Pro Audio: Top Audio Interfaces

Author : Mark Grossane
March 23, 2023

Pro Audio: Top Audio Interfaces

An audio interface is a device that allows you to capture, convert, and process audio signals. It serves as the bridge between the physical world and your digital audio workstation, allowing you to plug in and record microphones, instruments, and other audio sources.

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Audio interfaces usually come with preamps, which are used to boost the signal of a microphone or other audio sources. Other features include digital conversion, mixing capabilities, and routing options that let you send audio to different places. Audio interfaces can often come with plugins, like compressors and EQs, allowing you to shape the sound of your audio before you record it. So whether you are producing house, techno, electro or anything in-between you will need an interface and we at Six AM got you covered on the top audio interfaces.

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Audient iD4 MkII

Audient’s original iD4 had the audio industry rethinking what an entry-level audio interface could offer. Now, with the Audient iD4 MKII, Audient’s Little Interface That Could is an even better value for home and mobile music producers. Packing large-format console performance into a sleek desktop chassis, the Audient iD4 MKII fortifies your studio with one of Audient’s renowned Class A console mic preamps — the very same found in Audient’s ASP8024-HE recording console — along with an analog JFET DI stage to authentically capture the depth and dimension of your guitar or accompaniment instrument.

The latest version of Audient’s iD4 packs even better audio conversion, zippy USB 3.0 transmission speeds, and a future-looking USB-C connection for greater compatibility with modern laptops and tablets. Two studio-grade headphone outputs and a console-style monitor control supply trustworthy track monitoring and audiophile music reproduction. Then there’s Audient’s intuitive ScrollControl virtual scroll wheel, which lets you use the iD4 MKII’s big volume knob to tweak DAW and plug-in parameters and even dim your monitor output on command.

Also new for MKII is Audient’s fully loaded ARC software suite, which gives you instruments, cab sims, plug-in FX, and Steinberg’s Cubase/Cubasis LE3 desktop and mobile DAWs upon product registration. The Audient iD4 brought major value to the home and mobile studio. And with Audient’s iD4 MKII USB-C audio interface, there’s even more to love in this little box.

SSL 2+ Audio Interface

Solid State Logic has been one of the dominant forces in audio recording for over forty years, with a legacy of superior large-format consoles, studio outboard gear, and world-class plugin processors. Now, you can have the iconic SSL sound in your home studio with the SSL2+ USB audio interface.

The SSL2+ comes stocked with a set of pro-grade preamps, stunning 24-bit/192 kHz converters, and a host of helpful I/O options, including four line outputs, two headphone jacks (accessible on the front and back panel with the option to monitor two separate stereo mixes), and 5-pin DIN MIDI in and out.

A unique 4K Legacy mode allows you to add SSL 4000 series analog console magic to your recordings with the push of a button, and an extensive production pack includes the software you need to get started recording instantly. Moreover, live streamers will appreciate the built-in loopback functionality for mixing your voice with other audio sources before they hit your stream.

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Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen

Focusrite’s Scarlett 4i4 audio interface is a superb recording front end for musicians and producers who need just a little bit more connectivity, letting you record up to four mono sources or two stereo line sources such as synths or drum machines. Two award-winning Focusrite mic/instrument preamps are onboard, with their convenient combo inputs right on the front panel where you need them, while the back panel hosts two balanced line inputs and four balanced line outputs, plus MIDI I/O.

The third-generation Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 advances the state-of-the-art in USB audio interfaces with two upgraded Scarlett mic preamps, high-performance 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA converters, optimized preamp gain structure, vanishingly low latency, and instrument inputs that handle scorching hot pickups. The mic preamps now feature Focusrite’s acclaimed Air mode that provides the coveted Air effect that models the company’s legendary ISA console transformer to give your voice and instrument recordings a brighter, more open sound.

The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 is an ideal foundation for your home or mobile studio. Fire up the included software and start making great-sounding music today with the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 USB audio interface!

Audient EVO 16

Audient’s Evo 16 is a high-quality USB audio interface with next-level features and outstanding performance. This interface vaunts eight award-winning Evo preamps and top-notch 24-bit/96kHz AD/DA conversion, along with cutting-edge Smartgain technology that ensures optimal recording levels in every application.

You also get enough I/O firepower to tackle mammoth-sized sessions, which includes two JFET instrument inputs, two headphone outputs, and enough digital expansion to future-proof your setup.  Also you’ll get monitor control, audio loopback, and a word clock output.

