Audio Technology

Best Audio Interfaces for Mac

Do you want to start a podcast? Are you getting into voice acting? Or are you looking to add a perfect voice over to a video you’ve been working on? Look no further! If you want to get started producing audio content at home, there are plenty of interfaces for Mac computers you can choose from to kick off your audio journey. 

But how do you know that you’re investing in something that’ll work best for your computer? Most computers come with an audio interface, but they can have different features and capabilities. When you need your voice to be captured in the highest quality possible, you’ll need an upgrade. And if you’re looking to upgrade your Mac’s capabilities, this is the guide for you.

What is an Audio Interface?

An audio interface is a system that gets your mic’s signal onto your computer. It essentially gets sound in and out of your computer and improves your computer’s capability to do so. If you want to make quality recordings, you’ll need an audio interface. 

Computers come with audio interfaces, but the quality could be improved. If you use the computer’s microphone, audio tends to come back grainy and distant. And if you process that audio on your computer, there’s little that can be done to rectify it.

Having an audio interface separate from your computer will help boost your computer’s capabilities. It will improve the sound quality of your recordings and work seamlessly with your Mac to professionally edit your audio. 

What About USB Mics?

If you don’t know what a USB microphone is, here’s the lowdown. USB mics are microphones that have a built-in audio interface. It acts as one of the many alternatives to a dedicated audio interface. You plug in the USB and hit record. Simple, right?

Although USB mics are more affordable and convenient than interfaces, audio interfaces ultimately have better sound quality. 

These microphones generate something called self-noise, something that adds random distortions to the recorded audio, which is usually unavoidable. And, as these systems get more complicated in design, the amount of self-noise increases.

Interfaces vs USB Mics

If you’re looking to make some simple recordings, a USB mic is a great way to dip your feet into the realm of voice over. But if you’re serious about improving your game in the voice acting world, then an audio interface is the way to go.

Audio interfaces are more expensive and have more of a learning curve, but they also allow for more flexibility when it comes to finding a setup that works with your computer. They are better equipped to lower self-noise and can produce higher sound quality recordings. If you want your voice to sound as authentic as possible, or if you want to be able to create more freely, invest in an interface.

Do Macs Need an Audio Interface?

The simple answer is: it depends. It depends on the model of your Mac and how well its built-in interface runs. The MacBook Air in particular runs pretty well on its own. But since you’ll be recording with a microphone, it’s important to know that most Macs will produce a poorer sound quality than what you’re looking for.

Great Audio Interfaces for Mac

Which interface you end up choosing depends on a lot of things:

  • Budget
  • The sound quality you want
  • Connecting to your computer
  • Portability
  • The number of inputs/outputs

There are a lot of interfaces to choose from, and it can get overwhelming to compare all of these options. Let’s face it. If you’ve come to this article, you have a Mac to hook up to. Although most audio interfaces work well on any device, here are the top contenders to use with a Mac computer.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface

If you’ve been hunting for a good interface, odds are you’ve come across this name a few times. With a solid sound quality at a pretty affordable price, it’s popular among voice artists. Its ‘air mode’ feature can give your recordings a nice, open sound that conveys your voice. It has a simple color-coded sensor that will show if it’s receiving too much input. 

Finally, it fits inside a tiny machine perfect for transport, making it a solid choice for your first interface.

Behringer U-PHORIA UM2 Audiophile 2×2 USB Audio Interface 

Behringer is another name that you’ll come across when searching for a new interface. For a very affordable price, you’ll be getting a quality interface capable of producing professional-grade audio. The brand is known for creating reliable products, and the same can be said for this model.

MOTU M2 2×2 USB-C Audio Interface 

Yet another reasonably priced option, the ‘Mark of the Unicorn’ is a good starter interface for those who are just getting started in voice over work. It has a readable metering display that can track the levels coming in and out of the box. And since it’s designed to be portable, it makes for a solid choice if your recording space is on the move.

M-Audio AIR 192|8 USB Audio Interface 

Getting into the middle range in terms of pricing, the AIR is flexible with the work it’s capable of. You can connect two inputs to the interface, and it can flip between the two streams when you listen straight to the interface’s output. Even though it’s limited in its capabilities, it makes recording with a single microphone a cinch.

UA Volt 276 USB Audio Interface 

This specific interface is made to be specifically compatible with Mac and iOS devices. It’s made to work out of the box and has fairly decent reviews in terms of compatibility. For a relatively newer model, it’s giving the Focusrite a run for its money with the efficiency that it runs with. Though it is starting to get on the pricier end of interfaces–especially with its different Volt options–it is still a solid choice.

What now?

So you have your audio interface. Next is to ensure your home recording studio is complete and will allow you to flourish as a voice over artist with ease. Here are some tips to help you.

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