What audio interface brands do professional music studios use?

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Suppose you are a beginner or a pro in music production. In that case, this article will guide you to know what audio interface do professional studios use and how they can help you take your recording to a professional studio level.

There are tons of audio interfaces available in the market which claim to be a professional audio interfaces. But only a handful of them lives up to their words, and some can’t even get close.

So, you need to know what exactly you need from your audio interface for it to be ‘professional’ enough so that you can get the most out of your money.

* Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio

* MOTU Ultralite Series

* RME Fireface UCX

In the lower price range, you have several choices. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio provides almost all the features that most home studios need.

Why do professional studios use an audio interface?

If you are in a professional studio and need to record or mix in real time, you don’t want to simply rely on the sound card that’s built in your computer. The reasons for this were discussed in our articles dedicated to audio interfaces and external sound cards .

Why not use the sound card that is built in your computer? It’s not really suitable for recording and mixing.

When you play back a multi-channel audio file, the sound is often not processed in its entirety and this can cause phase problems. The same is true when you play digital video files that contain an embedded multi-channel audio stream through your computer’s speakers or headphones.

Professional studios use dedicated sound cards to solve these problems. In addition, audio interface conversion is better than standard sound card conversion in most cases.

When you use a professional audio interface, the analog to digital and digital to analog converters work in a more efficient manner and can also provide better sound quality.

What features do professional audio interfaces have?

Professional studio equipment has several features that you don’t need in a home studio. Here are some examples:

* XLR inputs and outputs, as opposed to RCA or TS/TRS connectors. In a professional studio, your audio interface will be connected to the mixing console via balanced cables. In contrast, most consumer-grade sound cards have unbalanced inputs and outputs.

* Word clock synchronization. This is not usually necessary in a home studio unless you plan to record high-end analog equipment with word clock I/O capabilities.

Professional audio interfaces are often rack-mountable. You can install them in an equipment rack if you have one (you may need to buy the appropriate mounting kit). That said, you can also use desktop models that don’t require rack installation.

What audio interfaces do we recommend?

We’ve already mentioned three of our favorites: the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio, the Apogee Duet, and the RME Fireface UCX. We’ll discuss these briefly below, along with some other models that we recommend for various reasons.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface Bundle with Desktop Boom Arm Mic Stand,…
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen 2×2 USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First, Microphone Suspension Boom Scissor Arm with 5/8-27 Threading, Basic Microphone Shock Mount, and Pop Filter
  • MICROPHONE AND HEADPHONES: The CM25 MkIII condenser microphone enables you to capture studio-quality recordings that are faithful to the original source, while the HP60 MkIII closed-back headphones, with a new improved design, offer high sound quality and long-lasting comfort when recording and mixing
  • INSTRUMENT INPUTS: Simply plug your guitar or bass in to the high-headroom instrument inputs and start recording without any clipping or unwanted distortion and keep an eye on your input level with intuitive Gain Halo meterin

Last update on 2023-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This USB bus-powered audio interface has two microphone/instrument preamps, MIDI I/O, and two balanced outputs. It also has a stereo headphone output with volume control. In addition, it comes bundled with Pro Tools | First recording software and Ableton Live Lite music software.

RME Fireface UCX

RME Audio Interface (FIREFACEUCX)
  • 36 total channels of audio
  • USB 2. 0 audio interface
  • All professional connections needed for a studio environment

Last update on 2023-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This USB 2.0 bus-powered audio interface has two microphone/instrument preamps, MIDI I/O, and four balanced outputs. There are also headphone outputs for both recording channels and the headphone cue mix.

It has separate analog gain controls for each channel, which are also unavailable on the Scarlett 2i2 Studio.

It’s worth noting that there are several other Fireface models to choose from, including some with more inputs and outputs than the UCX. But since most home studios don’t require this many channels, we think it’s best to cover a broad price range with our recommendations.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB 10-In/4-Out Audio Interface
  • Two Air-enabled ultra-low noise Clarett mic pres / inst. inputs; ultra-low distortion and up to 119dB dynamic range. Four balanced outputs including a dedicated stereo pair, headphone output with dedicated gain control; MIDI I/O, ADAT input (expand up to 8- additional inputs and outputs)
  • Precision 24-bit/192Khz A-D and D-A conversion for the ideal signal path; high-headroom instrument inputs for recording super-hot pickups with no unwanted distortion
  • Included standard USB and USB Type-C cables connect to PC or Mac

Last update on 2023-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This Thunderbolt bus-powered audio interface has four microphone/instrument preamps, MIDI I/O, and eight balanced analog outputs. There are also headphone outputs for both recording channels. This model has the same spec as the Scarlett 8i6, but it’s housed in a different case and comes with a Thunderbolt cable included.

MOTU 8Pre

MOTU 8pre USB
  • Hi-speed USB 2.0 audio interface for Mac and Windows ” provides 16 inputs with 8 mic preamps and 12 outputs including separate phone and main outs for all the basic I/O you need for a powerful desktop studio.
  • Eight XLR/TRS “combo jack” mic inputs ” connect up to eight mics, or mix and match mics with guitars, synths, drum machines and other analog input signals.
  • Flexible analog inputs ” each provides a crystal-clear preamp (for both the XLR and TRS input), 24-bit 96 kHz converters, indiv

Last update on 2023-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another Thunderbolt bus-powered audio interface has eight  microphone/instrument preamps, MIDI I/O, and 16 balanced analog outputs.

There are also headphone outputs for both recording channels and the main stereo out. We like this model because you can daisy-chain another Thunderbolt device to it.

Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL

PreSonus Studio 1824c 18×20, 192 kHz, USB Audio Interface with Studio One Artist and Ableton Live…
  • High-definition 24-bit/192 kHz audio with 114 dB dynamic range
  • 8 pristine XMAX Class A mic preamps
  • 2 high-headroom instrument/line inputs, plus 6 balanced line inputs to record guitar, bass, and your favorite synths

Last update on 2023-02-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This USB 2.0 bus-powered audio interface has two microphone/instrument preamps, MIDI I/O, and four balanced outputs. It also has a headphone out for both recording channels and the main stereo mix. You can also insert a virtual instrument in each channel via S/PDIF or ADAT.

Final thoughts

Most home recordists don’t need 48 simultaneous inputs, which is why the lower-priced models in this list offer fewer than eight channels. But there are notable exceptions, like studio owners who work with orchestras or ensembles that require many microphones.

Michael Ocejo ( Editor-in-chief )

Michael loves audio production. He especially enjoys the technical aspect of making music sound good! Michael also loves spending time with his friends and family and enjoying parties.

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