Recommended interfaces in 2023?

I think it’s time for me to upgrade my audio interface. Right now I’m using an evo8 — 4 analogue inputs, 4 analogue outputs, bus-powered, and small enough to fit in a repurposed SM57 pouch.

However, I need more channels: I would like to have 6 analogue inputs (stereo monitor feed from FOH, my vocal mic, talkback mic from the bandleader, and stereo audio from one of my keyboards just in case GP crashes and I need to use hardware sounds) and 6 analogue outputs (stereo keys mix to FOH, vocal mic to FOH, stereo IEM mix, that’s five).

Small form factor and bus power are important because space in my luggage is very tight. And the ability to function standalone as a mixer is important in case the laptop crashes or hangs.

(Note: the only time my laptop required rebooting during a show was when there was a brief power interruption and my evo8, which was powered from my USB hub, freaked out and caused GP to crash. Restarting GP didn’t solve the problem so I had to restart Windows. After that episode I started connecting the evo8 directly to the laptop so hopefully this won’t happen anymore, but there’s always the risk of a USB cable jiggling loose so I want to have my bases covered.)


Impossible to answer without an approximate budget

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So you have a few suggestions in mind? What would you suggest if budget is unlimited? How about if I want to keep below US$600?

RME UCX or UFX (I’ve been using a UFX for many years — awesome unit)


The UFX is a full rack width? That’s too bulky for my needs I think. The UCX looks great except that it looks like it requires a power adapter? I’m looking for something USB-powered.

Well the MOTU M6 might suit your needs then but I prefer to use powered hubs so you still have to plug them in

Thanks for your help. It’s a tricky question, isn’t it? You’d think I’ve got some weird unorthodox use case but my needs feel pretty ordinary to me, haha!

This MOTU M6 seems to have only four analogue outputs and I’d really love to have five or six.

Sorry…I thought it had 6 outputs.

Maybe a MOTU Ultralite
but you’ll still need to plug it in.

I have one of these as well, and it’s pretty good.

RME Babyface all the way if bus power is a must. RME UCX gives you the best capability/space ratio (8 ins/outs) but is not bus powered. I have one of each and they are both excellent for their purposes.

If these are out of your budget new, get the best used babyface you can afford. RME units last a long time. I had a 16 year old Fireface400 that was still working like a champ until I had to retire it when firewire fell out of favor. I don’t doubt it would have lasted much longer.

And I can’t vouch for MOTU gear. I had a MOTU midi interface that had terribly buggy midi. Hanging notes all over the place. I have much more trust in RME drivers.


I doubt that you’ll find a buss-powered interface that meets your I/O requirements.

The PreSonus Studio 1810c meets your I/O requirements. It has 4 combo mic/line inputs (2 also support instrument inputs for direct guitar/bass connection) plus 4 more line inputs, and 6 line outputs. It also has S/PDIF and ADAT connection support. It’s about as small as you’ll find in an interface that meets your I/O requirements.

I’ve been using mine for several years and have had zero problems with it.

PreSonus Studio 1810c audio/MIDI interface

The only interface I know that could possibly match your needs is the
Teenage Engineering TX-6.
It’s an ultra compact combined 12-IN 6-Out akku-powered usb-interface/field recorder/mixer everything.

It is very expensive (over a 1000€), extremely tiny (only 3,5mm connectors), and totally new designed.
If someone likes to experiment in a different direction than the “usual guys” go and give it a try.

I don’t know how this unit performs but I would stick to the other recommendations here:
take a solid and proven unit and do without usb power, take the external power connection.

I’m using a MOTU 828es (it is 19" so it is too big for your needs), the internal mixing possibilites are really great with MOTU interfaces.

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For those who don’t speak German, akku-powered means battery-powered. Interesting concept. I had to check it out.

Teenage Engineering TX-6

Do we really need a 1139 euros tiny gadget, when we can have a serious RME UCX for the price? :thinking:


I would never use that tiny interface on stage.
No professional xlr inputs and outputs

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The MOTU Ultralite AVB is a good choice. It has 8 analog outputs using 1/4" TRS. It has 2 Guitar inputs, 2 Microphone inputs and 6 1/4" TRS inputs as well. It has MIDI I/O and supports AVB networking which allows configuration/control via wireless. It does require 15VDC (provided) adapter to power the unit. This uses older USB 2.0 but I am sure it will connect directly to the USB-C with appropriate cable. No hub required.

Another option is the Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 which gives 8 inputs, 6 outputs and MIDI I/O and is lower cost $300 US. It also requires power via provided adapter. This interface has uses USB-C connector.

I use the MOTU interfaces which work well with Gig Performer. I am sure that the Focusrite interface will be equally as good.

I use a smaller sibling (not enough ports for you) the Focusrite Scarlet 4i4 gen 3 (4 ins, 4 outs, balanced xlr or 1/4 trs). 64 samples at 48 KHz. works fine.

+1 for Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 :slight_smile:

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Thank you for this! It looks like the 8i6 doesn’t have enough outputs for what I’m looking for (see my original post; is my use case really so strange‽) but the 18i8 might be just right.

I have the prior gen Focusrite 18i20, which I found to be a good unit at that price point. (It’s not an RME UFX or UCX, but it’s a quarter of the price.)

The form factor on the 18i20 is a full rackspace, which I know you indicated you don’t want, but if you can get past that it offers a lot more IO should you ever need it.

I like my little Personus Audiobox Go. It sits on my digital piano, so I use it like a master volume for my Gig Performer plugins. (I still also use the sounds directly from my other keyboards, so they act as a sound sources and as controllers). Works for me.