Method 2 Recording Direct In DI
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Why use a Audio Interface and Not a Soundcard?
It all comes down to accuracy. An audio interface is extremely accurate interms of outputting audio.As a music producer, it’s imperative to know exactly what you’re hearing inits truest form in order to create a good sounding mix that sounds greatthrough headphones, on car stereos, etc.Soundcards may work for casual gaming audio or watching movies, where youmight not need a very accurate sound quality. In the case of making music,soundcards just aren’t powerful enough to output an accurate audiorepresentation, and you might end up tweaking your mix too much to compensatefor what you’re hearing.Some soundcards have boosted bass, for example, which could cause you to mixthe bass of a song way too low to make up for all the bass that you’re hearingthrough your soundcard, and then when you listen to the song on a differentcomputer or in the car, you can tell that the bass is actually mixed too low.An audio interface also provides much lower latency (or virtually no latencyat all). Latency is essentially a delay between your computer playing theaudio and it coming out of your speakers or headphones.Latency can be a problem with soundcards because a computer’s soundcard mightnot have the processing power that your audio needs in order to be played. Anaudio interface has much more power, and therefore lower latency. More poweralso means there’s little to no chance of anything crashing during theproduction process.Audio interfaces are also better because they bypass plenty of electricalcomponents in your computer that could cause a buzzing sound while recording.An audio interface is basically an external soundcard with a lot more power,and it being external means that your audio doesn’t have to use the computer’sinternal power supply, which prevents feedback and buzzing sounds which aredue to interferences caused by the electromagnetic field.
How Will an Audio Interface Affect My Computer Compared to a Soundcard?
You might be wondering how much of a difference there is between an audiointerface and a soundcard in terms of how they work with your computer. If so,it’s simple.An audio interface will allow your computer to run much smoother than asoundcard will. Because your soundcard is now external, your computer won’thave to work so hard to process audio, and your CPU can now go towardspowering your DAW and various mixing plugins. Your computer still uses powerto fuel your audio interface, just much less than if you’d be using asoundcard.If a soundcard is trying to process more audio than it can handle, it oftencrashes, which then in turn probably would cause you to restart your DAW oreven your computer as a whole.With an audio interface, you don’t have to worry about things crashing, audiocutting out randomly, latency messing you up while you record, or your DAWclosing unexpectedly without you being able to save your work. Using an audiointerface as opposed to a soundcard will make your computer faster in generalwhen working with audio, even if you’re not using a DAW.All this being said, it’s still a good idea to make sure your computer isequipped with a good processor, mainly to handle the CPU and RAM data that ittakes to run your DAW and all the plugins on your tracks. Even though audiointerfaces are external, they still work hand in hand with your DAW, so ifyour computer’s processor isn’t powerful enough, it might not work smoothlywhen connecting to your audio interface.I’ve had some of these problems in the past when using a Mac desktopcomputer’s built-in speakers as opposed to an audio interface, and uponswitching between the built-in speakers and the interface, my DAW has crashedbecause the computer didn’t have enough processing power.
Choose a Recording Method
Finally, on to the fun part! Getting your guitar tone.There are a couple different ways you can record electric guitar.You can use microphones to record an amplifier. Or you can plug directly intothe interface.They’re both good options, and neither one is inherently “better.” I’d say gowith the option that matches your current gear.Record your amp if you have one. If you don’t, check out some amp simulatorsand pick one that suits you.
Method 2: Recording Direct In (DI)
Don’t worry if you don’t have an amp! There’s another way to record electricguitar.You can plug your guitar directly into your interface using a ¼” cable.At first, it’ll sound pretty bad. But don’t worry! It’s easy to fix.The isolated sound of an electric guitar isn’t very inspiring. Amplifiers adda lot of life.That’s where amp sims come in.Amp sims are digital recreations of amplifiers. By running the direct signalfrom your guitar through one, you can make it sound like you’re playingthrough a real amp.I’m honestly a huge fan of amp sims. Generally speaking, you can get a widervariety of sounds for less money when using amp sims.With practice and dedication, amp sims can sound just as good as the realthing.
Method 3: Recording Acoustic Guitar
I recommend that you use a condenser microphone when recording acousticguitar.Acoustics tend to be a lot brighter than electrics. Condenser mics are reallygood at recording those shimmery high frequencies.Audio-Technica’s AT2020 is a great, wallet friendly condenser mic.Some people put the mic in front of the sound hole.Others insist the mic should be pointing at either the 12th or 15th fret.Both are good options!By putting the mic in front of the sound hole, you’ll get more of the low andmiddle frequencies from the body.On the other hand, you’ll get more of those bright, higher frequencies fromthe 12th and 15th frets.It just depends on the mood of the song and your own personal taste.Once you know where you want the mic to point, you need to decide how close itshould be to the guitar. Pushing the mic 5–12 inches away is a solid rule ofthumb.Experiment with your mic placement. Use your headphones to listen to how thesound changes when you move the mic around.Once you’ve found something you like, roll with it!
