Best Audio Interface For Live Performance

What do you have for a music sequencer software? Logic pro? Pro tools? Steinberg Cubase? Garage band? Or probably you own the latest Live and Push 10.0 Ableton that lets you import/create your own wavetables.

Whichever of them you’ve got, you’re still on track on your live performances. But what really is the best audio interface for live performance to run any of these sequencers with? 

IMO, deciding on perfect audio interfaces, one needs to first rule out the confusion that bounces off random popular opinions. This way, you are able to get straight with things and put the needful into consideration for a blameless purchase. 

And that’s why I have here a done-for-you list of interfaces you should check out on to put yourself in control of future live performances.

But here’s the kicker… none of your expected popular low ends like Focusrite Scarlett and Lexicon Alpha make the cut to my listing. 

You’d ask what really was I thinking while writing this review? Well, here are the things I had in mind for yardsticks before I could come up with my rock-solid recommendation.  

Recommended List Of Best Audio Interface For Live Performance: Quick Answer.

 

Prices accurate as of:

 

Best Audio Interface For Live Performance: My Bizzare Buying Guide

  • Support: I made sure each of them supports Mac and Windows.
  • Connection:  While some of them agree only with USB 2.0, others include USB 3.0 connection.
  • Latency: whether on drums, guitars, or vocals, none of these hardware annoys you with its latency. I made sure I didn’t pick anyone with a latency above 23ms. In fact, most of them spot 2ms to 5ms discrepancy.
  • Line Outputs: I explored from those with 2 line outputs to the 34 line outputs audio interfaces. They are the very best.
  • Design: The durability of a model is known by its components’ materials and how they are pulled together. I had that in mind as well from the get-go. So should you.
  • Performance: As a matter of fact, the performance of an audio interface is predictable with the last five factors above. And it’s obvious in my top 10 recommended list of best audio interface for live performance below.

But here’s what to take note. Not a thing really but I think it would save you the time if I’d grouped my picks according to the number of their line outputs. This way I believe you’d dive into your desired group and get the model that will pick up steam with you over the time.

 

Top 10 Recommended List Of Best Audio Interface For Live Performance

{2 line Outputs: Best Audio Interface For Live Performance}

  1. Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO (APLTWDII)

It is obvious UA did emulate Manley’s near-zero preamp technology on this one. Nevertheless, the overall uniqueness of Apollo Twin is unchanged by that. In fact, unlike. most other 10×6 Thunderbolt interfaces, this one pulls out a rare pro-quality conversion from a combination of A/D and D/A. 

Universal Audio Apollo Twin High-Resolution Thunderbolt Interface with Realtime UAD DUO Processing
  • Desktop 2x6 Thunderbolt audio interface with world-class 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion
  • Real time UAD Processing for tracking through vintage Compressors, EQs, Tape Machines, Mic Preamps, and Guitar Amp plug-ins with near-zero (sub-2ms) latency
  • Unison technology offers stunning models of classic tube and transformer-based mic preamps
  • Runs UAD Powered Plug-Ins via Audio Units, VST, RTAS & AAX 64 in all major DAWs
  • Requires Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or 10.9 Mavericks

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Needless to say, each package includes a full UAD analog plugin you can track through with any of UAD’s sleek in your Mac or Window just in case you don’t want to spend bucks on a sequencer that goes for the throat.

Features

  • 2 line outputs
  • Thunderbolt ports
  • Analog  inputs (Plugins)
  • Console 2.0 software you can create presets with
  • Audio conversion; 24 bits/192kHz
  • Supports Mac, Windows, and Apple
  • Real-time UAD processing
  • Digital Inputs and outputs: 8 channels via optical connection
Ups
  • Premium build quality
  • Multiple support including Apple
  • Near-zero latency track
  • Analog recording tone and flow on Mac and Windows
  • Durable and can receive more punches
 
Downs
  • It breaks your bank!
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  1. Tascam 16×08

If there’s ever a one-solution-fits-all interface for a sequencer unit, Tascam 16×08 would take the place. And it does.

