Musician's Guide to Home Recording Book

How to Choose and Use Audio Interfaces

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Author: Craig Anderton

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
About This Book
The Purpose Of An Audio Interface
Tips And References
Jacks and Connectors
Balanced And Unbalanced Lines
Signal Level Categories
Connector Types
Key Takeaways
Audio Interface Types and Computer Connections
External Box
External Mixer With Audio Interface
External Gear With Built-in Audio Interface
Dj Controller With Built-in Audio Interface
Internal Pcie Card
Digital Connections For External Boxes
Interface Drivers
The Future
How To Choose Driver Settings
Key Takeaways
Choosing Settings for Sample Rates and Bit Resolution
Sample Rates
The "high-Resolution" Sample Rate Controversy
Bit Resolution
Audio Interface Resolution Vs. Recording Software Resolution
Key Takeaways
Choosing Settings for Latency (Computer-Based Audio Delays)
Latency Basics
Latency Specifications
How To Obtain The Lowest Possible Latency
Key Takeaways
Digital Audio Connections
S/pdif (Sony/philips Digital Interface)
Aes/ebu (Audio Engineering Society/european Broadcast Union)
Adat (Alesis Digital Audio Tape) Optical Interface
Madi (Multichannel Audio Digital Interface)
Midi (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
Basic Clocking
Word Clock
Networked Audio
Key Takeaways
Microphone Preamps
Preamp Gain
Preamp Design Classes
Understanding Mic Preamp And Audio Interface Specifications
Key Takeaways
Other Audio Interface Features
Input Level Metering
Onboard Effects
Universal Audio's Apollo Interfaces
Mic Preamp Low Cut And Phase Switches
Digital Mixer Capabilities
Software Applications
Remote Control Programs
Auto-Level
Digitally Controlled Mic Preamps
Portability
Bundled Software
Iec Cable Vs. "wall Wart"
Ground Post
Ergonomics And Build Quality
Front Panel Vs. Rear Panel Jacks
Key Takeaways
Cascading/aggregating Interfaces
Windows
Apple Mac
Expanding Interfaces Via The Adat Port
Interconnecting An Audio Interface And Expansion Unit
Key Takeaways
Obtaining the Benefits of High Sample Rates in Lower Sample Rate Projects
About the Author

The book series Musician’s Guide to Home Recording takes a clear, practical approach to today’s world of computer-based recording. Each book in the series focuses with laser-like precision on a particular topic. Titles include How to Choose and Use Audio Interfaces, How to Apply Equalization, How to Record and Mix Great Vocals, and more. Readers can choose individual books to increase their knowledge in specific areas, or treat the series as a complete course and cover selected topics at their own pace. Musician’s Guide to Home Recording is the definitive series to help musicians everywhere use digital recording, mixing, and editing to their fullest potential.

Along with a computer, an audio interface provides the all-important hardware foundation for computer-based recording. This book helps musicians choose, apply, and obtain maximum performance from all types of audio interfaces. Written in a clear, practical, accessible style, the book includes the following topics:

• The significance of analog and digital connections and how to use them

• The differences between USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and PCIe for Windows and Mac computers

• Available device options, from portable units to interfaces that include sophisticated mixers

• Special requirements involved in recording guitar

• The function of drivers and accessory programs (like software mixers)

• Ways to minimize delays that occur when using audio interfaces with computers

• How and why to choose a particular sample rate and bit resolution

• The “high-resolution audio” controversy

• The importance and use of microphone preamps

• How to expand an existing interface for more inputs

• How to understand manufacturers’ specifications

• Special features that are unique to particular interfaces

Loaded with illustrations and featuring sidebars with details on selected topics for those who want to know “why” as well as “how,” How to Choose and Use Audio Interfaces is essential reading about one of the most important elements in any high-quality, computer-based home or project studio.

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CRAIG ANDERTON is an internationally recognized authority on technology and music. He has toured, played Carnegie Hall, mastered hundreds of tracks, and been involved with dozens of major-label releases as a player, producer, or engineer. He’s also written over thirty books (including the seminal Home Recording for Musicians) and thousands of articles, and is the co-founder of Electronic Musician magazine. Known for his ability to demystify complex subjects, Anderton has given seminars on technology and the arts in thirty-eight states, ten countries, and three languages. He lives in Nashville.

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