Best Audio Interface For Mac - The Door To New Music Production!

Making music on your Mac is surely the key to creating great tracks and mixes! So what is the best audio interface for Mac?

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: September 12, 2021

Mac is a great device to make music, but you will not create your desired tracks and mixes without the best audio interface for Mac. It is one of the indispensable pieces of equipment, which effectively records your voice or any other external source through a professional microphone. 

So why is this equipment so essential in making music? An audio interface is used to offer a sufficient number of connections for all music instruments while converting a digital signal into an analog from your computer.  

Here is the brief summary of some factors you should consider before purchasing one audio recording interface. The detailed guide can be found toward the end of our article. 

The number of inputs and outputs: Ensure that your audio interface offers enough plugs to connect your microphones and instruments to the computer.  

Connectivity: How frustrating it is to find out that your interface fails to work with the iOS system or cannot meet your data transmitting bandwidth. Therefore, don't miss out on these criteria! 

Low latency recording: It would be best to work with various recordings or add new tracks to your real-time version without causing any delay or distraction. 

However, among the wide variety of products on the market, how do you choose the best one? Follow us to find out more! 

In-depth Reviews Of 5 Best Audio Interface For Mac 

Cannot wait to explore our list of top 5 best audio interfaces for Mac now! Let’s have a deeper insight into their pros and cons! 

1. Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) - Top Pro Tools Ready For Home Studio With Any Mac Or PC

Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio USB Audio Interface 3rd Gen

Editor's ratings 

Number of inputs and outputs: 8/10 

Connectivity: 9.5/10 

Low latency recording: 9/10 

Best Overall: Ease Of Use  

Suppose you are looking for the best audio recording interface for Mac. In that case, you are lucky not to miss out on Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB, one of the most popular and affordable audio interfaces on the market. 

Coming with one instrument input and two outputs, the product offers plenty of gain and stereo lines to connect speakers and headphones with gain control.  

The instrument connector is high-headroom to plug in your guitar or bass, while two hum-free balanced outputs are designed to offer clean audio playback. A switchable air mode also ensures that you will receive a very crisp and clear volume. 

Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio Package (3rd Gen)

More impressively, unlike other audio interfaces for Mac, this one requires no power supply, saving you from finding electricity sockets and dealing with long cords. Instead, all you have to do is connect a USB cable to your computer and start working - once again, confirm how easy it is to use this item. 

Despite its low price, this audio interface also provides you with all pro software tools any producer desires. The First Focusrite creative pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Time Bundle, and Focusrite's Red plugin suite will be included and available to download after the registration. 

The powerful 48v phantom can work perfectly with most software in Windows 7 and, most importantly, Mac OS X 10.10, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Air.   

Problems With This Product 

However, it is vital to note down some drawbacks of this excellent product. First, you have to unplug and plug the USB every time operating the audio interface; otherwise, the hardware can randomly distort your audio. 

Besides, there are also complaints about its robotic sound, although you can improve the sound quality later on. 

Advice From Experts And Users 

The product is best suited for a solo producer, who mostly works on computer recording and single instruments like guitar or bass.  

Moreover, it would be best to get experts' support to install and download the software apps  because various accounts on online platforms are required when installing. 

2. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 Audio Interfaces - Include DAW For Recording Music

PreSonus AudioBox USB Audio Interface

Editor's ratings 

Number of inputs and outputs: 8.5/10 

Connectivity: 9/10 

Low latency recording: 9/10 

Best Overall: Portability 

Music ideas can randomly pop up anytime and anywhere, so it’s more than ideal to be able to carry an audio interface on hand everywhere to get inspiration.  

In such cases, PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 will especially come in handy, thanks to its portability and great quality. It weighs around two pounds and shows 1.75 inches high x 5.5 inches long x 5.5 inches wide. 

The product is lightweight and small enough for any soloist to carry with ease and comfort while offering all the best audio interface features as analysed thoroughly below.  

In addition, its two front-panel combo inputs allow you to easily connect mics and instruments to have an easy-to-use recording system. 

Moreover, mix control is included to adjust the level between the input signal and computer playback, eliminating any chance of annoying delays. 

Built for both the studio and the road, this product is manufactured with a heavy-duty steel chassis to bear a serious pounding and ensure high durability. Moreover, its headphones are screaming loud to let you hear your music even in noisy locations. 

USB 2.0 bus-powered is another great feature, letting you record your music anywhere as long as you have a laptop. So prepare this audio interface and your Macbook in your bag to hit the road for music inspiration right now! 

PreSonus AudioBox Studio Ultimate Bundle

This pick comes with a free license for a famous and premium program named PreSonus' Studio One Artist DAW when it comes to advanced software 

This software is super easy to learn and makes it straightforward to compose, record, and produce your music regardless of your level: beginner, intermediate, or professional! 

When purchasing the PreSonus AudioBox, you will receive a pair of balanced line-level outputs, ultra-loud and crystal-clear headphones, MIDI I/O to connect your favorite synth, and MIDI controller. So what are you waiting for? 

