It’s never been easier to make music. You or a band no longer have to rent a studio to record music. The rise of homemade artists and producers has been rather unprecedented but helped along by advances in audio recording technology. So finding the best audio interface for Mac might be your priority.
Anyone who has ever made music can tell you that, though it is very convenient, you must ensure you have the right equipment. Without the right stuff, you won’t be making music like you want to. One piece of equipment you need: an audio interface. You can get some of the best interfaces compatible with Apple’s creative software, available only through the Mac operating system.
But what is the best audio interface for Mac specifically? Read on below to look at some of the best audio interfaces you can buy today to bring your music-making to the next level!
Best Audio Interfaces For Mac
- A special edition of UA’s esteemed Apollo Twin USB interface — with a premium suite of 5 award-winning plug-in titles from Teletronix, Pultec, and UA — a $1,300 value
- UAD DUO Core Processing for tracking through vintage compressors, EQs, tape machines, mic preamps, and guitar amp plug-ins with near-zero latency
- World-class Apollo A/D and D/A conversion and USB 3 connection for modern Windows systems
- USB 3 connection for modern Windows systems
- Unison technology provides stunning models of classic mic preamps and guitar amps
Do you want to record music the like some of the biggest professional artists have? You cannot do better than the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo. This compact little interface makes it easy to convert all of your sound to editable chunks that you can play around with within your editing software.
This device has a rich history of expert craftsmanship from Universal Audio. These guys have been in the business for many generations and are still here to stay. The Apollo Twin MKII Duo is a souped-up version of their classic audio interfaces. You can get that classic and trusted sense of control but with a more modern edge.
One thing that makes the Apollo Twin so perfect for Mac is its thunderbolt connection capabilities. Thunderbolt ports on Mac computers allow for high-quality audio and video transfer through a single cable connection.
With just one cable, you can get to recording crystal-clear sound on your Mac. However, it is worth noting that you will need to supply your thunderbolt cable, and the Apollo Twin does not come packaged with one.
The Apollo Twin also boasts professional analog to digital and digital to analog conversion to ensure you get the best sound quality. This truly makes the Apollo Twin a perfect all-in-one audio interface. You can make any analog audio inputs sound amazing once processed and even send them back through a compatible analog output!
There is also nearly no latency between playing an instrument or recording sound and it then being rendered in a digital form. This allows you to work on editing your music without having to wait hours between each session for it all to render. It also doesn’t prove taxing on your computer, as it is handled and processed within the interface!
We were so impressed with the Apollo Twin MKII that it did have it where it counts when converting sound to data. And its built-in monitor may be very compact but contains all the information you need moment-to-moment displayed legibly. We cannot recommend the Apollo Twin MKII enough.
- Offers easy thunderbolt connections for Mac users
- All processing and conversion are handled within the audio interface, so your Mac won’t encounter any significant slowdown during the recording process.
- Features very low latency, so you can record and then get right to editing, significantly improving your productivity.
- Though the Apollo Twin MKII offers a thunderbolt connection, it does not come packaged with a thunderbolt cable.
- Not beginner-friendly and more suited for those with plenty of experience already.
- Recording and Playback Channels: 10×6.
- Width: 160 Mm.
- Depth: 149 Mm.
- Height: 66 Mm.
- Mic Inputs: 2.
- Line Inputs: 2.
- Line Outputs: 4.
- Instrument Inputs: 1.
- Bundle Includes: Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen 4×4 USB Audio Interface, 1 x Closed Back Over-Ear Headphones, and 2 x XLR Male to Female Microphone Cables (25-feet)
- Instrument Inputs: Record guitars or basses via the two high-headroom instrument inputs without any clipping or unwanted distortion and get creative using the four flexible line inputs – two on the front with gain control, and two fixed-line on the back allowing you to record up to four mono sources or two stereo line-level sources such as synthesizers or drum machines with guaranteed clarity
- Loopback Inputs: A pair of virtual loopback inputs allows you to capture a stereo feed of any combination of hardware input and software playback channels – making podcasting, live streaming and sampling tasks easier. Scarlett 4i4 is designed to stand up to days on the road and connects straight to your Mac or PC via USB cable, with no external power required
- Included Software: Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 comes with all the software tools you need to get started: two comprehensive digital audio workstations, Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack; Softube’s Time and Tone Bundle; Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite; a choice of one of four of XLN Audio’s Addictive Keys
- Free 3-Month Splice Sounds Subscription: Focusrite has partnered with Splice to give 3rd Gen Interface owners a free 3-month Splice Sounds subscription when setting up a new Splice account. Splice Sounds offers millions of high-quality, royalty-free one-shots, loops, and presets, with new releases daily from your favorite producers, sound designers, and artists
The biggest new feature of Focusrite’s latest recording wonder is the inclusion of ‘Air.’ ‘Air’ is a single button on the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 interface that allows you to bring out the best in all sounds you record. Say you’re recording some vocals, and you want to make a specific part shine. Just press the ‘Air’ button, and the 4i4 will automatically improve the quality of said vocals.
