If you want to take your GarageBand recordings to the next level, getting an interface is a great place to start. These useful pieces of equipment will allow you to record more tracks and instruments at once, among many other benefits in the studio.
There are many different interfaces to choose from, but there is a big difference between an average option and the best to use with GarageBand. It’s essential to stay informed so you can tell the difference between the two.
I’m Donovan, a seasoned music industry professional with years of experience writing, recording, and producing. I’ve used many different interfaces with GarageBand and know which of these is the best.
This post will highlight some of the best interfaces to use with GarageBand. I’ll provide you with key information and insights into every option and explain why or why not you might want to choose it. My goal is to help you stay informed and improve your studio skills.
Let’s get after it.
- If you are just learning how to use GarageBand, you probably don’t need a large interface, and a one or two-channel option should meet your needs.
- Most interfaces that work with GarageBand will also work with other DAWs like Logic Pro X. So they can be a good investment to help you improve your skills and get to the next level of studio recording.
- There is a wide range of prices with audio interfaces. You don’t need the most expensive option if you are a beginner using GarageBand, and many budget options will most likely meet your needs.
- Always double-check to ensure that the interface you are considering is compatible with macOS or iOS. If it isn’t, it won’t work with GarageBand.
What is the best audio interface for Mac?
Apogee makes some of the best audio interfaces for Mac, and they have several models that work well with GarageBand and Logic Pro X. The Apogee Quartet is one of the best options you can find, and it’s very capable in the studio.
How do I select an interface in GarageBand?
Most interfaces will automatically connect to GarageBand once plugged into your Mac, iPad, or iPhone. But you can also go to the GarageBand settings menu, select Audio/MIDI, and select an interface from there.
What Makes the Best Interface for GarageBand?
There are several important factors that you should keep in mind when looking for the best interface for GarageBand.
Number of Inputs
One of the first things to think about when choosing an interface for GarageBand is the number of inputs it has. This will dictate the number of instruments or microphones you can record at one time. Beginners only need a few inputs, while experience people might want more.
Many interfaces offer widespread compatibility, and they can work with many DAWs. But you should always check for this to ensure that the option you choose works with GarageBand or any other option you want to use for a studio.
Interfaces are available with many different functions and features you can choose from to cater to your preferences in the studio. Features such as preamps can help improve the quality of your recordings, and others can boost workflow and creativity.
There is a very wide range of options of there relating to the cost of audio interfaces. The cheapest models are pretty affordable but offer limited functions and features. The best options are typically a lot more expensive.
The Best Interfaces for GarageBand Reviewed
|Best Overall||Apogee Duet|
|Best for Guitar||Apogee Jam|
|Best Budget Option||Focusrite Scarlett 2i2|
|Best for High-Quality||Universal Audio Apollo Twin|
|Best for Beginners||PreSonus AudioBox|
1. Apogee Duet
- Excellent audio quality can instantly improve the sound of GarageBand recordings.
- Simple-to-use design makes it easy for people of all ability levels to take advantage of in the studio.
- Works well with iPad to expand recording possibilities.
- Two analog inputs with high-quality preamps.
The best overall interface for GarageBand is the Apogee Duet. This high-quality option will allow you to dial in excellent-sounding recordings in GarageBand even if you don’t have many skills in the studio yet.
The unit features two analog inputs with preamps that will boost the quality of any mic you use with them, instantly offering studio-quality recordings. It also comes with Apogee’s Maestro software to help you control things.
The Duet is also very easy to use, which is nice for anyone just getting started with GarageBand. It has an intuitive design and is basically a plug-and-play interface. But you still get world-class audio quality from it.
The downside of this interface is that it’s relatively expensive to use with GarageBand. It’s not a budget choice, but it is a good option if you want to graduate up to Logic Pro X on your Mac someday soon.
My Verdict: Awesome all-around interface that is easy to use while delivering very high-end audio quality. Two preamps in the interface open up what you can achieve sonically within GarageBand.
2. Apogee Jam
- Single channel guitar interface that is easy to use and sounds great.
- Affordable option for guitar players that allows you to plug right into your Mac or iPad.
- Can also plug in a bass guitar, keyboard, and other instruments.
- Excellent sound quality with 24-bit resolution.
If you are looking for an interface to plug your guitar into GarageBand, the Apogee Jam is well worth getting. This awesome little unit delivers excellent sound quality thanks to 24-bit high-resolution audio capabilities.
The Jam is a small interface and only gives you a single channel, but you can still take advantage of this in many ways during recording. You can plug straight into your Mac or iPad and start laying down awesome guitar lines in minutes.