You’d call it Tascam 16×16 when you start using it and enjoying all of the features. 

Starting with the 8 High Definition Discrete Architecture mic preamps and other HDDA components with an overall ultra-compact design, and the fact that you enjoy 100dB sound-to-noise ratio, you wouldn’t go for any other in the class of Tascam 16×08.

Tascam US-16×08 Rackmount USB Audio/MIDI Interface
  • Captures 16 mic and line inputs to your computer with clear sound quality and advanced features to manage big sessions
  • Eight Ultra-HDDA microphone preamps deliver the cleanest and quietest operation in their class while delivering up to 56dB of gain
  • An additional eight line inputs are provided, two of them switchable to instrument level for direct guitar or bass recording
  • Eight balanced line outputs are also available, two with a level control on the front panel for monitoring
  • Built in is a DSP Mixer for low-latency digital mixing, and each channel has four-band EQ and compression for polished-sounding monitor mixes
  • In addition to interface mode, the US-16x08 can be used as a standalone mic preamp
  • The first two channels switch to direct guitar inputs ideal for direct recording electric and acoustic guitar and bass without a preamp

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Among the 8 input mic preamps, two are designed to meet up with your guitar playing and bass recording need so much that you can give the two some level up for any of these two purposes with the single push of a control knob.

You can use the interface as a standalone mic amp, and as well use it as two units connected together with the XLR connectors it comes with.

Features:

  • Windows driver, Mac driver, and USB compliance class 2.0 driver
  • Low latency built-in DSP mixer
  • 56dB gain
  • More than 48V phantom power
  • Ultra HDDA mic preamps
  • Separated controlled knobs
Ups
  • High latency
  • Works with most sequencers
  • Super speedy high-level audio production
  • Cost-effective
 
Downs
  • Overwhelmed interface
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  1. Zoom UAC-2 Superspeed Audio Interface

Looking out for 2 channels of super low latency 24 bits/192kHz high-resolution for your onstage playback and mix? But you don’t want one of those with gains that max out and just sit there forever. 

Zoom UAC-2 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Audio Converter, 2-In/2-Out SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Audio Interface, Switchable +48V Phantom Power, Loopback Function, Two Balanced TRS Output Jacks
  • Loopback function for webcasting, podcasting, gaming, and other live streaming applications
  • Low latency overdubbing and direct monitoring for zero-latency monitoring in mono or stereo
  • Two combo balanced XLR/TRS input connectors accept both mic- and line-level signal
  • Two balanced TRS output jacks for connection to amplifiers or self-powered speakers
  • 4x upsampling during A/D and D/A conversion for reduced noise and enhanced fidelity

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The UAC-2 does that. It connects your 2.0 and 3.0 USB Windows, iPad, and Mac without an AC connection. And it doubles down on your live performance gig by deliberately delivering quality music through the 3.0 USB superspeed and its advanced converter.

Connect your laptop to it—it works well. Connect your speaker to it—Zoom UAC-2 gives you awesomeness with all of its…

Features:

  • Audio conversion; 24 bits/192 kHz
  • Bus-powered
  • Output/input; 2 lines
  • 48V switchable phantom power for each channels
  • Supports Mac, Windows, and iPad
  • Inputs and outputs connectors; XLR/TRS
  • Optional.power adapter
  • Includes a setup guide for Cubase LE software
Ups
  • Superspeed audio conversion
  • Free downloadable Cubase LE Software
  • Durable design
  • Multipurpose and Dynamic
  • Quality conversion
 
Downs
  • The 2 pounds weight may be a dealbreaker
  • Pricey
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  1. Yamaha Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel USB Interface

Maintaining the URs standard of remarkable Build quality, seamless integration capabilities, and flexible stunning sound, the UR22MKII is absolutely a perfect replacement of the popular MR816 on my listing.

