In this article we’ll outline the best picks of audio interfaces for Mac computers, for budgets both big and small.
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Best Audio Interface for Mac in 2022
Audio interfaces are one of the most important purchases when setting up a studio of any size. The number of choices on the market today can be staggering, especially to those new to production. By the end of the article, you should have a good idea of what the best audio interface is for your studio.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Perfect First Interface for New Producers
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is probably the most frequently purchased audio interface for anyone starting on their audio journey. It has all the basics you need to get started; 2 inputs for mics and instruments, line outputs for studio monitors, a jack for headphones, and to top it off, it’s bus powered so you don’t even need a separate power cable to run it. The mic preamps sound decent too! It really has the core essentials to get started.
If you need more inputs and outputs, the Scarlett lineup has versions with 4, 8 and even 18(!) inputs too, all at a decent price.
Universal Audio Apollo Solo
Budget Friendly Way into the UAD Ecosystem
This interface is a relative newcomer to the market, and is the perfect entry point to the Universal Audio plugins. The Universal Audio Apollo Solo requires USB-C, but is a big step up from the Scarlett in terms of preamp quality. Most important, the Apollo Solo comes bundled with 5 of the award winning UAD plugins, as well as the Realtime Analog Classics plug-in bundle.
A lot of producers love the Universal Audio ecosystem, and it’s easy to understand why. Their plugins sound great, and their hardwear is top notch. This interface is amongst the top choices in the under $500 price point.
Live Performance Specialist
The MOTU M6 is one of the best choices for anyone looking to perform live. It has 6 inputs, 4 outputs, MIDI in and out, all contained in a sleek little chassis. The front panel LCD screen provides great monitoring of all those channels too, and is super bright, great for a dark stage.
If you do any podcasting or live streaming, you’ll also like the MOTU M6’s loopback functionality. MOTU’s put together a very compelling package at a great price.
PreSonus Studio 1824c
Great For Big Projects on a Budget
The PreSonus Studio 1824c is one of the best choices for anyone looking to record a full band or studio project, including multi-channel drums. With 18 simultaneous inputs, you’ll have a ton of flexibility for projects big and small.
Get this one if you’re serious about recording some more complex projects, but want some cash left over to get a few plugins and accessories too.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin X DUO
All Most Home Studios Need
The Apollo Twin series quickly carved out legendary status for itself over the last 8 years since their initial release. Why? The Twin X DUO’s performance rivals UA’s rackmount Apollo X audio interfaces costing 2 or 3 times more. The Apollo’s preamps sound fantastic, they are built like a tank, and you get access to UAD’s amazing plugins.
There is not a lot to dislike here. The Apollo series is a serious piece of kit and one of the best price to performance interfaces out there.
RME Babyface Pro FS
Pro Grade Performance and Reliability
The RME Babyface Pro FS is the pick for anyone who needs absolute pro quality sound and stability / reliability. Clocks and latency woes are a thing of the past with the RME hardware. The drivers for the RME products are top of class, and so are their preamps. RME is also extremely committed to supporting their products for essentially forever, so you can rest assured that you’ll still be able to use this interface for YEARS to come.
This truly is pro grade equipment and performance at a great price relative to the quality of the hardware.
Apogee Symphony Desktop
Rack Mount Quality in a Compact Package
The Apogee Symphony Desktop biggest draw is Apogee’s legendary AD/DA conversion, which many in the pro audio industry regard as the reference standard. The mic preamps here are world class, and so is the software and plugins it’s bundled with.
The Apogee Symphony Desktop is pro grade performance and DSP that fits nearly on your desktop. If you started on something a bit smaller and are looking to elevate your setup to something top shelf, the Symphony makes for a great pick.
Universal Audio Apollo x6
For the Pro Studio
The Universal Audio Apollo x6 is easily one of the best audio interfaces for Mac currently available. With 50% more processing power than previous Apollos, UA’s powerful 6-core HEXA Core processor makes tracking in real time with high plugin counts a breeze, and the UAD plugins are absolutely top tier.
The Apollo is a great choice for anyone looking to mix in 5.1 surround sound, anyone working on music and audio for television, film, or video games.
This is the big leagues, but if you’re buying one, chances are you’re in the big leagues too.
Picking an audio interface for your Mac can be a huge challenge, with so many models and variations on the market today. We’ve listed just a handful here in this article, but each of them represents a great pick for wherever you are on your production journey.
Building out your studio? Be sure to check out our article on the best mixing and mastering headphones!