BPM Skills is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Best Interface For GarageBand: iPad, Guitar, USB

best interface for garageband

GarageBand is a popular recording software that will have you making music with ease. Unleash your creativity and produce the tracks you have always dreamed of.

To get professional audio quality tracks, you will need the best interface for GarageBand. There are countless USB audio interfaces and equipment to choose from, but, of course, you want the best.

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

Choosing the best audio interface for GarageBand is not a one size fits all solution. That’s why we created this ultimate round-up review guide.

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

Best For iPad
Focusrite iTrack Solo
Best Overall
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
Best Budget Pick
Behringer UMC202HD U-Phoria
Table of Contents

4 Best GarageBand Audio Interfaces

1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)

Best Overall Audio Interface for GarageBand

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

RELATED: A Complete Review of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 

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

You can start recording and producing with two upgraded mic preamps and high-grade instrument inputs. 

The Scarlett 2i2 audio interface also comes with an exclusive software bundle, so that’s a plus.

Pros

  • Best mic preamps on the market
  • Impeccable recording ability
  • Real-time recording and direct monitoring
  • Now with iPad functionality
  • 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

Features

  • 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
  • USB audio interface

2. Focusrite iTrack Solo Audio Interface

Best iPad Audio Interface for GarageBand

Focusrite iTrack Solo

The simplest way to record music is now at your fingertips. The iTrack Solo is the best audio interface for 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 audio interface, but you can play it too. The iTrack Solo also acts as a speaker. You can share your music with everyone and anywhere!

This is one of the few iPad audio interfaces you can surely count on.

Pros

  • Best sound quality for recording and playback
  • Playback Halo level indicators for easy sound monitoring
  • Software bundle included Compatible with Mac, iPad, and PC

Cons

  • Short iPad connector cable
  • 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

Features

  • 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
  • Lightning and USB audio interface

3. Behringer UMC202HD U-Phoria

Budget Audio Interface For Garageband

Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD

READ MORE: A Buyer’s Guide for the Best Budget Audio Interface

Behringer’s UMC202HD U-Phoria is the best value audio interface for GarageBand. Despite the plastic case, it is a well-built piece of recording equipment for the price tag.

The UMC202HD U-Phoria, despite being a budget audio interface, is a great addition to your studio gear that will get you started off on the right note.  

The small audio interface 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.

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

Features

  • 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-quality condenser microphone
  • Instrument inputs that can record your guitar or bass with great sound
  • USB audio interface

4. Apogee One

Ultra-Portable Audio Interface for GarageBand

Apogee One Silver

RELATED: Apogee One vs Duet: Portability or Power?

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-maker’s dream.

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

Pros

  • Impeccable sound quality
  • Compatible with both Mac and iOS devices
  • 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

Features

  • Built-in mic
  • 3.5mm headphone output
  • AC adapter
  • 1/4-inch instrument input

the Best Interface For GarageBand:

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

RELATED: Best MIDI Keyboard for Garageband Users

Guide to Picking the Best Audio Interface

This section is here to make your life and buying decision easier. With all of the top audio interfaces available, it can be hard to choose

This guide narrows that down, making choosing an audio interface for GarageBand a simpler process.

IOS/Mac Compatible

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

Choosing an audio interface for GarageBand that works with Apple devices will not only make your life easier, but it will make your recording easier too.

iPad vs. Laptop

Imac and mac mouse on a desk

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.

Pros

  • Will work on all iPads, no matter the model date
  • Better sound quality when developing on a Mac laptop
  • Mixing and arranging songs, especially multiple tracks is ideal for a laptop
  • Easier to record and play musical 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.

Size and Weight

music producting studio wiht graphics overlay

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 audio interface, the harder it is to travel with.
  • Studio Footprint: Or you are a studio fiend? It would be wise to opt for an audio interface that will perfectly fit inside your home studio.

Connection Type

  • 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, Thunderbolt audio interfaces are 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: An external power supply 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, your needs, and your software. 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 audio interface for GarageBand is vital to your finished product.

Things to Look for to 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.

Some questions to think about:

  • 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, the Apogee One might be the best option for you.

Are you producing in a studio environment?

If yes, then the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) or, even better, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen Bundle) is 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 audio interfaces are the best for this. This music-making audio 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 audio interfaces 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 down the line.

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 home studio will allow you to test new sounds and styles in your tunes.

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

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 in itself is an excellent buy. Although if you’re looking for the best value, you can consider purchasing the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen Bundle).

With the bundle, you get a condenser microphone, headset, and all the cables. You’ll have all the products you need 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

GarageBand is the best music interface for 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 has the 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.

Final Thoughts

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, helps you and your talent take one step closer to making it big.


Changelog:

May 12, 2021updated title and meta description, updated publish date, tagged primary keyword, added table of contents, added schema, updated product images and buttons, changed affiliated links to Genius links, added RUR table, fixed and updated article formatting, fixed interlinking and removed 1 internal link, added 3 external links, optimized content

About the author

Daniel Douglas

After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Daniel became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.