Audit Interface

Hi

Can anyone tell me why I would want/need an audit interface? I run Suite on a PC but don't envisage ever recording live instruments. I may record vocals at some point but not in the near future.

As far as I can tell the main benefit is that it would reduce the delay between me recording a sound (vocal for instance) on a mic and it being recorded in Live. Am I right or am I missing something fundamental here?!?

Thanks

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mollyfatha 2 years ago | 1 comment

1 answer

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    The most important thing that happens in your audio interface (soundcard) is that the conversion from digital data to analogue audio is performed, hence the terms AD/DA convertors. This is Analogue to Digital and Digital to Analogue. The convertors are components within the soundcard which perform this task, as a general rule the better these convertors the more expensive the audio interface will be.

    As you may already realise your PC/computer already has some of these convertors which is what enables you to plug in headphones or a hifi system and listen to the audio on your computer. They will however be pretty basic convertors and in no way professional, this means that the analogue sound you are hearing is only a 'close' representation of the digital audio which is in your computer. 

    For the purpose of general monitoring of your music this is not a major problem and the quality of the audio within Ableton will be as good as it's source and the audio settings you are working with (bit depth ans sample rate). By this I mean that if you download an mp3 sample and load it into your set the final quality of the audio can be no better than the original sample even if you convert it to a higher bit depth and sample rate. If however you start with a 32bit 96khz .wav or.aiff sample then your final audio will retain a much higher quality. You will not be able to hear the finer detail in your production while working on it though and this could create problems when mixing your track.

    If you keep all your work within ableton and export the final mix as a 24bit 48khz (or other high resolution) wave or aiff file then you will have not made any AD/DA conversions and your computers 'not so good' convertors will have had no effect on the quality of the audio. Hence if you took this file to a decent studio or mastering suite they would be able to produce a high quality reproduction of your track, uncoloured by your computers convertors. 

    Aside from this function audio interfaces allow you to perform a number of other tasks which include (depending on the interface), input and recording from multiple sources, recording directly from microphone, outputting to multiple destinations, synchronising with other hardware, input and output of MIDI, digital and analogue inputs and outputs in a variety of formats. There are literally hundreds of choices and it is arguably one of the most difficult decisions to make. I personally have owned about 20 different interfaces over the past 15 years, some I got to try because they were new and flashy, others I bought from recommendation, others I bought on specifications and others on a whim... in the end the right soundcard for you is the best one you can afford which does everything you need it to, not everything 'they' tell you it needs to do.

    For now, until you have a decent monitor system, don't worry about it. But as soon as you have some good quality monitors (speakers) or you decide to start playing live you'll definitely benefit from a good audio interface.

    Mark

    2 years ago | 0 comments

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