Often asked: What is an audio interface?

Do you really need an audio interface?

You‘ll basically need an audio interface if you want to record to your computer software using microphones, guitar or your keyboard. Also if you‘re looking for better sound quality when producing music, an audio interface is usually a must.

Should I turn off my audio interface?

We suggest leaving them on during sessions but turning it off when the studio is not in use. They should always be the first thing you switch on and the last thing you switch off in your set up so as to avoid spikes going through the rest of the system whilst gear is turned on.

How does an audio interface connect to a computer?

Modern audio interfaces connect to your desktop or laptop computer via a USB or Thunderbolt port (some older ones use different ports, such as PCI, PCIe or Ethernet).

Do I need an audio interface if I have a mixer?

Do I need a mixer and an interface? If you have a mixer with a built-in USB interface then no. If you already have standalone mixing console with no USB output and you want to record on your computer you will need an interface.

Do audio interfaces improve sound quality?

A more expensive audio interface can improve sound quality by using higher quality microphone preamplifiers (mic preamps) and analog-digital (A/D) converters. There are several other factors that can affect sound, like microphones, speakers and listening environment, which also need to be considered.

How long does an audio interface last?

I’d say 10 years is the expectation for slightly more expensive interfaces, even if the warranty is for 2-3 years. An interface has very few moving parts, so if cared for it should last indefinitely.

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What is the purpose of an audio interface?

Audio Interfaces allow you to connect things like microphones and guitar cables to a computer and record via USB most commonly. It also has outputs typically and allow Studio Monitor Speakers, computer speakers or headphones to listen to the recorded or real-time incoming audio to play through the computer.

How important is a good audio interface?

It is an important device you need to make a good quality recording. You need this so you can mix and master your recordings. If you go without an audio interface, you won’t have any way of plugging in a good pair of studio monitors and thus you have no room for creating an excellent recording.

What is the difference between sound card and audio interface?

Technically speaking, a sound card is an audio interface, but it features minimal inputs and outputs as well as lower audio recording quality. An Audio Interface lets you record all the inputs that it has available simultaneously while a sound card will only allow for tracks to be recorded one at a time.

Can you use a mixer as an interface?

As I mentioned at the beginning, a lot of mixers now have USB outputs, meaning the mixer can double as an audio interface and send audio via USB into your computer. But for you people just starting: No computer = get mixer. Computer = get audio interface.

Do I need a preamp if I have an audio interface?

Audio Interfaces have built-in preamps, so you wont really NEED a preamp. However, getting an external- and higher quality one should help you achieve an overall better signal and, therefore, a better sound as well.

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