Best Interface for GarageBand

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GarageBand is an all in one music production software that will have you making music with ease.  Unleash your creativity and produce the tracks you have always dreamed of.

To get a professional sounding track you will need the best interface for GarageBand. There are countless interfaces and equipment to choose from, but, of course, you want the best.

Unsure of what audio sound card is best for your studio and style of music production?  When choosing the right interface you need to consider a couple of key features.

Choosing the right interface is not a one size fits all solution. That is why we have created this ultimate round-up review guide.

We have selected the best results for particular styles, situations, budgets, and beginners. 

In a rush to find out the winner? Click the link below!

Winner!

Best Audio Interface For Garageband   – Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 

Garageband Audio Interface Reviews 

Best Overall Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation (2nd Gen) 2-in, 2-out USB Audio Interface

Despite being the best in the industry, Focusrite has not stopped developing.

Focusrite’s Scarlett 2i2 3rd Generation sets itself apart from the crowd. Supporting a sleek design and boasts the best sound in its price range. 

This high-performance interface has improved every aspect of the previous models. With 24-bit/192kHz converters, you will have high gain, low latency sound.

Start recording and producing with two upgraded mic preamps and high-grade instrument inputs. 

The 2i2 also comes with an exclusive software bundle.

  • High-performance converters for recording and mixing tracks
  • 6 inputs for all your musical needs
  • Built-in Air circuit for improved sound quality
  • Direct Monitor circuit for monitoring your high quality, low-latency tracks
  • Independent headphone volume control

Complete Review – Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 

Pros
Best preamps on the market Impeccable recording ability Real-time recording and direct monitoring Now compatible with iPad Optimized for best performance on your Mac or iPad
Cons
USB-powered can be an issue if you do not have enough USB ports No MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) inputs or outputs You can only record a limited number of instruments or vocals at once

Our Rating: 4.7/5

Buy on Amazon

Best Audio Interface for iPad 

Focusrite – iTrack Solo

Focusrite Itrack Solo Lightning & USB Compatible Audio Interface

The simplest way to record music is now at your fingertips. The iTrack Solo is the best interface for your Garageband Apps.

A smaller product, the iTrack Solo, is perfect for your personal needs. Carry it around with you, allowing producers to record music whenever inspiration hits.

Not only can you record music with this nifty product, but you can play it too. The iTrack Solo also acts as a speaker. Now, you can share your music with everyone everywhere.

  • Best converter performance for its size hitting 96kHz
  • 2 inputs for your personal music needs
  • Direct Monitor switch for excellent sound quality
  • Easy monitoring of headphone and output sound with a large dial
  • Device Link that allows easy access to your iPad
Pros
Best sound quality for recording and playback Halo level indicators for easy sound monitoring Software bundle included Compatible with Mac, iPad, and PC
Cons
Short iPad connector cable, can use extender cable to fix this Records single tracks at a time The signal is from the right side while some apps take the signal from the left

Our Rating: 4.2/5

Buy on Amazon

Budget Interface For Garageband 

 Behringer UM2 U-Phoria

BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC202HD, 2-Channel

Behringer’s UM2 U-Phoria is the best value audio interface. Despite the plastic case, it is a well-built piece of recording equipment for the price tag.

The UM2 U-Phoria is the perfect budget audio interface. This is a great addition to your studio that will get you started off on the right note.  

The small product allows you to take it with you wherever you go. This ultra-compact unit can go anywhere with you, allowing you to get creative on the move.

  • 2 USB ports to connect your Mac for all your recording time
  • Combo input with XENYX preamp for your mic 
  • +48V phantom power creates great sound for your studio condenser mic
  • Instrument inputs that can record your guitar or bass with great sound
Pros
Clear, crisp sound for recording and playback Portable No background noise when playing a synthesizer through a MIDI controller Does not break the bank
Cons
Not as durable as other, metal-based products Software not included in the product, but is downloadable

Our Rating: 4.0/5

Buy on Amazon

Ultra-Portable Interface 

Apogee One

Apogee One - Audio Interface for Vocals and Instruments with Built In Studio Quality Condenser Microphone for iOS, Mac & Windows PC, Made in USA (Silver)

The Apogee One is the product of perfect sound. Designed for personal use; the Apogee One is light and portable. Easy-to-use features make this product simple, while the durable materials make it long-lasting.

The Apogee One is a high-quality product. Its high-grade sound recording is a music-makers’ dream.

This pocket-sized interface runs on batteries. Allowing you to record your industry-changing music anytime, anywhere, and with anyone.

