Becoming a disk jockey requires countless hours of practice, patience and determination. These are the main virtues someone needs in order to acquire the proper mentality to become a producer. Creativity and experimentation are the tools to constant improvement of someone’s skills as a musician.
When you already have the virtues, the mentality and the necessary skills to become a DJ, you need to focus on purchasing the right equipment in order to produce the high quality sound your ideas and creations deserve.
Audio interfaces are one of the fundamentals hardware equipment you are going to need, when you start building your home studio and set up as a DJ. Along with the personal computer or laptop, the studio monitors and the headphones, the audio interface is going to help you improve your overall sound, and it is going to make the process of recording, editing, mixing and mastering more efficient with better sound quality results.
As a disk jockey, you can use the audio interface to record multiple instruments or vocals at the same time, or during separate recording sessions. You can adjust the volume levels, change the inputs from mono to stereo or vice versa, and apply any effects or filter if available on your audio interface’s board.
You can also use the outputs of the interface in order to connect your speakers or studio monitors. The output sound quality of your projects, depends both on the audio interface and the on the monitors you use. For instance, you may have an amazing audio interface with great sound quality, but if your speakers are less than decent, you are going to get low sound quality results, because they will reduce the quality of your signal.
What you need to consider when you are about to purchase an audio interface
The functionality of your audio interface is one of the most important things you need to consider before purchase the one of your preference. Make sure that you check out the amount of inputs and outputs of the interface.
The more instruments or vocals you are going to record simultaneously, the more inputs you are going to need. Same goes for the outputs. The more studio monitors you are going to use, the more outputs you are going to need. A usual number is between two to four outputs.
Last but not least, learn about the connectivity of the audio interface you are about to purchase. Most interfaces have USB port and cables, but there are also those that use Firewire and Thunderbolt. If you are about to purchase such an audio interface, make sure that your computer or laptop has an equivalent port, so that your interface can function properly.
The quality of your audio interface is another crucial thing to consider. Make sure that you buy an interface from a trusted manufacturer, and read all the appropriate specifications and reviews. Go a step further and test the interface yourself, so that you can have a taste of its capabilities, advantages or disadvantages.
Features are always a nice addition for every piece of hardware equipment you acquire. Find out if your audio interface comes with a particular music software. Many interfaces tend to work better with specific DAWs (Digital Audio Interface), although the vast majority will work perfectly with every music software.
What is more, take a look at the cables included in the package, so that you make sure you have everything you need to operate interface. Check out for bundles that include microphones, shockmounts, stands, pop filters, isolation pads or even soundproofing foam panels.
The quality of the product you are about to purchase is respective to its price. The more expensive the audio interface, the better the sound quality and its functionality levels. Make sure that you have the appropriate budget to acquire the interface that you need.
For those with limited budgets available, there are many very affordable audio interfaces available in the market, which deliver extremely satisfying sound quality results. You can start by using such an interface, and upgrade your equipment along the way.
Best audio interface for DJing
1 – TASCAM US-4×4
The Tascam US 4×4 is a USB audio interface suitable for every disk jockey and home studio. Producers on a budget will find its price very affordable, considering the amazing sound quality it delivers.
The package of the audio interface includes the interface itself, USB cables, AC adapter, the installation guide of Sonar LE, the installation guide of Ableton Live Lite, and the manual of the interface to help with the installation and the set up.
Using the Tascam US 4×4, you can record up to 96kHz at 24 bit resolution. USB connectivity is available for the particular audio interface, which makes the sound signal transmission and the installation of the interface into your computer extremely easy.
The device has four inputs and fours outputs, suitable for those that want to record multiple instruments or vocals, or those that want to connect a second pair of studio monitors. The audio interface ha 48V phantom power, and you can connect the microphone and line inputs, which can be switched to mic or line accordingly, with XLR cables.
The Tascam US 4×4 has two headphone outputs. You can use separate switches to control the levels of the line inputs and the headphones. Furthermore, for the monitor input, you can use either mono or stereo signal.
The audio interface word exceptionally well with most music software and Digital Audio Workstations. Make sure that you test the interface in the DAW of your choice to find out if it works fine for you, because there have been reported minor issues with some DAWs.
The Tascam US 4×4 has a substantial weight which makes it stable and tough to last over time, but at the same it time it is very easy to carry it around and make recordings or music productions in remote locations. The audio interface is the perfect choice for producers and beatmakers that want to improve the overall sound of their music productions.
