You may have heard about the audio interface from many music producers. You may have also heard about its importance in music production.
Music production has changed from what it once was. Now, people have been able to pursue their passion for music production in the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to technology, we have musical advancements that led to the creation of the audio interface.
Read below to learn more about this music equipment!
An audio interface is usually rectangular and box-like, with knobs, switches, and inputs.
The first thing to notice is the line inputs. This is where you connect your microphone and/or instruments. One input can fit both XLR cables for microphones and ¼-inch cables for your guitar.
Second are the output controls. This knob allows you to control the output of your monitor easily. That way, you do not have to go to your DAW (digital audio workstation) and control the volume/level of your project. This makes it more convenient to do your work.
Next to the output controls are the headphone input and control. It is where you plug in your headphones and control the levels of the output that travels in your headphones.
Another thing that most interfaces have are meters that check your signal levels. This is very handy to see whether your input level is too loud. Having a loud signal results in clipping, which serves as a warning to tone down the input levels.
Finally, there is the connector to your computer. This can be located at the back of the interface.
Here are some examples of what different interfaces look like and have to offer.
What Does it Do?
The audio interface connects any of your instruments or microphones to your digital audio workstation. This is how you can record any external instrument with an XLR or ¼ jack connection to your DAW.
Specifically, it converts the signal produced by the instrument into digital information. This is done so that your laptop and digital audio workstation can recognize the signal and translate it into the wave file for your project.
I/Os are the input and output of the interface. This is where you plug your instrument into the interface and where the sound travels.
The beauty of the audio interface is that it can house more than one input and output. With more I/Os, you can record more than one instrument simultaneously.
Interfaces come in different shapes and sizes. Bigger sizes mean more I/Os, which might suit you if you want to record multiple instruments or a whole drum set.
Recording Without an Amp
The advantage is that you can record your guitar or bass without micing up your amplifier. You can just plug your instrument straight into the laptop via the interface and get a clean wave file through this.
This is beneficial for two scenarios. One, you may have an untreated room. This means your room may not be treated to block out any outside noise, such as cars passing by.
Another worry is you may feel your amplifier may not be suitable for recording. You may also not have other pedals that can enhance the sound of your guitar.
With the interface, you can connect your guitar to a digital amplifier and digital plugins that have more variety with the sound you can create.
Mixing and Sound Quality
It does not stop there. This is also an important tool when it comes to mixing. Now you can say that you can use the sound card and speaker on your laptop or desktop. And technically, you can.
The thing is, it is possible but limiting. If you want a professional sound, then connecting your headphones to your interface is the way to go.
Audio interfaces have built-in preamps, which can improve sound quality. These preamps amplify low-level signals to line level, boosting any instrument connected to the interface to be played at an optimal recording level.
Interfaces also come with phantom power, giving an extra boost for microphones.
Latency refers to the delay in the time when you play a note and when the computer processes it. This delay can last for a second; however, it is a hurdle to the music recording process.
Same with sound quality, your computer’s sound card is not built for this type of function as efficiently as you want it to. Hence, latency is more likely to occur if you rely on it. With an interface, this is no longer the case.
Which To Buy
So with many interfaces in the market, you might wonder which one is the most worth it.
That will all depend on you. Luckily this will help distinguish that.
Firstly, there are the entry-level interfaces. These are the most affordable models, so they subsequently have limited features. The most notable one is the amount of I/Os. When you usually start out, buying an interface with at least 2 I/Os is ideal.
These products might look simple, but they still provide utility and quality in your recording. Brands such as Focusrite and M-Audio simple 2 I/O interfaces have proven to be more than enough for many music producers.
Whether you are starting out or are satisfied with simpler models with 2 I/Os, these interfaces will serve you well.
If you require more advanced interfaces with more I/Os, then buying those interfaces might be the option. An example would be recording live drums or a take that involves a band, both setups requiring interfaces with more I/Os.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what you think is important to your music production journey, but rest assured that there are options tailored to your needs.
Audio interfaces have become a necessity in music production, and we can see why. From being able to record at home to attaining high sound quality, this has become a powerful asset for anyone who wants to create music.
Want to jumpstart your passion for music? Then this box is the tool for you!