Whether you’re an electronic music producer, a live performer, a recording artist, or a movie and game composer, the audio interface doesn’t necessarily have to be a perfect match for Ableton Live, but it can unlock a whole new world of production and recording possibilities.
Yes, you can increase music’s potential with any Top-tier interface as it boasts high-quality mic preamps, more ports, and seamless integration with Ableton Live it means you can effortlessly connect multiple instruments, mics, and equipment that will significantly help you in expanding your creative canvas and keeping the flow going. Another benefit you will get is rock-solid stability and after adding an audio interface your most issues including dropouts and latency issues that are currently frustrating you, will be resolved so Instead of troubleshooting, you can concentrate on music.
You can also get Studio-grade effects as there are many interfaces that come bundled with powerful software plugins or hardware DSP capabilities, greatly adding professional-sounding effects and processing options. Whenever you add and work with a high-quality audio interface, especially with Ableton Live, you can increase your Inspiration and motivation as it gives you the understanding that you are capturing your music in the best way, so your creativity increases and it fuels your passion for production.
Are you tired of constant upgrades? Any audio interface has the ability to accommodate your evolving needs as your music journey progresses and also saves your money. So you must think about it as an investment in your musical development as a great interface can be a valuable tool that adds power and gives you support to create the best work and reach your full potential as well.
In general, it depends on what is important to you, like if you are from Category One, in which many audio music producers are happy with their current setup so there is no need to read my guide about top-of-the-line options. Category two is for people who are serious about taking their music to the next level and they want to unlock their new creative possibilities so my article is for those people only and I will always recommend them to grab an audio interface as well. It is recommended that you take your budget, needs, and research into consideration before choosing an audio interface that feels like it is made for you.
A Quick Overview To Get Started
We know that Ableton Live is a versatile DAW for live performances and detailed arrangements. With MIDI support, virtual instruments, and Max for Live, it’s a go-to for music production across genres. But the popular question is, Why are any audio interfaces required for Ableton Live? The main thing is that Ableton Live, like most DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), cannot directly process sound from instruments and microphones so it needs a receiver to act as an audio interface, converting analog audio signals into digital data that the software can understand and manipulate. You have come to right place we have compiled a list of Audio interfaces that shows great compatibility with Ableton Live.
This article will cover some compatible Audio interfaces for Ableton Live. To help you decide, we will also list the pros and cons of each. In case if you are looking for a mixcraft studio compatible audio interface there is already a guide dedicated to it.
Best Audio Interface for Ableton Live Summary
|Well-rounded option Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best performance to value Ableton Live Universal Audio ApolloTwin MKII Solo Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best with premium UA mic preamp Universal Audio Apollo 8 Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best Versatile Option TASCAM US-4×4 USB Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best for for recording multiple instruments M-Audio M-Track 8X4M Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best for legendary SSL sound creation Logic SSL 2+ Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best for Podcasters MOTU M4 Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best for professional recording PreSonus Studio 24c Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best Premium Option Antelope Audio Discrete 4 Read More
|See On Amazon
|Best With Portable Design Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) Read More
|See On Amazon
Best Audio Interface for Ableton Live At a Glance:
- Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen)
- Universal Audio ApolloTwin MKII Solo
- Universal Audio Apollo 8
- TASCAM US-4×4 USB
- M-Audio M-Track 8X4M
- Logic SSL 2+
- MOTU M4
- PreSonus Studio 24c
- Antelope Audio Discrete 4
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
Best Audio Interface for Ableton Live Reviews
To start our list, we have the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen), which is a good pocket-friendly USB audio interface that has a Small footprint and an elegant RED color body design. This one is for a Professional quality audio interface, and its greatest feature is Focusrite IOS control that you can use for controlling many types of audio like Cue mixes, preamps, playback, mute, solo, and so on, which makes it good to go for your voice work.
The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is a powerhouse for musicians and home studio enthusiasts and it boasts two Scarlett mic preamps, two instrument inputs, and two line-level analog inputs for versatile recording. On the output side you will find four balanced jack outputs, two headphone outputs with individual gain control, and MIDI I/O for seamless connectivity with MIDI devices.
