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What is an Audio Interface? An Audio Interfaces is a device that acts as the conduit for between an audio source (such as a microphone or DJ mixer) or destination (such as a pair of speakers or an external recorder) and your computer.
Basically it gets audio into and out of your computer, turning analogue audio signals into digital information (in) and digital information into analogue audio (out). One of the key components to any Audio Interface are the converters that handle this process, known as AD/DA convertors. This quality of these convertors varies from product to product and often has an influence on price. Some users need analogue to digital conversion to create a digital source for something other than a computer (such as a digital recorder or mixing desk), these people would use an AD convertor rather than an Audio Interface.
Units also vary according to what kinds and number of connections they have for getting audio in and out of the unit. Most Audio Interfaces will have a number of microphone inputs and line inputs. Microphone inputs use balanced 3-Pin XLR sockets and in most cases, these inputs will also provide 48V phantom power for use with studio condenser microphones for vocals and instruments. Line input sockets are either the ¼” balanced variety, or unbalanced RCA sockets found on DJ Equipment. These sockets will accept signals from synthesizers, drum machines, DJ mixers. It is important to note that these line inputs are always mono so if you need to record a stereo signal, you’ll need to use two inputs on the soundcard.
Audio Interfaces can connect to your computer in several ways.
USB Audio Interfaces are very popular, offering a very widely used connection type, which is now also very fast. We stock a wide range of USB interfaces from manufacturers such as MOTU, Roland, Presonus, M-Audio, Focusrite, Presonus, Native Instruments and Tascam.
Firewire Audio Interfaces connect to the firewire port on your computer to deliver fast transfer in and out of the machine. Store DJ stocks firewire interfaces from manufacturers such as MOTU, Universal Audio, Focusrite, RME, M-Audio and Behringer.
Utilising the latest Apple technology, Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces connect to the Thunderbolt port on your computer. Store DJ stocks Thunderbolt interfaces from manufacturers including Universal Audio, Zoom, Focusrite, Apogee and MOTU.
PCI audio Interfaces come in the form of PCI cards and are directly installed into a PCI slot inside your computer. PCI slots are usually only found in ‘tower’ style computers. These Audio Interfaces of very fast data transfer as they are connected directly to the motherboard.
With the advent of powerful and portable iOS devices, there are now Audio Interfaces designed to connect to your iPad or iPhone from manufacturers such as IK Multimedia, Alesis and Behringer.
At Store DJ we understand Audio Interfaces. These products come in many forms. We stock a huge range and can advise you on the best one for your needs.