Throughout the years, audiophiles and music producers have been greeted with a handful of innovations. These advancements have given these individuals a much easier and more efficient way to produce their music and create something truly special. Of course, obtaining the best audio interface money can buy is highly recommended. Unfortunately, this task isn’t something that can be accomplished, without time, patience and research. Within this comprehensive guide, you will learn precisely what to look for in a brand new audio interface for your home recording studio for either PC or Mac computer.
What Makes a Good Audio Interface?
Before going any further, you should take the time to examine this device and its precise purpose. What is this device actually used for? Well, an audio interface is capable of recording external audio and transferring it to your computer. This type of audio equipment is pertinent for those that want to create and develop their own songs. Whether you play guitar or drums, the device will be able to pick up the audio you produce and convert it to data on your computer.
When attempting to figure out precisely what a good audio interface should entail, you should know exactly how the device would be used. You also need to determine how you will be connecting the device to your system. Line-level inputs are perfect for those that wish to connect their interface to preamps or DVD players. A good audio interface will deliver everything you need to enhance your music. Since each artist has different goals, the features of a good audio interface will also vary.
What to Look For
As mentioned above, each artist desires something different, so the purchase needs to align with your own individualistic preferences and goals. Below, you will learn exactly what to look at, when purchasing one of these devices.
- Input and Output – First and foremost, you should examine the input and output configuration. When making this determination, you should always opt for a USB output port. At the same time, you should align your inputs towards the items that you wish to be able to record. If you wish to be able to connect your guitar directly to your interface, you will want to ensure that an instrument-level input is included. This will generally be referred to as a hi-Z input.
- Connectivity – You should realize that this device must connect to your computer or Mac in one way or another. With this in mind, you will need to choose between USB and FireWire. At the same time, you should realize that USB is available in different varieties. Opting for a newer USB 2.0 port will allow the device to transfer data quicker. Make sure that the connectivity type will work seamlessly with your computer and you should be fine in this area.
- MIDI Inputs – Although this isn’t a necessity, you should not ignore the potential of MIDI inputs. If you have midi controllers, which only have MIDI outputs, you will definitely need this feature. It could prevent you from buying an additional MIDI interface in the future, so it is well worth adding.
- Headphones Outputs – Some musicians will definitely want to be able to monitor their music, during the recording process. If you fit into this category, you will want to ensure that your interface is equipped with a headphone-level output. If you can find an interface, which comes with front headphone level outputs, you will benefit greatly.
- Digital Signal Processing – Next, you should attempt to figure out, whether you can scrape by with the basic DSP, or whether you want special DSP effects. Some of the newer models will allow additional effects, such as physical modeling. Bass management is also an option. If you feel that these features are necessities, you should ensure that they’re available.
Now that you’ve learned exactly what to look for in your next audio interface, it is time to explore some of the best models on the market. These will be broken down in greater depth below.
Top 10 Audio Interfaces
Our Top Picks for 2016
All in all, there are many musicians, who wish to take their music to the next level. Purchasing the best audio interface for your money and specific musical style is highly recommended. Above, you have been able to familiarize yourself with the important features of an interface, as well as some of the market’s best models. Now, it is time to go out there and find the one that matches your desires the best.