5 Best Audio Interface for Pro Tools in 2020

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Nowadays, many professional studio arrangements include a PC, an audio interface, and a range of MIDI devices and musical gears.

Unlike a standard studio setup that is centered on the console.

The present-day project studios make use of an audio interface for microphone preamplifiers and the analog to digital transformation procedure while the routing occurs through a Digital Audio Workstation such as Pro Tools.

Like consoles, audio interfaces commonly come with a few microphone inputs, several one-quarter inch line inputs, and some outputs.

A few models equally come with MIDI inputs and outputs. 

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To get a proper understanding of the usefulness of an audio interface, a good understanding of how an audio signal that enters through the device is affected is essential.

So, we have provided a brief overview of the effects below:

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Best Audio Interface for Pro Tools – Comparison Table

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5 Best Audio Interfaces for Pro Tools

1. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen) 

The entire Focusrite Scarlett series including the 18i20 (second Generation) are the top-quality audio interface for Pro Tools.

You can trust them to perform with amazing sound quality.

The Scarlett 18i20 just like the rest of the series is a great device. 

It features the recommended specifications including perfect and neutral microphone preamplifiers with 24 bit.

The 96 kiloHertz digital transformation feature of the unit ensures you get audio recordings with the hook sounds. 

The Midi, ins, and outs together with the S/PDIF and ADAT input and outputs that come with this audio interface are great benefits of using this interface.

The downside of the audio interface, however, is the fact that it makes use of USB 2.0 connection instead of the more recent faster Thunderbolt or FireWire connections.

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2. Steinberg UR 824 Audio Interface

The Steinberg UR 824 is a great audio interface for pro tools, especially if you’re just starting.

The device features good Yamaha D-Pre microphone preamplifiers.

It comes with the capacity to transform digital sounds at 24 bit and 96 kiloHertz. 

It is a high-quality audio interface that comes with the recommended eight analog inputs and eight outputs.

However, you can upgrade it to 24 X 24 ins/outs with the use of exterior microphone preamplifier elements connections through the two sets of ADAT input and output.

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3. PreSonus AudioBox 1818 

The PreSonus AudioBox is the third in the series of audio interfaces produced by the company.

Similar to the two earlier versions, the AudioBox 1818 features fantastic specifications you need to work with your pro tools. 

These include XMAX pre-amplifiers, 24 bit, 96 kiloHertz digital translation, ADAT input and output, MIDI input and output.

It comes with precisely all the specifications you want.

You equally get 8 X 8 analog input/output connections which will make your music production easier.

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4. Universal Audio Apollo Quad 

The Universal Audio Apollo quad is not your regular audio interface.

It comes with especially top-notch quality and much more suitable for veteran music artists.

While it only features 4 microphone inputs, the preamplifiers are high-end.  

Besides, it equally comes with an additional 8 inputs and another 10 output connections.

It is great for converting analog audio signals to digital and from the converted digital signal back to an analog signal at a whopping 192 kiloHertz sampling frequency. 

It equally runs on a 24-bit structure.

The great plus of this audio interface is the utilization of DSP cards to lift load outside of the CPU.

It performs the entire processing within the device instead of burdening your computer’s processor.

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5. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 

While this audio interface comes in a mini and portable size, you’ll hardly find any audio interface in the market as cool as this.

The Komplete Audio 6 is a creation station intended to serve the purposes of music producers.

It isn’t meant for big recording sessions. 

It comes with 4 analog ins which include (two-fold XLR combination and two balanced lines.

You equally get 4 balanced outputs with this device.

If you wonder about the versatility feature of this interface, it also features an S/PDIF input and output besides the MIDI input/output. 

While it is powered by USB, you’ll get the standard 24-bit by 96 kiloHertz recording at cost-efficient pricing.

You get all the specifications you need in an audio interface as a producer with this little full-featured device.

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What an audio interface do to sound signals that pass to and from Pro Tools

An audio interface can connect to your computer through various forms of connections which include the USB and FireWire connection.

The most recent devices utilize Thunderbolt connections.

This type of connection transmits the digital signal through the Pro Tools and returns it to the interface and speakers to make it easy for you to monitor.

The entire interfaces come with a hardware shield and the implication of this is that they regularly come with some degree of latency between the source of sound that you are recording and the one that you’re monitoring.

The size of the buffer indicates the number of samples the interface estimates at any particular time. 

While converting from analog to the digital (Pro Tools) there is a shield and another buffer or shield when you want to convert back from digital to analog signal within speakers, headphones, and related audio gears

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Outputs

When a music artist produces a sound from a microphone, the preamplifier amplifies the sound.

It is recorded with the use of Pro Tools but that is only after converting the audio to digital signal audio.

The musician uses a headphone signal prompt to monitor the produced sound.  

Before playing the music that has been recorded, the sound signal needs to be converted from a digital signal to an analog signal before the sound signal travel through of the integrated outputs on an audio interface. 

The sound then travels from the outputs of the audio interface to speakers or headphones.

The greater the number of outputs that come with an audio interface, the more flexible the device is for monitoring of sound signals.

It also increases the potential for utilizing outboard effects.

Factors to consider when looking for the best audio interface for pro tools

The first thing you need to know is why you want to buy the audio interface.

The next thing to consider is the type of music recording you want to do with the device. 

You need to consider if you want to be recording orchestras or if you want to do lone playing.

However, even when you are recording alone, it’s better to purchase an audio interface that comes with additional inputs in case you need to use more than one input in the future.

You can equally check if the audio interface you want to buy comes with a feature that allows you to upgrade the number of microphone inputs you can utilize by linking up through the ADAT light pipe to an exterior microphone preamplifier element.

Although 24 bit, 44.1 kiloHertz is sufficient for the majority of applications, higher sampling frequency, and bit depth means the audio interface will produce an enhanced audio quality.

Again, ensure you verify that the interface comes with a sufficient amount of outputs and whether the connection system well-matches your PC.

Bear in mind that you require 48 Volt power for your condenser mics and dynamic DI boxes.

Ensure that the audio interface you buy comes with these specifications of microphone inputs.

Conclusion

You’ll find plenty of good audio interfaces in the market.

However, we have chosen these five as our best audio interface for pro tools because of the value they offer at their respective prices. 

Just like your PC, the quality of your audio interface is very essential for working with pro tools.

It will determine the quality of the audio you get from this DAW.

So, it needs to come with all the essential features you need to achieve great performance. 

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