Audio Interface Buyers’ Guide
As a music director or producer, you want to input and output sounds from yourcomputer. Music sessions include various types of instruments that should beconnected to the computer in order to edit them. You’ll need a device toconvert analog audio signals into digital ones and vice-versa. In order tohook up your drum machines, microphones, guitars, etc. you’ll need an audiointerface. An audio interface converts the analog signals to digital signalsfor your computer and converts digital signals back to analog formonitors/speakers.An audio interface takes the signals from your instruments or microphones anddigitizes them before sending them to your computer. You can relate it to anexternal sound card that is equipped with extra features.So now let’s jump in and find out how an audio interface works. An audiointerface has ports on the front and the back. On the front, there aremicrophone inputs, instrument inputs, and a headphone output. On the back,there are two monitoring outputs (speaker outputs), an interface output and aninstrument input.In a recording interface, there will be usually three types of input ports, amicrophone (XLR cable to Preamplifier), an instrument (TS/TR cable bypassingpreamp), and a midi (digital information about how an instrument is played).Basically, an XLR input will be powered by a preamplifier while the TRS/Hi-Zpower will bypass it. The modern audio interface includes gain knobs forcontrolling your microphone volume. In many interfaces, you’ll find a +48vphantom power button which is a small electrical charge that will run up toyour microphone through an XLR cable. In high-end or mid-range microphones youwill probably find an external power supply. If it isn’t available then youcan use phantom power without worrying about over-powering or damaging yourmicrophone.You’ll find a MIDI input. This input is equipped with the keyboards that canoutput MIDI data so that you can replace your standard sounds with computer-stored or external bank sounds. MIDI inputs are not usually common in low-budget audio interfaces. Instrument inputs serve the same purpose, you canconnect the various instruments in order to convert their analog signals todigital signals. Some audio interfaces don’t include one, so if you need toconnect an instrument in the near future, you can use the Direct Injection boxto take the input and output through an XLR cable.There are three types of output ports, a headphone (for personal monitoring),a monitor (room monitoring through speakers), and an interface cable (tocommunicate with the computer). Low-budget audio interfaces will feature onlyone headphone output with a dedicated control button for volume, while anexpensive one could feature more than one. It also includes a dedicatedheadphone amplifier that offers a wide range of outputs. Monitor output connects to your speakers so you can be assisted with criticallistening. Most producers use XLR cables for outputting sound to the monitorsbut some prefer TRS cables. There’s a wide range of cables and connectors tochoose from.Finally, there’s an interface output that uses interface cables to takedigital signals to your computer. The cables are commonly USB or firewire, butnewer options like ethernet cables are available. Thunderbolt cables are usedfor Mac computers. USB and firewire provide fast speeds so you can choosebetween the two according to your computer input availability. Likewise, thereare adapters to switch between the two options.The interface port or cable produces output to your computer but it alsobrings back audio to the speakers/monitors. The main components used for thisport/cable are known as ADC (Analogue to Digital Converter) and DAC (Digitalto Analogue converter). These change the audio signals from electrical tobinary code so that your computer can understand it. It can also change itback from binary to electrical so that it can be inputted to the monitors.While recording your sound or using an audio interface professionally, delayof the command and execution of it can be a serious matter. When you saysomething in the mic, your sound is picked by the capsule, then sent throughthe mic cable to the audio interface. It’s digitized and sent to a computer,then the software receives it processes it and sends it back out, digitalaudio is traveled back to the audio interface and it’ finally converted toanalog for sending it out to headphones. This process takes time and resultsin latency. This delay can distract you. So while buying your new audiointerface, you must check for the direct monitoring feature.Direct monitoring enables you to hear the analog audio that is being pluggeddirectly into the interface rather than hearing after it’s processed by thecomputer. This eliminates the latency factor and gives you real-time sound.This feature is mostly found on audio interfaces with USB 1.0 as the slowerspeed makes them less prone to latency. Not all companies call it “DirectMonitoring” but you can easily identify this feature. An audio interface witha knob has “mix” on one and “computer” on another side then it means that itsupports direct monitoring.
Step 1: Set up devices to capture computer playback
This is often the hardest part of the overall task, being dependent on yourcomputer operating system and audio interface. Many manufacturers are makingit increasingly difficult to record streaming audio by deliberately removingor hiding this functionality due to copyright concerns. Sometimes, older audiointerface drivers can be found on the website of the audio interface, soundcard or motherboard manufacturer that still allow recording of computerplayback.This section of the tutorial shows how to find a suitable audio interfaceinput for recording computer playback, with workarounds if such an input isnot available. Click the link to the tutorial for your operating system:
3. Audio Interface
An audio interface is the hardware that connects your computer to yourmicrophone and other equipment via either USB or Thunderbolt cable. Audiointerfaces also power your microphone through something called phantom power.Make sure you choose an audio interface that has 48-volt phantom powerotherwise you won’t be able to use a condenser microphone with it.The audio interface I would recommend to get you started is:If you want more information about choosing an audio interface then take alook at this other blog article: How to Choose an Audio Interface for HomeStudio – Buying Guide* * *
4. Recording Software aka DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
The third thing you will need is some recording software aka a DAW. DAWsoftware is what actually records your vocals and stores them on the computer.Using this program you can edit and add effects to your vocals.Some of the most popular DAW Softwares included:Pro Tools Mac & PC Pro Tools | First (The free version of Pro Tools)Logic Pro X MacGarageBand (free) MacAbleton Live Mac & PCReaper (free for the first 60 days) Mac & PCCubase Mac & PCIf you’re interested in finding some other free DAW software then take a lookat this other article we wrote: Top 10 Best Free DAW Software* * *
Audio Interface – the heart of any home recording studioThe audio interface is at the heart of your home recording setup. This is howyou route the audio signals from your microphone and keyboard to yourrecording software. Read more … find out what is an audio interface ordiscover the best audio interfaces
Reaper Recording Software – or DAWThe above equipment will work in any music making software. In the step-by-step video we used Reaper. But any DAW or recording software like Audacity orGarageband will do the job.