Choosing an audio interface for your Mac can be a daunting task. There are so many different types available on the market today, and each one comes with its own set of pros and cons. So, we have a detailed guide that will help you choose the best audio interface for Mac according to your needs.
If you’re a beginner who’s just starting out in the world of music production, you’re going to need an audio interface. It’s going to allow you to connect all your recording and mixing equipment together, and make sure that you have a clear path to your ears.
But with so many choices on the market, how do you choose which one to get? That’s why we went ahead and did the research for you, rounding up the 5 best audio interfaces for MacBooks on the market today.
What Is An Audio Interface For Mac?
An audio interface is a computer device that allows you to connect a digital audio source such as a microphone, CD player, guitar, or music player to a computer. It has various inputs and outputs for connecting other devices, and it also connects your MacBook to the digital audio source.
Many Macs come with a similar feature to an audio interface called a Sound Card.
This is simply a piece of mac audio recording hardware that contains all of the audio processing functionality and can be used as an audio interface. If you are running OS X Lion, it will include the built-in software. If you have older Macs without a Sound Card, the audio interface may be in the form of a USB port on your Mac. If you have a newer Macbook, there are two main types of audio interfaces: USB or FireWire.
Both are supported by your Mac and will work fine, but FireWire 400 is generally better because it has faster data transfer rates.
The List Of 7 Best Audio Interface For Mac In 2022
So we have come down to the most awaited section of this article. We have the 7 best entry-level to professional audio interfaces for MacBook users to choose from. Each gadget here is the best in class I have personally picked it after conducting hours of research.
1. Audio Interface with DJ Mixer and Sound Card – Best Seller
Our top pick comes from Maonocaster, an innovative audio company that has been producing products for over 30 years now, and they’ve pretty much perfected their line of portable podcasting studio systems.
The Maonocaster Lite is one of the best in its class, and it’s perfect for people just getting a new podcasting studio as it’s easy to set up and install.
This audio interface comes with a condenser microphone that lets you record great-quality podcasts in no time. The microphone is also compatible with all popular operating systems, so you can use this system on your MacBook, PC, iPhone, and Android devices. The built-in microphone features an automatic noise reduction feature, which makes it ideal for recording while you’re live streaming too. It also supports up to two users, so you can stream simultaneously.
This portable studio also comes with a mixer controller, which lets you adjust the audio levels on each track and record your own music with ease. You can also record different audio effects like applause, laughter, cheering, and more. And there are 10 built-in special effects available for your creation, such as reverb, echo, tremolo, and more. You can record your own custom effects too if you want.
The system is compatible with Windows, MAC, and Android systems, but if your device doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack, you need an OTG adapter (not included). The included condenser microphone features an automatic noise reduction feature, which makes it ideal for recording while you’re live streaming too. It also supports up to two users, so you can stream simultaneously.
So if you’re looking for a high-quality, portable audio interface for mac that lets you start podcasting in no time, then buy the Maonocaster Lite. It’ll definitely make you feel satisfied, relaxed, and confident in your investment, and reduce your energy costs too.
|Compatible Devices||Personal Computer, Smartphone, Macbook|
|Battery type||Lithium Polymer|
|Batteries||1 Lithium Polymer batteries required.|
- Well worth the money
- Just a great streaming mixer and mic!
- Great mixer for podcasts and streams!
- Not recommended if you are a gamer.
2. UA Volt 276 USB Audio Interface – Best for recording, podcasting, and streaming
When we first reviewed the UA Volt 276, we were impressed by its features and sound quality. It was so good that we included it in our best-of list.
For those who want to record their own music and podcasts, the UA Volt 276 USB Audio Interface is the ideal companion. It boasts a 24-bit/192 kHz converter, microphone preamp, and compressor, which is essential for capturing high-quality recordings. The mic preamp is a vintage model, which means you’ll get a rich, full sound that’s hard to replicate with modern models.
With a 24-bit/192kHz converter, it’s capable of capturing the details of your performance. While the compressor is a classic model, it features a number of modern features like its dynamic range compression algorithm, which makes it an excellent tool for capturing the nuances of your performance. You can also use the 76 compressors to add clarity to your voice and instruments.
For those who are familiar with Ableton Live, you can get similar results with the UAD Spark library of plug-ins and instruments. With its intuitive interface, you can easily control your audio mix and adjust parameters like volume, panning, and EQ. The plug-ins are available for free, and you can add them to the Spark library with a subscription.
For those who prefer using external audio gear, you can plug into the USB port and connect to any computer, laptop, or mobile device to record and mix. The Volt 276 also offers two MIDI inputs and a headphone amp, so you can record and mix from any instrument.
