pinnacle of Sound Quality and Professional Reliability

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: Thunderbolt, Pro Tools HD (optional), Waves SoundGrid (optional)
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: Variable, depending on the chosen I/O modules (ranges from 2x6, 8x8, 16x16, to 32x32)

Benefits:

  • Modular Design: Tailor the interface to your specific needs.
  • Apogee AD/DA Conversion: Renowned for its superior clarity and sound quality.
  • Low Latency Monitoring: Ensures precise tracking and mixing.
  • Flexible Connectivity: Options for Thunderbolt, Pro Tools HD, or Waves SoundGrid networks.

Overview:

Apogee Symphony I/O MK II stands as one of the most prestigious and sought-after audio interfaces in the professional audio industry. Renowned for its stunning audio clarity and flexible modularity, it’s the go-to choice for many top-tier studios and audio professionals.

At its core, the Symphony I/O MK II is all about flexibility. Its modular design allows users to choose from different I/O configurations, making it adaptable to any studio setup. Whether you’re working with a small home setup or a large commercial studio, Symphony can be tailored to fit your requirements.

But where the Symphony truly shines is in its sound quality. Apogee’s reputation for pristine AD/DA conversion is fully evident here, capturing and reproducing audio with unparalleled clarity. This, combined with its ultra-low latency, ensures that professionals can work with precision, whether recording, mixing, or mastering.

Another striking feature is its flexible connectivity options. While the Thunderbolt connection is standard, users can opt for Pro Tools HD or Waves SoundGrid networking, ensuring that the Symphony fits perfectly within any workflow.

Final Thoughts:

Apogee Symphony I/O MK II isn’t just an audio interface; it’s a statement of commitment to sound quality and professional excellence. Its modular design combined with Apogee’s legendary audio conversion makes it a central piece in many world-class studios. If you’re looking to invest in an interface that delivers on every front, Symphony I/O MK II is hard to surpass.

Best Audio Interfaces: Lynx Aurora (n)
(Image Credit: Lynx)

Lynx Aurora (n)

Ultra-transparent Audio Conversion with Extensive Channel Count

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: Thunderbolt, USB, Dante (optional), HD|HDx (optional)
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: Variable (ranges from 8 to 32 channels based on the model)

Benefits:

  • High Channel Count: Offering up to 32 channels of AD/DA conversion.
  • Pristine Conversion: Renowned for its transparent and uncolored audio conversion.
  • Flexible Connectivity: Options include Thunderbolt, USB, Dante, and HD|HDx.
  • Modular Design: Allows for future expansion and upgrades.

Overview:

The Lynx Aurora (n) stands tall in the realm of professional audio interfaces, renowned for delivering ultra-transparent AD/DA conversion. What sets it apart is its commitment to purity in sound, ensuring every nuance of an audio signal is captured and reproduced without coloration.

Central to the Aurora (n) is its high channel count, allowing professionals to handle extensive setups, from detailed drum recording sessions to full orchestral arrangements. This flexibility ensures the interface finds a home in varied studio environments.

However, the real magic of the Aurora (n) lies in its sound quality. Lynx’s commitment to pristine audio conversion shines through, offering a level of clarity and transparency that few can rival. This ensures that the Aurora (n) is not just an interface but a key component in capturing and delivering audio as it’s meant to be heard.

Additionally, its modular design ensures longevity. As your studio grows and tech evolves, the Aurora (n) can adapt, making it a wise investment for those keen on future-proofing their setup.

Final Thoughts:

The Lynx Aurora (n) is more than just an audio interface. It’s a testament to Lynx’s commitment to audio excellence, ensuring that professionals can work with absolute confidence in their gear. Whether you’re recording, mixing, or mastering, the Aurora (n) promises to deliver sound as it’s meant to be: pure, clear, and utterly transparent.

