As a musician or producer looking to start recording, there are certain things you are going to want from an audio interface, whatever the style you are working with. We’ve decided to look at five key areas you need to consider when deciding on a new interface.
You are going to want your recordings to sound good, and while it’s great to be able to demo things on a mobile device for taking to a studio in the future, why not get it recorded at studio quality to begin with, right in your own home?
There are lots of things that will affect the audio quality of an interface, but some major contributors are the mic preamps and audio converters. If those aren’t up to scratch, you will be left with noise, uneven frequency response, and lack of detail in the recording.
Cheaper interfaces might be using cheaper components to make these important elements, so make sure you do some research, you don’t want to have to replace it after a short time because the audio quality is not good enough for you.
Ease of use
Audio quality is all well and good, but even if you get the best sounding interface and it takes an hour to start recording on it, or you are constantly having to fight through complicated features, the creative moment will have gone. An interface that you can just plug in, adjust a few settings and be up and recording in a matter of moments is going to be incredibly valuable for getting those creative ideas down as they happen.
Other than plugging a microphone, speaker and headphones in, see what other features might be useful to you in terms of saving you time and getting creative results. Things like multiple headphone outputs for collaboration, instrument inputs for electric instruments, and low latency monitoring are all things that should be considered.
As a musician, having a portable interface is useful if you are often on the move, and want to be able to record or mix at a moments notice. You need something small that can be thrown in a bag with a set of headphones and a laptop.
Another consideration is whether it runs on bus power, meaning it only requires a USB connection to your computer to work. If you need to use it whilst travelling, where you won’t have access to a wall power socket, then bus power is a must.
Speaking of portability, you’ll want to be confident that your interface isn’t going to fall apart in your bag and can withstand the rigours of being out on the road. Many interfaces on the lower end of the spectrum are likely to be partially or completely made out of plastic and might not be so durable.
All of these aspects need to be carefully considered when buying an interface, as it will be an investment that should last you a while. If you’re not sure where to start in your research, check out Audient’s iD4 and iD14 interfaces, which have been designed to cater for all of the points above.
Take a look at this video from Audient showing an example of studio quality recording from its iD4 audio interface: