Best Audio Interface for Ableton 2021

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It can be somewhat challenging to find the perfect equipment and software for your electronic music production needs. Luckily for you, Ableton is one of the most admired software music sequencers and digital audio workstations you could invest in.

Finding the best audio interface for Ableton can be tricky, but we’ve scoured the internet and found some of the top audio interfaces on the market.

When you’re in the music industry, it can prove to be a daunting task when trying to find the best audio equipment for your home studio.

You’ve got your studio setup and your DAW ready to start producing tunes, but you still need the best audio interface for Ableton Live to produce high-quality audio, with low latency to your midi devices. 

That is where making music becomes technical. And if you don’t approach it right, you could mess up and ruin your chances of making quality music. It’s especially difficult to find the right tools for live performances.

Unless you’ve been referred to the best products, you might get overwhelmed with all the options to choose from.

Click the link for the winner – Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen)

Best Sound Card For Ableton Live

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 Review

(2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First

Buy on Amazon

Pros 

  • Excellent conversion and sample rates – up to 192kHz / 24 bit
  • Low roundtrip latency for using plug-ins in real-time without the need for DSP
  • Includes Pro Tools – First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite and more
  • 2-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects
  • Offers 6 outputs – 4 analog and 2 digital
  • Has 2 headphone outputs

Cons 

  • Only Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher
  • Only has 6 inputs – 4 analog and 2 digital

The Focusrite Scarlett comes with upgrades and features that will allow you to record and monitor in real-time.

It’s an attractive audio interface and offers better accuracy when setting levels. It is one of the first names that pop up when people look for suitable audio interfaces. In general, it is considered a good choice and is popular with many recorders. The Focusrite Scarlet uses USB connections.

TASCAM US-4×4 USB 

Tascam US-4x4 USB Audio/MIDI Interface with Microphone Preamps and iOS Compatibility

Buy on Amazon

Pros 

  • Features XLR and TRS inputs that accept balanced mic and line-level signals
  • Send 16 separate inputs as separate channels over USB 2.0 to the computer
  • The headphone output is powerful and gives a clean sound
  • Works great on Linux
  • The software comes with a 600+ page manual
  • The TASCAM has a very professional feel

Cons 

  • It has been reported to glitch out at all sample rates on Windows 7 and 10
  • Occasionally, users have experienced random audio noise, crackling and audio spikes
  • It has no noise gate
  • It can get buggy and switch audio settings to use the device for input and output
  • The driver for the audio interface can be unreliable

This guy was made with mobility in mind. If you’re planning to travel to gigs and spend a lot of time moving about, you might want to go with this audio interface for Ableton Live.

Thanks to the TASCAM’s High Definition Discrete Architecture (HDDA), it records audio and delivers it with very low self-noise and results in every detail of musical performances recorded.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Solo

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Solo (APLTWSII)

Buy on Amazon

Pros 

  • Real-time Analog Classics UAD plug-in bundle
  • Offers outstanding sound quality praised by users
  • Convenience and completeness are impressive
  • Pleasant analog emulated console.
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Amazing preamp for voiceover
  • Top-class quality recording

Cons 

  • Expensive
  • Uses Thunderbolt connection only, and the Thunderbolt cable is not included
  • Console application can be unintuitive

The Universal Audio Apollo Twin is considered one of the best audio interfaces on the market.

Although it has a rather high price compared to other audio interfaces, it is hard to find a more praised and loved product than this one.

It has proven to be easy to use.

Universal Audio Apollo 8 Best Thunderbolt Interface

Universal Audio Apollo 8 Thunderbolt Audio Interface with Quad Processing

Buy on Amazon

Pros 

  • Makes it easier to mix high-quality tracks
  • Features 4 preamps that sound amazing, and 4 additional line-level inputs
  • It has a front panel that allows you to easily switch between preamps and select settings for each such as phase, phantom power, etc.
  • User-friendly
  • Built-in UAD-2 QUAD or DUO Core
  • Has included a bundle of award-winning UAD plug-ins

Cons 

  • Very expensive
  • Steep learning curve

This audio interface comes with a history of 60 years of craftmanship in audio.

It is a favorite with professionals in the recording industry and one of the world’s most acclaimed interfaces. The Apollo works great on Windows and Mac and offers quality A/D (analog to digital) and D/A (digital-to-analog) conversion.

M-Audio M-Track 8X4M

M-Audio M-Track 8X4M | Compact USB / USB-C Bus-Powered 8-In/4-Out 24/192 USB Audio/MIDI Interface With Zero Latency Monitoring, Rugged Metal Chassis And Pro-Grade Software Suite

Buy on Amazon

Pros 

  • Easy volume control
  • Made for people always on the move
  • Two headphone outputs with their own independent volume knobs and two instrument inputs
  • USB-C interface
  • Low latency

Cons 

  • Only has 2 outputs for 1 speaker
  • Design results in plugs and cables coming out the front and draping over your desk.
  • Its phantom power isn’t impressive

The M-Audio M-Track 8X4M is a cool-looking audio interface with a high-speed USB connection.

It’s not as expensive as other audio interfaces and a great choice for the music recorder on a budget who needs a quality product.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve taken a look at the 5 best audio interfaces for Ableton Live, it’s time to discuss the product that stands out as the winner.

