Best Audio Interface for Mac: Top Picks for 2024

Jul 10

Table of Contents

Why Choose a Mac-Compatible Audio Interface?
Top Picks for Mac Users
- Top Picks for Mac Users
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (4th Gen)
- Audient iD4 MkII
- Best Budget-Friendly Options
- Behringer U-Phoria UMC22
- PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
Best for Guitar Recording
- IK Multimedia Axe I/O
- Line 6 POD Studio UX2
Best for Streaming and Podcasting
- Rode Rodecaster Duo
- PreSonus Revelator io24
Key Features to Consider
How We Tested

Welcome to the HTMEM Blog

If you’re searching for the best audio interface for macOS to elevate your recording and production quality, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve rounded up the top choices, suited for different needs and budgets. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, this guide will help you find the perfect audio interface for your Mac.

Key Takeaways

  • Mac-compatible audio interfaces offer high-quality performance, seamless macOS integration, and low-latency recording thanks to CoreAudio drivers.

  • Top recommended audio interfaces for Mac in 2024 include Universal Audio Apollo Twin X, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (4th Gen), and Audient iD4 MkII, each known for exceptional sound quality and features.

  • Budget-friendly and specialized options cater to different recording needs and budgets, including Behringer U-Phoria UMC22, PreSonus AudioBox USB 96, IK Multimedia Axe I/O, and Line 6 POD Studio UX2.

  • Benefit from latency-free monitoring with Mac-compatible audio interfaces, ensuring real-time audio feedback during recording sessions.

Why Choose a Mac-Compatible Audio Interface?

Mac computer and audio interface to record audio or recording vocals

Choosing a Mac-compatible audio interface offers several advantages:

  • Bypasses common driver issues often associated with PC-based audio interfaces

  • Macs have robust and reliable CoreAudio drivers, ensuring seamless integration with macOS

  • Provides consistent and high-quality performance without the need for additional driver installations

  • Works seamlessly with popular digital audio workstations such as Steinberg Cubase, Logic, or GarageBand

CoreAudio technology ensures seamless integration and low-latency performance.

Another significant advantage of using a Mac-compatible audio interface is the low-latency performance enabled by CoreAudio. This feature enables real-time recording and monitoring without any noticeable delay, which is crucial for preserving the authenticity and timing of your performances. Moreover, most interfaces designed for Mac are class-compliant, ensuring that they work out of the box with Macs, iPads, and even iPhones.

Additionally, when choosing an audio interface for your Mac, consider the following factors:

  • Compatibility with your specific Mac model and macOS version

  • Bundled software that can enhance your recording and production capabilities

  • Comprehensive toolkit provided right from the start

These benefits make Mac-compatible audio interfaces a perfect choice for anyone looking to record high-quality audio with minimal hassle, as they demonstrate how audio interfaces work effectively.

Top Picks for Mac Users

Top audio interfaces for Mac users for recording bands or record music or recording guitar

Picking the best audio interface, including professional audio interface options, is vital for Mac users as it guarantees smooth integration and optimum performance in audio production tasks. Among the top picks are the Universal Audio Apollo Twin X, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (4th Gen), and the Audient iD4 MkII. These models are known for their exceptional sound quality, robust support, and advanced features, making them ideal for various recording and production needs. The top picks provide high-resolution audio for professional-grade recordings.

Top Picks for Mac Users

The Universal Audio Apollo Twin X is renowned for its features:

  • Duo/quad SHARC DSP processors

  • Advanced AD/DA conversion

  • Top-notch sound quality

  • Versatile and highly regarded preamp sound

The Apollo Twin X also features DSP processing for enhanced audio performance, making it a favorite among professionals who demand the best in audio fidelity. The preamp sound is capable of adapting to various recording needs while maintaining exceptional clarity.

One distinguishing feature of the Apollo Twin X is its potent and user-friendly software that facilitates profound integration with digital audio workstations like Steinberg Cubase. This allows for extensive control over your recording environment, making it a preferred choice for those who want a professional-grade setup. Furthermore, its Thunderbolt 3 connectivity guarantees rapid data transfer and low latency performance, pivotal for real-time recording and monitoring.

Overall, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin X is highly recommended for Mac users looking for a high-quality audio interface that offers both performance and versatility. Its features include:

  • Superior hardware and software integration

  • High-quality audio recording and playback

  • Versatile connectivity options

  • Real-time UAD processing

  • Intuitive and user-friendly software control

These features make it a top-notch choice for serious audio professionals in need of a digital audio workstation with a reliable headphone output.

A course for all amateur recording engineers

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (4th Gen)

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (4th Gen) is a highly recommended audio interface for Mac users. It has the following features:

  • Advanced features

  • Transparent preamps for high-quality, clear audio recordings

  • Auto gain function that automatically adjusts input levels for optimal recording settings without manual intervention.

Additionally, the fourth-generation model introduces two Air modes, Air Presence and Air Presence & Drive, which enhance vocal and instrument recordings by adding clarity and warmth. Reliable driver performance ensures compatibility and smooth operation with macOS, making it a dependable choice for any Mac-based setup. The Scarlett 2i2 also offers low-latency performance for smooth recording sessions.