While MR816 may be seen as the staple of daisy-chaining, UR22MKII is the future generation latency-free interface housing an advanced high-frequency inbuilt D-PRE mic preamp. Though it’s clear MR816 like other 816 comes with a D-PRE but it’s never as advanced as the UR22MKII’s that covers a wider range without over amplifying any musical or sound source.

Yamaha Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel USB Interface
  • 2 x 2 USB 2.0 audio interface
  • 24-Bit/192 kHz & Two Class-A D-PRE mic preamps
  • Compatible with all major audio editing, mastering, and music production software
  • MIDI input/output & iPad connectivity. System requirements: mac OS X 10.7/10.8/10.9/10.10/10.11 and windows 7 SP1/8/8.1/10
  • Cubase AI and Cubasis LE included. Please refer the User Guide before use

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Say goodbye to the single metric-interface of MR816’s Reverb-X Ray with UR22MKII’s Rev-X sophisticated with three visual-compelling metrics that shows you understandably three basic simulations of the hall, plate, and room in real-time enabling you to be at the top of reverb level and reverb time control. 

Enough of the jitters, check out the full…

Features:

  • Audio Conversion: 24bits/192kHz
  • Cubase LE and AI included
  • Support: Mac and Windows
  • Analog Output: 2 lines
  • Analog Inputs: 2 lines
  • Preamp: D-PRE Class-A
  • Advance Rev-X
  • Sweet Spot Morphing Channel
Ups
  • Clean, clear, sound quality
  • Perfect stability on Windows 10
  • Full amplification control
  • Phenomenal setup
  • Wider frequency range
  • Captures real-time expression
  • Cost-effective
 
Downs
  • Produces little residual noise on Cubase 9
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{4 Outputs Audio Interface For Live Performance}

  1. Audient iD14 High-Performance Audio Interface

If you wouldn’t mind the slopey learning curve of it, Audient iD14 would give you the best onstage experience on whatever you feed it with.

The downside is, you won’t be able to control the volume of it in a headphone at the push of a button but rather by upping the mic volume slide on the software from your Mac or Windows 10. Another thing is it doesn’t come with a switch so it stays powered even when your computer shuts down but you can get this hurdle off the way by connecting a 12V ON/OFF switch yourself if you know how to go about it.

Audient iD14 High Performance USB Audio Interface
  • 10-in/4-out USB Desktop Audio Interface with 2 Class A Mic Preamps
  • Burr-Brown Converters
  • 8-channel ADAT Input

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With those kept under your belt, Audient iD7 claims the best hardware with 2 clean microphone preamps that doesn’t let electrical noise get in the way nor does it give way to the self-noise of your microphone to make your onstage performances shoddy.

What most professionals like about it is the ADAT input feature that comes in handy down the line when multiple number of inputs are needed. More included specs that would make it your pick should you be vying for a replacement of an annoying interface with the best audio interface for live performance are…

Features:

  • number of Input lines: 10
  • Outputs lines: 4
  • ADAT input: 8
  • Bur-Brown Converters
  • Hardware Interface: USB
  • Support: Mac, Windows, and iPad
  • 2 Class-A mic preamp
  • JFET DI
Ups
  • Extra outputs
  • Louder and finner sounding
  • Portable
  • Durable
 
Downs
  • Pricey
  • Firmware update may be daunting on Windows 7
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  1. Presonus STUDIO 26 Audio Interface

You’ve seen this STUDIO 26 in almost every studio but is it safe to go for it against your upcoming gig? 

Let me start with the featured unlimited MIDI that lets you connect the interface, synthesizers, amplifiers, musical line instruments, and even the stage lighting altogether. 

There are also Gigabytes of free preset loops, 26 effects, and 26 instruments. All coming in handy right on the stage as game-changers.

