Many MainStage users settle for using the headphones out on their laptop for audio, while most pro users of MainStage rely on audio interfaces. How do you know if an audio interface is worth the investment? Here are 5 signs you need an audio interface:
1. You hear a buzzing sound when you plug into your sound system.
Buzzing sounds are commonly caused by ground loop issues, which can be caused by poorly shielded audio cables. By switching to an audio interface, your odds of using higher quality cabling increases, reducing noise and the possibility of ground loops.
2. The audio sounds “thin”, or there’s no bass in your output.
The audio drivers built into Mac computers are designed to drive headphones, not send audio to a mixing board. As a result, sometimes there’s a degradation of signal (particularly in the bass) that can happen. Using an audio interface fixes this problem.
3. There’s a crackling sound coming from your audio.
While crackling could be caused by a host of things, one of the more common causes can be that the audio input isn’t staying fully connected during performance. Most audio interfaces have solid 1/4 inch cables that reduce the likelihood of a poor connection.
4. Your headphone jack is getting a little loose.
If your headphone jack is getting loose, it’s time to switch to an audio interface. Repairing the headphone output on your mac computer could easily cost 3x the price of a great audio interface, not to mention the down time without a computer.
5. You’re tired of hearing the Mac “popping” sound when you adjust volume.
While you can turn this off, it’s really nice to be able to reach out and adjust a knob live to change your volume without hearing the system FX coming through your mains. Having an audio interface will also allow you to route all of your OS’s sounds to your built-in speakers, saving you from getting text message alerts mid-set.