Best audio interfaces of 2020
2020 was a difficult year, but it also blessed us with some outstanding new studio equipment releases. As we prepare for 2021, we take a look back at some of the best releases of the last 12 months, picking out our favourites.
Third place: RME ADI-2 DAC FS
High-end monitoring deserves high-end conversion. The updated ADI-2 DAC FS is a laser-focussed product which does one thing very well, taking a stereo digital signal and converting it to analogue for your monitors. There’s a good headphone amp built in, a remote control and some extras like EQ, but the bottom line is that this one is all about that pure sound quality. For critical listening and certain mix and mastering applications, it’s hard to beat.
Runner-up: SSL 2+
SSL are best known for ultra-high-end studio gear, so the announcement of a small range of budget audio interfaces this year came as something of a surprise. The 2+ is the more capable of the two models, with 2-in, 4-out audio, MIDI in and out plus an independent headphone output. Aside from the basics, the real draw of the 2+ is the Legacy 4K option, which allows you to add vintage SSL mixing desk character at the touch of a button. It’s a well-executed addition to a very good basic interface.
Winner: Arturia AudioFuse Studio
Arturia’s first foray into the world of audio interfaces with the original AudioFuse was a surprise move for a brand best known for synths, both software and hardware. The AudioFuse Studio is the top-of-the-range model, like the original AudioFuse on steroids: more channels, more effects inserts and improved ADAT features, among other benefits. The AudioFuse Studio had us reaching for the cliches, branding it a sonic Swiss Army knife. For good measure, the basic AudioFuse also got a light update this year.