Most of us have been to a live performance and wish we had some way to capture that amazing sound on a recording so we could play it in the future. Audio interfaces with microphones are great for live performances as they can capture the audience voice and convert it to a digital signal which can then be sent back to your computer. Most professional sound systems come with a microphone input and if you’re using software like Cubase or Pro Tools you already have the necessary hardware to receive audio input from your software instrument.
How about the hardware for a recording then? What about connecting to an audio interface with a mixer? Some software like Cubase and Nuendo come with an audio interface with knobs for input and output. The software has built in compressor and equalizer so all you really need is some type of recording software to send the audio data to your computer. If you’ve got a microphone then you could record directly into your computer’s sound card, but if not then you can get a mic input and use that instead.
You may also be able to record directly into your computer’s sound card, in this case you may need a recording software such as Fruity Loops or Macromedia Live 8 to process the recording. After the recording is recorded you can then edit the recording using software like Adobe Premiere or Apple Logic. However, if you’re going to be performing live, you’ll need to buy some additional equipment like drum machines, keyboards, foot pedals, and monitors – plus there’s the possibility of extra lighting which can be added to give a live show a real appearance.
So why do I need an audio interface for live performances? Well if you’re going to be performing on a large stage or open air, then there’s a good chance that your performance will be live in the moment and without any pre-recordings. However, even if your performance is done later at home or in a club or other venue, the recording will still need to be processed and edited for future use. A good way to edit the recording is with something like Adobe Premiere Pro. This editing software has been designed specifically for editing recorded audio and it’ll make editing music and video look effortless.
Other uses of this software like for podcasting means that you may be able to edit and tweak the recording later too. But even for live performances, the recording needs to be processed as quickly and as accurately as possible. In other words, if you want a perfect sounding performance then you need to have a reliable recording software to use. It’s possible to get reasonably priced software like Cubase, ProTools or Sony Sound Forge to do this and it’ll also give you access to a lot more sound libraries.
I’m not a professional so I’ll rely on my ears and experience to make the call here. If you are a professional with live shows then you definitely need a sound board interface. If you just want to record some stuff then you can probably go with a recording interface without a sound board.
However, if you are putting together a performance as part of your final project and want to make sure everything is perfect then you should seriously consider a soundboard interface. The fact is that most live shows won’t ever be complete without the soundboards and the quicker you can get these down then the better!