This interface can also be used to connect a bass guitar, keyboard, or even a small microphone into GarageBand. It’s also affordable and small, so you can easily pack it with you to take on the road or anywhere your travels take you.
Being a single-channel interface, you can’t record more than a single instrument at once. This can be a limiting factor if you are trying to run an entire recording session. If you want multiple tracks, go with another type of interface.
My Verdict: Awesome guitar-focused interface that opens up a world of possibilities within GarageBand. The plug-and-play design makes it very easy to set up, and you can quickly connect a guitar or other instrument to the app.
3. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Affordable interface that still delivers quality sound and everything needed to get started with GarageBand recordings.
- Two channels allow you to set up multi-track recordings easily.
- Decent preamps boost the sound of any mics or instruments you connect.
- Easy to use and connect to GarageBand or other DAWs.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a solid all-around and compact interface to use with GarageBand if you are on a budget. This affordable option still provides plenty of high-quality audio capabilities yet is very affordable.
The Scarlett 2i2 gives you two channels to work with, so you can set up multiple microphones to record with or pair with an instrument with a mic. These channels feature two decent preamps to help you dial in great-sounding recordings.
The interface is also very easy to use and connect, so you won’t have to worry about a big learning curve when trying to get started with GarageBand projects. It also does a good job of recording acoustic instruments, thanks to a low-noise design.
The tradeoff with a budget option is that you won’t quite get as high of audio quality as you would with other options on the list. That might not be a big deal for the beginner, but trained ears can certainly notice it.
My Verdict: Very affordable option that still delivers reliable sound quality. Two channels give you enough to set up a variety of GarageBand projects. Very easy to use and control, which are benefits for beginners.
4. Universal Audio Apollo Twin
- Offers excellent pro-level sound quality for people looking for high-end recordings.
- Two-channel option that includes two excellent preamps, part of the reason this interface sounds so good.
- Included software helps you pair this option with whatever Mac or DAW you want.
- Great option to use if you plan on upgrading from GarageBand to more complex DAWs in the future.
The Universal Audio Apollo Twin offers excellent sound quality, and this is the option to use if you want high-end recording capabilities. GarageBand might not be a pro-level DAW, but you can get pro-level sounds within it using the Apollo Twin.
The interface features two channels, allowing you to record multiple tracks simultaneously. While that’s not a lot, you also get two world-class preamps, which is where the magic is when it comes to what this unit is capable of.
The Apollo Twin also has several different plugins that you can use when moving up from GarageBand and diving into more complex DAWs like Logic Pro X. That also makes it a good option to grow with if you want to become a more experienced producer.
The downside of all these higher-end features and sound quality is that you will pay for them. This is an expensive option that could be out of range for the average GarageBand user. It’s worth it if you want pro-level sound, but not a beginner choice.
My Verdict: Excellent option for anyone looking for higher-end capabilities or something to grow with. Some plugins and software included increase the value of the interface and give you more tools to work with.
5. PreSonus AudioBox
- Good beginner option, thanks to its affordable price and easy-to-use design.
- Two channels give you the ability for multitracking
- Comes with a software bundle that you can explore outside of GarageBand.
- Mixer-style controls make it pretty easy to dial in the parameters of your project.
If you are just learning to use GarageBand and want to use an interface, the PreSonus AudioBox is a good option. This one also comes at a very affordable price, which anyone putting a new studio together will appreciate.
The AudioBox features two channels, giving you the ability to make multitrack recordings within GarageBand. This is a good starting point for beginners to get the hang of what a recording session looks like and how to set things up within it.
The unit also has a mixer-like control design featuring knobs on the interface itself. This makes adjusting parameters right on the box a breeze and allows you to tweak your settings even if you aren’t familiar with recording software.
This interface won’t give the highest end audio-quality and is pretty basic by design. Beginners will have everything they need to get started, but more experienced users will find this option pretty disappointing overall in terms of capability and sound quality.
My Verdict: Good option for beginners to explore thanks to a very affordable price and an easy-to-use design. Not that solid of an option from a performance perspective, but still worth exploring for anyone starting out.
You don’t need an interface to use GarageBand, but the options listed here are all worth exploring if you choose to use one. An audio interface will expand your recording possibilities and teach you how to work towards becoming more professional.
There are many audio interfaces to explore, and each comes with a different set of pros and cons. Be sure to read all the reviews here carefully to help you pick an option that best meets your needs in GarageBand.
Have you had success with any other interface with GarageBand that I didn’t mention here? What did you like about it and why? Let me know in the comments below.