Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Tech Showcase: Audio Interfaces

Some of the Latest Tools to Get Audio To and From Your PC or Mac

Apogee Symphony Desktop

The Symphony Desktop blends the professional-grade performance of Symphony I/O Mk II with the portability of the Apogee Duet. Featuring flagship AD/DA conversion and mic preamps, a dynamic touchscreen interface with single-knob control and hardware DSP with Apogee FX plugins and mic pre modeling, Symphony Desktop is designed for the discerning professional artist, producer and engineer looking to give their studio the Apogee advantage. The Symphony Desktop includes 10 in x 14 out simultaneous channels of audio; A/D and D/A resolution up to 24-bit/192 kHz; and two Advanced Stepped Gain mic preamps, up to 75 dB of gain, variable impedance. It also includes Symphony ECS Channel Strip – Native and hardware DSP versions with EQ, Compression and Saturation, as well as Symphony Reverb – Native version.

Arturia AudioFuse Studio

The Arturia AudioFuse Studio is a flexible, adaptable 18-in, 20-out audio interface that combines powerful features with high sound quality and a focus on creative workflow. AudioFuse Studio gives you four preamps, connectivity, a versatile feature set, and a number of design features. AudioFuse Studio lets you A/B your mix on different monitor setups; it lets you re-amp guitars; it lets you stream with Bluetooth using the best codec around; and it keeps you working efficiently with a one-button, one-function interface. Features include a built-in phono preamp for vinyl sampling; Bluetooth streaming to your monitors or a channel in your DAW; USB-C, ADAT, MIDI, and Word Clock connectivity; and a robust build. The low Equivalent Input Noise (EIN) lets you capture subtle details, while the 72 dB input gain gives you enough gain to drive even the quietest ribbon mic.

Audient EVO

With the rise in podcasting, streaming and gaming, alongside the continuing rapid expansion of home recording, the Audience EVO concept is designed to address the affordable audio interface market with a new range that offers an intuitive user experience, with application-specific features. The EVO range provides high performance, all new EVO mic preamps with 58 dB gain range, converters with a 113 dB dynamic range alongside a JFET D.I., Smartgain, Smart Touchpoints, speaker/headphone outputs, ultra-low latency, monitor mix and loopback functionality.

AVID Pro Tools | MTRX Studio

Designed for Pro Tools | HDX, HD Native and other pro audio systems, Pro Tools | MTRX offers the sonic quality of DAD’s legendary AD/DA converters, plus flexible routing and monitor control when used standalone or with Avid Pro Mixing surfaces. And because the interface can be customized with the analog and digital I/O you need, you can connect your entire studio together to take on the largest, most demanding music and post productions with ease. Pro Tools | MTRX comes with built-in MADI, DigiLink and AES3 I/O, but is also fully modular, enabling you to configure all eight of its card slots to connect your gear as you see fit. From analog inputs, outputs, and high-quality mic pres, to Dante, MADI, DigiLink, AES3 and more, you have the versatility you need to support any workflow, and the flexibility to route any signal between the various I/O formats.

Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Gen

The third-generation of Focusrite’s Scarlett range of USB interfaces included the Solo, 2i2, 4i4, 8i6, 18i8 and 18i20. All the units feature Scarlett mic preamps based around 24-bit/192 kHz converters; and the Air effect of Focusrite’s original ISA mic preamp, intended to provide vocals and acoustic music with a more spacious sound. The 4i4 and 8i6 add more line I/O vs the 2nd Gen 2i4 and 6i6. Solo and 2i2 Studio Packs are also available, with Scarlett HP60 MkIII headphone and CM25 MkIII condenser microphone included. The units reportedly provide low USB latency, allowing users to record and monitor in real time with numerous plug-ins in place. Along with that, the interfaces also sport Type-C USB connection via a supplied USB-C to USB-A cable.

PreSonus Quantum 2626

The newest model in PreSonus Quantum series of audio interfaces, the Quantum 2626 uses the Thunderbolt 3 bus to achieve low roundtrip latency (as low as <1 ms), enabling you to record and monitor with up to 24-bit, 192 kHz fidelity through your favorite plug-ins, without leaving your DAW. High-quality converters on every analog input and output provide 115 dB of dynamic range. The Quantum 2626 provides up to 26 inputs and 26 outputs, with eight of PreSonus’ XMAX Class A analog microphone preamps, two instrument inputs to directly connect basses and guitars, and six balanced line level inputs for your favorite synths all on front-mounted combo jacks. The first two inputs are equipped with direct outputs and dedicated returns to patch in your favorite outboard gear. An additional 18 inputs and outputs are available via ADAT/dual SMUX and S/PDIF.

