The 10 best Thunderbolt and usb audio interfaces on the market today!

Universal Audio Apollo x4

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 on Mac and Windows.
Ins and Outs: 12x18 on 4 mic/line inputs, 2 Hi-Z line inputs, 6 line outputs, 2 headphones outputs and ADAT I/O.
What it is: The Apollo x4 presents an interesting middle ground between the rack-mounted x6/x8/x16 models and the Twin series whilst keeping the tabletop format of the latter, which is highly convenient for producers working on smaller, rack-free setups. It’s somewhat portable too, allowing for use outside the studio without major hassles. Underneath its chassis we have everything that made the Apollos so popular, with four Unison modelling preamps, premium converters and hexa-core DSP for latency-free monitoring with the renowned UAD Plug-Ins.

Apogee Electronics Ensemble Thunderbolt

Supports: Thunderbolt on Mac
Ins and Outs: 30x34 on 4 mic/line inputs (2 with inserts), 4 mic inputs, 2 Inst. DIs, stereo monitor outputs, two headphone outputs, 8 analog outputs on D-SUB, reamp I/O, 2x ADAT I/O, SPDIF I/O, WC I/O and two Thunderbolt 2 ports.
What it is: The Ensemble is one of Apogee’s most impressive interfaces, which says a lot coming from this renowned company that has a long history of great interfaces and converters such as the Symphony and the Rosetta series. Super low latency, eight preamps, renowned Apogee AD-DA conversion, remote control, DSP-powered EQ/Dynamics and a generous amount of connectivity make the Ensemble a fine candidate for a do-all studio centerpiece.

RME Babyface Pro FS

Supports: USB 2 on Mac, Windows or iOS
Ins and Outs: 12x12 on 2 mic inputs, 2 line inputs, 2 line outputs, 2 headphones outputs, ADAT I/O and MIDI I/O.
What it is: Considered by many to be the gold (or should we say silver?) standard for portable USB interfaces, the Babyface has gone a long way and arrives at its third iteration sounding better than ever, with upgraded electronics for better signal-to-noise ratio, even lower latency and the same Full SteadyClock FS clocking circuit found on RME’s flagship ADI-2 Pro FS converter. Besides that, it’s the same amazing interface, with a robust chassis cut from a block of aluminum, wide compatibility, comprehensive set of inputs and outputs, rock-solid drivers and the amazing TotalMix FX routing software.

Audient iD44 MKII

Supports: USB 2 on Mac and Windows
Ins and Outs: 20x24 on 4 mic/line inputs (2 with inserts), 2 Hi-Z line inputs, 4 line outputs, 2x ADAT I/O, Wordclock output and 2 headphones outputs.
What it is: The second iteration of Audient’s flagship interface comes with some notable improvements, including an upgraded analog-to-digital converter for more headroom and lower THD+N (total harmonic distortion + noise) figures, and also a new stylish matter black finish. Although it is equipped with a USB-C connector, the iD44 MKii also works with legacy USB 2 and 3 ports through an included cable.

Focusrite Clarett+ 4Pre

Supports: USB 2 on Mac and Windows
Ins and Outs: 18x18 on 4 mic/line inputs, 4 line inputs, 4 line outputs, ADAT input, SPDIF I/O, MIDI I/O and 2 headphones outputs.
What it is: Focusrite’s Clarett+ range offers something for everyone, with a range of interfaces equipped with premium mic preamps powered by the “Air” effect, which dials in the sound of the classic Focusrite ISA preamps used on countless hit recordings. Featured here it's the Clarett+ 4Pre, a versatile interface that can take on small or mid-sized setups with ample input options. It can also be controlled remotely from an iPhone or iPad through the Focusrite’s iOS app, which greatly helps when recording alone or setting up mixes on stage or separate rooms.

MOTU 828es

Supports: USB 2 or Thunderbolt 2 on Mac and Windows
Ins and Outs: 28x32 on 8 mic/line inputs, 8 line inputs, 8 line outputs, main stereo outputs, send/return, 2xADAT I/O, SPDIF I/O, MIDI I/O, Wordclock I/O, Ethernet AVB and 2 headphones outputs.
What it is: The latest model of the award-winning 828 series is perhaps MOTU’s most comprehensive interface to date, with ample connectivity, onboard DSP effects, upgraded converters and a feature-rich software mixing tool that can be operated from a computer or remotely. The 828es can also be further expanded with second 828es or other AVB-ready device through its ethernet port, so it's an excellent pick for setting up a recording rig that can be scaled to meet all demands.

PreSonus Quantum

Supports: Thunderbolt on Mac and Windows.
Ins and Outs: 26x32 on 8 mic/line inputs, stereo monitor outputs, 2 headphone outputs, 8 analog outputs, 2x ADAT I/O, SPDIF I/O, WC I/O, MIDI I/O, 2 Thunderbolt ports.
What it is: PreSonus steps up its game with the imposing Quantum, an interface that shows improvements in every area, including eight Class-A mic pres, new converters and superb performance thanks to Thunderbolt. It’s also worth mentioning that up to four Quantums can be stacked for a huge system with over a hundred inputs and outputs, but if you don't need to record an entire symphony orchestra and a smaller package is what you want be sure to check out the Quantum 2, which cuts down the I/O count but keeps the great specs and super low latency.

RME Fireface UFX+

Supports: Thunderbolt and USB 3 on Mac or Windows.
Ins and Outs: 94x94 on 4 mic/line inputs, 8 analog line inputs, 8 analog outputs, 2 headphone outputs, AES/EBU I/O, MADI I/O, 2x ADAT I/O, SPDIF I/O, WC I/O, 2x MIDI I/O, USB-A port for direct recording.
What it is: The UFX+ is the most comprehensive interface RME has ever built and it still features the bulletproof performance that the company is known for. TotalMix FX software gives you truly flexible routing and setup, extensive digital format support including MADI and AES/EBU allows for superb flexibility and an onboard recorder means that DAW-free operation is possible in a recording environment. An iPad control app and digital mixer with onboard DSP is the cherry on the cake. RME is not leaving anyone behind either, and in addition to offering cross-platform support for Thunderbolt it is also compatible USB 3, although the former will likely outperform the latter on the latency figures.

Universal Audio Apollo x8p

Supports: Thunderbolt 3 (or 2 with adapter) on Mac and Windows
Ins and Outs: 16x22 on 8 mic/line inputs, 2 instrument inputs, stereo main output, 8 outputs on D-SUB, 2 ADAT-SPDIF I/O, WC I/O, 2 headphone outputs.
What it is: The acclaimed Apollo line of interfaces arrives at its third iteration boasting redesigned converters with improved clocking, hexa-core DSP for monitoring with more effects than ever before and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity that supports both Mac and Windows. Alongside the X8, X8P (featured) and X16 models, which hold similarities with previous “silver” and “black” iterations, Universal Audio also introduced a new X6 model with two preamps at a lower price point that should be perfect for project studios.


Supports: USB 3 on Mac and Windows.
Ins and Outs: 2 mic/line inputs with inserts, 2 analog outputs, headphone output.
What it is: A couple of Neve preamps taken from the famed 88 series console on a neat portable package that instantly connects to your computer’s USB port? That’s 88M in a nutshell, a no-frills audio interface with direct monitoring, high-end conversion and analog circuitry with plug-and-play setup - the 88M doesn’t require any software besides drivers. It’s instant Neve recording glory wherever you go!

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