The Apple iPad has completely changed how music is created. A performer, DJ, or recording engineer may put together a pro-caliber setup with just a tablet, an audio interface, and a few add-ons. Any interface with a USB connection, including big rack-mount devices meant for studio use, can be converted to function with an iPad or iPhone. However, in this assessment, we’ll concentrate on a number of additional portable models that are better suited for creating music anyplace. These models have compact designs and low power consumption.
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RME Babyface Pro FS
- 12 in/12 out USB Audio Interface with 24 total channels
- 2 microphone preamps and 2 instrument preamps
- Full SteadyClock FS circuit as in the ADI-2 Pro FS for lowest jitter and...
The RME Babyface Pro FS stands out as a top-tier audio interface for iPad users, particularly favored for its exceptional sound quality, portability, and sturdy construction. It is a 2-input 2-output USB bus-powered interface, which makes it an excellent choice for a wide range of audio professionals including composers, musicians, and field recorders.
One of the most lauded aspects of the Babyface Pro FS is its transparent, clear, and pristine sound quality. This is largely attributed to its high-quality preamps and converters that ensure superior audio fidelity. The microphone inputs boast an improved signal-to-noise ratio, and the headphone outputs are enhanced with op-amps similar to those found in the ADI‑2 Pro, providing a notable boost in power compared to previous models.
Included with the Babyface Pro FS is the TotalMix FX software, which is recognized for its sophisticated routing capabilities and DSP-driven EQ, along with reverb and delay effects that are processed by the host. The interface also features an iPad remote control app, allowing for a smooth extension of the software’s functionality. Although some users may initially find the software complex and challenging, it tends to become more intuitive over time.
RME Babyface Pro FS is a premium, portable, and dependable audio interface for iPad, delivering top-notch sound quality and a robust build. While it offers powerful software features, new users may need to invest time in learning to navigate its full potential.
- Speed: The M4 provides best-in-class speed for monitoring live inputs (mic,...
- Metering: When recording and mixing, nothing is more critical than...
- Loopback: The driver provides convenient loopback channels to your host...
The MOTU M4 is a 4-in/4-out USB-C audio interface that has been well-received for its exceptional audio performance, making it a strong contender for iPad users such as musicians, podcasters, or audio engineers in need of a portable recording solution. Equipped with ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology, the M4 is celebrated for its superior sound quality. This high-end digital-to-analog conversion, along with finely tuned drivers, ensures users experience minimal latency, which is essential for effective real-time audio monitoring and recording. A standout feature of the M4 is its full-color LCD, which provides precise level meters for all inputs and outputs, offering a level of visual feedback that is rare in its category as best audio interfaces.
The MOTU M4 is class-compliant, which allows for seamless integration with iOS devices, negating the need for installing additional drivers. It is important to consider that while the M4 is bus-powered, it may require more power than what an iPad can supply directly. In such instances, a powered USB hub may be necessary to provide a stable connection and sufficient power for optimal functionality.
While the MOTU M4 is a versatile and high-quality audio interface, iPad users should be aware of the potential need for a powered USB hub to ensure the interface receives adequate power. Despite this additional consideration, the M4’s excellent audio quality, detailed metering, and low-latency performance make it an attractive option for enhancing the audio recording capabilities of an iPad.
Apogee Duet 3
- THE BEST AUDIO INTERFACE FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS: Whether you’re recording...
- WORLD-CLASS PREAMPS: With up to 65dB of gain and 48V phantom power, you can...
- HARDWARE DSP MEANS LESS WORK FOR YOU: Capture your best performance and...
The Apogee Duet 3 is a highly acclaimed audio interface that caters to iPad users seeking professional-grade recording capabilities in a portable format. It is a 2-input, 4-output USB-C audio interface that has evolved significantly since its first iteration, maintaining Apogee’s reputation for high-quality sound and build.
The Duet 3 is celebrated for its sleek design and exceptional audio performance. It features Apogee’s custom AD/DA converters and pristine analog circuitry, providing two preamps capable of delivering phantom power with up to +65dB of gain. The ability to record at up to 192kHz at 24-bit resolution is impressive for a unit of its size, showcasing the high-end design and construction of the device. Users can expect very low noise and distortion levels, even when recording levels are pushed to the limit.
