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  • recording interface connections

    i'm new to recording interfaces. i understand its like an 8 track interface that you connect to your computer and into a DAW. how is the connections basically? is it instruments plug into each channel and then a printer cable connects the interface to the computer? is it really that simple, what are the 'direct analog' outputs for? doesn't the printer cable take care of connecting the interface to the DAW already?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mbengs1 View Post
    i'm new to recording interfaces. i understand its like an 8 track interface that you connect to your computer and into a DAW. how is the connections basically? is it instruments plug into each channel and then a printer cable connects the interface to the computer? is it really that simple, what are the 'direct analog' outputs for? doesn't the printer cable take care of connecting the interface to the DAW already?
    "Printer cable" interfaces are pretty obsolescent at this point. Most computer audio interfaces use other means of connecting to the host computer - today you're much more likely to find an interface that uses USB 2.0, Firewire or even Thunderbolt for that purpose rather than an old fashioned RS-232 cable.

    As far as the connections on the interface, they allow you to connect things to your computer, and for the computer to interface with the outside world.

    Typically you'll have a combination of some of the following - sometimes all of the following - it just depends on the features of the particular unit:
    • XLR microphone inputs
    • 1/4" line inputs - sometimes in combination with the XLR inputs (combo XLR-1/4" inputs)
    • High impedance (High-Z) input on 1/4" jack for recording guitar / bass "direct"
    • S/PDIF Digital I/O on RCA style coax jacks
    • ADAT lightpipe multi-channel digital audio I/O
    • L/R main (or monitor) outputs
    • Multiple line output jacks - usually on 1/4" TRS jacks, but sometimes on XLR jacks
    • MIDI in and out on 5-pin DIN jacks
    • One or two headphone outputs


    The "printer cable" (or other connection to the computer, such as the USB or Firewire cable) is how the audio gets in and out of the computer from the interface. The reason an interface usually has a pair (or more) of main, monitor or line output jacks is so that you have something to connect your powered studio monitor speakers to so you can hear what you're working on.
    **********

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    • onelife
      onelife commented
      Editing a comment
      In today's world printer cable is probably synonymous with USB cable

    • Phil O'Keefe
      Phil O'Keefe commented
      Editing a comment
      Indeed. I can't remember the last time I saw a RS232-equipped interface at a trade show... it's been years.

  • #3
    this might help

    Every worm, every insect, every animal is working
    for the ecological wellbeing of the planet.

    Only we humans, who claim to be the most intelligent
    species here, are not doing that. ~Sadhguru

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    • mbengs1
      mbengs1 commented
      Editing a comment
      that helps. with a small audio interface like that, u only get two tracks. is there a way you can get 8 tracks out of it by using an external mixer? two tracks isnt enough if you want to record acoustic drums..

  • #4
    That helps. with a small audio interface like that, u only get two tracks. is there a way you can get 8 tracks out of it by using an external mixer? two tracks isnt enough if you want to record acoustic drums..

    You could use an external mixer to "sum" 8-10 drum microphones down to stereo, but once recorded, you lose the ability to adjust the individual elements of the kit - you couldn't, for example, easily raise the level of and change the EQ of the kick drum alone without it affecting the other elements too.

    That's why I typically recommend a 8 channel audio interface as a minimum to those who want to track drums in their home studios... I actually prefer a 16 channel interface so you can do drums and a couple of other rhythm section instruments simultaneously (I like the "feel" of musicians playing together and interacting), and technically (depending on the miking method you employ) you can get away with a four channel interface if you're using a Glyn Johns drum miking approach, but usually you'll want at least 8 channels to mic up the kit with, if not more. Having those channels on the interface itself is much more flexible and powerful than attempting to use an external submixer.
    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

    Comment

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