Audio Interface does it improve sound quality?

Lee Stevens

New member

First post, Yeeey!!

I have just bought a snazzy Saffire 6 USB 1.1, it looks like it's installed OK, its showing in device manager correctly but not yet connected my speakers as I don't have a phono cable yet (been ordered),

Prior to this I had phono to Jack straight into my motherboard on board sound.

Am wondering, will I hear a difference when I connect my speakers to the interface?




There is a crucial component in all audio interfaces (and in all digital sound sources that have analog outputs - like a CD player for example) called "converters" – an analog-to-digital (often abbreviated as A/D) converter converts your external audio input into 0s and 1s; a digital-to-analog (D/A) converter converts those 0s and 1s coming from your DAW (or computer in general) and converts them into analog audio. If it weren't for the converters, you couldn't hear anything, or you couldn't record anything into the computer.

That said, while the d/a converters are really the only thing that makes a difference in sound quality (in regards to outputting sound - when recording, the mic preamps etc. have their say as well), the differences in modern converter quality aren't enormous - at least in the entry-level category we're talking about. If you had professional monitors, in a professionally treated room, then you could probably hear the minor difference the converters make and probably would want to invest in high-end converters as well. But in an amateur "bedroom studio" kind of environment? They don't really matter, as long as they work as they should. The ones in the Saffire are probably a bit better than those found on the built-in chip on your motherboard, but your speakers, your volume level, the distance you're sitting from your computer, whether the door to your room is open or closed - they're probably all going to make more of a difference than the difference in converter quality. And even if there is a perceivable difference, remember that the converters aren't going to change the files on your computer: they won't affect how your renders/bounces come out, only in the indirect fashion that they have that minuscule impact on the sound you're hearing through your monitors and thus the mix decisions you're gonna make based on that sound.

tl;dr don't worry about it.