How many inputs & outputs do I need?January 3, 2007
If you are simply a musician who records a few things into your computer – maybe the odd vocal or guitar – you are only really looking at a pair of inputs. It’s only when you are recording multiple inputs simultaneously – like recording each member of a band or orchestra – that you really need any more. The reason is that once you have recorded that vocal, you can then record the guitar afterwards on top of the vocal as a multitrack on another audio channel. Multiple input cards let you record across a multitude of audio channels simultaneously. They cost more but you can now get a lot of bang for your buck. Another reason you might need more of these inputs is if you are using an older hardware-base set-up comprising synths, sampler, maybe a drum machine that you want to control with your sequencer but record all of the outputs simultaneously back into your computer.
Whatever the situation, only you will know the number of inputs you need. As for the number of outs, well, two is normal for your stereo monitors but you may need more for extra monitors (in another part of your studio i.e. the live or control room, perhaps), external signal routing and processing, or if you are experimenting in the field of surround sound.
Luckily, just about every combination of ins and outs is available at Dolphin and there are hundreds of cards to choose from.