Problems With This Product 

On the flip side, the audio level of this product is quite low compared to other products of the same type. Besides, you will need to unplug and plug again after each use to operate it, requiring more preparation time. 

Bear in mind that this interface is not designed to work with USB 3.0, so check your Mac's plug and make sure they are compatible. 

Advice From Experts And Users 

The audio interface is inexpensive yet decent in quality that it will suit any user's budget and production levels.  

Plus, as mentioned above, don't forget to check the connectors and cables before choosing this one to avoid unwanted incompatibility. 

3. M Audio M Track 24/192 USB - Always A Good Choice For Mac

M Audio M Track 2x2 USB Audio Interface

Editor's ratings 

Number of inputs and outputs: 8.5/10 

Connectivity: 9/10 

Low latency recording: 9/10 

Best Overall: Professional Recording 

M Audio M Track 24/192 USB draws users' attention at first sight, thanks to its compact and sleek design while winning their hearts and trust with pristine and transparent delivery of sound quality. 

24 bit/192kHz resolution and new Crystal Preamps are great features, allowing for professional recording and monitoring. Pristine A/D converters are also included to capture every nuance and subtlety of your music with a low-noise solution.  

In addition, the 48v Phantom Power switch is ideal in accommodating all types of microphones, including high-quality condenser mics.  

Besides including two inputs and two output configurations, the product is super easy to use. It lets users record using two channels at once by directly plugging guitar or bass into the interface.  

This versatility and flexibility promise to deliver any source audio with just a microphone and a line-level output. 

Connecting this audio interface should not cause you any difficulty, as our future-proofed high-speed product requires no external power source. 

Instead, a standard USB or USB-C port is used to install drivers and connect to your Mac to receive a latency-free recording and perfectly focus on the important part of your performance! 

When it comes to software applications, the item comes with the production tools that award-winning artists, musicians, producers place their trust and hearts on every day.  

M Audio M Track 2X2 Live View

Xpand! 2, Mini Grand, Strike, and C-Series VI also offer synth-scapes and ultra-realistic musical instrument sounds. This tool inclusion will surely open a new door to professional music production and transform your brilliant idea in your head into a masterpiece. 

In addition, M-Audio Edition Pro tools with Eleven Elite are included to provide a rock-solid and great sounding audio engine while achieving the wall of sound you are looking for. 

Problems With This Product 

During the operation, it is worth noting that you should not use it for an extended period, as several hours on end can lead to crackling noise. Therefore, let it off in 10-minute intervals to ensure perfect performance.  

Besides, there are also chances of random distortion, which is a common problem of most audio interfaces. Thus, don't forget to check your recordings frequently. 

Advice From Experts And Users 

The glossy finish will likely attract fingertips and dust easily, so it would be best to cover the interface with a thin cloth and gently wipe its surface after every use. 

4. Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE USB Audio Interface - Top Quality For Studio

Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE USB Audio Interface

Editor's ratings 

Number of inputs and outputs: 9/10 

Connectivity: 9/10 

Low latency recording: 8.5/10 

Best Overall: Versatility 

If you are looking for a functional audio interface for your Mac to make incredible recordings, Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE USB will surely serve your needs.  

The A 2-channel product comes with an exceptional combination of TRS/XLR Crystal preamps, effectively capturing pure signals of your sound sources like your line of instruments.  

Moreover, its ultra-compact footprint is integrated to make the interface available and suitable in a streamlined form for those always on the go. The durable construction also withstands light wear among your producing destinations. 

There should be no complaint about its 24-bit/192 kHz audio quality thanks to its excellent front-panel metering, great level control, with dual headphone outputs.  

In terms of latency-free input monitoring, the product features the Direct Monitor function. This three-way switch enables you to have zero-latency monitoring and eliminates any chance of delay or lag in the returning signal.   

In addition to perfect recordings and mobile production, the Roland item also wins users' hearts with the great number of inputs and outputs available. Furthermore, there are two in and two out channels so that the interface can work with Mac and any other personal computer.  

Roland UA-1010 OCTA-CAPTURE 10-input

Problems With This Product 

When working with this audio interface, it is hard to ignore the noisy headphone amp. It is not always distracting, but you will surely hear some low-level hiss.  

Despite its excellent recording function, the headphone amp doesn't have lots of headroom. Thus you cannot have much power to spare if you are using large studio phones. 

The jacks are also not anchored to the faceplate as you might imagine; instead, they seem to only work internally with the board. While this tends to partially damage the appearance, it doesn't adversely influence your overall experience.  

Advice From Experts And Users 

It is worth noting that this audio interface is quite expensive compared to other products on the market. So if you are on an extravagant budget or intend to consider it as a lifelong companion, this one will be the best choice. 

However, for beginners and low budgets, let's consider other products on our list to save money.  

Moreover, as mentioned above, this product doesn't come with an RCA output, making it unable to connect some speaker types. So it’s crucial to prepare some cables for a smooth music production process. 

5. Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface - Just Fit For MAC

Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface

Editor's ratings 

Number of inputs and outputs: 9/10 

Connectivity: 9/10 

Low latency recording: 8.5/10 

Best Overall: Best For Voice-over 

The last audio interface in our top pick list is this brilliant Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD Thunderbolt 3, considered among the best products for voice-overs.  

This one is acclaimed as a beloved interface for most professional producers, thanks to its wide dynamic range and warm analog sound. 

Compared to other products of the same price range, it offers a much superior desktop of up to 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion with its next-generation AD/DA converters.  

Moreover, the expanded monitoring controls and built-in UAD processing allows users to create rich, warm, and analog sound even during mixdown.  

It would be challenging for you to find another product that offers classic sound with astounding Unison mic preamp technology for voice-overs like our pick when it comes to tracking. 

UA's LUNA software compatibility is another attraction of this audio interface, providing a tightly integrated producing environment. This feature gives users great control over their interface's parameters, advanced real-time tracking, and tape emulations to make a perfect voice-over. 

More impressively, an exceptionally quality audio interface should come with an equally premium quality mic. That's why this product includes AKG's C214 large-diaphragm condenser microphone.  

Although the microphone is not as expensive as the famous and legendary C414, it is a match in sound quality!  

Combining it with an official Apple Thunderbolt and a 10-foot XLR cable, you are sure to receive a bundle that can produce high-quality recordings with highly detailed and up-front sounds of both voices and instruments! 

Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface Live View

Don't be surprised to find that the Thunderbolt cable used in this interface is the fastest data transfer protocol. Thanks to this feature, your Mac can receive the purest recordings. 

Once again, look no further than Pro Co EXM-10 Excellines cable that this audio interface is designed with! This microphone cable is among the most favorite products of professional studios and live sound engineers. 

Problems With This Product 

The most troublesome issue with this audio interface is its Thunderbolt cable. Undeniably, it works flawlessly with Mac but cannot connect to other personal computers. 

Moreover, against most users' expectations, this one doesn't show a steep learning curve, which can accidentally hurt users with sharp edges. 

Advice From Experts And Users 

This product is best suited for those frequently producing voice-overs due to its clear and original sound delivery. Moreover, its reasonable price also makes the model ideal for low budgets. 

Audio Interface For Mac Buying Guide 

We bet that you must have once been overwhelmed with the wide range of audio interfaces coming at various designs, functions, and prices. So what are the criteria of a functional one?  

Here are some factors you should not miss out on when shopping for an audio interface: 

Number Of Inputs And Outputs 

When considering the best audio interface for your Mac, the number and type of inputs and outputs you will need is the very first thing to work out. This factor will directly enable you to connect different instruments and devices simultaneously and make perfect recordings. 

For example, a solo producer will typically need one or two inputs for one microphone and one musical instrument, as they are likely to generate their sounds inside the computer.  

On the other hand, if you are working with a live band, you will need more inputs and outputs. Separate headphone mixes, microphones, and electronic guitars are just a few devices to name that require connection to the audio interface. 

Most audio interfaces come with XLR and ¼-inch inputs in combo connectors, allowing users to plug in mics, guitars, and synths into the same input. Some also offer a phantom power option for special microphones.  

MIDI I/O is another feature that many users are looking for, saving you extra costs for external MIDI gear. Therefore, consider your needs and decide how many connectors you will use regularly. 

Connectivity 

An expensive and premium quality audio interface will be down the drain if it is not compatible with the connections on your computer. All products run on USB or ThunderBolt, so you have to consider some cable and adapter options. 

Some interfaces are class-compliant, enabling users to plug the products in and use them straight away without USB connections. Besides, bus-powering is worth considering, as it can save you from finding a mains power supply for your audio interface.  

For Macbook, one more important thing is that the product has iOS compatibility to make music, so don't forget to check this feature. 

Overall, there are four main types of computer connectivity: Thunderbolt, FireWire, USB, and PCIe.  

The first one shows incredibly high speed and low latency, appearing in most high-end interfaces. In contrast, the second option allows for a more consistent data transferring and ensures higher durability. 

USB is a great choice for those planning to have mobile recordings with their laptops.  

On the other hand, an internal card-based interface supersedes others, as it tends to install into your computer's motherboard. This characteristic can surely boost data conversion and limit bandwidth. 

Low Latency Music Recording 

Suppose you have done some research on the audio interface for Mac. In that case, you must have come across the low latency recording criteria, one of the most worthwhile features in most contemporary products. 

Low latency recording lets users stay in time with their products while adding and testing other tracks. This function is also useful when you use effect plugins in real recording time. 

Conclusion 

Now that you have flicked through our top pick of the best audio interface for Mac, and may decide your ideal one. Audio interfaces will surely give you the best value for money with their excellent recording performance. 

So when considering your product, don't forget to look for connectivity, the number of inputs and outputs so that you don't have to pay extra costs for a separate adapter or converter.  

Concerning those criteria, we highly recommend Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface as our top pick. It is a great audio interface for band recording, showing plenty of connectors and promising to deliver catchy songs.  

And now, it’s your turn to pick the best product and make catchy sounds!

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