Apogee Duet 3 is a top choice for those who prioritize portability without compromising on audio quality or needing apple usb camera adapter. It is particularly well-suited for producers and musicians who do not require a large number of inputs and outputs but demand the highest quality recording and monitoring clarity. While the price point may be considered high for the amount of I/O offered, the Duet 3’s design, build, and sound quality justify the investment for many users.
Focusrite iTrack Solo Lightning & USB Compatible Audio Interface
- 2-in/2-out USB 2.0 Audio Interface with Lightning Connect
- Monit Volume Control - iPad/Mac/PC
- Direct Moniting
The iTrack Solo lives up to Focusrite’s stellar reputation for producing great preamplifiers and audio interfaces. This 2-in, 2-out interface, which was created especially for use with your iPad, is also compatible with Mac OS and Windows and comes with both Lightning and USB 2.0 ports.
A 1/4-inch high-impedance instrument input and an XLR microphone input with 48 volt phantom power are located on the front panel. Each has a level control and a signal halo to show when it is clipping or at a certain level. Gain from the mic preamp can reach 50 dB. Additionally, there is a Direct Monitor switch and a huge volume knob on the 1/4-inch headphone port. RCA connectors for the left and right line level outputs are available on the back. There are options for audio conversion rates up to 96 kHz, 24 bits.
The iTrack Solo comes with USB and Lightning cables in addition to licencing for a tempting software package that includes Ableton Live Lite, Focusrite’s Scarlett Plug-in Suite, the Novation Bass Station plug-in, and 2 GB of Loopmasters samples. These are all available for download from the Focusrite website. iTrack Solo is a 1.1-pound, 1.77 x 6.04 x 4.12-inch solid aluminium case. Focusrite provides a three-year warranty on all of their products. This is the Best iPad Audio Interface in 2024.
IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 guitar audio interface for iPhone, iPad, Mac, iOS
- PLUG AND PLAY SIMPLICITY ON EVERY DEVICE: High-definition digital guitar...
- CONNECT TO AMPLIFIER WITHOUT ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES: 1/4" Amp Out jack with...
- DISTORTION FREE AMPLIFIER: iRig HD 2 is renowned for its 96kHz sampling...
The iRig HD 2 is made with a few unique features that guitar players will love, but it also functions perfectly as a general-purpose audio interface. This is an improved model of their first-generation iRig HD. It is by far the smallest audio interface we have evaluated so far, measuring just 3.9 x 0.83 x 1.54 inches and weighing 1.8 ounces. No adapters are required because lightning and USB cables are included.
For a guitar, bass, or other instrument, it includes a single High impedance input with a single input level LED. 24-bit sampling is supported up to 96 kHz. A micro USB connector, a mini headphone jack, and a balanced mono TRS connection are available as outputs for connecting an iPad or computer, a guitar amplifier, or a monitor.
A Thru switch on the side directs the input signal to the amp output. A full version of Amplitude 4 software, a multi-effects processor with an integrated music player and recorder, tuner, and digital replicas of numerous well-known amplifiers and stompbox effects are also included with the iRig HD 2. The iRig HD Pro, which is also made by IK Multimedia, adds microphone capabilities, MIDI In and Out, and a sizable volume knob. This is the Best iPad Audio Interfaces in 2024.
Shure MVi Digital Audio Interface + USB & Lightning Cable
- Digital audio interface connects a professional XLR microphone or 1/4"...
- Features include 5 DSP preset modes for EQ, compression, limiter settings,...
- 5 DSP preset modes (speech, singing, flat, acoustic instrument, loud) for...
The Shure MVi is a strong contender if you’re looking for a portable, easy-to-use audio interface for podcasting or home recording that won’t set you back a lot of money. It works with iOS 7.0 and later versions, MacOS 10.1 and later versions, Windows 7 and later versions, and Android. A guitar, keyboard, or microphone can be connected using XLR and a 1/4-inch jack. The Class A JFET buffered preamplifier features phantom power, 48 volts through USB or 12 volts via Lightning, and exceptional clarity.
