BOSS Audio: Audio Interfaces – A Deep Dive

It’s a beautiful day, you’re ready to record, and suddenly it happens … interface failure! What to do? Never fear! This podcast is the next best thing to a private session with two voiceover giants! Listen as Anne and VO Tech Guru Tim Tippets discuss the “sizes and flavors” of interfaces, the importance of having a backup interface and quality XLR cables, and the components of a good travel kit. Don’t know the difference between a Mackie Big Knob or a Universal Audio Apollo Solo? These two BOSSES break down what an interface does and help you understand why it’s a vital investment in your business. They could talk about interfaces for years, but this conversation is only about 20 minutes of pure gold to help you rock your VO business like a #VOBOSS!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. An audio interface powers your microphone and gives you control over your input levels. It takes your analog signal and turns it into a digital format. It’s an encoder for your voice. 

  2. Audio interfaces are important to the quality of your audio

  3. A small interface (such as one designed for travel) cannot fit as much technology inside of it as a larger interface

  4. Get yourself a backup interface just in case your primary interface fails!!

  5. Not all interfaces are compatible with all operating systems or connections

  6. Make sure your cables are also compatible with your computer and equipment

  7. Be sure to check your cable specs before purchasing – see if it supports power, or both power and data

  8. Some audio interfaces require a “BUS powered USB-C cable” and get their power through the computer, while some will have a separate power adaptor

  9. USB-C is a type of hardware. Thunderbolt 3 is a type of technology. You cannot use a USB-C cable on a Thunderbolt 3 connection. It won’t work due to proprietary software

  10. If you’re getting a low price combined package with headphones, microphone, and interface, some of the parts may not be high quality enough for a serious voice actor

  11. A good basic interface without built-in audio effects/processing is an Audient iD14 or a Steinberg UR22mkII

  12. If you want real-time audio processing and have Thunderbolt technology, a good interface is the Apollo Solo or the Apollo Twin

  13. You can also purchase software plug-ins for interfaces such as the Apollo solo to further upgrade the sound of your audio 

  14. Even your highest-end equipment can have a failure. Always have a backup

  15. The Apple version of cables will work better with Apple products. Be sure to spend the extra money to ensure the best quality.

  16. When it comes to interfaces, less (in terms of size and price) is NOT necessarily more

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Look at all of the gear that Anne recommends!

  2. Check out all of the equipment that Tim recommends

  3. These cables are studio gold!

  4. Recorded on ipDTL

Full Episode Transcript

>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, with the one and only Mr. Tim Tippets, audio tech guru. Hey Tim!

Tim: That’s me.

Anne: How are ya? Hello!

Tim: Good, how are you?

Anne: I was going to say I’m doing excellent, but let me tell you the real story. [laughs]

Tim: Ok.

Anne: So the real story is, this week I had probably what most people in this industry fear the most, and that was an interface failure, yes. My Mackie Big Knob Studio Plus just — I walked into the studio Wednesday morning, put my headphones on, and then heard nothing. [laughs]

Tim: Yeah.

Anne: And the lights weren’t on, and I went into full-blown panic mode. Thankfully, Tim, I had another interface standing by, and you were instrumental in helping me to get that up and running, but yeah. I think we should talk about interfaces. [laughs]

Tim: We definitely should, because they come in all sizes and flavors, and it’s sample rates. And there’s a lot of confusion around it because we see anything from, you know, travel — you know, I don’t want to throw too many brand names out there, but let’s just, we’ll use Shure as a brand name. They sell one that’s in-line. You just, you know, you plug your XLR into it, and then you plug the other end, the USB, into your computer. But again, this is very much in alignment with the conversation that we had about USB microphones versus XLR microphones, right?

Anne: Yes.

Tim: Like how much preamp can you actually fit into a microphone? It’s the same discussion here. How much preamp can you fit into an in-line, you know, interface, ok, that’s travel size or whatever?

Anne: Right, right.