  • Built-in mic
  • 3.5mm headphone output
  • AC adapter
  • 1/4-inch instrument input
Pros
Impeccable sound quality Compatible with both Mac and iOS products Charges iOS devices Easy to use, built-in mic Able to run on batteries
Cons
Single stereo output meaning you will have to switch cables manually No MIDI input or output for iOS

Our Rating: 4.0/5

Buy on Amazon

Best Interface For Garageband | Winner

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation (2nd Gen) 2-in, 2-out USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation (2nd Gen) 2-in, 2-out USB Audio Interface
  • Four analog inputs: two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two newly-designed instrument inputs, designed to handle seriously hot guitar pick-ups
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit
  • Super-low latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP (measured at 2.74ms, working at 96kHz with a 32 samples buffer)
  • 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs to connect professional studio monitors; one headphones output with gain control
  • Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Focusrite Control, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite's Red Plug-in Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples

Audio Interface Buying Guide

midi keyboard ultimate buyers guide

This section is here to make your life and buying-decision easier. With all of the products available, it can be hard to choose. This guide narrows that down, making choosing a product a simple process.

IOS – Mac Compatible

GarageBand is an Apple product. It means it only works on Mac and iOS operating systems. When recording and having to transfer files, life becomes easier when everything is compatible.

Choosing a product that works with Apple devices will not only make your life easier, but it will make your recording easier too.

iPad vs. Laptop

Being a touchscreen interface, GarageBand is ideal for both Mac and iPad. Speaking with musicians in the industry, however, the finer details for music are best done on a Mac desktop or laptop.

Imac and mac mouse on a desk
Imac and mac mouse on a desk

Pros:

– Will work on all iPads, no matter the model date

– Better sound quality when developing on Mac laptop

– Mixing and arranging songs, especially multiple tracks is ideal for a laptop

– Easier to record and play instruments on an iPad

Cons:

– CPU hungry meaning it may drain your iPad battery faster compared to your laptop

– Finer details are difficult to control on an iPad touchscreen

– Mixing multiple soundtracks – vocal and instrumental – becomes more difficult on iPad

Budget

Your budget is for you and your bank to know. Buy wisely with quality in mind, but do not overextend yourself if you cannot really afford to do so.

  • Beginner: If you are a beginner, start with the basics. Buy something simple and easy to use like the iTrack Solo or Apogee One.
  • Advanced: If you are advanced, the Focusrite Solo Bundle is definitely for you.
  • Size and Weight

Again, you need to know what your musical needs are. Knowing this will help you with your music-making journey. Always remember your needs and what the right product for them is.

  • Travel- Do you make music while you walk or travel? Remember that the bigger and heavier the product, the harder it is to travel with.
  • Studio Footprint: Or you are a studio fiend? It would be wise to opt for an interface, which will perfectly fit in your studio.
  • Connection Type

Complete Mackie CR3 Review

music producting studio wiht graphics overlay

Speed. Speed. Speed. 

That is the main difference between these three connection types.

  • USB and Thunderbolt: USB and Thunderbolt are optimized for Apple devices. It means your music is flowing through multiple devices using the same speed and language. In other words, it is optimized for GarageBand and your music.
  • Firewire: Firewire is used by Windows. It is a major disadvantage if you are using Apple products. Windows vs. Apple is still debated. But what is clear is that using the same software throughout makes life simpler, and your music better.
  • Inputs and Outputs

Here, we are speaking about levels of sound and their quality.

  • XLR & Instrumental Line Inputs: XLR is all about your mic levels, whereas instrumental lines are about your different instruments—the better the quality of the input, the better the quality of your output recording.
  • Balanced Stereo Output: Here, we are speaking about your output sound. Output sound refers to what your listeners are hearing, not just you. You will want a balanced stereo for that high-volume impact when it comes to your listeners and fans.
  • Headphone Output: It’s an output, which provides adequate power to drive your headphones. Headphone output makes the whole hearing experience a lot easier for you.
  • Tech Specs

Basically, the same thing, bit depth, and sample rate are two aspects of the same track.

  • Sample Rate: The sample rate is the rate of capture and playback. The more samples of sound per second give you a better sound quality.
  • Bit Depth: The bit depth is the sample size or number of bits of each sample. It is basically the small integers within your song.
  • Power Supply
  • USB: USB powered means that the device itself is being used to charge, like your phone.
  • External: External power means that it is from another power source, like a plug socket.
  • Phantom Power: Lastly, phantom power is DC electric, meaning it is powered through your mic cables.
  • Software

Although the benefit of free mixing software is that it is free, there are disadvantages. These types of software often have fewer features and capabilities than paid programs, such as the VST plugin for GarageBand.

