For this review, I tested the best audio interfaces for Mac! If you are into recording, this is an essential piece of equipment, and choosing the wrong interface could make or break your setup. No matter if you are editing, recording, or doing live performances, this guide will help you make the right decisions!
At a Glance: Our Pick of the Best Audio Interfaces For Mac
- Best Overall: Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2i2 3rd Gen
- Best for Editing: Steinberg UR22C 2X2 USB 3.0
- Best for Content Creators: IK iRig Stream
- Best for Podcasts: MOTU M4 4X4 USB-C
- Best for Simultaneous Recording: M-Audio M-Track 2X2 C-Series
- Best Portable Option: Apogee One
- Best for Multiple Instruments: Behringer UMC404HD Audiophile
- Best for Fast Connectivity: Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII
- Best for Headphone Playback: PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2X2
- Best for Beginners: Apogee Duet 2
I tested the ten highest-ranking Mac audio interfaces and found the superior interface choice; the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Generation.
As a Mac owner, I thoroughly searched for a compatible and superior audio interface to handle and amplify my recording needs. While I could look to a site for an easy answer and purchase, I put in the erase arch not only for myself but for the general population of recorders, musicians, and artists looking for the best audio interface for Mac.
The research took me far into the realm of what makes an impressive audio interface. With a thoroughly detailed account for what the best entails, I scoured the web and different options for the audio interfaces that go above and beyond basic promises and, most importantly, which ones suit a Mac.
The bright red shell is not the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen’s only attractive feature. No. The audio interface has numerous appealing qualities that make it the best device on the market, such as its high-resolution audio, recording variety capability, and accompanying software features.
To find the best audio interface for Mac, you not only need to decide what you’d like to use it for but what it’s capable of doing. The best choices should: be compatible with macOS, include a variety of recording abilities, high performing audio quality, your desired number out outputs, and accompanying software for your editing and mixing needs.
Keep reading for mini-reviews of the ten best audio interfaces for Mac.
I compiled a list of the top 10 best audio interfaces for Mac below. These choices support Mac devices and offer the best standards for recording variety, audio quality, output options, and accompanying software features. In other words: They would be a great addition to your existent studio equipment!
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2i2 3rd Gen – Best Overall
A popular audio interface among artists, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2i2 is a fitting choice for musicians of all genres, especially for those focusing on vocals and acoustics because of its unique mic preamps Air effect.
The Air setting for the device’s ISA mic preamp gives your vocals and recordings a brighter, more expansive sound. The 3rd generation Focusrite Scarlett Solo also comes equipped with a 24-bit/192 kHz resolution to produce a high-performance, high-quality sound not just for vocals but for all of the accompanying inputs for other instruments.
This 3rd generation device has also specifically paired with Splice, giving users a free three-month subscription. This partnership gives you access to millions of presets and loops as well as new releases from popular producers, sound designers, and other artists. With this access, you can find new ways to transform your recordings that other audio interfaces can’t offer.
Besides a free trial of Splice, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2i2 3rd Gen. comes with other software tools such as the popular Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools.
Steinberg UR22C 2X2 USB 3.0 – Best for Editing
The Steinberg UR22C audio interface packs a punch of recording clarity and capabilities for more advanced musicians and audio professionals, beginning with its class-a D-PRE microphone preamps even though the device is small in stature.
Because of the audio interface’s 32-bit/192 kHz audio resolution, the mic preamps can capture the nuance and expressiveness of any and all audio sources including vocals and instruments. To listen to your recordings, you can do so with zero-latency monitoring thanks to the device’s dspMixFX application.
The Steinberg UR22C combines the dspMixFX application with Cuba’s AI and Cubasis LE into one software package to make editing, mixing, and scoring your recordings easier. And, to make recording flexible, the device comes equipped with a MIDI I/O port.
IK iRig Stream – Best for Content Creators
The iRig Stream not only connects with your Mac but with other apple products such as iPhones and iPads. Much like these portable devices, the iRig Stream’s compact designs make it highly transportable to accompany all of your recording needs on the go.
While other audio interfaces come equipped with various technologies, the iRig Stream works with any available recording app beginning with the preprogrammed iRig Recorder 3 LE. The iRig Recorder 3 LE application allows you to edit, record, and share your high-quality video and audio recordings directly from your smart device.