Best Audio Interfaces: Mid-Range

Best Audio Interfaces: SSL 2+ Audio Interface
(Image Credit: SSL)

SSL 2+ audio interface

Elevate Your Recordings with Studio-Grade Clarity

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 2 Inputs, 4 Outputs

Benefits:

  • Legacy 4K Mode: Enhances recordings, providing warmth and presence.
  • Professional Monitoring: Multiple headphone outputs with independent monitor mix.
  • High-Fidelity Converters: Delivers transparent and detailed recordings.
  • Built-in MIDI I/O: Simplifies your setup by integrating other MIDI gear directly.

Overview:

Stepping into the world of SSL (Solid State Logic) introduces you to a legacy of unparalleled audio clarity and prestige, and the SSL 2+ audio interface is no exception. Designed for modern content creators, musicians, and recording engineers, this interface ensures studio-grade recordings from the comforts of your workspace.

One standout feature of the SSL 2+ is the Legacy 4K mode. This button is a nod to SSL’s illustrious 4000 series consoles, imparting a specific analog character to your recordings by enhancing brightness and presence. Alongside this, the SSL-designed mic preamps guarantee a pristine, noise-free signal, ensuring that your recordings maintain their integrity and authenticity.

The inclusion of MIDI I/O means seamless integration with other gear, and the dual headphone outputs cater to collaborative sessions. The professional monitoring options, combined with high-fidelity converters, ensure you’re hearing your recordings with unmatched clarity and detail.

Final Thoughts:

SSL has always been a name synonymous with high-end studio equipment, and the SSL 2+ audio interface is a testament to this legacy. Whether you’re an aspiring musician looking to capture ideas with clarity or a professional seeking an interface that doesn’t compromise on quality, the SSL 2+ is a stellar choice. This compact yet robust interface brings the iconic SSL sound to your home studio, and once you experience it, there’s no going back.

Best Audio Interfaces: Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen
(Image Credit: Focusrite)

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen

Uncompromising Quality in a Compact Package

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 4 X 4

Benefits:

  • Air Mode: Brightens and lifts vocals, making them sound more open and spacious.
  • Versatile I/O: Accommodates multiple instruments and microphones without the need for numerous adapters.
  • Low Latency: Ensures seamless recording and monitoring without delay.
  • Included Software: Comes with an impressive suite of recording and production software.

Overview:

The Focusrite Scarlett series has earned its reputation as one of the most popular audio interfaces among music producers and sound engineers, and the 4i4 3rd Gen builds on that legacy. Designed for both studio and on-the-go setups, it offers the impeccable sound quality Focusrite is known for in a compact and sturdy chassis.

The 4i4 stands out with its “Air Mode”, a feature that replicates the Air effect of Focusrite’s original ISA mic preamp, giving vocals and acoustic instruments an added dimension and brighter, more open sound. This, combined with the Scarlett’s low noise, high headroom preamps, ensures your recordings sound clear, detailed, and professional.

With the versatile I/O, you can simultaneously record multiple instruments and microphones. Additionally, the interface boasts low latency, which means real-time monitoring with effects is a breeze. The added bonus? Focusrite generously includes a suite of production software, allowing you to start recording and producing right out of the box.

Final Thoughts:

Focusrite’s Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen is a comprehensive audio solution, offering top-tier sound quality in an interface designed for versatility and ease of use. For creators seeking a reliable interface that delivers every time, the 4i4 is a worthy investment. The combination of quality, flexibility, and value it provides makes it a standout choice for both novices and seasoned professionals.

Best Audio Interfaces: Steinberg UR22C
(Image Credit: Steinberg)

Steinberg UR22C

A Robust Interface Packed with Steinberg's Legacy

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 2 X 2

Benefits:

  • Yamaha D-PRE Preamps: Delivering a clear, natural sound that captures every nuance.
  • Ultra-Compact Design: Ideal for mobile music production setups.
  • Built-in DSP: Ensures latency-free monitoring with effects.
  • MIDI I/O: Versatile connection options for various MIDI gear.

Overview:

Steinberg, renowned for its DAW software, brings its expertise to the UR22C audio interface, ensuring a seamless experience for producers and musicians. Compact but mighty, the UR22C combines stellar sound quality with a rugged design suitable for both studio and mobile setups.

