How to choose the audio interface?

Last Update Time: 2022-04-14 10:50:41

 In theory, it is not difficult to choose a suitable audio interface. First consider your budget, then the number and type of input/output ports. You will find that there are few optional competitive products.

   But in reality, choosing an audio interface product that satisfies you is a frustrating process. Not because of the lack of optional products, the fact is just the opposite: there are too many products on the market, and a variety of connection protocols are used-USB2.0 and FireWire are the most common, and USB3.0 and Apple’s Thunderbolt are gradually starting to let People feel their existence. Most audio interfaces look similar, which is not conducive to your choice: if you cannot distinguish them, how do you know who is the best?

  Industry perspective

   First of all, when you buy the first audio interface or upgrade an existing audio interface, what is the most important thing to consider? Joe Lawton, a professional audio hardware product manager from Focusrite, gave a simple answer: "It must have good sound quality. This means that the entire signal flow from analog input to digital conversion to analog output-all Components-there can be no compromise in sound quality. In addition, you need an audio interface to meet your needs, simple and easy to use, trustworthy, (software / firmware) will be updated frequently."

  PreSonus is another prestigious manufacturer whose views are very similar. "Users must first consider the sound quality and the amount of I/O they really need. This is the basic bottom line. Then consider other functions, including onboard monitor mixing effects."

"Software tools are also worth considering, especially the bundled DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). If your DAW and audio interface are well integrated, your workflow will become smooth and the time to deal with failures will be less. "

  PreSonus mentioned software problems, no doubt, because all of their audio interfaces are equipped with a version of StudioOne audio workstation. It is certainly a very good application. If you are a beginner, the bundled production software will indeed affect your decision. However, users who already have their own options may not care too much about this, unless there are good synthesizers or effects available.

  Focusrite and PreSonus are outstanding in sound quality and I/O. It should not be too difficult to determine your input and output requirements. However, as we mentioned, it is difficult to determine the quality of sound. You can't "download" the audio interface to try it, and each manufacturer will tell you that their product sounds great, and you will also see these words from the evaluation.

   So, how does the audio interface connect to your computer? In the past few years, USB2.0 and FireWire are the main standards, but USB3.0 and Thunderbolt are now starting to attract attention, and those products that were once familiar may soon be eliminated.

   "Most people have discovered that the current audio interface lineup is very relevant to the development of next-generation computers," PreSouns said. "The transition process we are in now is like the transition from serial ports and PCI to USB and FireWire. Most of these transitions are huge pressure on manufacturers and end users."

"However, with the introduction of FireWire/Thunderbolt adapters by Apple, in the foreseeable future, FireWire will be supported at least on the Mac platform. On the Windows platform, we expect FireWire cards to continue to be supported because many users still have needs, which It will also allow us to go through this period of transition smoothly."


   As far as the audio interface is concerned, many people think that FireWire has stalled. So people with this interface device should not have to worry about it becoming obsolete soon. Moreover, we see more and more sound cards supporting USB and FireWire at the same time-JoeLawton of Focusrite believes this will become a specification.

   "Technology is feasible, and manufacturers can do the same. But the development cost and time requirements make many audio interfaces choose to maintain a single connection type."

"In theory, the USB2.0 audio interface already works well on most computers; USB3.0 is also backward compatible, so plugging the older generation products into the newer generation interface will not cause problems. "However, many sound card manufacturers report that using USB 2.0 products will cause problems. So are these problems likely to exist for a long time? Fortunately, according to PreSonus, this is not the case. "You can easily fix these problems with the new driver. These are all necessary. You need to upgrade the firmware and perform some tests. After all, USB3.0 is still new, so it will take some time to discover the chip. Whether the group has compatibility issues."

   Of course, any well-regarded sound card needs a stable driver. So before you decide to buy, it is necessary to check whether these product upgrades are regular and how others feel about the overall stability of the product.


  As far as we know now, in the foreseeable future, any interface that can be bought now will work well on most computers. But if you are considering upgrading your device, what are the advantages of Thunderbolt or USB3.0? Joe Lawton believes that at least for audio applications, these standards also need to provide more support.

"USB3.0 does not provide a greater advantage in'synchronized' data conversion (for example, the type of conversion used for audio streaming). However, Thunderbolt is directly connected to the computer's motherboard, so (in theory) Has almost zero latency computer audio transmission performance."

   "Thunderbolt is much better than USB3.0 in this respect. However, since it is still a relatively new technology, its execution cost is still relatively high."

PreSonus's attitude towards Thunderbolt is positive, but it is also watching its potential: "For FireWire and USB, there is still room. High speed means low latency, which is definitely an improvement in audio performance, even if you Only record one track."

   "Thunderbolt has greatly stimulated the potential of the audio interface, providing low latency, high performance, network support, etc. We expect it to become the leading choice for professional audio interfaces, but not necessarily the only option."

"USB3.0 provides a good transfer rate, so it can support faster I/O interfaces. If the past trends are still there, it will gradually be widely supported. In this case, FireWire and USB3. The matchup of 0 will not be fundamentally different. We are looking forward to the emergence of both Thunderbolt and USB3.0 on future audio interfaces."

Technical changes will lead to better performance, but there is no doubt that any existing audio equipment is enough for you to make good music. What you need is high-quality sound, correct I/O and reliability, so maybe choosing the right audio interface is not a difficult task.


If you want to know more, our website has product specifications for audio interface, you can go to ALLICDATA ELECTRONICS LIMITED to get more information