The headphone output is 48V Phantom Power, so you don’t need to worry about running into a wall or tripping over cables. This way, you can record and mix from anywhere, without any limitations. The unit is also powered by USB bus power, so you don’t need to worry about buying an additional battery or running out of power.
Overall, the UA Volt 276 is a great choice for those who want to record their own music and podcasts. It’s got a lot of versatility and is highly recommended.
|Item Weight||1.74 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||7.24 x 4.69 x 2.64 inches|
|Item model number||VOLT276|
|Compatible Devices||Personal Computer, MacBook, Laptop|
- It has a Built-in 76 Compressor.
- Vintage mic preamp mode.
- Compatible with Mac, PC, iPad, and iPhone
- Much better than Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Affordable and very valuable
- Comes with 3-4 Inputs are quiet.
- Rough around the edges
3. Universal Audio Apollo Twin X Duo – Best Audio Interface For Mac Thunderbolt
This is the best Thunderbolt audio interface for Macbook ever made. It has the widest dynamic range of any desktop interface, and it can easily handle any task that you throw at it. It is also very simple to use and set up.
One of the coolest things about the Apollo Twin X Thunderbolt is that it features two Unison-enabled preamps. The preamps are modeled after Helios, Neve, API, Manley, and more. So, there are a lot of great preamp emulations for you to use in your mixes.
If you want to get started right away, the Apollo Twin X is a great option. It’s built from premium materials and is designed to provide the highest level of performance. It has two powerful preamps that are extremely easy to use, and it comes with the full complement of UAD plug-ins that you can use to create your own studio.
With a total of 8 input channels, including 2 mic inputs, and 8 output channels, it can handle up to 24 tracks. You get two UAD plug-ins for preamp emulation, and that’s pretty much it. There are no effects, no filters, no reverbs, and no delays.
With a dynamic range of 127dB, you can record audio at -129dBFS (or -90dBFS) and playback at -70dBFS, so it’s ideal for recording music. The A/D converter uses 24-bit resolution and it’s capable of converting up to 32-bit files, and there’s an 8-channel mic preamp onboard. There’s also a dedicated headphone amplifier for use with headphones and earphones.
The Apollo Twin X also comes with the Luna Recording System, which transforms all Thunderbolt-equipped Apollo and Arrow interfaces into full-featured music creation, recording, and analog-style production systems for Mac.
You can connect multiple Apollo and Arrow interfaces to it, and the audio will be routed to the different tracks. You can even route the audio through your computer and record directly, or through USB.
You can track and mix with any audio source imaginable, and you can even take advantage of the onboard UAD processing, which makes your studio sound even better. You can even add up to four Apollo interfaces and six UAD-2 devices over Thunderbolt, allowing you to grow your studio as you go.
It comes with a variety of plug-ins, and it can also be connected to external gear like microphones and instruments. It makes it very easy to record and mix with. The Luna Recording System is a must-have tool for any audio enthusiast.
The Apollo Twin X is built using top-quality materials, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. And if you have any issues, you can take it back to the manufacturer and they’ll either repair it, or replace it for free. So you won’t have to worry about spending money on repairs, and you can continue to use the Apollo Twin X as usual.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, affordable USB audio interface, then look no further than the Apollo Twin X.
|Item Weight||4.29 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||8 x 8 x 6 inches|
|Item model number||APLTWXD|
|Digital Audio Protocol||Thunderbolt 3|
|Operating System||Mac & Windows|
- Epic Sound quality for an unbeatable price point!
- Little bit expensive but is worth the money.
- Hardcore build quality.
- Compatible with Thunderbolt 3.
- Plugins are overpriced.
- Not available MIDI capabilities.
4. Audio Interface with Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite DAW Recording Software – Best Guitar Audio Interface For Mac
If you’re looking for a portable, high-quality best 2-channel USB audio interface for Macbook, this is the perfect solution for you.
This PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2×2 USB Audio Interface features two high-quality Class-A mic preamps, with 24-bit/96 kHz converters to capture your guitar, bass, and other line-level signals. It also includes over $1000 worth of recording software including Studio One Artist, Ableton Live Lite, and Studio Magic Plug-in Suite. This package comes with everything you need to record and mix your own music.
The Mixer control allows you to create a custom blend between the instrument inputs and playback so you can monitor with zero latency. You can also connect the audio interface to the headphone output, and monitor directly from the device. And if you’re on the road, the onboard +48V phantom power (global) will accommodate studio condenser microphones.
The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2×2 USB Audio Interface comes with a high-powered headphone output and a balanced ¼” TRS output for mixing and monitoring.
