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Interface considerations

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Interface considerations

Finally, I'd like to look at a few things to consider when you're thinking about an interface and trying to find out which one might be right for you. The first thing to do is just think about what you already have in your computer, what's available in terms of hooking it up to an audio interface. Do you have USB, and hopefully USB 2.0, which is faster? The original USB is a little slow and not that great for audio, USB 2.0 is great. FireWire 400 and 800, which is the earlier version and the later version right now I think 800. Those both work really well, but if your computer doesn't have that, well, it's not going to pan out for you.

Interface considerations

Finally, I'd like to look at a few things to consider when you're thinking about an interface and trying to find out which one might be right for you. The first thing to do is just think about what you already have in your computer, what's available in terms of hooking it up to an audio interface. Do you have USB, and hopefully USB 2.0, which is faster? The original USB is a little slow and not that great for audio, USB 2.0 is great. FireWire 400 and 800, which is the earlier version and the later version right now I think 800. Those both work really well, but if your computer doesn't have that, well, it's not going to pan out for you.

Finally, the PCI card if you have a laptop that's not an option. If you have computer, and you're not into opening it up and slapping a card in there, then maybe you need to go USB or FireWire, which are great. They're all great ways to go actually. They all function pretty well. It's just the matter of finding the right fit. If I had to have a preference, I would shoot for FireWire 800 these days. Also, how many tracks do you need to record at once? Different interfaces will give you a different number of inputs. If you only need to do one microphone, but a couple of line inputs, what kind of box can handle that? If you need to do eight microphones, then you need to look into something with eight mic inputs and maybe eight mic preamps.

So just keep in mind how you think you'll be using it, and also playback different devices if you're going to try and play back a lot of channels or 432 something like that, sometimes the slower connections won't be so great. So going back to the first point FireWire and things like that, they can help. It's also good to keep in your mind where the end product is headed. As I mentioned before you can use that to kind of determine the sample rate and bit depth that makes sense for your project. Obviously, different qualities are required for different types of production. So keep that in mind.

Finally, portability, durability, and affordability--and I also like to say if it looks cool is important too. If you're going to moving around with the laptop or you're going to be taking this over to your friends house to work, try and find one that's not huge and muggy, but also seems like it won't break if you drop it or it won't scratch. It just feels that you can tell when you pick stuff up. If it's kind of feels a little more durable. Then affordability there is a really wide range. You can go from a hundred bucks up to a thousand bucks, easy, and find stuff fit every interval in-between.

It's okay to start out with something that's not super expensive and just get used to working with stuff. A lot of times that leads you into learning about what you wish you had out of the system as opposed to getting the big system and not necessarily utilizing all the features right away. So these are just a few more things to keep in mind when you're looking at audio interfaces, and you're thinking about incorporating one into your audio system.

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This video is part of

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Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 26625 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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