There can be no doubt that home recording has become incredibly popular – not to mention easy – over the past few years. Programs like Pro Tools make it easy to record, mix, and arrange a variety of instruments right from the comfort of your own home.
However, it can be difficult to know what kind of equipment you will need to record with your computer, particularly when it comes to devices like audio interfaces. I know that when I first started recording from home, I was overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options available. To help with this, I’ve put together a helpful guide to help you decide: Do you need an audio interface for Pro Tools?
Evaluate your needs
Not everyone who uses Pro Tools will necessarily need an audio interface; as I alluded to earlier, audio interfaces really become most useful when you are recording guitars and other live instruments. So if you only plan on using virtual instruments, without recording any live ones, you may not need an audio interface at first.
When I first started off making music on the computer, when I was just using virtual instruments, an audio interface would’ve been unnecessary; I could get by just fine by plugging my headphones into my computer. But if you plan on recording vocals or guitars at any point in the future, it might not be a bad idea to invest in a solid interface.
Because if you ever do decide to branch out into recording live instruments, an audio interface will be essential to getting a good quality recording; using an interface with Pro Tools will also give you more control over your volume, making it a good all-around purchase, regardless of your needs.
What is an audio interface?
Of course, it may be helpful to define an audio interface before you decide if you need one. Simply put, an audio interface acts as a go-between for your computer’s recording software and whatever it is you want to record. They normally plug into your computer via USB drive, allowing you to record vocals, guitar, or keyboards, depending on what kind of interface you get and what kind of inputs it offers.
Most interfaces will include at least 1 or 2 1/4″ inputs, a couple of XLR inputs, a headphone/speaker jack, and some volume controls. These will allow you to record a variety of instruments while also listening to and monitoring the recording. Check out this list of the best audio interfaces for more info.
There can be no one-size-fits-all solution for home recording. Everyone will need a different set up based on their environment and their recording needs. That said, when it comes to making music in Pro Tools, it is almost always a good idea to have an audio interface. Sound off in the comments if you have any questions or advice for people looking for a good audio interface!