The RME Babyface has been one of the top portable interfaces for years.
This FS version surpasses the performance of its predecessor, thanks to a range of design improvements that all but ensure its enduring popularity among discerning professionals.
The Babyface Pro also comes bundled with a number of plug-ins that will be quite useful in your setup. This is our top pick for this list.
12-in/12-out portable USB 2.0 audio interface
2 digitally controlled microphone preamps
SteadyClock/femtosecond technology for ultra-stable clocking
TotalMix FX gives you a fully flexible 288-channel mixer with 46-bit internal resolution
Each channel boasts latency-free processing, including a 3-band EQ, low-cut filter, reverb, and echo
The RME Babyface Pro FS is a bus-powered interface that presents an ideal balance of quality, price, functionality, and portability. It features onboard metering with peak and RMS calculation with each channel offering latency-free processing, including a 3-band EQ, low-cut filter, reverb, and echo.
This interface offers simultaneous I/O of 4 x 4 (analog) and 8 x 8 (digital). Additionally, it features TotalMix FX which provides a fully flexible 288-channel mixer with 46-bit internal resolution.
The Babyface Pro FS takes self-jitter to new lows, improving its predecessor’s outstanding performance with an upgraded analog PLL circuit and referencing both Direct Digital Synthesis and PLL to a low-phase-noise quartz crystal.
The Babyface Pro FS’s self-jitter reaches levels usually only available in master quartz clock mode, even while running in PLL mode.
Other improvements featured in this version include microphone preamps with an improved signal-to-noise ratio, from 112.2dB to 113.7dB, and line/instrument inputs from 114dB to 116.3dB.
The line inputs’ THD was improved by 8dB. Additionally, the 3.5mm output impedance was lowered from 2 ohms to 0.1 ohms.
This RME interface ships with a premium plug-in bundle featuring Scuffham S-Gear, Brainworx bx_opto, and Brainworx bx_masterdesk, plus trial versions of Modartt Pianoteq 6, GG Audio Blue 3 Organ, and Gig Performer.
Apollo Twin X allows musicians and producers to easily track, overdub, and mix with elite-class A/D and D/A conversion, two Unison-enabled preamps, and available DUO or QUAD Core realtime UAD plug-in processing.
Universal Audio is one of the most respected names in audio. They got into the home studio interface game a few years ago with the ever-popular Apollo series.
The Twin X DUO’s performance is comparable to UA’s rackmount Apollo X audio interfaces but does away with extraneous features like 5.1 surround monitoring and +24dBu operation.
As a result, you get a streamlined desktop design that’s tailor-made for project studios. You can also track and mix with spot-on emulations of tried-and-true studio classics, thanks to UA’s powerful DUO Core processor. The Apollo Twin X is our most versatile choice.
10-in/6-out Thunderbolt 3 audio interface with onboard UAD-2 DUO Core processing
World-class AD/DA conversion for ultra-pristine signal path with 127 dB dynamic range
2 Unison preamps to track through models of the industry’s most legendary hardware
Fast Thunderbolt 3 connectivity with less than 2ms of latency and ample expandability
Includes a suite of 5 award-winning UAD plug-ins, along with the Realtime Analog Classics plug-in bundle
The Apollo Twin X DUO features upgraded elite-class AD/DA 24-bit/192kHz converters and dual Unison preamps to track through models of the industry’s most legendary gear.
Additionally, there’s the powerful 2-core DUO Core processor which enables you to track in real-time with Neve, Manley, or API channel strips, or run large UAD plug-in counts while mixing in your DAW.
This fantastic interface also comes with UA’s LUNA software, for a tightly integrated recording, editing, and mixing environment, with full software-based control over your interface’s parameters.
The Symphony Desktop features Apogee’s legendary AD/DA conversion, viewed by many as the reference standard in the pro audio industry. Apogee are pioneers in this field, being responsible for many innovations since the early days of digital recording in the 1980s.
Along with realistic preamp emulations, powerful DSP, and other features, this interface is one of the very best you can get for your home studio. If you need the best and are willing to pay the price, look no further than the Apogee Symphony Desktop interface.
10-in/14-out desktop USB-C audio interface
Symphony AD/DA conversion yields realistic sound quality at up to 24-bit/192kHz
2 mic preamps with Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture and up to 75dB of gain
Variable impedance settings on both mic and instrument inputs
Alloy Mic Preamp emulation employs analog circuitry and digital processing for authentic modeling
The Apogee Symphony Desktop interface is the creme de la creme for home studios. It features sound quality at up to 24-bit/192kHz, Apogee’s Alloy Mic Preamp emulations, and Apogee FX plug-ins, powered either by the interface’s built-in DSP or natively within your DAW for low-latency workflows.
As far as the preamps, Apogee’s Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture ensures clean, low-distortion results, with up to 75 dB of gain.
On top of that, the Alloy Mic Preamp emulations employ both analog circuitry and digital processing to create some of the most authentic modeling available, including a Solid State Class A sound inspired by the legendary British console and a gently overcooked American tube sound.
