Audio Interfaces for 2018
One of the main problems for beginners in the field of computer sound is the choice of a sound card. Of course, much depends on this choice, and today we will tell you what the sound cards are for, and also present the models that are in demand today for any hearing. Audio interfaces. Guide to the claimed sound cardsю Sound, sound card, audio interface – this is all the name of the device, which has certain features. Understand the main.
Thunderbolt audio interfaces
Firstly, this device helps to turn zeros and ones into a sound that we hear from speakers or headphones. All music that is stored or created inside your computer is a digital code. The word “code” can be associated with spies who transmit incomprehensible ciphers to each other, something that needs to be deciphered for understanding. Any audio interface has its own decoding specialist, the so-called digital-to-analog converter or DAC. So, the DACs are different, someone decodes well and clearly, and someone mixes the letters and lisps. The very decoding of sound is a complex mathematical process, and, moreover, there are different ways to convert zeros and ones into an analog signal. The DAC built into the computer in most cases suits the unsophisticated listeners, but in audio interfaces, the quality of sound is paid much more attention. Different manufacturers may have different approaches, effective and not very, but in general it can be said that listening experience with a sound card will be better than with a built-in DAC computer.
Secondly, audio interfaces help us to “load” the sound into the computer for further processing. The process is reverse to the reproduction. For example, record voice or instruments, synthesizers, samplers and other external sound sources. Whether we connected a microphone to sing, or a cassette tape to digitize a record from the last century, we need to convert an electrical audio signal into code, and with this an analog-to-digital converter or ADC works. There are several approaches to transformation, and everywhere there are subtleties associated with physical processes, linearity, nonlinearity and other complex scientific things.
How, without diving into the jungle, is it possible to measure the sound quality objectively?
It is also worth mentioning the form factors. There are desktop and rack interfaces. Desktop, of course, is an ordinary device on the legs. Rack is the same focused on studio use, where the equipment is installed in special racks (racks). Of course, no one prevents you from putting a rack card on the table, but remember, they take up a lot of space.
Universal Audio Apollo
Universal Audio is famous for its excellent plug-ins in conjunction with a powerful hardware DSP. Many fans of sound processing dream about the devices of this company, and this is understandable. Apollo Twin is a suitable desktop solution, but only for MAC users. If you have serious studio intentions, take a closer look at the more versatile Apollo 8 / 8p / 16 / Firewire, they also have more in / out and more DSP cores. UAD recently updated its lineup and announced new devices. These cards use the connection on the bus Thunderbolt 2, which is by far the fastest. And now the interfaces are equipped with the industry’s highest quality pre-amplifiers and converters. By all indications, Universal Audio deservedly ranks first in our rating.
RME Fireface & Babyface
Fireface combines high-quality professional, from converters to connectors, RME stuffing and easy operation, and the remote control makes the work even more comfortable. And when it comes to high sound quality and ergonomic design, they often recall the more compact Babyface model, which will soon be replaced by a new generation of Babyface Pro interfaces. The Fireface series has several models with a different set of in / out.
MOTU Ultralite MK3 Hybrid
Many interfaces of MOTU company do not lag behind leaders and are universal in all senses – they work on USB, FireWire, and generally without a computer, like a digital console, thanks to an advanced DSP. As the best example – model Ultralite MK3 Hybrid. Ableton, CuBase, Traktor, no matter what software you are working with, the card itself can additionally process any incoming and outgoing signal separately, and presets for each situation will be stored on your computer and inside the card itself. Plus a lot of inputs, outputs, tight assembly and small size make this card a workhorse in any live.