Help Needed for Audio Interface - Output Quality

FreeBlues

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
838
I've got a new iMac and need guidance on an audio interface. While I can and will do an occasional recording, my main use is to play back tracks on my computer through my powered monitors.

So, while I love the look and reviews of, say, the Apogee Duet, will I notice any difference in the output sound quality of an expensive interface vs. something like the Scarlett? Also, since I have the option of either a USB3 device or Thunderbolt, is there an advantage of one over the other?

It's been a long time since I studied up on this topic and things have changed!
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
12,989
Your signal chain is as strong as the weakest link. Using the Apogee with budget monitors will only lead to dissatisfaction with your speakers. Pick a budget and feature set and things will kind of sort themselves out.
 

FreeBlues

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
838
Your signal chain is as strong as the weakest link. Using the Apogee with budget monitors will only lead to dissatisfaction with your speakers. Pick a budget and feature set and things will kind of sort themselves out.
So, assuming I have good quality monitors (mine are pretty good) you're saying I will notice a difference in the interface I get?
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,078
So, assuming I have good quality monitors (mine are pretty good) you're saying I will notice a difference in the interface I get?

Definitely.

GENERALLY speaking, all the consumer units at a given price point will be engineering in a similar fashion with similar price-point compromises. All $200 units are going to sound pretty similar. All $600 units too. Etc.

I noticed a big difference swapping from a budget device to an Audient iD22. The Audient stuff is known for good preamps and converters, but any similarly-priced device with the same feature set will likely please you as much.
 

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,944
Pretty much the the others said, but just to make sure we're on the same page here... If your main concern is to listen to audio and the audio is mp3 then no that's no use for a better interface.
 

335guy

Member
Messages
5,232
My question is similar to the OP's. I'm using a Windows 10 computer. How do I route my audio playlists on my computer to play back through my interface?
 

FreeBlues

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
838
My question is similar to the OP's. I'm using a Windows 10 computer. How do I route my audio playlists on my computer to play back through my interface?

I can answer this. Connect the device to your computer, say via USB. If you're lucky, your computer will recognize the device and set it up for you. Worst case you'll need to get the drivers from the device manufacturer's web page, download and install them.

Find the sound icon on your computer, generally on the very lower left of the screen. Right click it and a list of devices will pop up, including your interface. Select that. Now whenever you play music, say through iTunes, it will route to your monitors.
 

FreeBlues

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
838
Pretty much the the others said, but just to make sure we're on the same page here... If your main concern is to listen to audio and the audio is mp3 then no that's no use for a better interface.
I'm using either lossless or wav files. Will I hear a difference with these formats?
 




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