How to Choose an Audio Interface
The latest technologies have introduced dynamic musical instruments to create a comfortable atmosphere for all the musicians out there. The audio interface is one of the tools that proved to be a blessing for budding musicians. But, in today’s competitive world with a saturated market, finding an accurate audio interface is quite a tough task to do. On top, many buyers get doomed after buying randomly. Hence, you need to know how to choose an audio interface before you get your hands on it. For your convenience, we’ll keenly guide you on how to choose an audio interface. We hope we will clear up your every confusion. So, let’s start!
Also, read Reasons Why You Need Audio Interface!
What is an Audio Interface?
Before we get into the details of how to choose an audio interface, let us first give you a clear idea of what an audio interface is. An audio interface is typically known as a connector between microphones and audio sources of computers. Now, you’re probably thinking about why you should buy an audio interface.
So, here’s the answer for you. If you’re passionate about music and want to record the best of it then, then you have to buy an audio interface as mandatory. It improves the sound quality of the recording, fixes the glitches, reduces noise, and presents the best version of your recorded sound.
Read the detail of What is Audio Interface?
What Should You Prefer When You’re Going to Buy an Audio Interface?
In today’s competitive market with full hypes and fads, it’s quite difficult to choose an appropriate product. While you’re going to buy an audio interface, you should take some points into considerations. They are:
- Understanding Inputs and outputs
- Choosing the best connectivity options
- The quality of sound
- Physicality of the product
- Latency of the product
We’re here to describe all of these points. So, gear up and keep reading.
Understanding Inputs and Outputs:
Understanding the inputs and output of an audio interface is a vital part of buying it. Due to the overflowing marketing campaigns of the several brands considering different inputs and outputs, it’s not easy to understand which one is appropriate.
XLR Input and Output:
When it comes to the point like input and output, most people think about XLR input and output that is commonly known as combi-jacks. XLR input and output can easily connect guitar, keyboards, or any other musical instruments with the audio interface.
Mic input amplifies the mic signal to the line level. It is mono and generally 1Kohm impedance. 48V fantom power is implied on these inputs.
The line input is usually stereo and 10K ohm impedance. It has around 150mV line sensitivity and is widely used for mp3 players, tape players.
Optical inputs connect digital converters and digital devices that have optical outputs. Using fiber optic cables and laser light, it transmits digital audio signals between different devices.
Digital Input and Output:
A wide variety of connection styles like AES, ADAT, MADI, or SPDIF are employed in these outputs. If you want to derive lossless recording, you can use it with no hesitation.
Input/Output (I/O) Count:
On a simple interface 1-2, I/O is enough while if you want to work like a professional, you will need more than 20 I/O. For example, solo musicians may need 2-4 I/O, Engineers who record bands may need 20 I/O
You might be looking for: Top 10 Audio Interfaces In 2021
Choosing the Best Connectivity Options
There are plenty of connectivity options available in the market. You have to choose one according to your need. For example:
It is the most common way of the interface connector, as it wedges directly into a USB 2.0 or 3.0 socket. It is adaptable to most Macs and PCs.
A widely used connector, strong usability due to fast speed, and adaptable to most Macs.
It’s a slightly older model compared to the thunderbolt. That’s why it’s better to avoid if you’re willing to relish the most advanced technologies.
A completely new dimension of the connector’s arena is PCIe. It directly connects with the motherboard. It’s very fast and at the same time it has great usability and for this, it is the most reliable one. But as you know, good things come at a price, hence it would charge way more than the rest of the options.
The Quality of Sound
The quality of sound depends on some key factors. Let’s dig into those facts.
Analog audio is transformed into bits and bytes. The greater the number of bits, the higher the quality of sound. It also connects with the removal of noise from the sound. The higher the bit, it allows the digital recording system to remove the noise.
It’s down to thinking about what you plan to do with your music to determine what degree of fidelity you need. 16-bit/44.1/kHz decoding should be sufficient if you are working on a demo to share with friends or fellow band members. But 24-bit/96kHz processing is effective for commercial releases, soundtrack work, and other pro-level projects to help offer a professional glow to your sound.
The Physicality of the Product
When a lot of cables are plugged in and out of this interface, it needs to be able to support the weight so that it is not pulled off the desk. Several larger interfaces are in 20 inches rack format so that they can be fully protected and screwed into a rack configuration. At the same time, if you plug headphones into minijack sockets regularly, it may breakdown. So, consider these issues to determine which size would bring you the most productivity.
In this article, we have tried our best to satiate your concerns on how to choose an audio interface. We’ve covered all particular measures that you need to know before running your audio interface errand. We genuinely hope, our guidelines will help you find the best option for you.