MOTU M2 and M4 Audio Interfaces

MOTU is now shipping the M2 and M4, two new USB bus-powered audio interfaces for Mac, Windows and iOS. With two and four channels of audio I/O, respectively, the M2 and M4 include individual 48V phantom power on both mic inputs, mono and stereo hardware (direct) monitoring, MIDI I/O and “loopback” driver channels for live-streaming and podcasting. Equipped with the same ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC Technology found in audio interfaces costing thousands, the M2 and M4 deliver a 120 dB dynamic range on their outputs. ESS converters also drive the headphone output. The M2 and M4 deliver ultra-low 2.5 ms Round Trip Latency (with a 32 sample buffer at 96 kHz). The M2 and M4 both feature a full-color, high-resolution LCD featuring detailed level meters for all inputs and outputs.

RME Babyface Pro FS

The Babyface Pro FS has implemented several improvements to the previous model, including a +19/+4 dBu switch on the bottom that adds a direct way to reduce the output level, improving SNR for sensitive active monitors, lowering click noise on power on/off, and avoiding distortion/overload. It features a full SteadyClock FS circuit, as in the ADI- 2 Pro FS, for low jitter and high jitter immunity. The 3.5 mm TRS phones output power rises from 70 mW to 90 mW THD of both phones outputs— improved by up to 10 dB. Mic input SNR has been improved from 112.2 dB to 113.7 dB, and TRS Line input SNR improved from 114 dB to 116.3 dB (120 dBA). THD Line inputs have been improved by 8 dB.

Solid State Logic SSL 2 and SSL 2+

The Solid State Logic (SSL) SSL 2 and SSL 2+ are both USB-powered and include mic preamps, legacy 4K analog enhancement mode inspired by classic SSL consoles, studio-quality monitoring, and an SSL Production Pack software bundle. Designed to be at the heart of a project or personal recording set up, the SSL 2 personal studio is perfect for individual singers, songwriters, or media producers, while the SSL 2+ collaborative studio provides expanded I/O for musicians working and recording together. The 2-In/2-Out SSL 2 packs in two classic analog mic preamps together with 24-bit/192 kHz conversion to capture and hear every detail, a single high-grade headphone output, monitor mix control, and balanced monitor outputs. In addition, the Legacy 4K mode — inspired by the SSL 4000 series consoles — gives you the ability to add extra analog character to your input sources. The included SSL Production Pack software bundle, which includes some of SSL’s own studio-grade Native plug-ins, gives you an arsenal of tools for refining your recordings.

Steinberg UR-C Range

Steinberg’s UR-C range of audio interfaces is comprised of the UR22C, the UR44C and the UR22C Recording Pack, as well as the UR816C rackmount interface. Designed for musicians and producers, the entire line-up of UR-C audio interfaces provides USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen 1 SuperSpeed) connectivity to ensure universal compatibility with both PCs and Mac computers, as well as iOS devices. Every model features 32-bit/192 kHz audio resolution, MIDI and delivers DSP power for using effects when monitoring audio without latency. Alongside the dspMixFx mixer that accesses the DSP effects, each interface comes with a comprehensive software bundle: the Cubase AI music production software, the Basic FX Suite consisting of effects and sound processing tools, and the iOS Cubasis LE iPad music production app.

Tascam Model 12

Tascam Model 12 | 10-Channel Analogue Mixer With 12-Track Digital Recorder

Tascam Model 12 is a compact all-in-one integrated mixing and recording suite designed for music and multimedia creators, songwriters and performers. It consists of a 10-input mixer, a 12-track version of the Tascam multi-track audio recorder, USB audio interface, MIDI connectivity, DAW control functions, and podcasting capability, including mix-minus and smartphone input. The Model 12 feature 10 analog inputs, with eight mono mic inputs on XLR connectors with switchable phantom power (48 V). It has Ultra-HDDA microphone preamps on inputs 1–6, and eight channels can be used with high-impedance instruments such as electric guitars/basses. It features 10 balanced line inputs (six mono, two stereo), and a multi-purpose stereo channel for input from mobile devices via Bluetooth or stereo mini-jack connector.

Universal Audio Apollo x4

Universal Audio’s Apollo x4 Thunderbolt 3 audio interface features A/D and D/A conversion inherited directly from the Apollo X rackmount interfaces. It includes four Unison-enabled mic preamps and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity for Mac and Windows. Built for musical collaboration, this 12 x 18 Thunderbolt 3 desktop interface features dual front-panel Hi-Z inputs and four mic preamps with 127 dB dynamic range, plus real-time UAD Processing via built-in UAD-2 QUAD Core DSP—letting users track and mix with the full library of UAD Powered Plug-Ins with near-zero latency. The company states that Unison technology gives Apollo x4 mic preamps the exact impedance characteristics, gain stage “sweet spots,” and unique circuit behaviors of the world’s most sought-after tube and solid state preamps, guitar amps, and stompboxes.