Audient iD4 MkII

The Audient iD4 MkII is a great option for beginners, offering:

  • Ultra-low latency

  • High-quality preamps that make it a standout choice in its price range

  • ESS ADC is known for its high-quality audio conversion capabilities, providing a clean and accurate sound profile.

  • Audio fidelity for high-quality recordings

Additionally, the Audient iD4 MkII boasts the following features:

  • Impressive dynamic range of 115 dB (A-weighted)

  • Very low levels of total harmonic distortion (THD)

  • Suitable for capturing a wide range of audio levels with minimal distortion

  • Excellent noise performance, achieving a noise level of -114.8 dB (A-weighted)

These features make it ideal for high-fidelity recordings.

Best Budget-Friendly Options

Budget-friendly audio interface options for amateur recording engineers

When exploring budget-friendly audio interfaces, it’s key to seek alternatives that provide excellent value without sacrificing quality. Two highly recommended models are the Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 and the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96. These interfaces provide excellent performance and useful features at an affordable price, making them ideal for beginners or those on a tight budget. These budget-friendly options provide a cost-effective solution for beginners.

The Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 is incredibly affordable, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those on a tight budget. On the other hand, the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is known for its solid build quality and ease of use, providing a reliable and straightforward recording experience without breaking the bank.

Behringer U-Phoria UMC22

The Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 features:

  • A minimalist, compact design

  • One mic/line combi input

  • One 1/4-inch instrument input

  • A MIDAS preamp

  • Phantom power switch

  • Direct monitor button

It is an excellent choice for beginner Mac users, providing all the essential features for basic recording needs.

The UMC22 is a USB audio interface that is bus-powered via USB 2.0 and provides 48kHz A/D resolution, ensuring good audio quality for its price range. Its affordability and simple feature set make it an excellent entry-level interface for those just starting with recording.

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 offers:

  • Solid build quality

  • Ease of use

  • Compatibility with macOS

  • Minimal setup for recording

This makes it a top budget-friendly pick for Mac users, especially beginners.

In addition to its compatibility and ease of use, the AudioBox USB 96 provides all the essential features needed for basic recording tasks at an affordable price, making it a reliable and straightforward option for those on a budget. It is an affordable option for budget-conscious users.

Best for Guitar Recording

Audio interfaces for guitar recording

For guitarists utilizing Macs, the choice of an audio interface equipped with guitar-centric features is vital for procuring superior-quality recordings. Among the top picks is the IK Multimedia Axe I/O, which is perfect for recording high-quality electric and bass guitars. Another excellent choice is the Line 6 POD Studio UX2, which features dual instrument inputs and compatibility with macOS, making it suitable for guitar recording.

These interfaces offer specialized features that cater to guitarists’ needs, ensuring that every nuance of your performance is captured with exceptional clarity and detail. The recommended interfaces offer guitar-centric features for high-quality guitar recordings. Subsequently, we’ll examine the distinct features and advantages of these prime choices for guitar recording

IK Multimedia Axe I/O

The IK Multimedia Axe I/O is a versatile audio interface for recording guitars, featuring a dedicated JFET guitar input that allows for tone sculpting with features like active and passive pickup selection. The interface also includes an ‘amp out’ output for easy re-amping without needing external hardware, making it a powerful tool for guitarists looking to experiment with different tones and setups.

Additionally, the Axe I/O features a Z-Tone knob, which allows users to adjust impedance for a brighter or darker guitar tone. This, combined with the included AmpliTube and Tonex SE software, offers extensive options for shaping and refining your guitar sound. The Axe I/O also offers tone-shaping capabilities, making it an excellent choice for guitarists seeking to perfect their sound.

Line 6 POD Studio UX2

The Line 6 POD Studio UX2 is a guitar-focused audio interface with the following features:

  • Dual instrument inputs, making it an excellent choice for guitarists

  • Comes with POD Farm software, delivering a diverse range of guitar tones and effects

  • Essential for creating dynamic and versatile recordings

Additionally, the UX2 provides versatile recording options for guitarists. The UX2 includes a built-in chromatic tuner, ensuring that your guitar is always in tune during recording sessions. Its full compatibility with macOS ensures seamless integration with Mac-based recording setups, providing a hassle-free experience for guitarists.

Best for Streaming and Podcasting

Audio interfaces for streaming and podcasting

Regarding streaming and podcasting, it is imperative to possess the right audio interface that delivers high-definition sound and possesses easy-to-use features. The Rode Rodecaster Duo and PreSonus Revelator io24 are top choices in this category, providing powerful software and versatile functionality to meet the needs of both novice and experienced users.

These recommended interfaces provide broadcast-quality audio for professional streaming and podcasting. They are designed to provide exceptional sound quality with minimal latency, ensuring that your recordings and live streams are clear and professional. Subsequently, we will investigate the attributes and merits of these premier choices for streaming and podcasting.