2 – Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio
The Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio comes in a very well-designed package. It is packed in two boxes for maximum security, and when you open it you can find the main box of the interface inside them. In the package, there is included the manual to help the user operate properly the interface, and download codes for the music software that is available.
The audio interface comes with a USB cable that is very short, so for those with long distances between their equipment, it is suggested that they acquire a longer one in order to make their set up more comfortable.
The structure of the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio seems solid and well designed. The knobs on the interface have a great feeling, and the switches have an amazing touch. Both the switches and the knobs were great when adjusting levels, with very smooth rotations and just the right amount of resistant so that they stay in their position when not touched.
The bottom of the audio interfaced, is covered with rubber so that it stays stable when placed in slippery surfaces, and the jacks are nicely built, without any problems when plugging in the appropriate cables.
You can determine when the power of the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio on, from the green LED placed on the interface. The light becomes red when the 48V phantom power is activated. There are also green and red lights around the knobs, that indicate when the signal is received and when it clips.
In order to install the interface into your computer, you need to download the drivers form the official website of the Focusrite, which is as easy as it sounds. After the installation, you plug the audio interface into the usb port of your PC and you are ready to start producing music or recording. A great audio interface for all-purposes.
3 – M-Audio M-Track Eight
The M-Audio M-Track Eight is a fascinating audio interface with extremely good performance beyond all expectations. It provides a great sound quality and a very good user experience, as it is very easy to learn how to operate it properly after some time.
One of the main advantages of this particular audio interface, is the quality of the recording and playback, assuming that you also use one of the top Digital Audio Workstations available in the market, to guarantee that you get maximum sound quality results.
The M-Audio M-Track Eight has four inputs, which means that you can record multiple vocals or instruments at once. One minor issue is that you cannot change individual inputs from mono to stereo or vice versa. You have to do it for all four inputs.
The quality and the easiness of use of this audio interface is what makes it stand out from the rest of the similar products. The switches and the knobs have a great feeling, and they seem very solid. They provide great control when adjusting the levels, and they have the right amount of resistance so that your sound quality does not get altered by mistake.
Overall, the M-Audio M-Track Eight is a full featured audio interface. In addition to this, it comes with extra powered USB inputs and it is well-built and designed. It has almost no self-noise, and works great with most of the music software available in the market. One of the best audio interfaces for disk jockeys and home studios.
4 – PreSonus Studio 192
The PreSonus Studio 192 is an incredible product with great specifications and features. It is a USB audio interface with fat channel processing, and fascinating converters that help improve the sound quality in a great way.
Using USB connectivity, the particular audio interface has very low latency. It provides a very characteristic clarity to the sound, and you get it to the maximum level by using a trustful music software such as the Ableton Live, FL Studio or Cubase.
It is an essential tool for both home and professional studios, and can deliver extremely good sound results when used in a well-designed recording room or listening environment, such as a professionally soundproofed recording studio, with no sound reflections or external noises.
The PreSonus Studio 192 provides great value for money, and is an investment worth every single dollar due to the significantly clean sound result, the easiness of the recording process, and almost no low latency issues, that help the process of music production become more comfortable for every producer and beatmaker.
One of the main advantages of this audio interface, is the extremely clean preamplifier that it uses, along with the powerful drivers and the necessary functions that they provide, to enhance the user experience. It is one of the best options when it comes to audio interfaces within its price range.
5 – Steinberg UR44
The Steinberg UR44 comes in a very affordable price, considering its amazing capabilities. It a USB audio interface that delivers great sound quality, easiness when it comes to installation and use, and a very interesting design.
The audio interface has six inputs, for of which come with preamps. It has four outputs, which are more than enough when it comes to producing music or recording in a home studio. It has a very solid build and it seems tough enough to cope with scratch or minor drops.
A key factor that makes the Steinberg UR44 stand out from the rest of the audio interfaces, is the fact that you can use Reverb or EQs and Compressors and route them to the headphones in order to help artists or vocalists perform better, without having any latency issues.
There are two headphone outputs on the interface. This allows double monitoring along with separate output for the studio monitors. There is also a MIDI in and a MIDI out, a very useful function for disk jockeys.
In order to avoid getting noise when you overuse the knob of the pre-amplifier, which is especially obvious when it comes to recording vocals, you can apply an external pre-amplifier and eliminate this issue.
Overall, the Steinberg UR44 provides great value for money, considering its capabilities. It has great features included in the package, and it is a must for disk jockeys that own a home studio and want to upgrade the sound quality of their music productions and recordings.