Hello Composers! Mike here, with a quick guide on the Best Audio Interface for Your Music Studio.
The audio interface is the hub of every music studio, with all audio and signals going into and out from your computer and DAW.
For example: microphone input with a good pre-amp, guitar input, instrument input, monitor output, headphone output etc.
Having great quality audio is of course most important, but also low latency, stability and dependability, on board controls and workflow, perhaps even DSP power etc.
But which Audio Interface should you choose? Well, here is my complete list of recommendations for you (in no particular order):
Best Audio Interfaces (Top List)
- Universal Audio Apollo 8 Quad
- Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII
- Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt
- MOTU 828ES
- Presonus Quantum
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Steinberg UR22 MK2
Universal Audio Apollo 8 Quad
Universal Audio is by many considered “The King of Audio Interfaces”, not only because of the quality of both the audio and building quality, but also because they have DSP Power (on board cpu) that you can use to run their range of UAD plugins.
This rack version is the top of the line, with quad core processors and on board LED meters.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII
This is the table top version of Universal Audio Apollo line of audio interfaces, which I personally prefer compared to a rack mounted audio interface. It’s more convenient and reachable this way.
It comes in different versions depending on how much DSP power you want (single, duo and quad core cpu).
Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt
Apogee is another famous brand for professional audio interfaces, and this model with Thunderbolt connection gives you very low latency thanks to special 32-Bit driver technology, which also relieves the CPU of the computer.
They also have less expensive “Quartet” and “Element” models in their range if you are not prepared to go all in on an ultra high end audio interface just yet.
A friend of mine had a MOTU audio interface a couple of years back, and I always love the workflow of it even though it is rack mounted.
With both Thunderbolt and USB connections to choose from, 8 balanced line inputs and outputs, and 2 XLR mic inputs with hardware limiter…this audio interface really delivers.
Presonus have become very popular for their Studio One DAW in the recent years, but they also make excellent studio hardware.
This is a high end rack mounted audio interface with very low latency and high dynamic response converters. And if you check the rear you will find a huge range of inputs.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
The Focusrite Scarlett has to be the most popular audio interface in the lower price range. And even with this low price it gets great reviews.
If you only need 2 inputs and 2 outputs, this might be perfect for you.
Steinberg UR22 MK2
Another DAW top brand, Steinberg (Cubase), has made a great audio interface with a low price.
It also gets very high reviews from lots of bedroom music producers, so you should make sure to check it out before you spend too much money for a more high end audio interface.
How to choose your Audio Interface?
Here are some guidelines you should consider when buying an audio interface for your music studio:
- Type: USB, Thunderbolt, Firewire
- How many Connections (In/Out)
- Audio Quality
- Low Latency
- Stability & Performance
- Controls & Workflow
- DSP Power