The MVi has five DSP preset settings that automatically alter the volume, gain control, mute, EQ, compression, and limiting. Flat, Speech, Singing, Acoustic Instrument, and Loud are the names of these. Up to 48kHz, 24-bit sample rates are supported. The solid metal casing is 11.3 ounces in weight and measures 2.8 x 4.6 x 3.6 inches. It boasts a sturdy construction that Shure customers have grown to expect through many years of using their products. All of the controls are on the front, and all of the inputs/outputs are on the back. One combo input port (XLR/6.35mm), one headphone output, and a micro USB connector are all located on the rear panel.
Audient iD4 USB 2-in/2-out High Performance Audio Interface
- High Performance Converters
- ID ScrollControl Mode
- Zero Latency Monitoring with Monitor Mix & Pan
All iOS devices can use the USB 2.0 interface known as Audient iD4. With a few more capabilities, it performs similarly to the Focusrite iTrack Solo. Controls are located on the top of the square, low-profile metal box, making it easier to operate on a desk or ios device.
A hybrid 1/4-inch/XLR connector with 48-volt phantom power is used for the mic input. With a maximum gain of 58 dB and a dynamic range of more than 120 dB, the iD4 mic preamp is praised by many customers for being extraordinarily quiet. The instrument input, ideal for guitar or bass, uses a JFET to mimic the input stage of a vintage tube amp.
For the mic and direct inputs, separate level controls are included, along with a blend control and master volume. The output levels are shown by a series of five LEDs per channel, however there are no level indicators for the inputs. The master output knob is converted into a scroll wheel for your preferred DAW by pressing a button. Two headphone ports and stereo line outputs are included as outputs. An additional feature is a speaker mute button. Up to 24-bit, 96 kHz sample rates are supported.
UA Volt 2
- Easily create music productions, livestreams, and podcasts on Mac, PC,...
- Record vocals and instruments with rich, full sound using Vintage Mic...
- Produce with industry-leading software including Ableton, Melodyne, UJAM's...
The Universal Audio (UA) Volt 2 is a 2-in/2-out USB-C audio interface that stands out for its robust build quality, superior sound performance, and user-friendly features, making it an ideal choice for iPad users in need of a portable recording solution. The Volt 2 comes equipped with two preamps that offer a “vintage” option, and XLR combo 1/4″ inputs. It also features 48V phantom power, two 1/4″ lines out with monitor volume control, a headphone jack with volume control, MIDI in and out, 5V DC power, and USB-C connectivity. The interface is constructed from solid metal and sports a stylish silvery-white finish.
The Volt 2 is compatible with iOS devices, including the iPad, and can be used remotely with an iPad Pro using its Type-C connection. It is also USB bus-powered, eliminating the need for a separate power supply. However, for users with an iPhone or an older iPad model, an external Volt power supply and an Apple lightning adapter will be necessary.
While the Volt 2 is a versatile and high-quality audio interface, it’s worth noting that it lacks volume control for direct monitoring and the vintage mode may not be suitable for all users. However, for many users, the Volt 2’s excellent audio quality, user-friendly features, and robust build quality make it a compelling option for enhancing the audio recording capabilities of an iPad.
Apogee One – Audio Interface for Vocals and Instruments with Built In Studio Quality Condenser Microphone for iOS
- 2 in x 2 Out audio interface with built-in microphone
- Usb 2.0 connection for Mac or PC with 24-bit/96kHz AD/DA conversion
- Direct monitoring, complete input/output control with apogee’s Maestro...
An integrated omnidirectional condenser microphone, Apogee ONE puts a unique spin on portable audio interfaces. The all-in-one kit offers every piece of hardware required to create studio-caliber audio on any iOS (version 6 or later), Macintosh (10.6.8 or later), or Windows 10 device. Smaller than a smartphone and with an oblong shape, the Apogee ONE is incredibly portable and easy to set up next to an iPad on a desktop. A mic clip to attach it to a stand is also supplied.
A stereo three-segment LED input/output level metre is located on top of the device’s single massive multifunction controller knob. A stereo 1/8-inch speaker or headphone output jack is located at one end. The breakout cable that comes with it has jacks on one end with 1/4-inch instrument and XLR microphone connectors, a USB connector, and DC power. Both Mac USB and iOS Lightning cables, as well as a power supply, are included in the set. Alternatively, two AA batteries can power ONE.
