do i need a audio interface?

Posted by Syl_ai on October - 26 - 2011

Shock Asked: do i need a audio interface?

im trying to get a little recording studio in my room im going to buy software the mic but i need to know should i get a audio interface or can i just buy a mixer. or do i need a mixer for the interface to work.,,,,,sorry i dont know alot about this stuff thats why im asking


Wendy Answered:
A mixer is Ok.

Reed Answered:
mixers give you flexibility, you can do alot with the track with a mixer(eq,fade,gain)
if your just recording a few tracks, you can get away with out using a mixer, in this situation your audio interface will need an audio interface with a preamp built in, or a seperate microphone preamp before the interface. like:

this interface has no preamp, but this preamp can go before the interface.
(your interface will need a L and R out(left and right) for the left and right studio monitor speakers)

If you choose a mixer, there is a few options.
if you get an analog mixer, you will need an audio interface as well. it would go from the channel direct outs on your mixer(make sure the direct outs are post fader if you want to fade and eq it on the mixer and not on the software in the recording stage) to the interface inputs, to your computer with usb or firewire.(depending on your interface) most digital mixers have usb or firewire and can directly connect to your computer.(if an analog mixer has a usb it can connect but it will record everything as one track on your software.)
some digital mixers have special l and r outputs for studio monitors. otherwise you can probably use the main outputs for studio monitors.–Digital_Mixers

these are good examples of digital mixers.

inserts can be used as direct outs by plugging it in at the first click, it will be unbalanced but can be made balanced with a DI like this.

Adnan Answered:
Mixers are analog machines. So if you buy a totally analog mixer, you need to connect the main outputs to a small 2 channel interface/AD converter in order to feed to the PC

Let me explain it to ya. Your setup can be of many type. If you are using a entry level analog mixer, what happens is you only get the main L and R analog outs. Then you still need an interface or A/D converter to feed the data digitally to your computer. The drawback is that, you cannot record individual tracks or put FX on them. The final mix reaches in your computer. So, if you want FX either the mixer has some onboard or you use outboard FX. Nowdays there are many mixers that say USB. None of them will let you record more that 2 channel (the final mix) unless they specifically say that with built in 16×4 or 16×8 interface.

Digital mixers are ones that convert the data to digital before anything else. All the work is then done digitally and output using a D/A converter to the speakers or digitally sent to your PC. What they have more is that many of them can communicate with your computer and can be used as a control surface to control your software too.

For your home studio, I think you'll save space and money if you get an interface. If you are recording yourself and a keyboard simultaneously, all you need is an interface with 4 input and 2 output. If you have outboard FX or plan to use them soon, get an interface with lots of outputs.

I highly recommend the Line 6 POD Studio UX2 if you are recording electric guitars too. Or get a Tascam US-600. If you plan to record a small band soon, get a Tascam US-1800. Smokin stuff!!

If you want to get one that you can rely upon even if it costs a bit more, there are MOTUs. They are amazing. The 8pre and 828mkII are good. If you have a bit lower budget take a look at the Focusrites and Mackies.Saffire 24 or Saffire 40 from Focusrite is truely great. And the Mackie onyx Blackbird is great too. There is a lot to choose from.

classicsat Answered:
Some Interfaces support mics directly.

You might be better off with a digital mini mixer. Those have the audio interface built in, have several inputs and effects loops, and can often record themselves, and/or act as a control surface for your editing software.

Got a better answer? Share it below!