You’ll appreciate the usability of Evo 16’s Motion UI control system, which includes a 1-knob centralized control, clear metering, channel status indicators, and a high-resolution TFT-LCD screen. Evo 16 is one of the easiest ways to achieve studio-quality recordings — it’s a veritable production powerhouse.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII

Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin MkII DUO improves on the acclaimed Apollo Twin interface with next-generation AD/DA converters for astonishingly wide dynamic range and ultra-low THD. And with expanded monitoring controls, the Apollo Twin MkII DUO packs console functionality into a desktop interface for Mac and PC. With built-in UAD processing, the Apollo Twin DUO lets you take advantage of the rich, warm, analog sound of UAD Powered Plug-ins during mixdown — and even in real time during tracking. Speaking of tracking, the Apollo Twin’s astounding Unison mic preamp technology lets you re-create the sound of classic mic preamps in a way that software processing simply can’t match.

The Apollo Twin MkII DUO Heritage Edition comes with a premium suite of five award-winning plug-in titles, along with the Realtime Analog Classics bundle, arming you with accurate emulations of vintage analog hardware. The Apollo Twin MkII DUO also boasts compatibility with UA’s LUNA software, giving you a tightly integrated recording, editing, and mixing environment, with full software-based control over your interface’s parameters, synths console and tape emulations, and advanced real-time tracking.

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The MOTU M2 fits that description to a T. This 2-in/2-out USB-C audio interface includes ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology for top-shelf sound, along with optimized drivers that yield impressive low-latency performance. Two great-sounding mic preamps include individual gain adjustment and phantom power, while 1-touch hardware monitoring ensures smooth tracking. You’ll also benefit from convenient front-panel metering, by way of the M2’s full-color LCD screen. Podcasters will appreciate the built-in loopback functionality. Bus-powered for the ultimate in portability, the MOTU M2 packs a lot of performance into a compact, high-powered audio interface.

RME Babyface Pro FS

The RME Babyface Pro FS is a powerful, yet eminently portable, bus-powered USB audio interface. It features a rugged, low-profile housing with a clean look and easy-to-use interface. Benefit from reference-quality recording, thanks to two digitally controlled microphone preamps, while ample analog, digital, and MIDI connectivity makes integration with your studio easy. The Babyface Pro FS employs the same SteadyClock FS circuit as RME’s reference-quality ADI-2 Pro AD/DA converter, ensuring ultra-stable clocking, while a bevy of design improvements offers a huge performance boost over its predecessor. Enjoy a fully flexible 288-channel mixer with 46-bit internal resolution, courtesy of RME’s TotalMix FX engine, along with latency-free processing, including a 3-band EQ, low-cut filter, reverb, and echo. Clear-cut onboard metering rounds out this state-of-the-art audio interface’s impressive features. The RME Babyface Pro FS is USB-C compatible and comes with a premium plug-in bundle, plus USB-2 and USB-C cables.

Apogee Symphony Desktop

The Symphony Desktop packs Apogee’s flagship AD/DA conversion into a desktop interface, along with hyper-realistic preamp emulations and powerful DSP. Experience industry-leading digital sound quality at up to 24-bit/192kHz, while cutting-edge analog components ensure clean, low-distortion results. Track through Apogee’s Alloy Mic Preamp emulations to add grit and character right at the source.

Juice up your tracks with Apogee FX plug-ins, powered either by the interface’s built-in DSP or natively within your DAW, in a myriad of flexible, low-latency workflows. An array of analog and digital I/O options makes integrating this interface with your studio a breeze, while a dynamic touchscreen display supplies intuitive operation right from your desktop.  In a nutshell, the Symphony Desktop gives you Symphony I/O-grade performance in a DSP-enhanced unit that fits on your desktop. If you want to elevate your studio into the big leagues, this is a great way to do it!


Audio interfaces are a crucial component in any recording or music production setup. They are essential for musicians, podcasters, and content creators who need to capture and mix audio for their work. Audio interfaces offer a variety of features, including multiple inputs and outputs, high-resolution audio, and connectivity options. They also enable real-time monitoring, which is vital for recording and mixing. With the increasing demand for high-quality audio production and recording, the importance of audio interfaces continues to grow. As technology advances, audio interfaces are becoming more affordable and accessible, making them a viable option for both amateur and professional users. In summary, an audio interface is an indispensable tool that unlocks the full potential of any recording or production setup, and it is a wise investment for anyone serious about producing high-quality audio content.

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