At the heart of the UR22C are the Yamaha D-PRE preamps, ensuring pristine, distortion-free sound that faithfully captures every nuance of your performance. Whether recording voice or instruments, the clarity and depth these preamps provide are truly commendable.

The UR22C isn’t just about sound quality, though. Its ultra-compact design makes it an excellent choice for producers on the move, while the built-in DSP allows for latency-free monitoring with effects. This, paired with its MIDI I/O capabilities, makes the UR22C a versatile hub for all your recording needs. Not to forget, the included dspMixFx software provides a comprehensive monitoring and mixing environment to get the perfect balance while recording.

Final Thoughts:

The Steinberg UR22C is a testament to Steinberg’s commitment to quality and innovation. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a reliable, compact audio interface without compromising on sound quality. Whether you’re a budding musician or an experienced producer, the UR22C’s combination of quality, portability, and features will undoubtedly enhance your music production journey.

Best Audio Interfaces: Arturia AudioFuse Rev2
(Image Credit: Arturia)

Arturia AudioFuse Rev2

Redefining Audio Interface Standards with Versatility

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C, ADAT, S/PDIF, Word Clock
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 4 X 4

Benefits:

  • Top-notch Preamps: Superior DiscretePRO® technology ensures unmatched sound clarity.
  • Multi-Connectivity Options: ADAT, S/PDIF, and Word Clock for maximum versatility.
  • Built-in USB Hub: Facilitates connecting other USB gear directly.
  • Re-amping Capability: Dedicated output for effortless re-amping without additional gear.

Overview:

Arturia’s AudioFuse Rev2 steps up to redefine what we can expect from a modern audio interface. Designed for professionals seeking unparalleled sound clarity, the Rev2 combines advanced features with an intuitive layout, catering to both newbies and seasoned professionals.

The beating heart of the AudioFuse Rev2 is its DiscretePRO® preamps, designed to capture every detail, nuance, and warmth of your audio source. Whether you’re recording vocals, instruments, or line-level devices, these preamps ensure a clean and dynamic sound throughout.

But the AudioFuse Rev2 is more than just its sound quality. Its diverse connectivity options, including ADAT, S/PDIF, and Word Clock, make it a central hub for any studio setup. Add in the dedicated re-amping output, and you’ve got a tool that streamlines your recording process, eliminating the need for specific re-amping devices. The built-in 3-port USB hub is the cherry on top, simplifying the connection of other USB gear directly to the interface.

Final Thoughts:

The Arturia AudioFuse Rev2 is not just another audio interface; it’s a statement. A blend of superior sound quality, myriad features, and unmatched versatility makes it a must-have for anyone serious about their sound. If you’re seeking an interface that will remain relevant and top-tier in an ever-evolving studio environment, the AudioFuse Rev2 is the answer.

Best Audio Interfaces: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
(Image Credit: Focusrite)

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

A Powerhouse Interface for Professional Studios

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB 2.0, ADAT, S/PDIF
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 18 X 20

Benefits:

  • Extensive I/O: Accommodates a wide range of instruments and equipment.
  • High-Quality Preamps: Scarlett preamps known for clear and detailed recordings.
  • Dual Headphone Outputs: Enables multiple monitoring setups for collaboration.
  • Air Mode: Boosts high-end clarity, ideal for vocals.

Overview:

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 is renowned in the audio community as a comprehensive, reliable, and powerful audio interface, perfect for both home studios and professional setups. Packed with a whopping 18 inputs and 20 outputs, it effortlessly manages complex recording sessions, ensuring that you’re never short of connectivity options.

At the core of the 18i20 are the 8 Scarlett mic preamps, known for their transparent, detailed, and rich sound. These preamps also feature the “Air Mode,” which enhances the clarity and brightness of your recordings, particularly benefiting vocal tracks.