The inclusion of S/PDIF in and out ensures easy-going integration with digital devices. You can enjoy pristine audio quality with the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 impressive conversion capabilities, supporting sample rates up to 192kHz at 24-bit. If I talk about latency, Yes, this audio interface has the capability to achieve super-low roundtrip latency and unleash the power of real-time plugins without the need for DSP.
You can easily Take control effortlessly with the Focusrite iOS Control app, enabling remote cue mix adjustments via your iPad, iPhone, or iPod, and this app can be easily downloaded and Installed from the Apple App Store. Whether you’re on Windows 7 or Mac OS X 10.10, the Scarlett 6i6 ensures seamless connectivity and intuitive control for your recording and mixing needs.
- First Focusrite Creative Pack
- Ableton Live Lite
- Softube Time
- Tone Bundle
- Focusrite’s Red Plugin Suite
- 2GB of Loopmasters samples
- Choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument.
What makes Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 a game-changer for audio enthusiasts is its high-quality conversion at 192kHz/24-bit and low latency for real-time plugins. The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is a good choice for Ableton Live as it features plenty of connections that allow you to record vocals, instruments, and even outboard gear directly into Ableton Live. It will capture professional-grade audio for your tracks as it features 24-bit/192kHz resolution and its super-low latency you will experience minimal delay and you can easily play virtual instruments in real-time without glitches.
With the Focusrite Control software you can easily configure your monitoring mix and routing within Ableton Live and with Bundled software (Includes Ableton Live Lite) that I have mentioned above, you can start learning software and music creation as well. Overall Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is good for Ableton live.
Best performance to value Ableton Live
Here is ApolloTwin MKII Solo which is the most expensive on our list but good for professionals who demand good preamp technology for voiceover. It features an elegant analog emulated console which feels very premium and you can easily install it. Sadly there is no Thunderbolt cable included in the deal. It is true that ApolloTwin MKII offers outstanding sound quality, but many of you didn’t find it good as it features limited connectivity options compared to Focusrite Scarlett 6i6.
The Audio ApolloTwin MKII interface is greatly compatible with Mac and Windows and with Real-time UAD Processing it can handle the processing of UAD plug-ins in real time and does not rely on your computer CPU, that is why music enthusiasts love it. So with UAD Processing you can Imagine effortlessly tracking through vintage compressors, EQs, tape machines, and mic preamps, all while enjoying near-zero (sub-2ms) latency. Especially for guitarists ApolloTwin MKII is a creative powerhouse with incredible amp plug-ins and greatly elevated sound.
With the Audio ApolloTwin MKII you will get a Real-time Analog Classics UAD Plug-in Bundle including Legacy versions of Pultec EQP-1A,1176LN and LA-2A. You will have great console 2.0 software features such as Channel strip presets, Drag & drop functionality, Dynamically resizable windows and Runs UAD powered plug-ins (VIA VST, RTAS, & AAX 64) in all major DAWs.
The Apollo Twin Mk II boasts top-notch inputs, featuring two premium mic/line preamps and a convenient front-panel Hi-Z instrument input and additionally, it offers 8 channels of digital input through an Optical connection. You will find impressive outputs, including 2 line outputs, a front-panel headphone output, and 2 digitally controlled analog monitor outputs. With limited inputs and outputs, the Apollo Twin Mk II is still good to use with Ableton Live. The Apollo Twin Mk II delivers world-class audio conversion by 24-bit/192 kHz.
Things that make Apollo Twin Mk II good to go for Ableton live are Top-notch audio converters, UA plugins that add warmth & character to your Tracks, No lag recording and Seamless Ableton integration as this audio interface allows you to control plugins directly from your DAW. Overall as compared to Focusrite Scarlett 6i6, this Apollo Twin Mk II bit on the expensive side and under $1000 you can get this audio interface.
