- How to use ADAT to expand your I/O settings
- Advantages of using ADAT to transfer audio
- How ADAT started and why the format has prevailed
- Also, check out ADAT vs SPDIF: What’s the difference?
Are you looking for a way to transfer audio files painlessly from one audio interface to another?
How about a way to expand your audio interface to get extra channels?
With an ADAT port, you can do both, making it easier to track multiple instruments or vocalists and make the most out of your gear.
ADAT has been around for a while and is still in use today simply because it’s the most straightforward way to transfer eight channels of digital audio at once with one optical cable.
What Are The Best Audio Interfaces With ADAT?
Our pick for the best audio interface with ADAT is the Focusrite Clarett + 8Pre. With eight mic preamps, you can expand it to other Focusrite Clarett+ interfaces.
If you’re on a budget, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 has eight mic preamps and expands to the Behringer ADA8200.
If you can spend more, the Neve 88M has the same circuitry as their legendary 88RS consoles and has an ADAT expansion.
Below, we’ve rounded up 7 of the best audio interfaces with ADAT and included the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision and find one that works for you based on its costs and features.
- Focusrite Clarett+ 8Pre (Our Pick!)
- Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 (Best Value)
- Neve 88M (Premium Option)
- MOTU LP32-
- Audient iD14 MKII
- Focusrite6 Scarlett 18i8
- Presonus Studio 1810C
1. Focusrite Clarett+ 8Pre
Focusrite's Clarett+ 8Pre 18-in/20-out audio interface is a powerful foundation for your studio or mobile recording rig.
- Outstanding sonic performance
- Very versatile
- Easy to use
- It also works as an expansion unit for other Clarett+ interfaces
- 18 inputs and 20 outputs
- Includes the Hitmaker Expansion plugin suite
The Focusrite Clarett+ series brings even more features to the Clarett line with ADAT expansion, improved clarity, and newly improved low-noise D-A and A-D converters.
The Clarett+ 8Pre has a total of 18 inputs and 20 outputs, including eight analog inputs that use Focusrite’s Air technology to add presence and shine to high-end sounds and transients in your recordings.
In addition to a digital S/PDIF (optical) input and ADAT input, it also has a S/PDIF output and an ADAT output, so you can expand your I/O capability to eight additional channels using the Clarett+ OctoPre.
There’s a 6-segment multichannel LED meter to easily see what you’re doing.
Save desk space by mounting it in a rack and get access to Focusrite’s classic sounds with the included Hitmaker plugin expansion packs for the Red suite, Brainworx, Antares, and more.
It also includes Focusrite Control for Windows 10 or Mac OS X 10.11 or later, so you can create custom monitor mixes for your recording sessions.
2. Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820
With 18 inputs and 10 outputs, the U-PHORIA UMC1820 gives you plenty of options for connecting your synths and outboard gear.
- Well-equipped for the price
- ADAT provides I/O expansion
- High-quality audio reproduction
- 18 inputs and 10 outputs
- 8 Midas-designed mic pres
- Compatible with the Behringer ADA8200 for additional inputs
If you’re looking for lots of inputs and outputs at a low price, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 is an excellent bang-for-buck option.
It’s simple and compact, with a whopping 18 inputs and ten outputs. The Midas mic preamps are a nice touch and give you clarity and sparkle for vocals and instruments.
It has one ADAT input and one ADAT output, as well as S/PDIF connections, and can be connected to the Behringer ADA8200 for eight additional analog inputs (XLR or 1/4″).
Once you visit the Behringer website to download the drivers, you’re good to go.
This is an excellent interface not only for studio recording but also for live sound applications or broadcast purposes where you might need several audio channels.
If you’re using headphones to monitor your signal, this audio interface has dual headphone outputs with individual channel controls and an A/B selection to cue songs or audio.
3. Neve 88M
The Neve 88M 2-channel USB bus-powered audio interface incorporates the same transformer-balanced circuitry as the company’s flagship 88RS console
- Superbly engineered
- Acclaimed Neve sound
- Warm and punchy sound
- 8 channels of optical/ADAT connectivity
- DI circuitry for bass and guitar
- Reference-grade AD/DA conversion
While its initial two inputs are not a lot, the Neve 88M is a solid ADAT interface that can connect eight additional inputs and outputs via the ADAT port.
If you’ve ever wanted the acclaimed Neve sound, the 88M will get you there.
It uses the 88 Marinair preamps just like the Neve 88R console, bringing analog warmth and punchiness that could’ve come straight from AIR or Abbey Road Studios.
