Before you start using any new piece of equipment, it is always good to have a basic understanding about the different types of audio interfaces that are available. In general the two most common interfaces for audio are the Line In/Out version and the USB version. The USB interface uses a standard size plug-in for connecting to your computer. There are other types of interfaces, which are more suitable for specific purposes, but these two are the most common. Knowing what type you need will help you make a decision as to what sort of interface is the best to buy.
There are a number of reasons why you might need to know what sort of output you should be looking for in a USB audio interface. If you are connecting a laptop to your home theatre system then you will almost certainly want to get a high resolution audio interface. The higher the resolution the better the quality of the sound and the less chance there is of audio problems being caused by a low resolution interface. If you are connecting an audio interface to your computer’s sound card then you will also need to get a model with multiple outputs.
There are several different types of audio interface with a range of features available, including multi-channel output. Multi channel output is a great feature if you intend to connect more than one device to your computer. You can connect up to six devices using a multi-channel audio interface. However, there are some devices that require a dedicated line in port and as such you will probably want to buy a dedicated audio interface rather than a multi-port model. If you are connecting a multi-device interface then a good rule of thumb is to ensure that the audio interface has a maximum of 4 input channels.
How many audio inputs are you going to require? Some audio interfaces will provide up to 4 input connections and some will only have 2 but will provide direct monitoring if required. What type of monitor do you need to connect to your audio interface? Monitors will need to be able to send a signal to your audio interface and have a minimum depth of attack as well as a minimum maximum input level.
One final point regarding the type of output configuration is the signal level of the sound card or monitor you intend to use. If you are connecting a soundcard directly to your computer then you will likely only be using a high gain device or perhaps a converter box. A monitor will likely come with its own converter box and you should be able to configure your audio interface to use this device rather than using the converter box’s setting.
So these are the main questions regarding the question ‘How many Outputs Does an Audio Interface Need?’ There are quite a few factors to take into consideration when planning on buying a new audio interface. It may not be necessary for you to get a dedicated card if you are only connecting a keyboard or mouse. However, if you are planning on using a multi-track computer system or even a home theatre system then you should certainly consider getting a multi-out output.