Grab Now; Best Receiver For Klipsch Speakers
Best with premium UA mic preamp
After Apollo Twin Mk II here is Apollo 8 which is the most powerful but expensive interface for you. You can easily mix high-quality tracks and you will really love its great front panel that contains all those options that any musician demands.
The Apollo 8 is a very user-friendly Thunderbolt 3 audio interface that has Built-in UAD-2 QUAD or DUO Core including a bundle of UAD plug-ins. It allows 24-bit/192 KHz audio conversation that is theoretically significantly larger than lower resolution formats especially for high frequencies. The Apollo 8 features UAD HEXA Core Processing which means it allows Real-time processing so you can track through UAD plug-ins and near-zero latency.
On Apollo 8 there are 4 preamps (Unison-enabled mic/line preamp) emulations from Neve, API, Manley, SSL etc. It allows great software integration like LUNA, UA’s recording application with deep Apollo integration (Mac/Thunderbolt) and you can also do onboard processing for additional mixing with Ableton, Logic, Cubase and other DAWs. The Apollo 8 only comes with the included “Realtime Analog Classics Plus” plug-in bundle and if you want other UAD plug-ins then they are sold separately.
The Apollo 8 features seamless Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and is also compatible with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. You will find great front panel monitoring functions on Apollo 8 that are mainly for Talkback mic, assignable Dim or Mono and Speakers and give you easy understanding for each specific function and its controller supports up to 7.1 formats for easy surround monitoring.
Overall this Universal Audio Apollo 8 is good to go if your pockets can afford it and you will be amazed with its bunch of features like Real-time UAD processing, Warm analog sound, less CPU load and bunch of connections (8 preamps & flexible I/O) for mics, instruments, and studio monitors. But In the expensive range, I was not expecting limited UAD processing power and 24-bit/192kHz recording (optional) that uses significant storage space.
Best Versatile Option
Do you want a budget-friendly option similar to Focusrite Scarlett 6i6? Here comes the TASCAM US-4x4 audio interface, and oh boy, it’s a little powerhouse in a sleek professional package. Let’s start with the inputs. I mean, 16 separate inputs including XLR (accept balanced mic) and TRS inputs (line-level signals) so you can connect mics and instruments easily headphone output is powerful – great for late-night sessions. And guess what? It plays nice with Linux. The software comes with a hefty manual (600+ pages), and it supports high-quality audio formats, has low latency, and is a user-friendly driver for Windows. Plus, the four combo inputs and guitar support make it versatile for different setups.
After purchasing the TASCAM audio interface, if you Feel like shredding some guitar? Simply you have to plug it into IN 1-2 for some serious axe-wielding action. This interface is not just for vocals; you can use it for everything musical.
It features Ultra-HDDA mic preamps and provides great input flexibility with Combo TRS line inputs. This audio interface does not feature a noise gate so if you need this feature then you may not consider it.
Overall for people using Ableton Live this Tascam US-4x4 is a solid choice for a USB audio interface as it has a great set of features including 4 mic/line combo inputs that can be use for microphones, instruments and also line-level devices (e.g keyboards or samplers). With Discrete Ultra-HDDA mic preamps you will get plenty of gain for your condenser mic and good transparent sound. It is also good to go for Ableton live due to MIDI in/out ports, Direct monitor switch, Bus-powered and portability and durability.
Best for for recording multiple instruments
After TASCAM US-4×4 here is another great interface option for the Ableton live, which is M-Track 8X4M that gives you great features such as easy volume control with two headphone outputs, two instrument inputs, and a USB-C interface for low-latency recording and every. However, you will find only two outputs for one speaker, and its phantom power capability is not impressive.
The design of M-Track 8X4M is much premium and it has a sleek, black metal chassis with a large central monitor volume knob. You will find a great front panel houses the majority of the interface’s controls and connections, including XLR/TRS combo jacks, Instrument inputs, MIDI input and output, Headphone outputs, Direct monitor switch, Gain knobs, and 48V phantom power switch. On the back panel you will find USB port, Stereo monitor outputs and Assignable outputs.