‘Air’s sound improving functions are put into place within the interface itself, so there is no added latency when switching between ‘Air’ modes. ‘Air’ works by increasing the sound gain to pick up small intricacies in vocals while also actively muting unwanted sounds from the environment.
‘Air’ often sounds too good to be true, but we were impressed by how well it delivers on its promises. It brought out the best in vocals with just a single button press!
The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 also features a massive wealth of input and output ports so that you can plug in all the instruments you want and anything else you want to edit your sound on the go. It can efficiently process each of these inputs and outputs separately so that your computer doesn’t experience any crazy slow down while you work.
The Scarlett 4i4 also works in tandem with Focusrite’s specially designed mobile application ‘Focusrite Control’ to make it easy to control the interface easily on whatever device you want. You can send sound samples straight to the interface through your mobile device via the app. It has a new level of control that we had yet to see until we tried it out ourselves!
Focusrite has been in the industry for many years and has so much experience. All of their products have expert precision at every step. And if you encounter any major issues while using a Focusrite interface, don’t worry!
Focusrite is proud to offer a three-year warranty on all tech and constant support that you can access anywhere on the globe.
Purchasing a Scarlet 4i4 also gives you access to industry-leading tools, including a three-month Avid Pro Tools subscription. This subscription gives you handy tools used in industry-standard audio recording. And this is to go without mentioning the Hitmaker Expansion, which features content made exclusively by some of the original creators of autotune technology!
- Focusrite offers an outstanding three-year warranty on all products so that you can record well into the future, knowing that you are covered.
- It is easily portable and can plug into USB ports, making it easy to use on Mac.
- The ‘Air’ software helps improve all recordings, including vocals and instruments, to bring out the best in your music.
- It has quite a hefty price tag
- Offers three months of access to professional recording platforms, but only three months
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Recording and Playback Channels: 4×4.
- Width: 185 Mm.
- Depth: 119.7 Mm.
- Height: 47.5 Mm.
- Mic Inputs: 2.
- Headphone Outputs: 1.
- Instrument Inputs: 2.
- Sabre32 Ultra DAC Technology: Equipped with the same ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC Technology found in audio interfaces costing thousands, the M2 delivers an astonishing 120 dB Dynamic Range on its main outputs. ESS converters also drive the headphone output, which rivals dedicated headphone amplifiers costing hundreds. Ultra-clean preamp circuits produce a measured -129 dBu EIN on the mic inputs. Capture and monitor your audio with pristine clarity
- Best-in-class Speed: The M2 provides best-in-class speed for monitoring live inputs (mic, guitar or keyboard) through your computer, thanks to MOTU’s expertly engineered USB drivers, which deliver class-leading, ultra-low 2.5 ms Round Trip Latency (at 96 kHz with a 32 sample buffer)
- Best Metering: When recording and mixing, nothing is more critical than achieving optimum levels. The M2 is the only audio interface in its class with a full color LCD featuring clear, detailed level meters for all inputs and outputs. Enjoy professional-level volume control and feedback to get your sound just right
- Live Streaming Loopback: The M2 driver provides convenient loopback channels to your host computer, so you can easily route computer output back to the computer, where you can mix it with live mics and/or guitar inputs from the M2 in your host software for live streaming or podcasting. Streaming and podcasting has never been easier and better-sounding
- A Tradition of Engineering Excellence: Decades of award-winning product engineering for hit songs, mega tours, primetime shows and blockbuster movies goes into every MOTU audio interface
The MOTU M2 makes expert audio engineering affordable for everyone. The MOTU M2 contains all the fantastic tools you expect from top-range engineering hardware but within a reasonable and compact shape.
And you don’t have to worry about sacrificing audio quality for a lower price, as the MOTU M2 still sounds perfect! It features 120 dB of Dynamic Range to bring out the power in every guitar strum, drum hit, and vocal.
MOTU M2 also contains many individual output and input ports to use simultaneously to allow you to record multiple layers of instruments.
