Why do I need an audio interface?

As your music knowledge grows and your music journey continues, you will most likely ask your self “Why do I need an audio interface”? A lot of people ask this question as well when they realize that they can make music easily on their laptop or computer with their DAW of choice. Let’s explore the question further.

Why do I need an audio interface?

The reason why you need an audio interface is because of these following reasons:

  • I need to record vocals
  • I need to record my guitar or other external instrument
  • I want to have a CLEANER sound
  • I want to connect studio monitors my computer
  • I want to mix and/or master songs
  • I want to become a more advanced music producer

There are probably more but these are pretty much the main reasons. Let’s look into each and dissect them even further!

I need to record vocals

If you want to record vocals then there is no doubt an audio interface is needed.

Wait… hold up.. I just received a message from the USB mic community: “No you are WRONG. Im getting along fine with my USB mic so no audio interface is needed!” . Okay let me explain… Yes they are 100 percent right but a USB mic simply does not have the same power and features as a mic that is connected via XLR cable to an audio interface, like a condenser microphone.

If you want professional sounding vocals then a microphone like a condenser microphone is needed and in order to connect a condenser microphone to your computer, you need an audio interface.

I need to record my guitar or other external instrument

Let’s say you are in FL studio and you are making a nice beat. You then decide, “I want to record my guitar” because this riff I just did sounds really nice! Depending on the type of guitar this is, you will need a 1/4in cable that goes from your guitar in to your audio interface, or a nice microphone to record the raw guitar sound… like you would a vocal.

Same thing goes for any external instrument that you want to record into your computer. You will need the necessary wires or mic set up to make that happen and that will go straight to your audio interface.

I want to have a CLEANER sound

I’ll just say it bluntly – Most on board sound cards/chips on computers and laptops are TRASH.

To be frank, most computer companies don’t really care too much about how on board audio from your computer sounds. I’ve had computers where the sound was so bad that it prevented me from making music for a while. I knew that this wasn’t my limit and I could actually get sound that sounds great like the PROS. I went out and purchased an audio interface and never looked back… in fact if you are a serious musician, then an audio interface is necessary.

The sound that comes out of an audio interface is just CLEAN. It sounds so good and you are able to hear how your music sounds in HIGH QUALITY.

Producing through an audio interface also helps you make better decisions because you can easily hear all the details of your music and find out what it needs or doesn’t need.

I want to connect studio monitors my computer

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

If you want to connect some nice studio monitors to your computer, then you will need to connect them to an audio interface. Its designed to be connected that way because they carry a lot of power.

Related: How to Make your Home Studio Sound Professional

I want to mix and/or master songs

If you want to mix and/or master yours or a client’s songs, then with out question an audio interface is needed.

The reason for this is because, when you are engineering a track, you need to have a clear high definition picture of what is going on in the song. You can not afford to cross your fingers and hope that everything sounds good if you are mixing without an audio interface.

All the respectable mixing and mastering engineers in the world all make use of an audio interface and it shows in their work.

Your favorite songs were all mixed on one so there is no excuse to not go out and pick up an audio interface of your choice.

I want to become a more advanced music producer

So let’s say you have been making beats without an audio interface and record your vocals via a USB Mic. At one point you will feel like you have plateaued. You wont be able to escape this feeling because if you are passionate about music; your gut feeling will straight up tell you that it’s time to improve as a musician. Having an audio interface is the quickest way to advance in your music journey.

When you have an audio interface, it forces you to think differently. It forces you to understand music from a different angle and become even more technical about music (this is not a bad thing!).

You will take your recordings, production, mixes and masters more seriously and your music will thank you for it as well.

Audio Interface Recommendations

So assuming your “Why do I need an audio interface?” question has finally been answered, here are some audio interface recommendations for you. We checked these ones out and definitely recommend them because they are great interfaces!

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First

This audio interface was my first audio interface and I loved it so much that I upgraded to the 3rd gen.

The audio quality on this is excellent. It actually doesn’t make sense how I can get such great audio quality from a cost effective audio interface that simply passes all my checks. Here are some more features of this interface as well:

  • Superb audio audio quality
  • 48V phantom power enabled
  • Mono and Stereo button that allows you to switch easily between the two modes
  • You can connect a guitar or any instrument that accepts a 1/4in cable
  • Gain light indicators letting you know if you are running too hot (red) or just at the right volume (green).
  • Excellent build quality

I would recommend this audio interface to anyone who is starting to dabble into interfaces and want something that is excellent and cost effective at the same time. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen is worth it.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface

Universal Audio Apollo Twin X QUAD Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface, (APLTWXQ)

The UAD Apollo Twin X Quad interface is simply out of this world. It’s more expensive but there is a reason why… It’s an audio interface that sounds great and also has its own processing power on the audio interface itself! This means you can off load the processing power from UAD plugins on to the interface itself which frees up CPU from your main computer.

This interface is one of the most cleanest sounding interfaces on the market. It also has many other features such as:

  • Preamps – Two Unison enabled preamps that model popular preamps such as Neve, API, Manley and more
  • Clean Sounding audio
  • Quad Core Processing
  • Elite-class A/D and D/A conversion
  • and more

Conclusion

So these are the reasons why an audio interface is needed. If you want to be a better musician, record better and just have a better set up, an audio interface is needed. Let us know in the comments how which audio interface you have an how it has transformed your music!

Leave a Comment