With this cool M-Track 8X4M you can expect professional audio resolution at 24-bit/192kHz for lovely recording and monitoring and also Hi Fi lovers found amazing features like Hi-Speed USB connection with a USB/Direct balance knob for zero-latency monitoring.
Regarding inputs you will find M-Track 8X4M with versatile input channels, including 4 XLR+¼TRS combo and 2 ¼-inch instrument inputs. You will also get 2 ¼-inch line inputs and 2 independent headphone outputs with source and level controls. Additionally, it includes stereo ¼ inch main outputs and 2 assignable ¼-inch auxiliary outputs. As compared to Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 you will also find great MIDI input/output by M-Track 8X4M that can be used for seamless connectivity with external MIDI gear.
- Pro Tools First | M-Audio Edition.
- Eleven Lite.
- Ableton Live Lite.
- AIR Music Tech Creative FX Collection.
- Mini Grand.
- 2GB of Touch Loops content.
This audio interface by M-audio offers zero-latency monitoring, ensuring real-time audio feedback. Overall M-Audio M-Track 8X4M is good quality audio interface under $300 range and definitely a good choice for Ableton Live as it features great compatibility and hassle free setup. You can easily move and adapt to various settings for flexible use due to its portability.
Best for legendary SSL sound creation
Here is one more audio interface under the $300 range which is Solid State SSL SSL2+ that is also great for Ableton live. It features 2-In/4-Out USB interfaces that are equipped with 2 SSL-designed microphone preamps and deliver unrivaled noise performance and a broad gain range for a USB-powered device. Its Analog Colour Enhancement, highlighted by the Legacy 4K feature, ensures superior analog color enhancement, making it an ideal recording tool for studio recording and musicians on the road.
Under this price range Logic SSL 2+ features solid build quality and is made of compact and sturdy Black metal chassis. You will find great Two channel strips, a Large monitor knob, Headphone outputs, and a Mono/Stereo monitor switch on the front panel. While testing I found USB-C connection, MIDI I/O and RCA outputs on the back side.
The SSL SSL2+ audio interface features 2 professional-grade headphone outputs with high-current capacity. With USB 2.0 connectivity, it operates as a bus-powered audio interface for Mac/PC, so a separate power supply is not required.
What makes Logic SSL 2+ an excellent choice for Ableton Live is its class-compliant means it seamlessly works seamlessly with Ableton Live without requiring additional drivers, so here you feel relaxed at this point.
By using USB-C you can easily connect Logic SSL 2+ to your computer and only you have to select the audio device in Ableton’s preferences. Its great features complement Ableton Live’s workflow and budget range, making it a good choice as other audio interfaces I have mentioned.
Best for Podcasters
Now I will show you another audio interface that is used while shooting many Bollywood and Hollywood films, MOTU M4, which is famous in the film industry. This MOTU M4 audio interface ensures swift and responsive monitoring of live inputs, such as microphones, guitars, or keyboards, through your computer. It helps you in boasting excellent USB drivers developed by MOTU, it achieves an ultra-low 2.5 ms round-trip latency. Even at 96 kHz with a 32-sample buffer, it maintains impressively low latency, providing you a seamless and efficient recording/monitoring experience.
You will find a detailed LCD with clear level meters, providing visual feedback for precise sound adjustment. It clearly displays both input and output levels, complemented by a professional-level volume control, ensuring accurate monitoring and control so you can easily experience refined audio.
The MOTU M4 audio interface offers convenient loopback channels to the host computer which makes your live streaming and podcasting more ideal. Not only that, it also enhances the quality of your streamings and improves podcasting.
The MOTU M4 audio interface upholds a tradition of engineering excellence and is trusted by professionals in the creation of songs, primetime shows, blockbuster movies, and mega tours for exceptional audio production.
