Your microphones, instruments, headphones, and studio monitors will be connected to it, making it a crucial decision to select the right interface that meets your production needs. Whether you’re purchasing your first one or looking to upgrade, you may have come across USB-C audio interfaces while browsing in-store or online.
As this new USB connector type becomes increasingly prevalent, it’s unsurprising to see it featured in audio hardware.
However, what is USB-C precisely? Which interfaces feature it, and which one is the best fit for you?
This article will provide you with all the essential information you need and recommend eight interfaces for any budget.
What exactly is USB-C?
The newest connector type for the USB data transfer standard is USB-C. Originally created to standardize computer and peripheral device communication, USB has been adopted for tasks like music recording with DAWs.
USB had two connector styles when it was first introduced: Type A and Type B. Type A is rectangular jacks and Type B are longer barrel plugs found on the device side of legacy USB connections.
With USB-C, both ends of the cable have the same connector, and it is reversible. It also provides greater current delivery, allowing power-hungry devices to run more demanding analog circuits without running out of power.
Although USB4 is the latest data transfer protocol edition, most audio interfaces and peripherals still use USB 3.0 or lower, and USB 2.0 devices provide sufficient speed for most music production tasks.
USB-C vs. Thunderbolt
When shopping for an audio interface, you may have come across Thunderbolt connections on high-end models. While the current generation of devices uses the same USB-C connector type for both Thunderbolt and USB, they are not the same.
Thunderbolt was created as an even faster successor to Firewire, offering more bandwidth for super-heavy tasks. Thunderbolt 3 or 4 connections can transmit data to multiple high-resolution displays or run an external graphics card.
Despite its impressive capabilities, most producers will do well with USB, which may even offer better compatibility since not all computers have Thunderbolt ports.
Top 8 Audio Interfaces with USB-C Connectivity for 2023
After we’ve covered the fundamentals, here are our top picks for USB-C audio interfaces in 2022.
1. SSL 2+
With the excellent 2+ USB-C interface, legendary console builder SSL entered the audio interface market.
It has the well-known SuperAnalogue preamp technology as well as pristine AD/DA conversion capable of 24bit/192kHz quality.
Clarrett is Focusrite’s premium portable interface offering. It comes in a variety of configurations that support USB-C connectivity.
Both the Clarrett and Scarlett series have adopted USB-C, but the Clarrett is our preferred model due to its more powerful preamps and cleaner converters.
Black Lion is well-known for providing modifications and enhancements to popular consumer audio equipment.
They’re bringing that experience to an original design that promises superior sound with the release of the Revolution 22.
4. UA Volt 76
Universal Audio, traditionally regarded as a high-end brand, debuted a line of budget interfaces just last year.
These stylish units feature Apollo series technology, including 76-style compression on board.
Apogee practically invented the desktop interface format in 2007 with its iconic Duet design.
The Symphony was one of their top-of-the-line studio products at the time. The incredible quality of the Symphony series, however, is now available in a desktop format.
Symphony is the most compact way to get multiple channels of I/O with uncompromised conversion.
6. Audient EVO
With their excellent iD series, British manufacturer Audient has offered small-format interfaces for years.
The brand’s newest creation, however, is the USB-C powered EVO line, which promises to make recording easier and more convenient.
EVO is a great choice for a beginner interface that you won’t outgrow too quickly.
Several years ago, Arturia introduced the Minifuse series of capable, feature-rich interfaces.
The French audio company has taken the MiniFuse 2 design to the next level by including USB-C connectivity.
Minifuse 2, which includes MIDI I/O and a suite of complimentary software, is yet another excellent choice for creators.
MOTU is back with quality interface technology in their compact M-series, which comes in 2 and 4-channel versions.
A powerful onboard loopback system for zero-latency monitoring complements the rugged build quality.
It’s a handy feature that can help make recording feel more natural and immediate.
With each generation of USB technology, the possibilities for desktop audio interfaces expand.
New designs and performance standards become possible as connections become faster and more compact.
If you’re looking for USB-C audio interfaces, this list contains some of the best examples available.