PreSonus Studio 26c 2×4, 192 kHz, USB-C Audio Interface, 2 Mic Pres – 4 Line Outs
  • Usb-c bus-powered, 2x4 audio interface with MIDI
  • 24-Bit resolution; 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 kHz sampling rates
  • +48V phantom power (global)
  • 2 balanced ¼ TRS line outputs for monitor mixing
  • 2 balanced ¼ TRS main outputs with front-panel level control
  • 4 ladder-style LED level meters (2 input, 2 main output)
  • Stereo headphone output with cue mix a/B | Direct monitoring
  • Midi I/O
  • Usb-c to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables included
  • Studio One Artist and studio Magic plug-in Suite included

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To top it off, there’s an LED metre to keep watch of ins and outs as your mixing birth quality sound through two solid-state XMAX-L preamps and converters.

And finally about the DAW. Presonus 26 comes with Studio Magic plugin-suite. An all in all plugin for every instrument. 

But here’s just a nugget. As per software download, it’s required of you to have the interface’s serial number registered on the get-go. After that’s done, you can download the studio one 3 artists or studio one 3 professionals and set the stage on fire with all of the interfaces…

Features:

  • 24bits resolution
  • 2 mics/2 XMAX L preamps/instruments
  • 2 ins and 4 outs
  • MIDI in and out
  • Studio magic plugin suite
  • Studio one artist as a software sequencer
Ups
  • Compact and brilliant design
  • High resolution
  • Clean and crisp sound quality
  • Accuracy in LED meter gauge
 
Downs
  • Pricey even than STUDIO 96
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{10-18 Outputs Audio Interface For Live Performance}

  1. Roland OctaCapture

Really, the most difficult thing to keep under your belt when in charge of a live performance is the residual noise from multiple micing.

But with Roland’s sophisticated engineering invested wisely to bring premium components and audio technology together, residual noise and sounds from dynamic sources become a thing of the past. And thanks to the high-level input channels especially of the channel 7 and 8, multi-miking can be leveraged for a high-level audio production at a great speed.

Roland OctaCapture USB 2.0 Audio Interface
  • Eight Premium Mic Preamps, Compact I/O, Pristine Sound Quality
  • AUTO-SENS function intelligently sets optimal input levels for all preamps
  • Extreme low-latency VS Streaming driver. Low-noise, wide-range power supply. Compact with durable aluminum body and direct box functionality. Bundled with Cakewalk SONAR X1 LE
  • Four independent software-controlled Direct Mixers for creating custom monitor mixes
  • Supports all major DAW platforms on Mac or PC, including OSX 10.6 and Windows 7, through ASIO 2.0/WDM (Windows) and Core Audio (Mac) drivers

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Each of the 8 preamps does not only give a pure 24-bits/192Khtz audio quality but also enlarge the Input/Output capacity of low-end DAWs like the V-studio 100 and 700. Moreover, the audio interfaces at its entirety works perfectly with just any software of your choice. So you have no trouble testing a series of sequencers before getting the right one to enjoy Roland OctaCapture…

Features:

  • Audi conversion: 24bits/192Khtz
  • Automatic input level: AUTOSENS
  • Built-in DSP
  • Mac and PC support
  • 10 ins/ 10 outs
Ups
  • High-speed and high-quality audio production
  • low latency
  • Possible flexibility when two of the units are connected
  • Quality preamps
  • Compact design
 
Downs
  • Not cost effective
  • Overwhelming control knob
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  1. RME Fireface UCX

How do you deal with the what-ifs? 

What if a studio offer pops up in the future aside your live performance gigs? What if there’s a pro bono gig from a friend and a studio audio interface is needed? 

You wouldn’t want to buy an additional interface. And you really don’t need to as long as you own an RME Fireface UCX mostly rated the best audio interface for life performance by bands and equally known for quality sound delivery in the studio by guitarists and vocalists.

