The words “microphone input” and “line in” are often used interchangeably when people think of hook up their audio interface to their computer. They might not realize that although they have a DIN connection to their computer, it is actually a pin on the motherboard that controls how the sound card’s microphone works. To hear the sound better, the sound card should be hooked up to a microphone or mixer. In addition, there may also be a speaker connection that requires a cable that plugs into an external amplifier.
Microphone input on an interface means connecting that connection to an external amplifier or mic. When you connect your interface directly to your computer, you can do this in two ways. First, you can run an audio device, such as a microphone or mixer, through the DIN connection that is on your computer. The advantage of this is that the computer will not need to have any other connection to your sound card. This eliminates the need for an active sound card in order to use the interface.
If you are using a mixer, you can run the input and output through a direct connection to your amplifier or mic. To do this, simply connect the microphone or mixer to its own connection (usually a line in). Then, turn off your computer and unplug the connection from the audio interface. The next step is to plug in a standard RCA cable into the direct line connection on your interface. You can use the supplied cable if it does not come with the sound card.
If you are using a microphone to connect to your computer without using a DIN connection, you can use a common RCA cable. Again, be sure to turn off the computer and unplug the connection from your audio interface. Then, attach the microphone to its own connection on the computer. Using a microphone that has a dedicated connection will give you much better sound quality. If your microphone does not have a dedicated connection, using it on a regular computer speaker will give you mixed results.
If you need to use a microphone that uses analog signals, you will need a digital sound card. Some cards are dedicated to microphones and output via analog channels. Other cards use both analog and digital signals for microphone and output. These types of cards are quite expensive and unless you need a mic/amps combo, I would suggest avoiding them. The sound card will use up much of your computer’s resources and it will also slow down your computer.
If you use the information above, you should be able to answer the question “what can I use the mic input on an audio interface?” easily. Hopefully, this article has given you some good information on the subject of input and output jacks. Now, go generate some demos or start making some beats!