Functionality and versatility remain at the forefront with the 18i20. Dual independent headphone outputs allow for separate monitoring solutions, perfect for collaborative sessions. The interface also boasts MIDI I/O, ensuring seamless integration with a wide range of MIDI devices. The built-in talkback functionality further streamlines studio workflows, especially when communicating with artists in separate recording booths.

Final Thoughts:

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 positions itself as a centerpiece for any studio setup, regardless of its size. From its extensive connectivity to its top-notch preamps and thoughtful features, it caters to both budding musicians and seasoned professionals. When quality, reliability, and functionality are non-negotiable, the Scarlett 18i20 rises to the occasion, making it an indispensable asset to any serious audio enthusiast.

Best Audio Interfaces: MOTU UltraLite-mk5
(Image Credit: MOTU)

MOTU UltraLite-mk5

Compact Versatility with Pristine Audio

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C (compatible with USB 2.0/3.0/3.1), AVB Ethernet
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 18 X 22

Benefits:

  • Compact Design: Ideal for on-the-go recording setups and smaller studios.
  • Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC: Ensures top-tier audio clarity and precision.
  • Flexible Connectivity: Supports USB and AVB for versatile integration.
  • Bundled Software: Comes with CueMix 5™, offering extensive mixing and routing options.

Overview:

The MOTU UltraLite-mk5 stands out as a compact yet feature-rich audio interface, perfect for studio engineers and musicians who prioritize both portability and performance. It might be small, but it’s packed with features and specifications that rival its bigger counterparts.

Central to the UltraLite-mk5’s appeal is its ESS Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC technology. Recognized in the audio world for its impeccable clarity, depth, and detail, this technology ensures that your recordings sound as authentic as possible. The interface’s full-color LCD provides real-time visual feedback on your audio levels, helping you keep an eye on the recording dynamics.

In terms of connectivity, the UltraLite-mk5 is versatile. It not only provides USB-C support but also integrates with AVB Ethernet, making it compatible with a broad range of devices and setups. The bundled CueMix 5™ software further elevates the interface’s functionality, offering a comprehensive mixing platform with DSP effects and routing capabilities.

Final Thoughts:

The MOTU UltraLite-mk5 proves that great things come in small packages. For those who require portability without compromising on quality, this audio interface delivers in spades. With its advanced DAC technology, intuitive software, and robust build, the UltraLite-mk5 is a reliable companion for all recording endeavors, ensuring that every note and nuance is captured with precision.

Best Audio Interfaces: Apogee Duet 3
(Image Credit: Apogee)

Apogee Duet 3

Streamlined Design Meets Stellar Sound Quality

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB Type-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 2 X 4

Benefits:

  • Sleek, Compact Design: Ideal for desktop recording and mobile setups.
  • World-class Preamps: Delivering pristine sound clarity and richness.
  • Symphony ECS Channel Strip: Enhance your tracks with this professional plugin, included for free.
  • Hardware DSP: Offloads plugin processing, reducing the load on your computer.

Overview:

Apogee has always been synonymous with impeccable audio quality, and the Duet 3 continues that legacy. Designed for musicians, producers, and songwriters, the Duet 3 delivers a professional recording experience in a sleek, compact form factor.

The true strength of the Duet 3 lies in its world-class preamps. These ensure that every recording, be it vocals or instruments, is captured with exceptional clarity and depth. Furthermore, the built-in hardware DSP allows users to use the Symphony ECS Channel Strip plugin without burdening their computer, ensuring smooth sessions without glitches.

A nod to modern aesthetics and functionality, the Duet 3 comes with an OLED display, providing real-time feedback on levels and settings. Its USB Type-C connectivity ensures fast data transfer rates and compatibility with a wide array of devices, from desktop computers to tablets.

Final Thoughts:

Apogee’s Duet 3 is more than just a pretty face. Its top-notch sound quality, combined with user-friendly features, makes it an essential tool for anyone serious about their recordings. Whether you’re a budding musician or a seasoned producer, the Duet 3 promises to elevate your audio game, providing you with a recording experience that’s both seamless and sonically rewarding.

