Over the course of the past few weeks, we've delved into some of the top selling items from last year in categories like microphones, monitors and outboard gear. We're starting off 2019 on the Vintage King blog with one more look back at the Best Selling Audio Interfaces of 2018.
With the studio scene constantly evolving, audio interfaces have enabled a wide range of music creators to make better recordings in all types of settings. Discover what interfaces topped our list (plus a few honorable mentions) and find out more about these innovative tools if you're looking to pick one up in 2019.
1. Universal Audio Apollo x8
When Universal Audio launched their new Apollo X interfaces in September, the response was downright incredible. Unlike the Apollos of old, each interface in the Apollo X line now features HEXA Core Processing. This means all Apollo X interfaces offer 50% more DSP than any previous Apollo.
It's not all just about the power though. Apollo X interfaces also feature better conversion, surround sound monitoring and the Realtime Analog Classics Plus Plug-In Bundle. In terms of overall sales, the Apollo x8 Thunderbolt 3 Interface led the way as the best selling interface of 2018.
- 18x24 (8x14 analog I/O) Thunderbolt 3 audio interface with class-leading 24-bit/192 kHz conversion (backward compatible with Thunderbolt 1 & 2 on Mac)
- Real-time UAD HEXA Core Processing for tracking through UAD plug-ins at near-zero latency, regardless of audio buffer size
- Record through 4 Unison-enabled mic/line preamps — giving you fully authentic preamp emulations from Neve, API, Manley, SSL, and more
- Dual Crystal clocking for a low-jitter environment and pure, artifact-free recordings and solid stereo imaging
- Surround monitor controller up to 7.1 format
2. Apogee Digital Element 24
Launched in 2016, the Apogee Digital Element series has become a popular interface choice, thanks to high-quality conversion, an innovative app/software and impressive preamps. The standout representative of the line is the Apogee Digital Element 24, which makes our list at number two of the Best Selling Audio Interfaces of 2018.
The Element 24 distills the best parts of the Symphony I/O Mk II, Ensemble Thunderbolt and Groove into an interface that's super easy to use. Imagine pristine mic pres that capture incredible detail with a gain range of 0-75dB and crystal clear conversion. That's what you get for $595 when you purchase the Element 24.
- 10 IN x 12 OUT Thunderbolt Audio I/O box AD/DA conversion for recording up to 192 kHz/24-bit
- 2 analog inputs with world-class mic preamps and selectable 48 V phantom power for connecting microphones, instruments or line-level devices, 2 combination inputs
- Connect any Element series interface to the second Thunderbolt port on your Ensemble
- Updated Apogee Control software brings Element and Ensemble together in a single control environment that also includes the Apogee Control desktop hardware remote and iOS remote control App
- Apogee hardware support for Direct monitoring feature in Logic Pro X (10.3.2) eliminates recording latency with the click of a button
3. Universal Audio Arrow
Universal Audio is back for their second appearance in the top five with the highly-mobile Arrow interface. For those who might see this as just another Apollo Twin (more on that later), you'll want to continue reading.
The Arrow is the most inexpensive gateway into the world of UAD-2 plug-ins and processing power yet. This 2x4 Thunderbolt 3-powered audio interface features one SHARC chip, 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion and two Unison preamps that allow your Arrow to behave like the gear UA bases their plug-ins on.
When it comes to creating music on-the-go, the Arrow is fantastic. The interface is bus-powered, alleviating the need for extra power supplies. It's also slim enough that it will fit easily into any gig bag, briefcase or laptop carrier.
- Desktop 2x4 Thunderbolt 3-powered audio interface with class-leading 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion
- Unison mic preamp and guitar amp emulations from Neve, API, Manley, Marshall, Fender, and more
- Realtime UAD Processing allows near-zero latency tracking with classic UAD plug-in effects, regardless of software buffer setting
- Includes studio compressors, EQs, reverbs, and guitar amp emulations, and more as part of “Realtime Analog Classics” bundle
- Bus-powered connection to Mac and Windows systems for easy portability and reduced cable clutter
4. Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII DUO
Like we said above, the Arrow and Apollo Twin are two different beasts altogether. For the best-selling Twin of the bunch, the Apollo Twin MkII DUO is a 2x6 Thunderbolt audio interface and features one more SHARC chip than the Arrow. This greatly increases your processing power and allows you to use more plug-ins during tracking.
The latest version of the Apollo Twin MkII DUO in the sleek black color also features some significant upgrades from the classic silver model. Universal Audio completely redesigned their A/D and D/A conversion, greatly improved monitor functionality and also included a built-in talkback mic on the interface.
- Desktop 2x6 Thunderbolt audio interface for Mac and Windows with next-generation 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion
- DUO Core Processing for tracking through vintage compressors, EQs, tape machines, mic preamps, and guitar amp plug-ins with near-zero latency
- Unison technology offers stunning models of classic tube and transformer-based preamps, guitar amps, and stompboxes
- Built-in talkback mic for communication with studio talent and recording slate cues
- Improved monitor functionality including monitor remote functions and Mono, Mute, DIM, and ALT monitor controls
- 2 premium Unison mic/line preamps; 2 line outputs; front-panel Hi-Z instrument input and headphone output
5. Focusrite Red 4Pre
No doubt about it, Focusrite Red interfaces are known for being extremely versatile. Right out of the box, you have dual Thunderbolt 2 connections, Pro Tools | HD compatibility and Dante network audio connectivity. No matter the workflow of your studio, you'll easily be able to install these interfaces.
The Focusrite Red 4Pre was the fifth Best Selling Interface Of 2018 and for good reason. With 58x64 I/O, the best quality converters from Focusrite yet and four digitally-controlled, 'Air' enabled, Red Evolution mic preamps, it doesn't get much better than this.
- Phantom Power: 48V Phantom Power, Switchable per mic input
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 35 kHz /-0.2 dB
- Signal To Noise Ratio: 118 dB (A-weighted)
- Dynamic Range: 118 dB (A-weighted)
- THD N: 0.0009
- Noise EIN: –129 dBu (A-Weighted)
- Gain Range: 0-63dB (1dB increments from 8dB)
Honorable Mention: Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII QUAD, Focusrite Scarlett Solo - 2nd Gen and Antelope Audio Orion 32
If you'd like to learn more about the Best Selling Audio Interfaces of 2018, contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or by phone at 866.644.0160.