The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface comes with peace of mind – it offers a 2-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects.

Although it only has 6 inputs, it’s still a winner in our books because it isn’t very expensive but still comes with many neat features such as the included Pro Tools.

If you want to deliver high-quality work without forking out thousands, this is the best audio interface for you. With its great accuracy at setting levels, you really can’t go wrong with this product. On top of that, it’s a beautiful audio interface that will look cool no matter where you use it.

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two instrument inputs plus two additional line level analog inputs. Four 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs; two headphone outputs with gain control; MIDI I/O; S/PDIF in and out for connecting to other digital devices
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; Super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP; Focusrite iOS Control - download the free Focusrite iOS Control app and adjust cue mixes remotely from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon registration and download.
  • Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples, Choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
  • Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher. Frequency response - 20 Hz - 20 kHz ± 0.1dB. Supported Sample Rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz. Focusrite now offers a 3-Year Warranty on this and all other Focusrite products.

Ableton, a software music sequencer and digital audio workstation, has been designed to be used for recording, mixing, composing mastering, and arranging music.

It is also considered a fantastic choice for live performances and works on Windows as well as macOS. Anyone making music can benefit from using Ableton, including DJs.

You can take a look at Ableton’s features here:

If you’re an aspiring music producer or just someone with a passion for music and a desire to record and release their own stuff, you’ll need high-quality gear.

One of the most important things you will need (in addition to your creative ideas and talent) is an audio interface with which to record all your awesomeness.

Audio Interface Buyers Guide

What is an Audio Interface?

Audio interfaces are used to record anything that makes a sound – from a bass guitar to a voice or a piano.

It’s what helps to get the music onto a computer to be edited and cleaned up. Sure, you can record audio with just your computer, but if you want to go the professional route and boost the quality of your work, using an audio interface is the way to go.

What’s the Purpose of an Audio Interface?

The whole point of using an audio interface is to make recording great quality audio easy.

You plug in all the relevant instruments and equipment like microphones and record away.

By making use of one of these guys, your work will be top-notch and something you can be proud of to share with the rest of the world. That is, as long as you use a good-quality audio interface.

How do You Connect Your Computer to Your Audio Interface?

For the most part, your audio interface will make use of USB cables to be connected to your computer.

If you want to use your interface on your tablet, you’ll just have to use a USB adapter.

While USB is the most common type of connection for your audio interface, you can also find models that are connected via thunderbolt. 

What do You Need to Use an Audio Interface?

Getting started with your audio interface isn’t too tricky. Basically, just set up the audio interface, your computer, the cables to connect it, add whatever you’re recording, and voila – you’re busy doing your thing like a professional.

If you’re still a little confused about how to use your audio interface, it will be a good idea to check out your specific model’s manual. You will find all the information you need plainly explained there. Remember to set up your interface with your computer.

How do You Choose the Right Audio Interface?

With so many cool options to choose from, it can be hard to know which are good and which are excellent. Obviously, the first consideration is your personal needs. Will you be recording multiple instruments or would you go with virtual instruments?

Will you record in a basement or a studio? Everything that makes your work unique is what will determine the interface you end up getting.

In the end, it will boil down to all the different needs you will have and what you hope to accomplish with your interface.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying an Audio Interface

So, you’ve decided that you will go on and invest in an audio interface that will push the quality of your work. Great! Just keep the following things in mind when shopping around.

Portable audio interfaces can be better because, as you’ve guessed, they are portable, and you can record practically anywhere.

Try to find an audio interface with as many as 8 inputs. You never know if something pops up, and you’ll have an opportunity to record many sounds at once – it can be quite a great project.

Consider looking for multiple outputs, as well. It will be very beneficial if you can hear your mix on more than one speaker, especially if you need to route your music to reach a wider audience.

Which audio interface is best for beginners?

When it comes to the best audio interface for beginners you have to consider a couple of factors.

1 – What DAW are they using?

In this example the newbie producer is learning how to produce with Ableton. This means that they may want to purchase an entry level audio interface that includes the free version of Ableton Lite with the there purchase.

2 – What style of music are they producing?

If you are making beat that rely heavily on sampling old records and live instruments, then you are going to need multiple inputs for your equipment.

On the other hand if you are producing trap, house or any other synth and plugin heavy music then only having a couple of inputs is not going to be an issue.

3 – What is your budget?

The best way to start making music is to take action and get started. Don’t let having a limited budget stop you from buying a budget audio interface while you are learning.

To be honest, we you are at the beginning of your journey to become a music producer imperfect action is better that procrastination.

Find an audio interface that suits your budget and has enough inputs for your producing style, then pull the trigger and buy it.

Now you are ready to start learning the art and science of electronic music production, sampling and mixing.

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two instrument inputs plus two additional line level analog inputs. Four 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs; two headphone outputs with gain control; MIDI I/O; S/PDIF in and out for connecting to other digital devices
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; Super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP; Focusrite iOS Control - download the free Focusrite iOS Control app and adjust cue mixes remotely from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon registration and download.
  • Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples, Choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
  • Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher. Frequency response - 20 Hz - 20 kHz ± 0.1dB. Supported Sample Rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz. Focusrite now offers a 3-Year Warranty on this and all other Focusrite products.