Best Audio Interfaces: RME Babyface Pro FS
(Image Credit: RME)

RME Babyface Pro FS

Compact Powerhouse with Stellar Audio Fidelity

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB 2.0, ADAT, MIDI I/O
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 12 x 12

Benefits:

  • High-end AD/DA Converters: Delivers unparalleled audio clarity and precision.
  • SteadyClock FS Technology: Ensures optimal jitter suppression and clock quality.
  • TotalMix FX: Offers latency-free monitoring and routing with effects.
  • Compact Form Factor: Ideal for portable setups and on-the-go recordings.

Overview:

The RME Babyface Pro FS is a compact audio interface that packs a powerful punch. Despite its portable design, it brings to the table the kind of audio quality and reliability RME is renowned for. With high-end AD/DA converters, every sound passing through this interface is rendered with unparalleled clarity and detail.

One standout feature of the Babyface Pro FS is its SteadyClock FS technology. This feature ensures top-tier jitter suppression and clock precision, making sure every recording is accurate and free from unwanted digital artifacts. This tech, combined with the device’s high-end converters, guarantees audio fidelity that competes with much larger, studio-based interfaces.

With TotalMix FX onboard, users benefit from the power of RME’s digital real-time mixer. This mixer allows for latency-free monitoring, routing, and the application of effects, ensuring a seamless recording and mixing experience. Additionally, the Babyface Pro FS’s compact form factor makes it an ideal companion for traveling musicians and producers.

Final Thoughts:

The RME Babyface Pro FS proves that big things can come in small packages. This interface is a testament to RME’s commitment to delivering top-quality audio gear regardless of size. For those in need of a portable, yet incredibly powerful audio interface, the Babyface Pro FS stands out as a top contender. Its blend of quality, flexibility, and portability ensures it’s a worthy addition to any audio professional’s toolkit.

Best Audio Interfaces: Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB (Heritage Edition)
(Image Credit: Universal Audio)

Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB (Heritage Edition)

Premium Desktop Audio with a Legacy Touch

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB 3.0
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 192 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 10 x 6

Benefits:

  • Unison Mic Preamp Technology: Mirrors the sound and feel of classic tube and transformer-based preamps.
  • UAD-2 Processing: Enables near-zero latency tracking with iconic UAD plugins.
  • Superior A/D and D/A Conversion: Offers pristine sound quality and detail.
  • USB 3.0 Connectivity: Delivers high-speed data transfer and optimal performance.

Overview:

The Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB (Heritage Edition) encapsulates the best of UA’s audio tech in a sleek desktop format tailored for Windows users. Esteemed for its audio fidelity, this interface stands out by executing UAD-powered plugins with virtually no latency, courtesy of the internal UAD-2 DUO Core processing.

One distinctive feature of the Apollo Twin USB is the proprietary Unison mic preamp technology. This allows the interface to emulate the sonic characteristics of historical tube and transformer-based preamps, delivering a sound that’s rich and authentically analog. When combined with the Apollo’s elite AD/DA conversion, it assures recordings of unparalleled quality.

Adding to the package is the Heritage Edition bonus, which offers a suite of UAD plugins, providing users with a library of analog emulation plugins unmatched in their authenticity. The real-time UAD processing lets you hear and modify sounds with these plugins with negligible latency, aiding artists in achieving their best performance.

Final Thoughts:

The Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB (Heritage Edition) is a monumental achievement in the realm of desktop audio interfaces, especially for Windows users. With the fusion of top-notch audio conversion, Unison mic preamp technology, and the bonus of the Heritage Edition plugins, it provides an unmatched recording experience. If you’re seeking the best for your studio setup, the Apollo Twin USB (Heritage Edition) is undeniably a top contender.

Best Audio Interfaces: Audient iD44 MKII
(Image Credit: Audient)

Audient iD44 MKII

A Studio Centerpiece with Class-Leading Converters and Preamps

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 96 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 4 x Mic/Line (XLR / TRS Combo)

Benefits:

  • Class-A Mic Pres: Features 4 of Audient's renowned console-grade microphone preamps.
  • High-Quality Converters: Precision converters ensure audio clarity and depth.
  • Expandable Inputs: Using ADAT, you can expand up to 20 inputs.
  • Versatile Monitoring: Independent and customizable headphone and speaker routing.