This M4 audio interface by Motu is more portable than SSL 2+ by Logic, and it features a sleek and sturdy black metal chassis that is very easy to withstand the rigors of travel and usage. On the M2 front panel you will find Two channel strips, a Full-color LCD meter, a Monitor Mix knob, a Direct monitoring switch and a Headphone output. On the M2 interface back panel you will find USB-C connection, MIDI I/O, and Four balanced TRS outputs which you can use according to your preferences. So I found MOTU M4 a most popular option as it is already popular in music and film industries and it also shows great compatibility with Ableton live.
Best for professional recording
After MOTU M4 here is another popular suggestion, the PreSonus Studio 24 that is a mobile-ready, bus-powered USB-C audio interface offering a seamless 2-in and 2-out experience for musicians.
The PreSonus Studio 24 impresses with its self-sufficiency—no external power supply required. Equipped with 2 XMAX-L solid-state mic preamps, it includes both USB-C to C and USB-C to A cables, ensuring versatile connectivity for enhanced user convenience and superior sound preamplification.
The PreSonus Studio 24 boasts studio-grade converters enabling impeccable recording resolution of up to 24-bit or 96 kHz for both recording and playback. In this way, you can experience high-fidelity audio, and if you are a musician, you will find this very helpful.
You will see ladder-style LED monitoring, facilitating easy tracking of recording levels. With low-latency direct monitoring, it provides real-time audio feedback, you can do responsive recordings by using it with Ableton live.
- Studio One Artist DAW Recording
- Ableton Live Lite DAW Recording
- Studio Magic Plug-In Suite
With PreSonus Studio 24 versatility and quality inputs like 2 high-headroom instrument/line inputs you can ideally use it for guitar, bass, and various line-level devices. On the PreSonus Studio 24c front body panel, you will find Two combo XLR/Line inputs, a Main output knob, a Direct monitor mix knob, a 4-segment LED level meters, and a 48V phantom power switch. Where on back side there is MIDI I/O to the USB-C port and some outputs.
The PreSonus Studio 24 impresses with its high-powered headphone output, delivering crisp and clear sound. Equipped with 48V phantom power, it accommodates condenser microphones flawlessly. The onboard MIDI I/O with a standard 5-pin DIN connection ensures excellent connectivity, making it an ideal choice for keyboards and MIDI gear enthusiasts. Overall, the PreSonus interface gives good functions and compatibility with Ableton Live.
Best Premium Option
Here is a bit higher priced audio interface with less ratings, Antelope Audio Discrete 4 that still can be used for Ableton live. It boasts Thunderbolt 2 and USB 2.0 compatibility for seamless use on both Mac and Windows. There are four discrete 6-transistor preamps, it delivers ultra-low noise and minimal distortion so you can expect a premium audio experience.
On the top front of the top left corner you will find the Antelope Audio logo which looks good. You will find four horizontal sections each representing a channel and each section including XLR/TRS combo jack, Gain knob, 48V phantom power switch, Input select button and Channel status LEDs. You will also find a Large monitor volume knob that helps you for easy volume control. On the back panel of Antelope Audio Discrete 4 there are Thunderbolt 3 port, USB-C port, Word Clock I/O, S/PDIF I/O, ADAT optical input, Balanced monitor outputs and Line outputs.
On this Antelope audio interface you will find AD/DA converters promise lush and bold recordings, capturing the expansiveness of instruments and vocals. The monitor converter provides high-quality conversion, contributing to articulate and precise audio reproduction.
Antelope Audio Discrete 4 employs Antelope’s Acoustically Focused Clocking technology and precision of this clocking technology contributes to the audio interface’s ability to deliver great sound fidelity. It offers 36 real-time plugins, including a plugin library with 37 analog-modeled plugins. Accessible through the Antelope software store that is for enhancing the interface’s versatility and creative possibilities.
Antelope Audio Discrete 4 features the Synergy Core onboard platform, enabling real-time plugin processing with near-zero latency for mixing or live tracking. Supporting up to 32 plugins, it efficiently handles the workload without taxing the CPU or requiring external DSP accelerators.