RME Fireface UCX 36 Channel 24 Bit 192kHz High-End USB and FireWire Audio Interface
  • PERFECT FOR LIVE & STUDIO - The Fireface UCX is a highly integrated pro audio solution in an ultra-compact format for studio and live recordings. It continues RMEs long tradition of designing compact high-end interfaces, packing into a half-rack size unit what usually would be spread out over two or three 19 inch panels. In doing this the Fireface UCX marks a new packing record: 300 electronic components more than inside the already well-stocked Fireface UC!
  • EXCELLENT SOUND QUALITY - Equipped with a new 2011 A/D and D/A high-performance converter design all I/Os operate at up to 192 kHz. The AD/DA conversion supersedes the outstanding technical specifications of the Fireface UC/400 with an impressive 114 dBA dynamic range on both record and playback. The advanced multi-bit converter architecture guarantees excellent S/N and THD specs across a wide analog level range.
  • STEADYCLOCK - RMEs unique jitter suppression technology guarantees perfect sound quality throughout, making the device completely independent from the quality of external clock signals. Due to the highly efficient jitter reduction, the UCX converters operate independently from the quality of the external clock signal, as if they are working with internal clock all the time - guaranteeing a pristine sound quality! SteadyClock allows the Fireface UCX to control the sample rate freely on its own.
  • SETUP MEMORY - Internal memory allows for the permanent storage of six different presets of the unit. Therefore the Fireface UCX is able to operate fully stand-alone, without any connected computer. In stand-alone operation, it can transform into totally different devices by the simple click of a button. Furthermore, in this mode, TotalMix FX can also be controlled via MIDI.
  • CONNECTIVITY - 18 Input / 18 Output channels, 8 x Analog I/O, 2 x Mic/ Line Preamps, digitally controlled, 2 x Line / Instrument inputs, digitally controlled, 1 x SPDIF I/O coaxial, 1 x ADAT I/O (or 1 x SPDIF I/O optical), 1 x Word Clock I/O, 2 x MIDI I/O (via breakout cable), 1 x FireWire 400, 1 x USB 2.0 (USB 3 compatible), TotalMix FX (with UFX effects engine)

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Don’t like how wires are cluttered and intertwined when you connect instruments to your interface using a USB? RME Fireface UCX supports FireWire. Therefore you can connect up to 63 instruments and still maintain a steady unsaddled flow of crisp audio production amplified without delay by the 2 mic line preamps from Micstasy.

Speaking of size and weight, RME Fireface UCX is an ultra-compact AD interface integrating hi-tech features engineered by RME’s teams of certified musical engineers to bring your studio need together in harmony with your life performance need. 

Check out on the…

Features:

  • Resolution: 32bit/192Khz
  • UCX converters
  • SETUP memory
  • Active jitter suppressor
  • High speed MIDI Ins/Outs
  • 36 channels (18 ins/ 18 outs)
  • Optional RME remote control
Ups
  • Steady cloak
  • Ultra-compact
  • Dynamic interface (best for live performance and studio)
  • High flexibility
 
Downs
  • None
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  1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools 

Focusrite Scarlett is unarguably a standout amongst the most well-known USB interfaces available in the market. The red shaded outside isn’t only appealing in appearance, yet additionally tough. The case is made of anodized aluminum, making it strong to withstand life out and about.

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, Focusrites Red Plug-in Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples

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The USB connection disposes of a long arrangement process; you should simply connect it to begin. Reduced and light, the Scarlett 2i2 is genuinely versatile. It can without much of a stretch fit into your workstation pack. To make things significantly simpler, it is likewise transported fueled which implies that it doesn’t require any extra power supply.

Features:

  • Optimized second-generation technology.
  • A ton of I/O for an interface in this class.
  • 8 award-winning mic/instrument preamps.
  • 16 channels of MIDI.
  • Up to 18 inputs and 20 outputs.
  • Re-engineered instrument inputs accommodate the hottest pickups.
  • 8 channels of ADAT, 2 channels of S/PDIF.
Ups
  • Two instrument inputs, designed for seriously hot pickups
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz/24-bit
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain
  • One headphones output with gain control
 
Downs
  • None
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Conclusion

What do you think about my listing? Do you think it’s not a great idea to not add some of your popular buddies? How about you drop a comment in the comment section?