Overview:

Evolving from its predecessor, the Audient iD44 MKII brings forth a suite of enhancements that solidify its position as a powerhouse in its class. Equipped with four of Audient’s world-class console-grade microphone preamps, the iD44 MKII offers an audio experience characterized by depth, clarity, and an unmatched level of detail.

Beyond its pristine preamps, the iD44 MKII shines with its high-quality converters. Whether you’re recording delicate strings or a thunderous drum session, the interface ensures every nuance is captured with precision. And for those ambitious projects, the iD44 MKII doesn’t hold back – via ADAT, you can expand your setup to accommodate up to 20 inputs, offering flexibility and scalability.

But what truly sets the iD44 MKII apart is its thoughtful design geared towards the modern producer. Its comprehensive monitoring system allows for flexible routing, and its customizable function buttons streamline the workflow, making complex tasks a breeze.

Final Thoughts:

The Audient iD44 MKII is not just another audio interface. It’s a statement. A statement that quality, versatility, and usability can coexist without compromise. Whether you’re just setting up your first home studio or are a seasoned professional looking for a reliable centerpiece, the iD44 MKII stands ready to elevate your productions.

Best Audio Interfaces: Compact & Portable

Best Audio Interfaces: Universal Audio Volt 76 Series
(Image Credit: Universal Audio)

Universal Audio Volt 76 Series

Vintage Tones and Modern Reliability in a Sleek Package

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 96 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: 2 x Mic/Line/Instrument (XLR / TRS Combo), 2 x Main (1/4" TRS), 1 x Headphone

Benefits:

  • Legendary 76 Tone: Emulates the classic tones of UA's iconic 1176 compressor.
  • Vintage Preamp Mode: Enhances recordings with characterful analog color.
  • UA Vintage Effects: Comes with a tailored bundle of analog emulation plugins.
  • Intuitive Metering: Real-time LED metering for monitoring input and output levels.

Overview:

The Universal Audio Volt 76 Series brings forward a blend of UA’s iconic vintage audio heritage and modern design practicalities. This interface doesn’t just function as a bridge between your instrument and computer; it imparts character, warmth, and the iconic tonal characteristics of the legendary 1176 compressor.

At the heart of the Volt 76 is its Vintage Preamp mode, providing users with the rich, analog warmth Universal Audio is renowned for. Whether you’re capturing vocals, guitars, or any other instrument, this feature ensures that your recordings exude a polished, vintage character without the need for external gear. Complementing this is a suite of UA’s vintage effects, further enriching your sound palette.

But the Volt 76 Series isn’t all about vintage. Its modern design considerations, such as real-time LED metering, USB-C connectivity, and universal driver compatibility, make it a breeze to integrate into any modern production setup.

Final Thoughts:

For those seeking an audio interface that offers more than just connectivity, the Universal Audio Volt 76 Series emerges as a top contender. It’s a gateway to UA’s storied audio legacy, packaged with the conveniences today’s producers demand. Whether you’re a budding producer seeking that rich vintage sound or an experienced engineer looking for a reliable workhorse, the Volt 76 won’t disappoint.

Best Audio Interfaces: Audient EVO 4 & 8
(Image Credit: Audient)

Audient EVO 4 & 8

Seamless Simplicity Meets Stellar Sound

Specifications:

  • Connectivity: USB-C
  • Bit Depth - Sample Rate: 24-bit - Up to 96 kHz
  • Inputs/Outputs: EVO 4: 2 X 2, EVO 8: 4 X 4

Benefits:

  • Intuitive Smartgain Mode: Automatically sets gain levels when starting to play or sing.
  • Ultra-low Latency: Ensures real-time monitoring without audible delay.
  • High-Quality Converters: For crystal-clear audio capture.
  • Compact and Robust: Makes it perfect for on-the-go recording or minimalistic studio setups.

