In every bedroom studio, you typically see an audio interface.

If you’re just starting up.. you may be wondering, “Do I Need an Audio Interface?”.

And my answer to you is it depends on what you’re wanting out of your home studio.

There’s two routes you can take:

  • USB Microphones (Which sound great and have come a long way.)
  • Audio Interface (Which allows for more connectivity and different gear.)

Let’s keep this short and sweet, okay? 🙂

USB Microphone Route

An example of a high-quality USB Microphone would be Blue Yeti USB Microphone:

You simply plug it in, and you should be good to go.

This is your cheapest solution, but still gives you high quality audio!

Audio Interface

An audio interface does a couple things for us as producers.

The first is that it is an external sound card. This allows you to get better performance out of your music set up when producing your tracks.

(When starting out, I suggest the Focusrite 2i2.)

For more information on audio interfaces:

Next, audio interfaces use XLR connectivity. This is the standard connection for high-quality microphones and other gear in the studio. (This means you’re able to mix and match various microphones within the industry.)

Most audio interfaces have two inputs as well. This means you can record your instrument with one microphone, and use another microphone to sing into. (It also allows you to get into advanced recording techniques like using two microphones to record an instrument giving that stereo sound!)

An audio interface also has pre-amps – when recording into a microphone, the signal is super quiet. (Think about a vinyl turntable.)

That signal needs to be boosted in order to hear the microphone’s recording.

But here’s the thing – there’s cheap preamps and quality preamps.

When boosting the volume, the cheap preamps can introduce noise. So instead of that crisp audio you hear in most video’s on YouTube nowadays, if you have a poor preamp that introduces noise, you either have to edit this out in post-production, or you don’t boost the volume up too loud on the pre-amp. (Then you simply boost the volume in your DAW/video editor.)

And finally, an audio interface allows you to connect reference monitor speakers.

These are those big speakers you see in studios meant to reproduce audio with a flat response to make accurate decisions when mixing/mastering.