Does an audio interface improve sound quality?

If you are reading this article you are probably thinking of purchasing an audio interface. One of the questions you may have is “Does an audio interface improve sound quality?”.

The short answer is YES – An audio interface improves sound quality significantly by accurately reproducing the sound that is passed into it and out to your studio monitors or headphones.

Lets dive deeper explore more on how an audio interface improves sound quality.

The magic

If you are serious about music then an audio interface is needed. Although you can record music without one via different means like a USB microphone, you will notice that there is a drop in quality of your recording.

If you attempt to recreate that same recording through an audio interface, you will notice that the sound quality is way better because of its D/A (Digital to Analog) converters.

Digital to Analog converters allows you to take an analog sound from the real world (guitar or vocals etc) and convert it into a digital representation of the sound and it goes straight into your computer.

A good audio interface will produce a clean and identical representation of the sound that you are recording.

Some other sound improving features

Phantom power

Phantom power is one feature that is needed for many microphones and instruments. It essentially drives power to the microphone or instrument so that sound can be recorded at adequate levels. If your mic or instrument requires phantom power, you should turn it on. If you don’t turn on phantom power, it will record at very very low volumes or in some cases not record any sound at all.

Gain (Instrument)

Gain is crucial to getting an improved sound via an audio interface. It allows you to turn up or down the sound signal. If your recording source is too quiet, turn it up. If its way to loud, turn it down.

A good use of this is electric guitars. Sometimes after all the guitar pedals and effects, it can record VERY HOT which will distort your audio signal. Some people enjoy this but most don’t. This is where you would turn down the gain and get your recording perfect. There you go, sound quality improved thanks to your audio interface.

Monitor Volume

When it comes to enjoying your music, you can enjoy it at any level thanks to the audio interface.

Without an audio interface, if you turn something up, it may distort the sound if you are using a terrible or stock sound card. With the monitor volume on an audio interface, it allows you to turn up the volume to as high as you want with no distortion what so ever; as long as your studio monitors can handle the volume.

Some recommended audio interfaces

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface for Recording, Songwriting, Streaming and Podcasting — High-Fidelity, Studio Quality Recording, and All the Software You Need to Record
  • Pro performance with the finest pre-amps - Achieve a brighter and a more open recording thanks to the best performing mic pre-amps the Scarlett range has ever seen. A switchable Air mode will add extra clarity to your acoustic instruments when recording with your Scarlett 2i2.
  • Get the perfect guitar and vocal take - There’s no need to sacrifice your tone with two high-headroom instrument inputs to plug in your guitar or bass so that they shine through. Capture your voice with clarity and your instruments in all their glory without any unwanted clipping or distortion thanks to our Gain Halos.
  • Low-noise for crystal clear listening - Two low-noise balanced outputs provide clean audio playback. Hear all the details and nuances of your own track or music from Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. Plug-in your own headphones via the output for private listening in high-fidelity.
  • Studio quality recording for your music and podcasts - You can achieve professional sounding recordings with Scarlett’s high-performance converters which enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz. Your recordings will retain all of their sonic qualities so that you can sound like the artists you admire.
  • Easy Start - It’s easier than ever to get up and running with your Scarlett with our online tool, Easy Start. Whether you’re looking to record or playback audio, we will help you get started.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin X Quad Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface, (APLTWXQ)
  • Apollo Twin X allows musicians and producers to easily track, overdub, and mix with Elite-class A/D and D/A conversion, two Unison-enabled preamps, and available DUO or QUAD Core Real Time UAD plug-in processing — all in a desktop Thunderbolt 3 audio interface for Mac or PC.
  • Built upon UA’s 60-year heritage of audio craftsmanship, Apollo Twin X confidently outperforms everything in its class, with 127 dB D/A dynamic range and an included bundle of UAD analog emulation plug-ins, giving you a fully-stocked analog studio, right on your desktop.
  • Includes FREE download of LUNA Recording System, which transforms all Thunderbolt equipped Apollo and Arrow interfaces into a full-featured music creation, recording, and analog-style production system for Mac
  • Apollo Twin X includes the “Real Time Analog classics” UAD plug-in bundle, other UAD plug-ins sold separately.
  • Record and mix with Elite-class A/D and D/A conversion — with the widest dynamic range and lowest noise of any desktop interface

So.. Does an audio interface improve sound quality?

Does an audio interface improve sound quality? The answer is YES. From D/A Converters, to Phantom power to gain and volume, we can see that an audio interface can take your audio to the next level.

Let us know which audio interface you are rocking with in the comments!

Last update on 2021-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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