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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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