This is a great 2-channel USB audio interface for home recording, and it’s perfect for recording guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and more. If you’re looking for a portable solution, this is a great choice.
|Hardware Interface||USB 2.0|
|Size||PC/Mac – 2 Mic Pres|
- Excellent audio interface box at a Great price.
- Easy recording interface
- Almost zero white noise
- The knobs are not practical.
5. Wrugste 2i2 USB-C Audio Interface +48V Phantom Power – Best Audio Interface For Mac Logic Pro X
The Wrugste 2i2 is an extremely versatile audio interface that offers a lot of flexibility in terms of connection options and is a great way to connect your headphones, microphone, and instrument all at once.
This device is designed to be used with both desktop and laptop computers, and it comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect it to your Macbook. The USB-C cable is designed to be compatible with all devices that use the USB-C standard, which includes Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iPad Pro, iPhone, and more.
The Wrugste 2i2 also supports 48V phantom power for professional studio condenser microphones, which enables you to get sound into your Macbook without having to worry about power cords or power adaptors.
It also has a headphone jack so you can listen to your music while recording, and a built-in mixer that lets you adjust your volume levels and mix in several different ways. There’s also a master section that lets you record to your computer in real-time with zero latency, and there’s a line input that lets you connect an instrument or microphone, and you can also connect an electric guitar directly into the input.
This audio interface is perfect for people who are looking for a way to connect all of their audio sources at once, and it also comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable for connecting to your Mac or desktop computer.
|Compatible Devices||MacOS, Windows|
|Connector Type||1/4-Inch Stereo, XLR to XLR, USB 2.0 Type C|
|Hardware Interface||USB Type C|
|Supported Software||ASIO4ALL/Cubase/Logic Pro/Reaper/Reason/Ableton Live/ProTools/FL Studio/Studio One/Audition/Audacity|
- A great product for artists on a tight budget!
- Good quality budget audio interface
- Clean Preamps
- A pricey entry-level option
6. Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface – Best Value Audio Interface
When it comes to audio interfaces, it’s rare to find one that offers the same combination of affordability, quality, versatility, and sheer awesomeness as the Focusrite Scarlett.
The Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface is a great choice for budget-conscious musician who needs a reliable and affordable way to record and produce their own music. It offers a huge feature set for the price, with everything you need to start recording right out of the box. The pre-amps are very good and the audio quality is high. It’s got a headphone out for private listening, and a balanced XLR output for connecting to a mixing board.
You get two inputs for your instruments and a 3.5mm line input for connecting your own microphone. It also has a USB port for connecting to your Mac. And with a few clicks of your mouse, you can even connect to your Spotify account to access the millions of songs available. This is a pretty incredible audio interface for the price.
The only downside is that the interface doesn’t include a built-in recorder, which means you have to buy an external solution. The best option for this is the Rode NT1. This is a small but perfectly formed wireless condenser microphone which will give you great quality and superb reliability. It can be used with the Scarlett Solo interface to record your own music, and it has a built-in recorder that you can use to record the song while playing along with it. This is incredibly useful if you’re a guitar player or a vocalist.
So if you want a reliable and affordable way to record your own music, then the Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a perfect choice.
|Mixer Channel Quantity||2|
- The Perfect USB Interface for Voiceovers
- Best Audio Interface for Mac users
- Record two instruments simultaneously.
- The hardware is fine. Software not so much.
7. Audio Interface Donner Livejack Lite – Best Entry-level Audio Interface
This is a high-end audio interface with a lot of features, so if you’re a serious music producer, DJ, musician, or any other type of audio engineer, this is definitely worth checking out.
Donner Livejack Audio Interface has a very solid reputation, so we’re confident that the Livejack Lite 2 will be the best value for money audio interface.
It’s a great way to connect your Mac, Windows or iOS device to your computer, so you can record, mix, and edit music directly on your computer. It has a large number of inputs and outputs for different devices, so you’ll be able to hook up anything you like. It has two USB-C ports so it’s super-fast and it works with any USB-C device.
There are two high-quality mic preamps, one for the instrument and one for the line-level input. You get three inputs and three outputs, and the line-level input is perfect for connecting a mic. You can record your vocals, guitars, drums, and any other instrument or voice directly into the computer.
In addition to the standard line and instrument inputs, you get a headphone amplifier, so you can listen to your music through headphones without disturbing anyone else. The USB-C port for the headphone amplifier is built-in, so there’s no separate adapter needed, and you can also connect a pair of headphones.
This is the ultimate multi-purpose audio interface. It’s perfect for studio recording, mixing, and music production, and it’s also good for live gigs and DJing.
You get a high-quality, 24-bit 192kHz audio interface, so you can record, mix, and edit audio with lots of headroom. There are a lot of features for audio recording, and you’ll find everything you need to start making your own music.
