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audio interface
Old 25th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
audio interface

Hi Everyone

I just need some advice. What exactly is an audio interface for? like for example: The Alesis IO2 Express USB Audio Interface. What I mean is, can it be used without it being connected into a standard amplifier. Like can someone just have an audio interface plugged into a PC. Can a basic studio setup consist of a PC, audio interface & monitors, and thats it. Am just alittle confused at what exactly an audio interface can do, whats built into it, and what can be plugged into it. I am not highly educated when it comes to this kind of stuff, I have been trawling the internet for information, though I don't really know what I am looking for. For an audio interface to work, doe's it have to be connected to an amplifier? or can it be used on its own? of course I know it is connected to the PC, but how is this done?

I am seriously thinking of upgrading my music, as I am always messing around with vsti's, I always get a real kick out of playing around with them. The speakers I have are just standard hifi speakers and they can distort from time to time, especially when using my vsti's. I am thinking of buying the KRK Rokit RP5 G2 Monitors, so as I was trawling the web for information on monitors, I came across the audio interface, so now I want to know exactly what it doe's and what it needs for it to function?

I have a budget of Β£500, though of course I have learned that a big chunk of it will come from the monitors, the rest of the cash will be for what I need. I have been checking out Dawsons and they seem to have some pretty cheap mixers and audio interfaces, and I also need a midi keyboard as I am so fed up of using my mouse and keypad.

I listen to alot of dub techno, dubstep, dark ambient, that sort of stuff.



any input would be fantastic.

thanks.
Old 25th September 2012
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stargate ➑️
I just need some advice. What exactly is an audio interface for?
An audio interface is a soundcard geared towards music production.

By default, a laptop or computer only has a small stereo jack plug. Can't plug 8 synths in there. However, put the audio interface in a box outside of the computer and give it lots of full-sized connectors, and you're good. Audio interfaces can also have microphone preamps built in.

Furthermore, when you're using software synths, there's latency. It takes the CPU a while to calculate the sound. With a default bog-standard soundcard this delay is noticeable; and it's no fun at all to press a key on your MIDI keyboard and wait half a second until you hear something.

The drivers for an audio interface allow direct access to the hardware, unlike the way around through various layers of software. That layer approach makes the task really easy for developers because their software can talk to the soundcard in a more abstract way, and what's audible as latency (say, a 100 ms delay) is no problem whatsoever when playing mp3s or watching videos.

Quote:
Can a basic studio setup consist of a PC, audio interface & monitors, and thats it.
Yes. However, you'd need active monitors - but the KRKs you're looking at are active. Active means that the amplifier is built in the speaker enclosure itself.
Old 25th September 2012
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Yes. However, you'd need active monitors - but the KRKs you're looking at are active. Active means that the amplifier is built in the speaker enclosure itself.

wow, brilliant stuff Yoozer, you have just answered my main question being > Can a basic studio setup consist of a PC, audio interface & monitors, and thats it.

But what do you mean, where you mentioned, put the audio interface in a box outside of the computer?
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
[QUOTE=stargate;8293377]Yes. However, you'd need active monitors - but the KRKs you're looking at are active. Active means that the amplifier is built in the speaker enclosure itself.

wow, brilliant stuff Yoozer, you have just answered my main question being > Can a basic studio setup consist of a PC, audio interface & monitors, and thats it.

But what do you mean, where you mentioned, put the audio interface in a box outside of the computer?
Old 25th September 2012
  #5
Gear Head
 
MJFI's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
And for the love of god, don't go cheap on your interface, especially if you don't think you want to shop around for external preamps. The last thing you want is a lot of noise or an uncontrollable dynamic level from your mics.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
auduo interfaces

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFI ➑️
And for the love of god, don't go cheap on your interface, especially if you don't think you want to shop around for external preamps. The last thing you want is a lot of noise or an uncontrollable dynamic level from your mics.

well I have been reading about the Alesis IO2 Express USB Audio Interface at & the Tascam US100 USB Audio Interface.

what would you recommend?
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stargate ➑️
But what do you mean, where you mentioned, put the audio interface in a box outside of the computer?
There's no room in a laptop to put a bunch of XLR inputs (or jack inputs). In a regular computer, the PCI (express) cards are also not really blessed with too much room either.

Instead, you have something like this: RME: Fireface 800

You see all the connectors in the box; the box is connected to a computer with Firewire. (that one's way above your budget, though).