There’s also an insert and send return loop to hook up outboard gear.
It’s USB/bus-powered and is small but sturdy, so you can easily take it on the road. While the price is a little steep compared to other audio interfaces, it’s a steal if you want the 88R sound without having to buy the whole console.
4. MOTU LP32
With four banks of optical Lightpipe digital connectivity, plus built-in DSP for effects processing and mixing, the MOTU LP32 USB/AVB interface is a compact-yet-powerful solution for managing digital audio.
- Incredibly versatile
- Timeless yet modern interface
- 32 inputs and 32 outputs
- Built-in DSP for effects processing and mixing
- Switchable I/O banks with up to 8 channels of ADAT, 4 SMUX, or stereoTOSLink
The MOTU LP32 uses optical Lightpipe digital connectivity to give you a whopping 64 channels of optical ADAT, depending on the configuration.
Its switchable I/O banks offer many connection possibilities, and you can daisy-chain it with other interfaces via Ethernet or iOS or use iOS devices as a remote control.
You can even use it standalone without a DAW, making it incredibly versatile not just for studio work but for live applications as well.
In addition to its inputs and outputs, there’s also built-in DSP with effects including vintage reverbs, EQ, and compression effects such as the legendary LA-2A.
If you want a timeless yet modern interface with access to classic sounds and functions, the LP32 is a contender.
5. Audient iD14 MKII
Meet Mission Control of your home and mobile recording setup: the Audient iD14 MKII USB-C audio interface.
- Powerful performance
- Ultra-low latency
- 10 inputs and 6 outputs
- Analog JFET DI input for guitar or bass
- Comes with Audient ARC software suite and Steinberg Cubase DAW software
The Audient iD14 MKII includes everything you need to start recording, with Steinberg Cubase software and the Audient ARC software plugin suite.
The Audient ARC plugin suite has various effects, software instruments, and guitar and bass amp simulators.
In addition to its ten inputs and six outputs, the Audient iD14 MKII has an ADAT optical input to give you eight additional channels of preamps.
It’s easy to operate with its ScrollControl virtual scroll wheel, which gives you additional control by using the volume knob for assignable parameters such as screen brightness, DAW controls, and more.
6. Focusrite6 Scarlett 18i8
Focusrite's Scarlett 18i8 is an ideal audio interface for engineers and producers who have to adapt to ever-changing recording situations.
- Super-low latency
- Features intuitive halo indicators
- 8 line inputs, 1 ADAT input, 4 analog outputs
- 4 Scarlett mic preamps
- Connects via USB or S/PDIF
This versatile audio interface from Focusrite lives up to Focusrite’s award-winning reputation.
Like the Clarett+ 8Pre, it uses Air technology to add extra sparkle to high-end sounds and brighten up dull vocals or instruments, dual headphone ports, and a direct monitor mode for low-latency monitoring.
It also comes with a software bundle including Ableton Live Lite and the Focusrite Red Plug-In Suite, and the Hitmaker Expansion collection.
In addition to legendary Focusrite effects and instruments, including Antares Auto-Tune and the Addictive Keys collection of software piano and keyboard sounds, you’ll get access to Focusrite Plug-In Collective, which gives you free software downloads and discounts.
For under $1000, you get 8 line inputs with one input and one output of ADAT expansion, as well as all the audio software you need to get started with recording and mixing music.
So, if you’re just starting out with music production, this is a great deal.
7. Presonus Studio 1810C
Loaded with 18 simultaneous inputs, including four sweet-sounding XMAX preamps, the PreSonus Studio 1810c is tailor-made for project studios that record audio from a wide range of sources.
- Wide dynamic range
- Exceptional audio quality
- PreSonus Studio One included
- Also available as a Studio One bundle
- 18 inputs, 4 XMAX preamps, and 8 outputs
- 1 optical ADAT input
This Presonus audio interface has 18 inputs, including one optical ADAT port, and eight outputs.
The XMAX mic preamps give you richer low-end, more headroom, and a wide dynamic range.
The LED monitoring and low-latency DSP-based mixing make it an easy addition to your studio.
It includes the Studio One Artist software bundle if you’re just starting with music production. You can also upgrade and get the Studio One Professional bundle.
Both packages include the Studio Magic Plug-In Suite.
In addition to the included software, you get the UC Surface monitor mix software, which works with Mac, Windows, iPad, and Android operating systems.
UC Surface allows you to customize monitor mixes and save your settings for future use in recording sessions.