Rode Rodecaster Duo

The Rode Rodecaster Duo is an amazing option if you’re starting a podcast or looking to enhance an existing one. It is noted for its high-quality preamps that provide clear and clean audio, ideal for podcasting. The powerful software included with the Rodecaster Duo allows for deep customization of audio settings, giving users extensive control over their recording environment.

The Rodecaster Duo is ideal for podcast production with its advanced features. Ease of use is another significant advantage of the Rodecaster Duo, making it suitable for both novice and experienced podcasters. With its comprehensive feature set, you can quickly get up and running while also having the flexibility to explore more advanced settings as your needs grow.

PreSonus Revelator io24

The PreSonus Revelator io24 is highly recommended for streamers and gamers using Mac due to its:

  • User-friendly interface

  • Comprehensive feature set

  • Built-in DSP effects with presets, are beneficial for users who prefer quick setup and easy customization of their audio.

The Revelator io24 is perfect for a streaming setup with its user-friendly features.

One of the standout features of the Revelator io24 is its Universal Control software, which simplifies bringing together different audio sources for streaming. Additionally, its loopback capability is perfect for integrating multiple audio sources, making it an excellent choice for those who need to manage complex audio setups on a budget.

Key Features to Consider

While deciding on an audio interface for Mac, you must ponder over a few critical features to guarantee it satisfies your recording necessities. First and foremost, consider the available budget 💰 and then, the number of input channels you require. If you plan to record multiple instruments or vocals simultaneously, you’ll need an interface with several input channels.

Another crucial feature is phantom power, which is essential if your setup includes condenser microphones that require additional power to operate. Direct monitoring is another important feature, allowing you to hear your input signal with zero latency, which is vital for maintaining the timing and feel of your performance.

Additionally, MIDI connections are significant if you use MIDI keyboards or other MIDI instruments in your setup. Paying attention to these features can help you choose an audio interface that provides seamless integration and meets all your recording requirements.

How I Tested

To ascertain that I suggest only the finest audio interfaces for Mac, I executed comprehensive testing by employing a stringent methodology. My assessment of sound quality involved measuring noise levels using an XLR dummy load to ensure accurate and reliable results. I also evaluated build quality, considering factors such as the material feel, knob grip, and button firmness to determine the durability and usability of each interface.

I tested the installation process on Mac, noting any difficulties or issues that users might encounter. Usability testing was carried out by replacing personal units with test interfaces for daily tasks, evaluating the placement of controls, jacks, indicator lights, and overall ease of use. Finally, I measured round-trip latency using MIDI keyboards and electronic drum kits to ensure that each interface performed well under real-world conditions.

These comprehensive tests allowed me to identify the best audio interfaces for Mac, ensuring that the recommendations are based on solid performance and user experience 👌.

Learn New Techniques for recording guitar or recording vocals with Cubase


In summary, choosing the right audio interface for your Mac can significantly enhance your recording and production capabilities. Choosing the right audio interface can also significantly enhance your audio production capabilities. Our top picks, including the Universal Audio Apollo Twin X, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (4th Gen), and Audient iD4 MkII, offer exceptional sound quality, seamless integration with macOS, and a range of advanced features that accommodate various needs and budgets.

Budget-friendly options like the Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 and PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 provide excellent value without compromising too much on quality, making them ideal for beginners or those with tight budgets. For guitar recording, the IK Multimedia Axe I/O and Line 6 POD Studio UX2 are standout choices, providing features that are specifically designed to meet the needs of guitarists.

Finally, for streaming and podcasting, the Rode Rodecaster Duo and PreSonus Revelator io24 provide powerful software and user-friendly interfaces that ensure professional-quality audio with minimal latency. By considering the key features and testing results outlined in this article, you can confidently choose the best audio interface for your Mac setup and take your recordings to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose a Mac-compatible audio interface?

You should choose a Mac-compatible audio interface because it ensures seamless integration with macOS, preventing common driver issues and providing low-latency performance with CoreAudio. This means you'll have a smoother experience when working with audio on your Mac.

What is the best audio interface for beginners on a budget?

You should consider the Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 or the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 for a budget-friendly audio interface with great quality. These are excellent options for beginners.

Which audio interface is best for guitar recording?

The IK Multimedia Axe I/O and Line 6 POD Studio UX2 are great options for guitar recording, as they offer specialized features for guitars and are compatible with macOS.

What features should I look for in an audio interface for Mac?

Look for an audio interface for your Mac that offers a good number of input channels, phantom power, direct monitoring, and MIDI connections to support your recording needs. These features will ensure compatibility and versatility for your setup.

How did you test the audio interfaces recommended in this article?

I tested the audio interfaces by evaluating sound quality, build quality, installation, usability, and round-trip latency using MIDI keyboards and electronic drum kits. This helped me determine their overall performance and suitability for different setups.

About the Author

Max Porcelli

Steinberg Certified Trainer, DJ, and Producer with 29 years of experience. He owns 989 Records, an Electronic Music Label based in Italy. Every Saturday he hosts an exciting Radio Show called 989 Records Radio Show on air on Patchouli Deep Radio, London. 
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