It’s the best value for money audio interface, It will not let you down.
|Item Weight||2.4 pounds|
|Compatible Devices||Personal Computer, MacBook Pro, Air, Mini|
- The best audio interface that is easy to setup
- Easy to Use, Professional Quality, Great Value!
- Best for beginners not for pros
Read Also: Best Bluetooth Transmitter for iPod Classic
Quick Buying Tips:
Every user has different expectations and needs so I have presented a detailed buying guide for an audio interface for mac to make your purchase more worthwhile.
Inputs And OutPuts
When choosing an audio interface for your Macbook Pro, Air, or mini, make sure you get one that has a sufficient number of inputs and outputs. It’s also important that your interface can be used with both USB and 3.5mm cables. It is also recommended that you get one with good sound quality.
The sound quality of an interface will depend on the kind of sound card it uses and the quality of the preamp. Some interfaces come with a high-quality sound card that is easy to use, while others require you to buy the sound card separately.
As for connectivity, you may need to consider the number of inputs and outputs you need to connect your pedals to your audio interface. For example, if you only need a single output, it’s better to go for an interface with fewer inputs and outputs than one with more.
If you’re on a budget, there are many affordable units that offer a lot of features and quality sound. But if you have the option, go for a unit that offers a high-quality DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter), which will help you get the best possible sound quality.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that the interface needs to be compatible with your computer’s operating system. If your computer is running Windows, you’ll need to make sure that the audio interface supports Windows drivers.
If you’re running Mac OS, you’ll need to check that the interface has a USB port that works with Mac computers. You’ll also need to make sure that the interface is compatible with your specific computer. Some interfaces work only with certain computers, so you may want to try it out first before buying.
Once you’ve decided what kind of audio interface you want to buy, you need to decide whether you want an all-in-one or a rackmount.
An all-in-one audio interface will usually have a built-in mixer and speakers, while a rackmount interface will need to be connected to a separate speaker system.
The choice between the two types depends on the amount of space you have, and whether you want to use the interface for recording as well.
What’s The Best Audio Interface For GarageBand?
GarageBand is one of the most popular apps on the App Store. It’s a digital audio workstation that allows users to record, edit, and mix their own music using a variety of different instruments. When recording your music in GarageBand, you have the option of either using your computer’s built-in microphone or connecting an external microphone to your Mac.
The best way to record your GarageBand projects is through an audio interface. There are many different types of interfaces, each with its own features, and if you’re a beginner, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your needs.
In my opinion, Maonocaster Lite audio interface is the best suitable device for your Garageband. It has a built-in DJ Mixer and Sound Card which will help you yo fasten your task.
How Do You Connect The Audio Interface To Macbook?
For your MacBook Pro to recognize the audio interface, connect it to the USB or Thunderbolt port of your Mac. You can either do this, or you can connect it to the PCI Express card installed on your laptop. You need this PCIe x16 expansion card if you’re looking to stream video or play games that use high-end graphics hardware.
PCI Express allows audio input and output in the highest possible bit depths and sample rates because it offers very fast data transfer rates and high bandwidth.
You can also connect Scarlett 2i2 in the same way.
What Audio Interfaces Do Professionals Use?
It depends on the need for professional studios. Most professionals make their own system interface with separate parts like converters, monitor controllers, preamps, and much more. With this, they can customize the audio interface to their needs and due to this, they don’t use the regular interface.
But some studios use the audio interface which are listed below:
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD Heritage Edition
- MOTU M4 4×4 USB-C Audio Interface
- Arturia AudioFuse Studio USB Audio Interface
- Arturia AudioFuse Studio USB Audio Interface
What Is The Best Audio Interface To Use With Macbook Pro?
Above I have reviewed the 7 best audio recording hardware all above are compatible with MacBook Pro and air. You can pick any from them and start using it with mac.
What Is The Best Firewire Audio Interface For Mac?
To connect the audio interface with MacBook you need firewire in case you do not have any option in thunderbolt or USB. The best Firewire audio interface for your Mac is one that has a Firewire connection. With this connection, you can link the Firewire input on your Mac to an external Firewire audio interface and use the extra inputs and outputs it provides to record multiple sounds simultaneously.
Here are the some of best firewire compatible audio interface:
- RME Fireface UCX 36 Channel 24 Bit 192kHz High-End USB and FireWire Audio Interface
- PreSonus AudioBox USB
- MOTU Audio Express 6 x 6 FireWire
- Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 Professional 20 In/20 Out Firewire Audio Interface with Eight Pre-Amps
Now I think you have found the best audio interface for your Mac. If you have any questions ask me in the comments and share the article to spread the knowledge.