#1
hey guys, i've done some reading up on both of these things but am still unsure of what they do exactly and how they're different. a preamp basically just sends a signal from the guitar to another source right? if so, do preamps have treble/bass knobs on them?

what does an audio interface do exactly, and what's the difference between that and a preamp? i wanna start messing around recording some acoustic stuff but i'm not sure if i should get a preamp or an audio interface. thanks a lot guys.
#2
Microphones operate by converting the ultra-fine vibrations of the diaphragm in to electrical signals. Since sound waves are so low in energy, the resulting electrical signals are very weak. A preamp is necessary to boost this weak signal to what we call line level. Quality preamps are also known for giving the signal added "warmth." Once the signal has been boosted to line level you are ready to record it by analog means, or convert it to a digital signal and capture it.

The audio interface is just analog-to-digital converters, which take an analog signal and turn it in to ones and zeros (at minimal data loss for higher sample rates) for your computer to manipulate. Some interfaces have preamps built in, but I'd recommend staying away from those. Instead, get an interface that is purely converters, like M-Audio's Delta series. Then buy some external preamps. This gives you much more versatility with your gear.
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#5
Quote by Muphin
Microphones operate by converting the ultra-fine vibrations of the diaphragm in to electrical signals. Since sound waves are so low in energy, the resulting electrical signals are very weak. A preamp is necessary to boost this weak signal to what we call line level. Quality preamps are also known for giving the signal added "warmth." Once the signal has been boosted to line level you are ready to record it by analog means, or convert it to a digital signal and capture it.

The audio interface is just analog-to-digital converters, which take an analog signal and turn it in to ones and zeros (at minimal data loss for higher sample rates) for your computer to manipulate. Some interfaces have preamps built in, but I'd recommend staying away from those. Instead, get an interface that is purely converters, like M-Audio's Delta series. Then buy some external preamps. This gives you much more versatility with your gear.


Wonderful explanation. I would like to add that not all interfaces with preamps built-in should be avoided. There are several affordable entry level interfaces that have decent preamps.

DS
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#6
It should also be noted that if you try to avoid the preamps in interfaces in preference of outboard gear, there are more or less NO preamps under $500-600 that will offer ANY advantage over using built in hardware.
#9
Quote by !!Dope Man!!
ok i'm pretty sure i get it. so the firewire solo (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/MAudio-FireWire-Solo-Mobile-Audio-Interface?sku=701364) is pretty much pointless without a preamp?


There's one preamp in that unit. If there is an XLR input (the big, black, three-pronged hole) then its got a preamp.
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I love you, Muphin. You have great taste in music.

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Muphin > You

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