Audio interfaces typically connect to your computer system via USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire. Make sure the interface you choose is compatible with your computer.
It is important to consider how many audio inputs and outputs you need for your setup. While microphones and instruments connect to inputs, speakers and headphones connect to outputs.
The rate at which the unit converts audio from analog to digital and vice versa is important to consider. A standard conversion rate for high-resolution audio is 24-bit/192kHz.
Studio monitors are speakers that are essential for playback when mixing and mastering, and are even great for casual listening. Typical speakers sizes are 3, 5 and 8". It is important to select a monitor size which is best suited for your studio space.
Headphones are good for mixing in quiet spaces and are also required for monitoring when recording. Headphones are also an excellent tool for referencing your mixes against your studio monitors.
Condenser microphones are highly sensitive mics that are used to record vocals or acoustic instruments, and to capture sounds from an entire room. Most condenser mics require 48 volts of phantom power, which almost all audio interfaces provide.
Dynamic microphones are durable mics that can tolerate loud levels of sound. They are typically used to mic instruments such as snare drums and guitar amps, but can also be used to record vocals.
USB microphones are easy-to-use mics that you can plug in directly to your computer without an audio interface. USB mics are often used on the go, for podcasts, and for those looking for an easy way to record.
A Digital Audio Workstation is a software application used on the computer to record, compose, produce, edit, mix or master your music.
Software plug-ins are additional tools that can be used within a DAW software application. Different plug-in types include effects, instruments and signal processing.
It is imperative that you are aware of which operating system your computer is running. Because the brain of your home/project studio is your computer, it is neccessary that your studio gear is compatible with it.
MIDI keyboards are used to control digital instruments that exist in a DAW software environment. These keyboards are often lightweight and cost effective. Though these keyboards don't have any internal sounds, they are widely used by composers and producers who work in DAW software.
Groove production products are essentially used for beat making, sampling and triggering sounds. Though most of these devices must now connect to computer software via USB, stand-alone units with built-in sounds do exist.
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