You say that you desire a new audio interface. It’s different from before when the choices were limited. Which audio interface is best for music production? There are now many different companies, including Apogee Electronics, Antelope, Audient, Focusrite, MOTU, PreSonus, Universal Audio, and Waves. Each of these companies often offers several interfaces in its product line. You don’t want to spend too much money on something you don’t need or purchase anything that won’t be adequate for your work. How, then, do you choose one? Asking oneself the appropriate questions is the first step in everything.
How Are You Getting It Linked to Your Computer?
The response to this question will significantly reduce your choice of possibilities. Audio interfaces frequently use USB 2.0/3.0/Type-C, FireWire 400/800, Thunderbolt 1/2/3, and RJ45 Ethernet as their connection types. There is another one called DigiLink. However, this article won’t cover it because it is exclusive to Avid Pro Tools HD PCI cards. You must ascertain or learn what ports your computer offers. If your computer has more than one of the above connection types, you should choose wisely by understanding each one. The most cost-effective USB interfaces, like this Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, are compatible with the broadest range of PCs. Faster data transmission rates are supported by USB Type-C than USB 3.0, which supports faster data transfer rates than USB 2.0.
Does the interface need to be used for mixing, recording, or both?
What sources—analog microphones and instruments, analog line level, or digital signals—will you work with if the interface is intended for recording? The interface should have XLR and 1/4″ TS inputs and mic preamps for analog instruments and microphones. The interface doesn’t need mic preamps for analog line-level sources but should have line inputs, whether 1/4″ TRS, DB25 or XLR jacks. Depending on the equipment you intend to connect, you’d need an interface supporting AES/EBU, S/PDIF, ADAT optical, or MADI for digital signals.
What mixing style—ITB (in the box) or sending out to analog gear—do you need the interface to support if it is to be used for mixing? The interface requires a few outputs for ITB mixing, such as a headphone port and stereo analog outputs for speaker feeding. The interface should include eight or more analog outputs if you want to mix using analog equipment. This will allow you to connect to external compressors and EQs and many channels on a summing mixer or console.
What Extras Are Necessary?
MIDI ports and synchronized connectivity are examples of “lower-priority” features that are simple to ignore. A single MIDI input and output can accommodate numerous users. Don’t automatically assume that all interfaces include MIDI I/O; some do not save money. Word clock through BNC, SMPTE timecode via 1/4″ phone jacks or MIDI timecode (MTC) via MIDI ports can be synchronized. Some interfaces will provide this connectivity, but frequently only with one or the other jack than with both. Consider additional features like integrated talkback, display controls, and remote control. Even if you have yet to use them, adding them to your workflow could improve your everyday audio operations.
Do Plug-Ins Need the Interface to Be Powered?
Hardware DSP chips can power specific plug-ins in some audio interfaces. These DSP-powered plug-ins are solely accessible through the audio interface, not your CPU. Therefore, you cannot access the DSP-powered plug-ins if you ruthlessly damage the interface. Mic preamps, line inputs and outputs, hardware-powered plug-ins, and more are all features offered by audio interfaces like the Universal Audio Apollo 8p and the Antelope Zen Studio+. Notably, this power is not provided for free by manufacturers of interfaces with hardware-based plug-in processing. You gain authority by having more money.
Which audio interface is best for music production? Please list the things you need, no matter how archaic they may appear. Make a brief list of the features you require in an audio interface. Make a “Maybe or Not” list as you look at various products. Add three interfaces to the “Definitely Not” category if they don’t meet your criteria after looking at them. Put the four interfaces in the “Maybe” category if you discover four suitable for your needs. By doing this, you can only look at the same products once and keep track of how many matches you’ve found. Talk to others, solicit their ideas, and ask them questions. What audio interfaces are you thinking about, then?