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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sept 17 > THE COMPLETE GUIDE To Audio Interfaces

THE COMPLETE GUIDE To Audio Interfaces

Welcome to the new MusicTech Beginner’s Section, designed for newcomers to the world of music production. In previous parts, we looked at different kinds of DAWs and their virtual instruments. Now, it’s time to look at how to get sound in and out of your setup via the audio interface…

Beginner’s Guide

As we found out in Part 1 of this feature, the computer is the central component to modern music production. However, it can take different forms: as laptop, as desktop, as phone or tablet. Each has software or apps available on it to make music. We looked at the main players for software music production, the DAW, and this time around, we’ll look at the hardware connection you may (or, indeed, may not) need to connect it to the outside world.

Audio interfaces are designed to be that connection. They will take the music that you produce and play it through your speakers; they will take your singing and record it; likewise, they will record your acoustic strumming; they will even capture the playing of an entire band or orchestra and convert that recording into information for your DAW.


A quick guide to the most common cabling you will use with your interface – a mic, or XLR, cable is the three-pin one. The ‘male’ end shown plugs into the mic input of the interface, while the female/other end goes into the mic. The two other cables are 1/4-inch jack cables. The one with a single ring is the mono one (or TS) and is typically used to go from a guitar amp or synth mono (or left or right) out to the line input of your interface. The other two-ring jack is a stereo (or TRS) jack and typically comes out of a synth’s headphone socket or is used as a ‘balanced’ mono jack: one that’s far less susceptible to noise.

But what about my existing connectors?

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale from Thursday 17th August and we’re honoured to be the first magazine to present a feature on the brand new studio facilities at the legendary Abbey Road studios: The Gatehouse and the Penthouse. To mark this occasion we bring you a giant Abbey Road special, featuring a studio tour, a COMPLETE gear list, an interview with iconic producer John Leckie (who begun his career at AR) as well as hands on tutorials designed to show you how to re-create the Abbey Road sound at home! We’ve also got a disc packed with Abbey Road related video content for you to feast your eyes on. Elsewhere this issue we have features looking at the history of the Korg MonoPoly, 6 ways to cheat at making music as well as our usual plethora of reviews including the Pioneer Toraiz AS-1 and Novation Circuit 1.5 and a wide range of tutorial content.