recording studio

How to Buy an Audio Interface

With the current technological advances, several project studios now prefer using audio for analog-digital conversions as well as mic preamps. Audio interfaces are equipped with mic inputs, outputs, and line inputs just like consoles. When one is recording a song, the signal flows from the mic into the input as well as the preamp of the audio interface. The mic preamp in the audio interface helps to magnify mic signals. There are various types of audio interfaces to consider. Anyone seeking to set up his or her Pro Tools System should consider buying the right audio interface that meets his or her needs. Below are factors to consider when purchasing one.

The Purpose

It is good to draw up a list of needs before one goes ahead to consider the available brands. The features to consider include the number of inputs, a monitoring section, ability to connect with Pro Tools computer and whether to use with a Pro Tools HD hardware. It also pays to consider checking whether it has the possibility to increase the mic inputs by connecting through an ADAT light pipe to microphone preamp module.

Pro Tools HD Card

It is good to decide in advance whether one plans to use HD cards for their Pro Tools or not. In case one plans to use Pro Tools HD hardware, then it is good to go for an interface that can support the feature. Moreover, it should come with sufficient I/O channels that can handle the user’s perceived surround format.

Compatibility with the DAW

audio controllerIt makes no sense to buy an audio interface that does not work with one’s DAW. Those who work with several DAWs should consider checking interface’s compatibility with every individual DAW they use. The best way to do this is by checking at the manufacturer’s website on whether an interface can work with one’s Pro Tools.

Number of Inputs & Outputs Matter

One should think about their future needs. An ADAT port allows one to add extra channels of mic preamps or  I/O. For those who do limited tracking, then an interface with few inputs would be ideal. However, those that love doing multiple recording at the same time can consider going for more inputs and outputs. For those that have overdub single vocals and instruments, then a little lower I/O can do, as long as they are not using any outboard equipment. Those that do mixing or mastering and work with a summing amp or console may not need several inputs but still have to consider a decent number of analog outputs to feed their summing amp or mixer.

The Protocol to Connect to Computer

The protocol is another fundamental factor to consider. The type of interface to buy should always be compatible with the OS and the computer that one is planning to use. For those who prefer low latency, they can opt for a Thunderbolt or PCI interface than USB 2 or 3.


There are several options to consider when buying an audio interface to use with Pro Tools. This is why it is paramount to do sufficient research before plunging into buying one. The above are some of the factors to consider before buying one.