In a time when we are getting advanced technologically day by day, it is no surprise that even recording in the studio at your home has its way. If you’re looking to get started, the heart and soul of a home recording studio is called an audio interface. Some of you may be new with this piece of equipment or perhaps have never even heard of it. An audio interface is a device used to record your voice and/or your instruments with the use of a microphone or with instruments plugged in directly through a 1/4″ jack. Think of it as an external sound card that you use with your computer. Having this basic tool makes it easy to record at your own home. Just remember that audio interfaces are different from mixers and cannot be used in quite the same way.

Now that you know what an audio interface is, you have to know what is needed to choose one, and here are some tips.

1. Know what you need

The first question would be what will you be recording? Is it going to be voice or instruments? It is possible that it will be both but nevertheless, by knowing it, it will be easier to narrow down your needs. These are what you will contemplate in choosing.

a. Connection format

The most popular is USB, but it could be different, like Firewire or Thunderbolt. It will be important to know what types that your computer will to use or else it will be a waste and you’ll end up needing adapters.

b. Audio I/O

I/O stands for input/output and, and you want to have at least one for each line you’ll be recording simultaneously. Because of that, it is important to know what will be really needed so you can make sure you have enough. You’ll often be able to choose from I/Os with and without preamps, so keep in mind which instruments will be line and which will need amplification on their way into your computer’s recording software. 

c. Additional connections

Here are some of the additional connections that you should be aware of:

  1. MIDI I/O – having this will be useful for connecting any MIDI devices, though most communicate through USB these days and do not need to pass through an interface.
  2. Digital I/O – these allow you to expand the available channels. Common types include ADAT Lightpipe, S/PDIF, and AES/EBU.
  3. Instrumental level DI – used for directly connecting guitars or synths that have already been amplified.
  4. Reamp outputs – think of these as the opposite of an instrument DI. It can also serve as a monitor so you can keep an eye on your recordings as they takes are performed.

d. Digital Signal Processing or DSP

This is needed so that the audio interface would be allowed to function as a standalone device. 

2. Know the quality

Now that you have learned what is needed you will have to determined what grade of audio interface you will need. Keep in mind that good quality does not always equal a higher price. There are cheaper ones that are of great quality and can be used for a long time. But it is important to do some research about these things. Learn more about it by reading about the technology and also reading some reviews will be helpful.

3. Know your price

As said before, having a great quality audio interface does not have to be expensive. It will be still up to your needs and preferences. It will also be your choice to determine if it’s really worth it to invest in a premium model, which could very well be the case if you take your recording seriously. 

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