As a part of IK’s creator series, the iRig Stream is ideal for content creators, whether for Podcasters, Youtubers, or social media influencers. Accompanying the audio interface, the brand offers recording attachments such as mobile microphones and device stands.
MOTU M4 4X4 USB-C – Best for Podcasts
The MOTU M4 4×4 audio interface, with USB-C connectivity, promotes a lightning-fast connection speed to your Mac device. The sound quality, matched only by its connection speed, is powered by ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology, meaning you get supreme quality sound and low-latency monitoring.
Another idyllic quality of this device, and special, is the front-panel LCD screen monitoring. You can gauge your sounds in full-color directly from your device rather than from software. The audio interface also comes with a one-touch hardware monitoring capability so that you can make sure you track smoothly.
For podcasters specifically, the MOTU M4 4×4 captivates with a loopback functionality built-in. The feature allows podcasters to monitor their transmissions with ease and the central knob for loopback lets you balance your live input with your Mac’s playback.
M-Audio M-Track 2X2 C-Series – Best for Simultaneous Recording
M-Audio’s M-Track 2X2 C-Series audio interface for Mac is not only simple to connect to your mac but is ideal for beginners in its simplicity. You only need to install the drivers and plug the device into your Mac via the high-speed USB or USB-C outlet to connect. From there, you can focus on your recording performance.
As far as recording goes, you can capture two channels simultaneously without sacrificing the quality of either. The A/D converters provide 24-bit resolution digital audio for capturing a range of performances, whether subtle or explosive.
The M-Audio M-Track 2X2 C-Series is also extremely portable for all of your recording needs. If you’re on the go and have an epiphany for a new recording, the interface’s sleek, compact design allows you to carry it with you wherever that may be.
Apogee One – Best for Portability
Even though the Apogee One audio interface is no bigger than a standard TV remote, the device comes equipped with two inputs, two outputs, and a built-in microphone.
With these physical features, you can plug in your necessary equipment or instruments. But, because of the built-in mic, you don’t need to worry about installing a stand-alone microphone to record your audio. Instead, you can use the device itself. Even when using the built-in or exterior microphone, you can plug in another instrument and record simultaneously.
The Apogee One doesn’t sacrifice sound either. The audio interface’s premium AD/DA conversion and mic preamp programming produce studio-quality sound for podcasts, music, and other audio needs. Its central knob also allows for easy control that even beginners can grasp.
The audio interface’s sound capabilities and microphones make it a solid option for podcasters, voice-overs, vocal-centric musicians. But, the unmarred sound delivery to your headphones makes it an excellent option as well.
Behringer UMC404HD Audiophile – Best for Multiple Instruments
With four inputs and outputs and a lightning-fast USB connector, the Behringer UMC404HD Audiophile makes for studio-quality production and sound for your recording needs. Depending on the model you choose, you can even acquire up to eight inputs so you can capture multiple instruments or multiple angles of a single instrument.
Not only compatible with Mac, but this audio interface is also compatible with most recording software, including the popular Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase, and Abelton Live. You can also connect the interface to a MIDI device, meaning you can further control your workflow.
Besides connectivity and compatibility, the Behringer UMC404HD audio interface allows for zero-latency monitoring so that you can listen to your recordings with the utmost clarity and without delay. This device is a solid choice for musicians working with many instruments and those looking to compile their sound with studio-quality in mind.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII – Best for Fast Connectivity
Wide yet compact and slightly tilted topside for easy dial maneuvering makes the Apollo Twin MKII audio interface ideal for desktop recording. It can sit neatly next to your monitor for easy access.
This interface, equipped for the most modern Mac operating systems, also gives users access to download the LUNA Recording System software for free. The device’s A/D and D/A conversions paired with the two enabled mic preamps to allow you to record with zero-latency monitoring, even without the free software,
The Apollo Twin MKII features real-time analog recording so that you can get the most enhanced audio conversion. The device has Thunderbolt connectivity too, which not most audio interfaces offer. With the unique connectivity, you can get a powerful, high-quality connection.
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2X2 Audio Interface – Best for Headphone Playback
This edition of the Presonus Audiobox, while built for stability or portability, provides podcasters, producers, musicians, and other artists a compact, quality studio at their fingertips. Even beginners who’ve barely touched an audio interface can use this device to learn and cultivate their skills. All you need to do is plug-in.
With two input options, you can connect your mics or instruments for an easy-to-use recording system. The interface is equipped with a 24-bit 96 kHz audio resolution for sound clarity and its balanced line-level outputs give headphones equally as clear and loud playback without delay or interference.
