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[Bedroom Recording Tips] Every Home Recording Engineer Needs To Have This
December 26, 2011

In my experience, one simple but essential link of the recording chain is the one that is most often misunderstood. It was for me, and holds true for everyone who is trying to learn how to record.

The piece of gear is the audio interface. People always understand that you need a microphone to record, and probably a computer. But what goes in between?

The simple answer is a recording interface. The long answer is, there are a few ways to do do it. I'll cut to the chase - don't bother with PCI cards or inboard vs. outboard. The best way to get an audio interface in your system is to use an external unit that plugs into the computer via USB or FireWire.

The job of the audio interface is to route the sound from the mics to the computer, so a friendly software program can take over and record everything to disk, and then play it back for you. It's not hard, but it's an essential part of the recording chain.

The key to finding an interface that meets your needs is to think down the road. What do you plan to record? How many channels will you need? Will you need an extra preamp? When I bought my first interface (several years ago), I bought a separate preamp with several more channels that I needed at the time. It was overkill then, but now I'm glad I have them.

Most interfaces now include mic preamps in them. This is an added bonus - less equipment to buy. The MOTU 4-Pre is a great example. It has four built in, good quality mic preamps. These make recording a snap - plug the microphones into the interface, and the interface to the computer. VoilĂ !

For further reading on interfaces, and some recommendations, visit the audio interface page on I'll see you there!


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