Home studio recording can be intimidating at first, especially if you can’t even figure out how to get your equipment connected to your MacBook Pro.
I, too, had a hard putting everything together on my first try.
But don’t fret!
This article lists different solutions for you, no matter what ports your Macbook pro has!
- Every Mac device has a different set of plugs available, depending on your model and when it was released.
- You will probably need to purchase an adaptor to be able to link your audio interface.
- An audio interface is non-negotiable in professional sound production.
How to Connect Audio Interface to MacBook Pro: Step by Step Guide
Let’s start with the older models…
Method 1: USB Connection
You can use this method if your audio interface comes with a USB-C to USB-A cord.
First, plug the USB C end of the cord into the USB port at the back of the interface, and the other end goes into your Macbook Pro’s USB port.
MOST devices are equipped with a USB port.
If your Macbook isn’t compatible with a USB, you will need a USB-C hub that can connect to your Macbook.
Connect the USB-A end of your audio interface to your USB-C hub, and connect the USB-C end of the hub to the USB-C port of your Macbook Pro.
A USB C hub can accommodate multiple USB ports, like HDMI, SD cards, and PD!
Method 2: USB-C Adapter
If you don’t have a USB-C hub, use a USB-C adaptor. It’s similar to the USB-C hub, except it can only accommodate 1 USB.
Connect the USB-C end to your audio interface, then connect the USB-A end to the USB-C adaptor.
Next, connect the USB-C adaptor to any USB-C ports on your Macbook Pro.
Method 3: Firewire
Most Mac gadgets have this!
All you have to do is use the 800 to 400 cable and connect it directly to the back of your audio interface.
Method 4: Thunderbolt
Another method to connect the audio interface to your Macbook pro is the Thunderbolt. New Mac computers are usually equipped with Thunderbolt.
Thunderbolts look like USB C ports but have higher bandwidth and high-speed data transfer.
Just connect the audio interface directly to the Thunderbolt port of your Macbook pro!
Method 5: Peripheral Component Interconnect Express
Your Macbook pro might already have a PCIe card installed. If this is the case, you can directly connect your audio interface to your Macbook pro.
You also benefit from fast data transfer rates, thanks to the PCIe’s incredibly high bandwidth!
After figuring out which option is the best for your Apple device, follow further instructions from the manufacturer of your audio interface.
Some audio interfaces will ask you which driver to use, and some will ask you to install the latest driver.
Which Ports Does MacBook Pro Have?
It depends on how old or new your Macbook Pro is.
If you’re using a new Macbook Pro model, you probably only have 2 Thunderbolts that look like USB C ports.
These 2 ports are compatible with charging, Thunderbolt 3, USB 4, and USB 3.1 Gen 2, and can also be used as a Displayport.
If you need to connect more USB ports or any other additional device, we recommend you get a USB C hub.
However, using older Mac computers like the older Macbook pro might still have Firewire and USB A inputs.
Benefits of Audio Interface
The basic function of an audio interface is to route the audio input source in and out of your computer.
If that’s all it does, why not just use the headphones and speaker devices on my Macbook pro?
The built-in speaker and headphone connection in your Macbook Pro is designed for casual listening, not for the highest audio quality.
Manufacturers don’t splurge for their quality since you’re supposed only to use them to watch videos, listen to music, and make video calls.
Because of this, their capabilities are very limited.
You want more control and versatility when you record when it comes to audio creation, like music production, podcasting, and streaming.
And that’s where audio interfaces come in!
Audio interfaces bring out the BEST quality of whatever you record and allow you to manipulate and edit it further on your computer!
How Does an Audio Interface Work?
An audio interface is a hardware that works to get sound in and out of your device.
It does this by analog and digital converters on the inputs and digital to analog converters on the outputs.
When sound from voices and instruments travels through the air by sound waves, it is picked up and transmitted by microphones as analog voltages.
The converter inputs on the audio interface change that analog voltage into digital ones so that your computer can understand the voice or instrument.
The same process happens in the hardware when you play instrument or voice audio from your computer using an audio interface but in reverse.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Audio Interface
You should look out for important things in choosing among the many digital audio interfaces.
Bit Depths and Sample Rates
You want an audio interface that supports at least 24-bit conversion and a 44.1 kiloHertz sample rate.
This bit and sample rate determine the digital and analog conversion accuracy, so the HIGHER they are, the better.
Connecting Inputs and Outputs
Before you purchase an audio interface, you want to ensure that it will have no problems in connectivity or format to your Macbook Pro.
Most audio interfaces in the market have various outputs for connecting and have Thunderbolt, USB C and A, and more.
Next, you must decide how many audio in and out connections you need to connect to your audio interface.
Inputs allow you to capture the sound signal from mics and other music equipment.
- For mics, you want to make sure you have 48 volts of phantom power to be able to connect your new audio interface with condenser mics.
- For other devices like instruments, you might also need line-level inputs. The number of channels you need will depend on how many audio sources you will need to record at once.
You want to choose a more advanced audio interface with more inputs if you’re planning to record a live band.
Now for the outputs, you want the basics like line-level outputs for external audio processors and monitor speakers or headphones.
Latency is the time it takes for the sound signal to get into the audio interface, send it to your computer, and then back out in the output menu.
This process happens in just milliseconds but can sound like an echo if you when not controlled properly.
Audio interfaces have knobs to give you direct monitoring with low latency.
Connectivity also plays a role! For instance, some connections (like Thunderbolt) have more speed and less latency than others.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you still have questions about linking your audio interface? You can find answers in the next section of this article!
Can USB 3.0 to USB C Adaptor be Compatible With My Audio Interface?
Most likely, YES!
Unless you’re using a very old audio interface that cannot support those USB ports, your audio interface is probably compatible with a USB 3.0 to USB C Adaptor.
Although, try NOT to use a cord longer than 2 meters, or you might risk your audio condition being compromised.
Does My Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Work With Macbook Pro?
The 2i2 and Solo audio interfaces are class compliant on Macbook Pro.
They will work with the DEFAULT Mac core audio drivers! You will need the Focusrite Control menu for remote control or adjusting the settings.
Why Is My Audio Interface Not Showing Up?
If your Apple laptop is not recognizing the new device, you can try to unplug and replug it or use different USB ports or cables on your Mac.
You can also check if it appears on the Audio/MIDI Setup settings. Otherwise, you might need to reinstall the audio interface.
It is also possible that the latest Mac OS does not support your audio device driver, so you need to check if it is connected again.
And that’s all we have on how to connect the audio interface to Macbook Pro!
I hope this article has been helpful and informative. Soon, you can enjoy your audio interface interactions with your Macbook Pro!