The KRKs are about 230 UKP at DV247. That means we have 270 UKP left. I'd personally upgrade the soundcard specs. I have a Roland Quad Capture that I'm pretty happy with - it's also USB 2.0 instead of 1.1. That's 180 UKP.

That leaves you 90 UKP for a MIDI keyboard - and unlike speakers or audio interfaces (which you should preferably buy new) you could search for a reasonably decent second-hand controller for that budget. I'd go for at least 49 keys, 61 if you want to learn to play.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
MJFI's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stargate ➑️
well I have been reading about the Alesis IO2 Express USB Audio Interface at & the Tascam US100 USB Audio Interface.

what would you recommend?
Well the PreSonus AudioBox (~150 on sweetwater) is a decent bang for its buck, although I ended up selling it off to upgrade to the Akai EIE Pro (needed more mics) and it was well worth the money I shelled out (~225 USD if you shop around locally)

FocusRite also have some good preamps, so their 2i2 interface may be something to check out. Never used it myself, so you'll have to do some research to ensure it doesn't have a whole lot of self-noise.

Hope this helps.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer ➑️
There's no room in a laptop to put a bunch of XLR inputs (or jack inputs). In a regular computer, the PCI (express) cards are also not really blessed with too much room either.

Instead, you have something like this: RME: Fireface 800

You see all the connectors in the box; the box is connected to a computer with Firewire. (that one's way above your budget, though).

The KRKs are about 230 UKP at DV247. That means we have 270 UKP left. I'd personally upgrade the soundcard specs. I have a Roland Quad Capture that I'm pretty happy with - it's also USB 2.0 instead of 1.1. That's 180 UKP.

That leaves you 90 UKP for a MIDI keyboard - and unlike speakers or audio interfaces (which you should preferably buy new) you could search for a reasonably decent second-hand controller for that budget. I'd go for at least 49 keys, 61 if you want to learn to play.

thanks for all your feedback yoozer, I will certainly take alot of what you said into consideration, I never really knew there was so much involved, sigh lol
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJFI ➑️
Well the PreSonus AudioBox (~150 on sweetwater) is a decent bang for its buck, although I ended up selling it off to upgrade to the Akai EIE Pro (needed more mics) and it was well worth the money I shelled out (~225 USD if you shop around locally)

FocusRite also have some good preamps, so their 2i2 interface may be something to check out. Never used it myself, so you'll have to do some research to ensure it doesn't have a whole lot of self-noise.

Hope this helps.

well alot of what you have said has certainly raised an eyebrow, but thanks for the input, I totally appreciate it
Old 25th September 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Stackx's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If your planning on mixing as well do go cheap on your studio monitors. Last thing you want is your music to only sound good in your studio. N if that's the case you can get surround sound systems at Walmart for like $100 now a days :P
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
low budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stackx ➑️
If your planning on mixing as well do go cheap on your studio monitors. Last thing you want is your music to only sound good in your studio. N if that's the case you can get surround sound systems at Walmart for like $100 now a days :P

well I could stretch to Β£600, but I need monitors and I know they will take out a big chunk. I have been reading about the KRK Rokit RP5 G2, and I will hold my hand up high and admit I am not that really educated about setting up a low budget studio, but after some reading on the web I think it would be fair to say that they seem like they could do the job for me, as yoozer said up there, about them being active,and how the amplifier is built within the speaker itself, so I take a moment and think yeah, actually that makes alot of sense, which answers my first query, can the audio interface be used without it being connected to a standard amplifier? So the audio interface must have something in it to run the monitors, I also read the krk's are only 45 Watts, and that the driver is a Woofer: 5? quick question: whereabouts are the monitors plugged in on the audio interface, and I saw something about an XL cable for the krk's? and something about the rca, but people prefere the XL, as the rca creates distortion? oh and how an asio driver is way more suitable for an Alesis IO2 Express USB Audio Interface, rather than the driver it came with, or something like that.

I know with my small budget I could create the sound I want, or at leaste a starting one anyway, I listen to alot of minimalism, dub techno, dark ambient stuff, but anymore feedback would be a huge inspiration for me, as I really want to go out and buy the stuff, but I don't want to be to hasty, and end up going back to the store and asking for my money back if you get me drift lol.

thanks
Old 25th September 2012
  #13
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I am sorry for my messed up posts, its been a longtime since I posted on a forum, so am just getting to grips with that to lol.
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