The Hi-Z instrument input offers 45 dB of amplification and the built-in microphone preamp up to 62 dB. There is support for sample rates up to 96 kHz/24 bits. Sadly, there isn’t a MIDI connection at this time. The Apogee Maestro control panel software is also included in the package.
Buying Guide for iPad Audio Interfaces
When shopping for an iPad audio interface, there are several key factors to consider. These factors will help you choose an interface that meets your specific needs and ensures the best possible audio quality for your recordings.
The first thing to consider is whether the audio interface is compatible with your iPad. An interface must be class-compliant, meaning it doesn’t require additional drivers to work with your iPad’s operating system. Additionally, the interface should have the appropriate connectors, such as USB-C or Lightning, to connect directly to your iPad. Some interfaces may require an adapter or a special cable to connect to certain iPad models.
The type of connectivity offered by the audio interface is another important factor. USB-C and Lightning connectors are the most common for iPad interfaces, but some models may also offer other types of connectivity, such as MIDI or Thunderbolt. If you plan to connect other devices to your interface, such as MIDI controllers or external monitors, make sure the interface has the necessary ports.
The number of inputs and outputs on the audio interface is crucial, especially if you plan to record multiple sources simultaneously. For example, if you’re a podcaster who often has multiple guests, you’ll need an interface with multiple inputs to connect several microphones. Similarly, if you’re a musician who wants to connect multiple instruments or use external monitors, you’ll need an interface with multiple outputs.
Preamps and Converters
The quality of the preamps and converters in the audio interface significantly affects the sound quality of your recordings. High-quality preamps ensure that your microphones and instruments are accurately captured, while high-quality converters ensure that these signals are faithfully converted into digital data. Look for interfaces that offer high-quality, low-noise preamps and high-resolution converters.
If you plan to use your iPad for mobile recording, the size and weight of the audio interface are important considerations. A compact and lightweight interface is easier to carry and set up, making it ideal for on-the-go recording. However, keep in mind that smaller interfaces may have fewer inputs and outputs and may not offer the same audio quality as larger, more robust models.
Some audio interfaces can draw power directly from the iPad, while others require an external power source. If you plan to use your interface for mobile recording, an interface that can be powered by the iPad may be more convenient. However, keep in mind that this can drain your iPad’s battery more quickly.
Many audio interfaces come with bundled software, such as digital audio workstations (DAWs) or plug-ins. These can add value to your purchase and provide you with tools to start recording and producing audio right away. However, make sure that any bundled software is compatible with your iPad and meets your specific needs.
By considering these factors, you can choose an iPad audio interface that meets your specific needs and ensures the best possible audio quality for your recordings. Whether you’re a musician, a podcaster, or an audio enthusiast, the right interface can enhance your audio production capabilities and help you create high-quality audio content.
What makes an audio interface compatible with an iPad?
An interface must be class-compliant and have the appropriate connectors, such as USB-C or Lightning.
Do I need an external power source for my iPad audio interface?
It depends on the interface. Some can draw power from the iPad, while others require an external power source.
Can I connect multiple microphones to a single iPad audio interface?
Yes, if the interface has multiple inputs, you can connect several microphones.
What is the advantage of having a MIDI input on an audio interface?
A MIDI input allows you to connect MIDI controllers and instruments directly to your iPad for music production.
How important are preamps in an audio interface?
Preamps are crucial for boosting microphone signals to line-level and contribute significantly to the overall sound quality.
Can I use an audio interface with an iPad for live performances?
Absolutely, many interfaces are designed for live use, offering low latency and reliable performance.
What is the difference between USB and Thunderbolt interfaces for iPad?
Thunderbolt interfaces typically offer faster data transfer rates, but USB interfaces are more common and compatible with iPads.
How does an audio interface improve the sound quality of recordings on an iPad?
Interfaces provide higher-quality preamps, converters, and digital processing, resulting in clearer and more professional recordings.
Is it possible to charge an iPad while using an audio interface?
Some interfaces allow for pass-through charging, enabling you to charge the iPad while it’s in use.
What should I look for in an audio interface if I’m a beginner?
Look for interfaces that are easy to use, have good software support, and offer features like Smartgain for setting levels automatically.