Audio Interface Vs. Sound Card - Which Should You Use? Saturday October 23 2021, 4:01 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
Audio Interface Vs. Sound Card - Which Should You Use?

What Is A Sound Card?

Sound cards are built into the majority of computers in order to use basic input and output audio settings for simple projects like recording with a built-in microphone or playing back your audio on speakers.

What Is An Audio Interface?

Audio interfaces are external sound cards that allow you to control the sound going in, coming out, and more, depending on what interface you have.

In a way, yes, they are the same thing because they serve the same purpose. When you hook up an audio interface to your computer, it overrides the built-in sound card.


Which is Better?

Audio interfaces are just advanced sound cards, so they are better if you want more flexibility with your recording and audio playback.

Interfaces can give you multiple recording inputs, serve as an amplifier where you can adjust the gain for your recording levels, and much more, depending on the quality of the product that you buy.

Related Post: The Best Audio Interfaces For Macs

Are High-End Audio Interfaces Worth It?

High-end interfaces can be worth it if you go with a trustworthy brand that is known for its quality. Lower-end interfaces only have decent sound quality, which may not be what professional recording musicians need.

I once bought an audio interface from Amazon that was under $100 to use temporarily while I needed to research a Mbox Mini replacement (they were decent but discontinued). Boy, was I surprised by how much it lowered the sound quality of my mic recording!

Many high-end interfaces can be bought for less than $1000 for your home studio needs, giving you some of the best sound quality you'll ever hear. 

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Which Audio Interface Is Best?

It's hard to say what is the best because so many different musicians require different things in their audio interfaces.

Bands, for example, will need an interface that will allow several instruments to be recorded at once, while singers like me who just use a mic won't need that feature.

A great place to start is with the highest-rated and most trusted brands, which include Univeral Audio, Focusrite, and Behringer. These brands will have a variety of interfaces that you will be able to choose from according to your particular needs. 

Do Both Sound Cards And Audio Interfaces Have Phantom Power?

Sound cards do not use phantom power, which is often required to record with condenser microphones. Phantom power is not recommended to use with dynamic mics.

If you are interested in using a condenser mic for your studio recordings, you will need to use an interface and won't be able to rely on your internal sound card. 

What Is A V8 Sound Card?

In live performance and studio recording settings, there are some products that are more like audio interfaces that are also called sound cards.

These aren't like the classic sound cards that are found in your computer since they are also external, just like audio interfaces are. They are also more advanced than sound cards that can be found on computers. 

The V8 Sound Card, for example, has features including noise reduction, voice changing effects, sound effects, sound transition effects, echo, reverb, and more. These types of sound cards work great for podcasters and voice-over artists. 



To wrap up, sound cards and audio interfaces serve a similar purpose of managing audio input and output on computers. While sound cards are built-in components, audio interfaces are external devices that offer more flexibility and features.

High-end audio interfaces from reputable brands can provide superior sound quality, making them worth the investment for professional recording musicians.

Choosing the best audio interface depends on individual needs, with factors like the number of recording inputs and specific requirements for instruments or vocals.

Trusted brands like Universal Audio, Focusrite, and Behringer are good starting points for selecting an audio interface.

Sound cards do not typically have phantom power, which is necessary for condenser microphones, so an audio interface is necessary for utilizing phantom power.

Ultimately, selecting the right audio interface or sound card depends on one's specific audio recording and playback needs.

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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