Choosing an audio interface for your home studio is one important task you need to carry out.
Why Is It Important to Choose the Right Audio Interface?
Simply because your choice will go a long way in determining the quality of your sound output.
You might have the best microphone in the business or have the best studio monitors or even the best DAW installed on your system. All this won’t matter at all if you go out and pick a crappy audio interface. Now before you go out and buy one, there are some things you need to consider.
In this article we will be looking at what an audio interface is, why you need to have one and the things you need to consider before getting one.
What is an audio interface?
According to the guys over at bhphotovideo, an audio interface is simply a piece of equipment that expands and improves the audio capability of your computer.
Think of it like this, anytime you record new audio, your audio interface then reproduces the best and accurate representation of that sound, giving you a better sound quality.
This alone makes it a very important equipment for your home studio and one you need to take great care when choosing. Most audio interfaces can be easily connected to your computer system using the USB port. This makes it very easy to setup and use on the go.
Advantages of an audio interface
- Using an audio interface in your home studio, gives you professional sound quality.
- It upgrades the sound output of your systems. What this means is normally the sound card that comes with your system is not capable of handling the high resolution output that is associated with music production. Your audio interface acts as the middle man that makes the end sound so much better.
- It gives you a wide range of options when it comes to inputs and outputs. This depends on the number of inputs and outputs (more on this later).
What to look for before choosing an audio interface
What is your budget?
The first thing you want to consider is how much you have to spend. Let’s face it… when it comes to studio equipment, you get what you pay for. You cannot expect to get quality and durable equipment by shelling out a couple bucks. Now this does not mean that you need to spend a lot of money on an audio interface. A decent one costs between 99 USD and 150 USD.
So depending on the options it has, be expected to spend some money to get a good and quality audio interface.
How many inputs and outputs do i need?
The next thing you need to consider the number of inputs or outputs you will need. For example let’s say you plan on recording a band in your home studio. Definitely you are going to need a large number of inputs to accommodate all the instruments and equipment that will be connected to your system.
Likewise if you plan on recording multiple singers you also need to take that into consideration. Another thing you need to note is what might happen in future. You might think that you do not need an 8 input interface now, but years later you just might change your mind. Go for the interface with the highest amount of inputs and outputs I can afford. This ensures that I do not have to spend again when I need something with more inputs later.
Does it have phantom power?
Do not be confused or scared by the word “phantom power”, its not a ghost. Some microphones need some little juice of electricity to be able to operate and pick up sounds. While others do not need any and can operate fine. This extra juice is what is called “phantom power”. Before you get your audio interface you need to check your microphone and ensure that it either requires or does not require phantom power.
There is nothing really technical about this. You just need to make sure that your microphone needs it or not so you don’t run into problems later.
Does it have any midi ports?
Apart from inputs and outputs, another thing you should consider is the MIDI ins and out. Simply put, MIDI is an audio language that enables audio equipment to talk and listen to each other.
So for example, when you connect your keyboard or guitar to your system, you need connect them using the MIDI ports so they can better understand themselves.
You need to make sure that your audio interface has its MIDI ports available for use. This would help you when you decide to go full blown and start recording bands with multiple members and their equipment.
What is the sample rate?
Finally you want to find out what the sample rate is. The sample rate is simply how many times per second that your audio is sampled to create a digital signal.
So for example if you have a high sample rate, then you are going to have a high frequency range of sounds that can be processed with it. For most audio interfaces, the standard sample rate is 44.1KHz and this is ideal to record sounds of 22KHz.
What you need to do is that you choose an audio interface that has a sample rate of 44.1KHz and above because at this rate the audio quality is greatly improved. To find out more information about sample rate, check out this article.
Picking an audio interface is something you need to take seriously. This is because it is the powerhouse of your home recording studio.
You need to make sure you get it right so that you do not end up spending lots of money over and over again.
All you need to do is to follow the tips and advice laid out in this article and you should be fine. Check out welovesinging.com for more tips like these.