The 3 Best Audio Interfaces for Mac (With Stunning Sound Quality)

Apple computers are pretty standard throughout the audio industry. And if you’re producing music or a podcast, you can boost your Mac’s audio capabilities with an audio interface.

While you can record great audio without one, an interface makes the job easier. Here are our picks for the best audio interfaces for Mac.

At a Glance: The Best Audio Interfaces for Mac

Top Pick
Also Great
Budget Pick
$998.66
$199.99
N/A
Features:
  • Thunderbolt connection
  • 2 mic + 1 line inputs
  • DUO Core processor
  • Built-in talkback mic
  • Mac-exclusive software bundle
Features:
  • 2 mic + 2 line inputs
  • MIDI in/out
  • Award-winning preamps
  • Focusrite’s Air mode
  • Includes software bundle
Features:
  • 2 mic inputs
  • MIDI in/out
  • Native support for Apple Silicon and iOS devices
  • Includes Studio One Artist
Top Pick
$998.66
Features:
  • Thunderbolt connection
  • 2 mic + 1 line inputs
  • DUO Core processor
  • Built-in talkback mic
  • Mac-exclusive software bundle
Also Great
$199.99
Features:
  • 2 mic + 2 line inputs
  • MIDI in/out
  • Award-winning preamps
  • Focusrite’s Air mode
  • Includes software bundle
Budget Pick
N/A
Features:
  • 2 mic inputs
  • MIDI in/out
  • Native support for Apple Silicon and iOS devices
  • Includes Studio One Artist
02/18/2024 05:22 am GMT

1. Universal Audio Apollo Twin X DUO — Top Pick

Image of the UA Apollo Twin X DUO, our top pick for best audio interface for mac

Features:

  • Thunderbolt connection
  • 2 mic/instrument inputs + 1 instrument input
  • DUO Core processor for plugins
  • Built-in talkback mic
  • Bundled with LUNA and other software

This powerful option from UA takes the best of their high-end interfaces and compacts them into a small desktop package.

One of the reasons why the Apollo Twin X DUO is at the top of the list is because of the Thunderbolt connection. Thunderbolt is faster than USB and comes standard with any modern Mac computer. With it, you have ultra-low latency and a more stable connection between the interface and the computer.

The Apollo Twin comes with two mic preamps, an additional ¼-inch input, and a built-in talkback mic. Also, you can change settings on the preamps with the integrated UAD software that comes bundled with the interface.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin X DUO Heritage Edition
$998.66

An incredible audio interface made for power users with advanced studio setups. Its extra computing power helps you run all your plugins at once without any slowdown.

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And speaking of software, the Apollo Twin comes bundled with a wealth of additional software and plugins. 

  • UA’s LUNA software is Mac-exclusive and fully integrates with all the Apollo Twin’s features and functionality.

You’ll also find faithful emulations of vintage hardware and additional plugins that expand your sonic palette.

Another highlight of this interface is the DUO Core processor. Your Mac might not have the power it needs to run all the plugins in your session. But with this interface, you get some extra computing power to help along the way.

2. Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen — Also Great

Features:

  • 2 mic/instrument inputs, 2 line inputs, and 4 line outputs
  • MIDI in/out
  • Award-winning preamps
  • Focusrite’s Air mode for brighter, more open recordings
  • Bundled software included

Focusrite makes some of the most beloved audio interfaces of all time. And with the 3rd generation update, the Scarlett series is more compelling than ever.

The Scarlett 4i4 is great if you need something that’s robust, yet affordable. It sports two mic inputs and two line inputs, so you can do more complicated setups if you need. 

It also has four line outputs for speakers and monitors. Plus, dedicated 5-pin MIDI ports for your controllers.

  • Alternative Choices: Don’t need that much I/O? You can always try Focusrite’s Scarlett 2i2 or Scarlett Solo. These have fewer inputs and outputs, but retain all the same great features.
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface
$199.99

An all-around awesome audio interface! The Scarlett 4i4 is the hub for your home recording studio.

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02/18/2024 06:21 am GMT

Scarlett interfaces are also renowned for their built-in preamps. Coupled with the new Air mode, you’ll get a clean, noise-free recording every time.

Latency is also a non-issue thanks to the USB-C connection. So monitoring and recording in real-time will be a pleasing experience.

As a bonus, the Scarlett 4i4 comes bundled with plenty of software:

  • Ableton Live Lite, a beginner-friendly alternative to Garageband or Logic
  • A suite of mixing, mastering, and effects plugins from various developers.
  • Three free months of a Splice Sounds subscription for loops, samples, and more.

3. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 — Budget Pick

Features:

  • 2 mic/instrument inputs
  • MIDI in/out
  • Native support for Apple Silicon and iOS
  • Bundled with Studio One Artist (DAW)

For our budget pick, we chose the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96. It’s a rugged little box that works wonderfully well with Mac computers. It’s small, travels well, and is perfect for beginners.

As for inputs, you have two combo inputs for microphones and instrument cables. Plus, it has dedicated MIDI I/O ports for your controllers.

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 Audio Interface

The Audiobox is a robust, yet lightweight audio interface that works well in your home studio and in your mobile setup.

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What’s more, the PreSonus AudioBox offers native support for Apple Silicon-based computers. On top of that, it’s cross-compatible with iOS and iPadOS, letting you make incredible music on your mobile device.

And if you want to try a new DAW, the Audiobox comes bundled with PreSonus Studio One Artist. This DAW can serve as an alternative to Logic Pro or Garageband, or supplement your existing workflow.

If you’re new to audio production, you’ll want something that’s reliable and affordable. You’ll find all that and more with the AudioBox USB 96.

Why We Picked These Three Audio Interfaces for Mac

Mac computers are renowned for their quality and performance. To that end, we looked for audio interfaces that play well in the Apple ecosystem. They also needed to meet high enough quality standards.

Advantages for Mac Users

Each of the interfaces on this list offers at least one advantage to Mac users: 

  • Thunderbolt/USB-C connectivity
  • Native compatibility with Apple hardware and operating systems
  • Bundled with Mac-exclusive software

While nearly every USB audio interface will work with macOS, these features make our picks truly stand above the rest.

High Quality Standards

We also needed audio interfaces that met our standards in these criteria:

  • Reputable brands — Each of these products come from some of the most respected manufacturers in the industry.
  • Audio quality — All the interfaces can record high-fidelity audio (up to 24-bit and 96–192 kHz).
  • Durability, reliability, and longevity — Every interface on this list has a rugged metal chassis that can take accidental fall damage. The high-quality electronics inside should also last you the long haul.

With these things in mind, you can be confident that any audio interface from this list will work wonders with your Mac — and they’ll do it for years to come.

Our Top Pick: Universal Audio Apollo Twin X DUO

It’s a bit pricey, but the Apollo Twin X Duo truly is one of the best audio interfaces you can buy for your Mac computer.

It’s a workhorse that’ll do everything you need for your home studio. And with lightning-fast Thunderbolt support, DUO Core processor, plus a suite of Mac-exclusive software and features, it’s an easy choice to make.

But if it’s out of your budget, you can always try the other interfaces on this list.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin X DUO Heritage Edition
$998.66
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02/18/2024 05:22 am GMT