If you’re a Logic X user, you’re going to love this interface as it allows you to take full command from directly within Apple’s software. This is thanks to Apogee’s DualPath Link.
DualPath allows you to dial in your sound l, without printing the effect. You can also save your plug-in settings, so you have the option of adjusting the effect parameters later during the mixing phase.
Using the Symphony Desktop and Logic Pro X together allows you to work with just a single window in the DAW.
Additionally, the Symphony Desktop comes with the Bob Clearmountain-tweaked ECS Channel Strip plug-in. In short, it is hard to beat the sheer quality and functionality of the Symphony Desktop.
If you’re as broke as it gets but still want to be able to record, we’ve got a solution for you: the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96. At less than a hundred dollars, this interface delivers impressive results for such a low price point.
If you need a portable, convenient, easy-to-use, and affordable recording solution, then this PreSonus interface is for you.
2-channel USB 2.0 interface for personal and portable recording
up to 24-bit/96kHz digital resolution
Dual preamplifiers with combo inputs for microphone- and instrument-level audio
Onboard +48-volt phantom for studio condenser microphones
Internal analog mixer lets you blend direct input and playback signal for latency-free monitoring
The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is an easy-to-use audio interface that features a dual-channel design. If you’re a singer-songwriter, you’d be able to plug in a mic and your guitar and record both at once.
An onboard mixer makes it easy to balance between your input and audio playback too, so you never have to worry about latency getting in the way.
In case you’re getting started with recording, this interface also includes the PreSonus Studio One Artist DAW software with over 6GB of third-party content inside the included Studio Magic plug-in suite. These include Brainworx bx_opto compressor, Lexicon MPX-i Reverb, SPL’s Attacker Plus, and more.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 features two upgraded Scarlett mic preamps, high-performance 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA converters, optimized preamp gain structure, low latency, and instrument inputs for hot pickups. All of this for a fantastic price that was unthinkable just a decade ago.
It also comes with “Air” preamp emulation based on the company’s legendary ISA console transformers for a brighter, more open sound. This interface is a great choice for small project studios or mobile rigs.
2 upgraded 3rd-generation Scarlett mic preamps
2 balanced line inputs, suitable for connecting line-level sources
Direct monitor circuit for monitoring your input with low-latency
Balanced TRS L/R monitor outputs with level control
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a 2 x XLR-1/4″ combo (mic/line/Hi-Z) USB bus-powered interface that features 24-bit/192kHz converters and low latency.
The third generation features an upgraded chassis and interiors and comes with all the software you need to get you started. These include Ableton Live Lite, Plug-in Collective access, Hitmaker Expansion Bundle (with Antares Auto-Tune, Softube Marshall Silver Jubilee 255, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2, Brainworx bx_oberhausen, Brainworx bx_console, etc) a 3-month Avid Pro Tools Subscription.
The Scarlett 2i2 also features innovative halo indicators that ensure you’re getting a proper signal level for recording.
This is especially useful if you’re starting out with recording. If the halo is red, your signal is clipping, and you should back down your gain. The halo will momentarily turn amber as the level returns to a happy level.
The SSL2+ comes stocked with a set of pro-grade preamps, stunning 24-bit/192 kHz converters, and a host of helpful I/O options, including four line outputs, two headphone jacks and 5-pin DIN MIDI in and out.
Heavy-duty chassis, Neutrik connectors, and Alps pots
High-output headphone amp for accurate monitoring
4K Legacy mode imparts 4000 series analog console sound
Bundled with Pro Tools First, Bomb Factory plug-ins, Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid Keys, and Komplete Start
4 line outputs, 2 front/back panel headphone outputs, and MIDI I/O
The SSL 2+ is a bigger version of the standard SSL2. The main difference is found on the two added outputs, MIDI In/Out plus an additional independent headphone out.
The SSL 2+ also features a 4k button which adds some extra presence and high-end kick to approximate that SSL sound.
Additionally, there are two combo mic/line inputs with Hi-Z options for switching between guitar and keyboard signals. Phantom power is also included, with a +48v option to allow for the connection of condenser and dynamic mics.
The SSL 2+ also comes loaded with bundled tools and plug-ins. Here you’ll find software from Avid, Ableton, and Native Instruments, plus over 1.5GBs of samples from Loopcloud.
In addition to this complete software suite, the SSL2+ comes bundled with two SSL Native channel strips: Vocalstrip 2 and Drumstrip. If this isn’t enough, Vocalstrip comes with four vocal-specific processors – De-esser, De-ploser, 3-Band EQ, and Compander.
In other words, this compact interface is a solid choice to get your home studio going with SSL quality at an affordable price.
The Onyx Producer 2.2 ships with Mackie’s DAW Essentials Collection. This plug-in bundle includes an EQ, compressor, equalizer, reverb, stereo delay, tape delay, crossover, limiter, gate/expander, ducker, flanger, crusher, phaser, chorus, bus compression, and more.
Overall, this is a solid choice for anyone who is after a rugged and portable 2-in/2-out audio interface.