The Antelope Audio Discrete 4 excels in connectivity with four DC-coupled line outputs, S/PDIF, and ADAT connections. It features two word clock outputs, four stereo headphone outputs, and a stereo monitor output, providing versatility when routing audio.
Best With Portable Design
Firstly I suggested Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) and now with lesser price but bit lesser features (than 6i6) here is Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. In simple words the Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) is for guitarist, singer-songwriter, or value portability. If you want 2 mic inputs or plan to record bigger setups then I will recommend you purchase Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Gen) for this purpose.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface boasts high-performing mic preamps with a switchable Air mode for enhanced clarity in acoustic recordings. Its two instrument inputs, equipped with Gain Halos, deliver high-headroom performance, so there will be no clipping or distortion when recording.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface features two low-noise balanced outputs, ensuring a smooth playback of audio. This one is also Ideal for discerning subtle details in tracks, it offers compatibility with popular platforms like Spotify, Apple, and Amazon Music, allowing you to capture and appreciate nuanced elements in your music across various listening environments.
With Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 you can do studio-quality recordings through high-performance converters, supporting up to 24-bit/192kHz for top-quality audio. It enables you to capture and mix with exceptional clarity, retaining all the original qualities of your recordings for a polished and genuine sound.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is offering a hassle-free experience with its Easy Start online tool, ensuring a quick and straightforward setup. Its user-friendly design caters to both recording and playback needs, making it an accessible and efficient choice for users of all levels. It also collaborates with industry leaders for superior sound and software. It facilitates instant music creation and recording, as well as, its global three-year warranty offers reliability and peace of mind for users worldwide.
Quick Buying Tips
You can make an informed decision by following my quick buying tips to choose the best audio interface for Ableton Live.
Firstly, you need to check audio interface compatibility with your computer’s operating system (Windows/Mac) and Ableton Live version. To find out about the latest drivers and software updates, you can also visit the manufacturer’s website.
Input and Output Configuration
As a second step, determine what you need for recording and playback. You can consider things like several inputs and outputs, and common configurations include XLR inputs for microphones, ¼ inch inputs for instruments, and multiple outputs for your studio monitors. With your setup evolving, you may need an interface with additional inputs and outputs, as well as compatibility with external preamplifiers and converters.
As a third step, you have to ensure an audio interface with high-quality preamps and converters to ensure clear and accurate sound reproduction. For example, You can check Higher bit depth and sample rates that generally give better sound quality.
The next step is to ensure that the audio interface gives Low latency performance and has features like direct monitoring, which is essential to minimize delays during playback and recording and experience.
Check USB, Thunderbolt, PCIe Connectivity Options
You can also consider types of connections the audio interface offers like USB, Thunderbolt, and PCIe are common interfaces. USB is widely compatible, while Thunderbolt and PCIe can provide you with higher bandwidth for low-latency performance.
You should take note of the quality of the preamps if you intend to record vocals or instruments. When you use good preamps, you will be able to record cleaner sound and better-quality sound.
Many audio producers plan to move your setup frequently or use it for live performances (DJs especially), so by considering compact audio interfaces like USB-powered interfaces, you can more conveniently set on-the-go setups.
In A Nutshell
The market is flooded with options, making you wonder which one to pick when you look at them. In order for you to have an easy time exploring the various audio interfaces, Team Fab-Audio Visual has selected the best ones for you. I am starting with the cheapest possible quality audio interface; you can go with Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) and PreSonus Studio 24c, which comes in around $180 which is highly affordable, or you can pick yourself Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 which is slightly more expensive coming at around $300 and provide you better performance. In case you don’t mind spending more than $200, you can choose from M-Audio M-Track 8X4M, TASCAM US-4x4 USB, SSL SSL2+, and MOTU M4. All four audio interfaces are powerful and can be purchased between $200 and $300. If you want to go more premium, then ApolloTwin MKII Solo and Antelope Audio Discrete are one to go for at around $1000. All our reviewed audio interfaces would provide excellent compatibility and features with Ableton Live. I hope this explanation is enough for you and you can now select the audio interface without worrying and spending hours.