Overview:

Stepping into the realm of audio interfaces, Audient’s EVO 4 stands out as an affordable yet high-quality option, especially for beginners and mobile producers. With its streamlined design and user-friendly features, setting up and recording becomes a breeze.

One of its standout features is the Smartgain mode. With just a touch of a button and a short performance, EVO 4 automatically adjusts the input levels, eliminating any guesswork or manual tweaking. This is especially beneficial for those new to recording. When it comes to sound quality, the EVO 4 doesn’t skimp. Its high-quality converters and distinguished EVO preamps ensure that every nuance of your performance is captured with clarity and depth.

Furthermore, its compact design makes it a suitable companion for those looking to record on the move, ensuring that quality isn’t sacrificed for portability. Whether you’re podcasting, recording instruments, or laying down vocals, the Audient EVO 4 is an impressive choice, bringing professional-grade features to an accessible price point.

Final Thoughts:

Audient’s reputation in the pro-audio world is commendable, and the EVO 4 only cements that further. For those seeking a no-fuss, plug-and-play solution without compromising on quality, the EVO 4 is undoubtedly worth considering. Whether you’re starting out or need a portable solution for your professional needs, this interface promises performance that punches above its weight.

FAQ Buying Guide: Best Audio Interfaces

In the realm of audio recording and music production, the quality of your sound can make or break your final product. Whether you’re a budding podcaster, an aspiring musician, or a seasoned audio engineer, the heart of your setup is often your audio interface. This essential piece of equipment serves as the bridge between your instruments or microphones and your computer, ensuring that your recordings are clear, crisp, and free of unwanted noise or interference. But with a myriad of options available in the market, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Our FAQ Buying Guide for the Best Audio Interfaces is here to demystify the process, providing you with key insights and answers to the most common questions. Dive in to make an informed decision and elevate the quality of your audio recordings.

  • What is an audio interface?

    An audio interface is a device that connects microphones, instruments, and other audio sources to a computer, allowing for audio recording and playback. It converts analog signals into digital format for processing and vice versa for playback.

  • Why do I need an audio interface?

    If you’re looking to record music, podcasts, or any other audio content with professional quality, an audio interface is essential. It provides better sound quality, lower latency, and more connectivity options than built-in sound cards.

  • What factors should I consider when buying an audio interface?

    Number of Inputs/Outputs (I/O): Depending on your recording needs, choose an interface with the right number of I/O.

    Connectivity: USB, Thunderbolt, FireWire, etc. Ensure your computer supports the connection type.

    Compatibility: Ensure the interface is compatible with your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and operating system.

    Preamps: Quality preamps can make a significant difference in sound quality.

    Latency: Lower latency is better for real-time monitoring.

  • Are expensive audio interfaces always better?

    Not necessarily. While high-end interfaces often offer better sound quality and more features, many mid-range and even some budget interfaces offer excellent value for their price.

  • Can I use an audio interface for live performances?

    Yes, many audio interfaces are suitable for live performances, especially those with multiple outputs and low latency.

  • What's the difference between USB and Thunderbolt interfaces?

    Thunderbolt interfaces generally offer faster data transfer rates and lower latency than USB interfaces. However, they tend to be more expensive and require a compatible port on your computer.

  • Do I need an audio interface with MIDI?

    If you plan to connect MIDI devices like keyboards or drum machines, then yes. Otherwise, it’s not essential.

  • How important are the preamps in an audio interface?

    Very important. Good quality preamps can significantly improve the clarity and quality of your recordings.

  • Can I connect my guitar directly to an audio interface?

    Yes, many audio interfaces come with instrument-level inputs specifically designed for connecting guitars and basses directly.

  • How can I ensure the best sound quality when using an audio interface?

    • Use high-quality cables.
    • Ensure your software drivers are up-to-date.
    • Use the correct sample rate and bit depth settings.
    • Regularly calibrate and maintain your equipment.

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