Value Editorial & Buying Debates

Looking for value in a product is normal. We all want the best deal for the product we get.

After reading review after review for similar products, they can all start to sound the same. Even if they look a little different.

So, what are your personal music creating needs?

How to Choose the Best Music-Making Station? 

When purchasing, you want to be sure the product is right for you and your needs. Keep in mind all your musical needs, including genre, style, and group members.

Are you a beginner starting out and testing your talent? Are you an established musician looking to expand?

Choosing the right interface is vital to your finished product.

Things to Look for That Differentiate These Products

Converters

The quality of your sound is the most important part of making music. Even if you sound amazing in real-time, the recording of your sound needs to be as good.

Comparing the sound converters is one of the most valuable parts of the product. If you sound bad when recorded, no one is going to listen.

Inputs

You need to be aware of how many musical instruments and vocals can be recorded at once. If you are a single act, a solo machine – such as the iTrack Solo – is ideal for you. If you are not a solo musician, however, you may need a product with greater recordability.

Keeping your needs in mind as a producer will ensure that you choose the right product.

Knowing how many instruments you will be recording at once will help you select the product you need.

Durability and Mobility

Making music is your passion, but how much time do you have for it? The durability of your soundcard is important for any buyer.

How long your equipment lasts is dependent on where you make your music. Are you going to your friend’s home studio?

Do you only record at home? Are you recording everywhere at any time?

All these questions are important to answer for yourself when deciding.

If portability is important to you, Apogee One might be the best option for you.

Are you producing in a studio environment?

Yes? Then the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) or, even better, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen Bundle) are the clear winner.

Usability

Life is busy. Few of us have the time to read an encyclopedia-styled manual to set up the equipment. Being user-friendly is the new cool kid in society. Be one of the cool kids and choose something user-friendly.

Focusrite equipment and interfaces are the best for this. This music-making interface allows you to tap into your creative self in only minutes.

Affordability

The cost of a product is often the deciding factor in a purchase. If they are “basically” the same, why not choose the cheaper one?

Unfortunately, “basically” is not the same as “identical.” You want the best for your price range, so choose the best. Do not compromise your music for a quick save. That quick save might cost you a lot more than the extra few bucks.

Customization

The ability to customize your equipment is always a valuable attribute to a producer.

All these products allow you to create unique music with GarageBand.

Adding more pieces of equipment to your studio will allow you to test new sounds and styles in your tunes.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Vs. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen Bundle)?

mixer vs audio interface cartoon letters

Although the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 seems the same as the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen Bundle), they are not.

With the bundle, you get a mic, headset, and all the cables. It means that you have one brand’s products throughout your recording time.

There will be no extra adjusting of sound or quality since they are all the same brand, made with the same technology. 

Even though you might be paying a little more, the quality and experience of the bundle buy is worth the money. You do not have to worry about the adjustments for low-grade equipment or the mixing of brands.

Conclusion

To make the best sound, you don’t always have to have the best program. But to invest in your music, you have to invest in yourself. Choosing a high-quality program, like GarageBand, shows how you believe in yourself and your talent to make it big.  

Final Thoughts

GarageBand is the best music interface for you and your Apple products. The best choice of product, as mentioned, is dependent on your needs.

With this in mind,  the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is the best performing, best value, and best sound quality.

Hence why we have dubbed it the Best Overall. This product is perfect for most musicians starting out to make it big in the industry.

It’s high-quality sound, durable materials, and brilliant recording ability make it top in the industry.

The debate of iPad vs. laptop is, again, personal.

If you are more comfortable with an iPad, then choose a product that supports it, such as the iTrack Solo.

Keep in mind, though, the further you get into producing the more complex your music will become.

Your fans love you and your music, so give them the best sound you can. Choose the best product. Be the best musician.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation (2nd Gen) 2-in, 2-out USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation (2nd Gen) 2-in, 2-out USB Audio Interface
  • Four analog inputs: two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two newly-designed instrument inputs, designed to handle seriously hot guitar pick-ups
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit
  • Super-low latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP (measured at 2.74ms, working at 96kHz with a 32 samples buffer)
  • 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs to connect professional studio monitors; one headphones output with gain control
  • Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Focusrite Control, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite's Red Plug-in Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples