As a beginner musician, there may be different reasons why you need an external audio interface. For example, an audio interface is not only required for a guitar player but also for singers and producers as an audio interface. But why?
Why an external audio interface?
The speed of a built-in sound card that is standard in your computer can be very slow. In general, Apple laptops have a faster sound card than Windows laptops. For Windows laptops, the audio interface is also very slow and not made to process multiple sounds at the same time. Your projects can lag, and an external audio interface can provide a solution. The external sound card causes a lower latency (delay).
A built-in sound card in your computer has a certain latency. This means that it takes only seconds to process the sound. For example, you have a midi keyboard, and you plug it into your computer, every time you touch a note, there is a slight delay before you hear this from your speaker! You will take this delay away with a solid sound card.
Recording of instruments or vocals
When recording home: guitar, vocals, piano, drums and other instruments you need an audio interface. The instrument or microphone can be plugged into the audio interface with an XLR or Jack cable. You do not have this option with an inbuilt computer audio interface. Through a small box (audio interface), you have the ability to translate different tracks to a digital audio track on your computer. This allows you to save and edit the track. It is important to consider how many audio tracks you want to record at the same time with your audio interface. The external USB audio interface must have enough inputs for this.
Connecting studio speakers
When purchasing studio speakers, you need an external audio interface. The cabling that comes from studio monitors does not fit on a normal computer. Often, these jacks plug in the back of your audio interface (outputs). If you have more than two speakers, it's important to watch how many outputs your external audio interface has. Connecting speakers to your external audio interface are often necessary to get sound out from the studio speakers.
Where should you pay attention to when purchasing an external audio interface?
Inputs and outputs
An audio interface requires attention to the number of inputs and outputs. The outputs determine the number of speakers to be connected and the inputs the number of instruments to be connected and record at the same time. For example, if you want to record a guitarist, keyboardist and singer at the same time, you need at least three inputs.
A latency sound card causes you to not delay between playing your instrument and then hearing from the speakers. Especially if you play different notes quickly, this can be very important.
Connection (USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt)
It is, of course, important that you connect the external audio interface to your particular setup. Therefore, look carefully at the connections.
48V power supply, for example, a microphone (phantom power supply)
A microphone sometimes needs extra power, the microphone itself is often not connected. This 48V power can be turned on when the microphone is connected to the sound card.
5 Best External Audio Interfaces - 2 Inputs 2 Outputs
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Focusrite has given the Scarlett 2I2 a review. Improved internal components, lower latency and 192kHz recording quality are the results.
The Tascam US-2X2 is the sequel to the US-200 with a new housing and improved preamps.
PreSonus AudioBox 22VSL
The Presonus Audiobox is a small sound card with a solid metal housing. The Audiobox is very versatile and is both perfect for studio and live use.
The Steinberg UR12 is a 2-in / 2-out interface with special sound and build quality in this price range. The 24-bit / 192kHz converters and Yamaha mic preamps make this interface unique.
M-AUDIO M-TRACK 2X2M
M-Audio's M-Track 2X2 is a sleekly designed audio interface with a separate mic and instrument input and balanced jack outputs.
Larger external USB audio interfaces
Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MK2
The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MK2 makes recording and monitoring very easy due to its double headphone jack at the front. There are a lot of improvements both internally and externally, read quickly.
The Tascam US-4X4 is an extensive audio interface for the recording artist who needs just a little bit more in the studio or on the go.
M-AUDIO M-TRACK 4X4M
This M-Track 8X4 is not only very stylish but also functional with its four combo XLR / Jack inputs, two instrument and two line inputs as well as two headphone outputs.
AKAI EIE PRO
Akai EIE Pro is a stylish sound card to connect all your devices at once. The EIE Pro features 4 jack / XLR inputs with mic preamp, MIDI I / O, 3 USB ports and two classic VU meters.
(4 inputs - 4 outputs)