Once again, the MOTU M2 is focused on optimizing the performance of your Mac and your audio editing software. All computation and processing are handled within the audio interface. You can work even on a slightly older Mac!
You can also hook the MOTU M2 to your desktop or laptop Mac via USB. This connection allows instant recording precision whenever you need it. And the use of USBs to power and connect the interface to your computer doesn’t mean that the MOTU doesn’t have it where it counts. There is very low latency, and the interface can quickly process the sound you feed into it.
The design of the MOTU M2 is also highly specialized. Unlike many affordable audio interfaces, the M2 features a full-color LCD that displays detailed meters to show you your audio levels down to the second.
The visual display helps you control your levels to keep your music sound good without messing with controls on your editing software!
Because of its near-zero latency, the MOTU M2 can process your sound and then pump it right into your computer to be instantly streamed on any streaming platform you use. This keeps even live recordings sounding crystal clear so that your music can shine better than it ever has done before!
- It can be easily hooked up to any Mac and features very low latency to get right to the recording.
- Allows instant audio processing, so you can use the MOTU M2 to improve your audio for live streaming.
- The LCD on the front of the interface means you can always stay in control of your levels.
- Despite being the more affordable option, the MOTU M2 still has a sizable price tag.
- The MOTU M2 is not exceptionally beginner-friendly.
- Width: 7.5 Inches.
- Depth: 4.25 Inches.
- Height: 1.75 Inches.
- Mac Requirements: macOS Version 10.11 or later.
- Mic Inputs: 2.
- Guitar Inputs: 2.
- Outputs: 3.
- 16 audio inputs and 10 audio outputs, including 12 premium mic preamps (VS PREAMP)
- 16 XLR / ¼” TRS combo inputs
- 10 ¼” TRS outputs
- High-performance USB 2.0 audio interface for studio and mobile production
- VS STREAMING delivers ultra-stable, low-latency driver performance for Windows and Mac
This beauty from Roland is a beast of modern USB interface engineering. It boasts an incredible control panel on the front side of the interface. This display gives unparalleled control over your music through a few dial twists and button presses.
Despite offering studio-level control and precision, this beauty is fully portable. You can hook it up to a Mac of your choice with a simple USB connection. If your Mac has the latest firmware, you can quickly insert the interface into your Mac and get to work.
Also contained within the interface are twelve individual preamps that help to inject some much-needed power into any music you make through it. No matter how you play or where you choose, the Roland Interface’s many preamps will bring out every decibel of your vocals or guitar strums.
The preamps are controlled digitally. You don’t have to fiddle around within your interface to get the desired results. You don’t have to be an expert sound engineer to bring out the best in your music.
The Roland STUDIO-CAPTURE has numerous instrument input and output ports. You’ll see a total of 16 input and ten output channels. You can amplify multiple instruments and output that sound to an audio device of your choice.
And you don’t have to worry that having so many inputs might make your editing software begin to chug. The Roland STUDIO-CAPTURE will take care of all the processing for you.
Alongside the many controls and dials across the front of the interface, plenty of LED meters help you track your mic input and output channels without touching your Mac. You can even control the audio levels directly through the dials and buttons on the face of the device.
- The LED meters across the front of the interface help to make it easy to stay in control always.
- Features an immense combined total of 26 channels for input and output so that you can create layered music within one device.
- It will handle all processing and coding to help keep your computer from overloading with information and slowing down during work.
- There is a slight delay between input and output audio. You may play a note on an instrument and find a small latency through a pair of headphones.
- It doesn’t offer the level of control that a professional may expect
- Width: 284 Mm.
- Depth: 162 Mm.
- Height: 89 Mm.
- Weight: 1.9 Kg.
- Dynamic Range: 105 dB
- Headroom: 18 dB.
- Display: Graphic LCD 128 x 64 Dots.
- FOR A GREAT SOUND WHEREVER YOU GO: Each element of the AudioFuse has been selected to perfectly serve your sound, such as the two proprietary DiscretePRO microphone preamplifiers and the set of top-notch AD/DA converters. With it in your backpack, keep your creativity flowing wherever you go. Easily connect it to your computer, phone or tablet with a power-bank, and plug the included universal power supply. The green mode will minimize the battery consumption of your laptop.
- CREATIVE FLOW: Detailed metering, talkback for instant communication with talent in the next room, inserts to add professional effects processing to your recording chain, A/B monitor switching, and direct access to the essential features so you can spend more time creating and less time setting up.