This audio interface is not only compatible with all Macs, but it also comes with the PreSonus’ Studio One Artist DAW so you can have a complete recording solution at your fingertips. You know that this audio interface can provide for all of your creative needs because creative individuals designed it with that sole purpose in mind.
Apogee Duet 2 – 2 Channel USB – Best for Beginners
Much like the device’s physical design, the Apogee Duet 2 makes recording simple. Its simplistic design makes the device great for recording beginners, but its dual microphone preamps give it a more professional, complex quality.
You can connect not only microphones but instruments and line-level devices with the two combo inputs. The device may be small, but it’s capable of big recording feats. Besides the two inputs, the Apogee Duet 2 has four analog outputs for you to connect with speakers, headphones, and other outboard equipment.
This Apogee audio interface allows for high-speed connection via USB to Macs as well as other Apple products including iPad, iPhones, and iPods. Its diverse compatibility makes it a great device for recorders with many instruments and sounds and those who want to take their abilities on the go.
Choosing The Best Audio Interface For Mac
Before you pick out your favorite audio interface, it would be best to take a look at the specific features that best suit your recording needs. To figure out what aspects of an interface you need or don’t need, take a look at the recording variety, output options, and special features that accompany the device.
The type of audio interface you purchase depends on what you want to record whether it be vocals, podcasts, guitar solos, or what have you. Some audio interfaces’ designs make them capable of recording multiple sounds at once which makes them ideal for those looking to record various instruments or sounds while others can only record one at a time.
If you want a variation of recordings at once, you’ll need to look for an audio interface with multiple input options for various instruments and vocals. These interfaces will have at least two inputs. If you don’t need that many, or only want to record with a microphone, for example, there’s no need to purchase an interface with many inputs.
Most audio interfaces provide an even distribution of inputs to outputs. Just as the amount of inputs correlates to the recording variety you want, the number of outputs on a device relates to the sound setup you want. For example, having six outputs provides you with a surround setup.
Having more outputs distributes the sound to more than a few large speakers for a surround sound effect which is handy if you want to hear your sound in an evenly distributed surround-sound capacity. Having four outputs allows you to run four software applications simultaneously and compress the sound into one interface.
One of the most popular uses for multiple output options is so you can connect to an analog summing box or mixer. In doing so, you can mix computer compositions elsewhere and then use input options to focus the sounds back into your computer when you’re ready to compile the sounds together.
The recording doesn’t amount to much if the final sound is garbled or insufficient which is why you need an audio interface that interprets all recordings with optimal resolution and clarity. Especially for Mac, you need an audio quality that can keep up with a Mac’s modern, high-quality processing system.
For the best audio quality, you should look for a device with high-quality resolution. It would also benefit you to look for a device with low or zero-latency monitoring. Low standard monitoring will allow you to play the sound back without delay and with just as high of a resolution you’d need for recording audio.
Another way to tell which audio interface has the best audio quality is to look at the device’s mic preamps since they take your recording or audio and amplify it for a cleaner, more accurate resolution.
Besides the typical technological features on audio interfaces such as mic preamps, inputs and outputs, connectivity, and the like, a high-quality device will grant you access to various software. Preprogrammed software lets you edit and transform your recordings without extra purchases. Some interfaces will even give you free access to subscription-based software.
While free access is a bonus, the main thing to focus on here is the availability of software in general. That said, when you’re looking to purchase an audio interface, check out what software features it comes with or if it comes with any at all.
In the long run, having a device equipped with such software can save you the time and money of purchasing them later on.
So Which Audio Interface Is Best For Mac?
Choosing an audio interface depends on your needs as a recorder and artist. But, the best audio interface choice depends on the device’s features and capabilities, such as audio quality, recording variety, output options, and accompanying software features.
After perusing the ideals for the optimal product, the best audio interface for Mac is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen. This audio interface, while supported by musicians, producers, and home-recorders worldwide, offers superior audio quality with high resolution and a unique Air effect.
It also provides users access to several software applications and comes equipped with an even distribution of inputs to outputs for a range of instrument and audio pairings. The audio interface offers the basics for recordings needs and amplifies them for advanced artists.
Don’t wait for your music, podcast, or other artistic careers to take off. Make it happen with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Generation audio interface. Click here to purchase yours today and transform your sound tomorrow.