by. Adhit Android
- Extra and special features
Many interfaces provides more advanced features to enhance the functionality targeted to more specific type of musicians or engineers. Or, we can say that a lot of audio gears adds audio interface features to extend its functions.
Mixer or mixing console
Very useful for those who wants to record a great number of channels while mixing in place. For instance, recording live band performance. Example of this interface is Alesis Multimix 16 USB and Yamaha TF5
Synth & Midi keyboard
Electronic music producer and sound designers could benefit with a MIDI performance and audio interface combo. They comes in shape of MIDI keyboard (e.g Roland PCR-1), a standalone synthesizer (e.g Novation X-Station), or pads (e.g Native Instruments Maschine MK3).
These interfaces can take input from multiple sources such as your PC, mobile phone, and CD player, and route them to multiple outputs or speakers. Examples include the new Mackie Big Knob Studio, SPL Crimson, and Dangerous Music Source.
This is a very specific interface aimed for guitar and bass players. This kind of interface doubles as a versatile guitar preamp that can be tweaked from your DAW and also available as your primary gigging rig replacing the need of a guitar amplifier (i.e Avid Eleven Rack)
Lots of people prefers to use hardware faders, buttons, and knobs to do their job. There are some audio interface/DAW control surface combo available for them. Examples of these are Icon AIO6 and SSL Nucleus.
A great number of audio guys working mobile. They surely needs a mobile recording interface, preferably one that can be used without any PC connection. Choices for these outdoor workers are Zoom R8, Zoom U24, and Sound Devices Mixpre series.
For DJs who wants to spin and mix songs, some manufacturers offers DJ mixer with audio interface capabilities. The most known interface for this is Native Instruments Traktor series, but there are others such as Roland DJ-808 and Pioneer DDJ series.
These interfaces are equipped with a DSP processor inside. They can run their own proprietary plugin in real time without hogging your computer’s CPU. The one that is famous for this DSP powered interface are the Apollo series from Universal Audio, but there are a few others such as the TC Electronic Konnekt series or Avid HDX System.
Some audio interfaces are offered as a bundle package, usually comes with a microphone and headphones. Very convenient for starters and beginners. Examples of these packages are the Focusrite Solo Studio Bundle, Steinberg UR22 Recording Pack, or Presonus Audiobox Studio Bundle.
FINAL: TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read)
In short, to choose an audio interface that suits your needs:
- Make sure what you want to do (record solo, record multitrack, mix/master, DJ-ing, etc.)
- Determine the connection to your computer, OS support, and working condition.
- Decide whether you need the additional features or not.
- Set your budget and start looking into the interfaces on the price range
- Browse review websites, online forums, and chat groups to see user reports about performance, driver stability, the goods, and the bads of the unit you want.