How To Connect Audio Interface To Computer - A Brief Guide For Beginners

Want to know how to connect audio interface to computer? Read on to learn the easiest and fastest way.

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: July 28, 2021

*Products recommended in the post contain affiliate links. If you buy something through our posts, we may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.

How to connect audio interface to computer, you may wonder. For those who are just starting out, the audio interface may sound a bit too technical and complicated.

It is a device used to connect a microphone or audio device with a computer, laptop, or phone, allowing you to record musical instruments with professional sound quality.

However, setting up an audio interface could be a challenging task for some people, especially beginners. Therefore, this post will give you some instructions on this intricate process.

How Can I Connect My Audio Interface To The Computer?

First, physically connect your audio interface to the laptop using the cable that is provided. Then, plug the cable into your computer’s ports, and you will see the green light appear on the audio interface. The last thing to do is open your music production software or door and connect the equipment.

The Meaning Of Inputs And Outputs In An Audio Interface

Below we will discuss the three most important connection ports available on audio interfaces:

XLR Jack

XLR Jack

This is the standard jack for most microphones. All condenser microphones, microphone tubes, and dynamic microphones (stage microphones) use one XLR "male" to XLR "female" jack, except for micro USB.

Some audio interfaces feature a so-called 'combo jack', meaning they support a 3-pin XLR connector with a 1/4” TRS input in one socket.

Tips: If you plan on using various cables with different connectors, the XLR audio cable tester is a must. Not only does it save time and money by testing your equipment before buying or renting them, but also provides peace of mind because if something goes wrong then at least you know what kind of problem to look for!

1/4” TS / TRS

TS stands for tip-sleeve, which is an unbalanced mono cable. It comprises two conductors, including a signal carrier in the center and the ground.

Few examples of unbalanced cables are guitar or instrument cables terminating NTS quarter-inch jack-plug style connections or RCA connections.

Meanwhile, TRS, also known as tip-ring-sleeve adapter, is a balanced cable consisting of three conductors: two signal carriers and one ground as a shield.


14” TS TRS

ADAT Optical Interface

This port is used to transmit audio signals between devices.

Many mid/high-end audio interfaces boast this jack, allowing users to add separate hardware that expands the amount of inputs and outputs the interface can handle.

Many audio interfaces provide a MIDI input to plug in for a keyboard controller or digital piano. While MIDI to USB connection is a very popular and inexpensive solution for avid private musicians, such a connection will have some limitations compared to Audio Interface's use of the midi port.

Choose An Audio Interface That Suits Your Needs

Once you know about the inputs and outputs of an audio interface, consider a product that caters to your needs. There are three parameters you should take into account to buy the best audio interface for yourself.

To start with, think of what kind of connection your computer has. Audio interfaces these days have different computer connections, including USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire port.

So when you go shopping for an interface, you can make a decision more easily by sorting it by connection type.

PreSonus Studio B07L9MWWDK USB-C Audio Interface

The next thing on the checklist for you is the number of simultaneous inputs. And based on your expectation, you can look for an interface that is most suitable for your needs.

If you're a songwriter and only playing guitar and singing, you just need an audio interface including two inputs. Besides that, if you want to record multitrack drums, you'll need one with more inputs.

The last thing you should think about is potential future expandability. All of our needs will likely change and increase over time.

Right now, you're doing singer/songwriter stuff, and you only need two inputs, but maybe in the future, you want to expand your career, and you’ll need to record more inputs at once. Therefore, it would be better off to buy the interface that has what you need now but also gives you the expandability to record more than two things afterward.

Make Sure That You Get The Suitable Equipment

First of all, you’ll need to choose the right software. The interface is not the sole thing you need to record music production to your computer since editing software is also indispensable.

Next, making sure you have equipment that suits your audio interface is necessary. Imagine when the interface is connected with a stereo jack, but your laptop doesn't have a stereo input.

If so, what you have to do is buy another sound card or change your computer, which is a waste of money.

Presonus AudioBox 96 B07KWGNRL7 Audio Interface Bundle

Additionally, the preamplifier plays a vital role in recording. The preamp can boost the frequency of the signal being transmitted to the audio interface for better audio.

While purchasing this device, remember to consider how big the input jacks are. If the preamplifier uses a 1/4" jack, your audio interface needs to contain 1/4" inputs as well.

Connect The Equipment And Set Up DAW

After equipping every necessary item, connect the audio interface to your computer by plugging the cable into your computer’s ports.

Depending on what you buy, you'll either have a FireWire, Thunderbolt, or a USB cable. The next step is to find your interface in your operating system.

Once the device is physically connected to your computer, set up your digital audio workstation (DAW) to use it. DAW software enables you to choose which device connected to your computer will be used for the input and output devices.

Finally, on your multitrack or your mixer, select an input for your purpose of tracking audio. And after that, it’s ready to record the music.

Connection guide: How To Connect Studio Monitors To Audio Interface?

Final Words

How to connect audio interface to computer? This hinges on many factors.

You will need a cable to physically connect two devices, set up the audio interface in your computer’s operating system, and install music production software.

Once you get used to this process, you will only need ten seconds to set it up. We hope our article has provided you with useful information on this device.

Thanks for reading. Happy recording!