The Apogee Quartet ($1,295) is a USB audio interface that provides Macs and their parent’s-basement-squatting masters with studio-grade chops. Connection-wise, four combo XLR and 1/4” analog inputs — complete with world-class mic preamps capable of capturing click-free transitions from a vast gain range of 0-75dB — and eight digital inputs can accomodate a burgeoning boy band’s swathes of instruments or mics. Additionally, a USB MIDI connection ensures the piano-tie-wearing keyboardist stays in the mix. Six balanced line outputs and an independent 1/4” stereo headphone jack fill out the other side of the spec sheet. There’s also monitor control for stereo mastering on up to three sets of speakers or even in 5.1 surround sound. Industry-leading AD/DA conversion technology forms the stout backbone of it all, providing pure recording and excellent audio quality on playback.

Externally, the sleek silver wedge is every bit as robust as its marvelous guts, thanks to dual high-res OLED displays for critical level information at a glance, six touchpads for toggling between inputs and outputs and even three additional assignable touchpads. Pair it with any core audio-compatible application including Logic, Pro Tools 9 and 10, Final Cut or Ableton Live, and scratch that trip to Abbey Road.

Buy Now: $1,295