- ALL THE CONNECTIONS YOU NEED: AudioFuse connects with virtually everything: mics, instruments, turntables, studio equipment, Mac, PC, tablets, even iOS and Android phones. It all happens with a round-trip latency as low as 3 milliseconds so you’ll feel right in the groove every time.
- PREMIUM FX INCLUDED: AudioFuse interfaces come complete with the AudioFuse Creative Suite, an ever-evolving selection of creative plugins curated from our FX Collection: Pre 1973, Pre V76, Filter Mini, Chorus JUN-6, Comp FET-76, Rev PLATE-140, Analog Lab Intro and much more…
- PERFECT CONTROL CENTER (AFCC): AudioFuse Control Center controls the mixer, selection of inputs, routing, monitoring, and additional functions such as sampling rate, Clock Source, Pad, Cue, and more. Another useful touch is that AudioFuse will remember the latest AFCC settings for standalone use until the next time you connect and change them.
The Arturia AudioFuse Audio Interface is one of the most professional kits available. It has a much larger price tag and is more than worth every single cent!
The AudioFuse is incredibly compact, only occupying a small amount of space. It is very portable. You can bring it with you anywhere and always be ready to jam whenever the creative instinct strikes you!
And its focus on having a more petite frame does not mean that the AudioFuse sacrificed sound quality. Far from it. The AudioFuse features world-leading sound-capturing technology that renders everything you put into it in the most precise quality we’ve probably ever heard from a device of its size. It is incredible how much can fit into such a small package!
The controls and information displayed on the front of the interface are also carefully chosen to present you with only what you need. Just about every control you could need in the heat of the moment is present here. You can toggle them through sturdy buttons and switches, so it’s not a cheap feeling.
The interface also features simple but effective metering to get the perfect levels from your sound. The controls of this interface are non-distracting, so you can focus on making the best music possible no matter where you are or when you are doing it.
The AudioFuse can be hooked up to any device you wish, whether it be your trusty Mac, an iPhone, or a tablet. This helps you to make music whenever the need strikes you.
- The simple but bountiful control panel has everything you need and precise metering.
- You can hook it up to any device, including smartphones.
- Targets a latency of only three milliseconds
- It has a very hefty price tag
- It is targeted more at a professional user base.
- Mic Inputs: 2.
- Instrument Inputs: 2.
- Outputs: 4.
- Width: 127 Mm.
- Depth: 127 Mm.
- Height: 66 Mm.
- Recording and Playback Channels: 14 x 14.
Audio Interface Buyer’s Guide
There are a lot of options out there, as you’ve now seen. Each option offers its benefits and drawbacks that you need to consider before purchasing. But how should you know which interface to buy? Read our dedicated buyer’s guide to determine which interface is best for you!
How Much Does The Interface Cost?
You might be willing to pay more for a good interface, or you might be looking for a more affordable option. This will depend on your current skill level and familiarity with audio interfaces.
If you have lots of experience with audio interfaces, then you would likely be better served by more expensive options, as they will give you the level of control you need.
If you are inexperienced in using audio interfaces, you should go for a cheaper option, so you don’t overspend. You don’t want to spend loads of your hard-earned cash on an audio interface with many features you might never even touch!
How Portable Is The Interface?
Are you looking for an audio interface that will remain a permanent fixture in your professional studio? Or are you looking for an interface you can take out and about with you?
If you want a more permanent interface for a studio, you will be better served by buying a heavier and more expensive model to get the precise controls and precision that a studio needs.
If you require portability, check out some of the options we discussed today!
How Compatible Is The Interface?
Of course, this is a highly crucial consideration. Before you buy, you will want to make sure that the interface you are purchasing is compatible with the editing software or device you use.
Luckily, most audio interfaces are fully compatible with both PC and Mac, and many can even be connected to smartphones.
How Powerful Is The Interface?
Some audio interfaces are better equipped to process audio than others. You will want to pick one that can deal with the amount of sound you will be feeding it. Are you planning on recording performances for a whole band? Pick an interface with plenty of input channels that can process multiple instruments simultaneously.
If you are recording each element of your music individually and then layering them together in the edit, you might be perfectly served by an interface with fewer input channels and a more affordable price tag!
Let’s Wrap This Up
We hope we’ve helped you narrow down your options for audio interfaces you can use with your Mac. Choosing the right product for your needs can be pretty daunting, so we’re happy to help.
Carefully consider each option we have discussed before making your purchase, and then have fun seeing what you can do with an audio interface of your own. Trust us, though; all of the interfaces we have discussed today are genuinely amazing and top of the range!