Audio interface vs. A/D coverter

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by geeza, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. geeza


    Mar 15, 2009
    Earth, but just barely.
    I'm not wearing pants
    Stupid question, but if I get an audio interface, do I still need an AD/DA converter? What's the difference between the two?
  2. fu22ba55

    fu22ba55 Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    If I'm not mistaken, most "audio interfaces" contain both mic pre's and AD/DA converters.

    The Digi002 rack and RME Fireface 800 come to mind.

    I imagine higher end (really effing expensive) models would split the two duites up. You can spend plenty of money on standalone mic pres, and there are standalone AD/DA converters.

    I think "audio interface" is just a generic term for hardware your computer and software can access. At the bare minumum, I imagine an audio interface MUST contain AD/DA.
  3. Yup, thats completely correct, interface is just a handy name for a collection of componants. most importantly the A/D D/A converters and some kind of driver/control panel/hardware arrangement that allows the computer to send audio in and out of the varios sockets.

    When you buy a soundcard (or interface, same thing) you are paying for the input and output routing you want, and how many of each, and a converter for each. Many come with mic preamps, normally if an interface has xlr connectors then it has preamps.

    A lot of the higher end cards may have xlr inputs and outputs which are NOT mic preamps, some people get confused calling all xlr inputs MIC inputs, which isn't true. However, as long as you make sure the interface you get has 'mic preamps' then you'll be fine.
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