When you’re in the market for an audio interface, there’s one question that should be at the top of your list.

Before you start comparing specs and reviews, features and price points, you need to answer the question: How many inputs do I need?

I know it seems probably too simple, but here’s why it’s important.

The Too Few Blues

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you might be tempted to grab one of those $150-200 interfaces with a pair of mic inputs.

If all you ever record is acoustic guitar, and you literally NEVER need more than two inputs, this is a fine option.

But what if 6 months from now you write a super-cool song with your friend, and the two of you want to record it with both of you playing and singing? 

Well, that’s 4 inputs. Your 2-channel interface won’t cut it.

Think long-term. Use the 3-Year Rule. Don’t go too small.

Too Big For Your Britches

On the flippidy-flipside, don’t get something so big because you might “someday” need all those inputs.

If you only own one microphone, you probably don’t need 16 inputs. To utilize those inputs, you would need to buy 15 more mics, 15 more stands, 15 more cables. That can get expensive.

Be realistic.

Another Definition of “Inputs”

We tend to only think of inputs in terms of recording, but what about mixing?

I’m mixing more and more projects through a Presonus StudioLive mixer. I actually recently upgraded from the 16 to the 24-channel version.

Do I need all those inputs for recording? Heavens no.

But I DO want more inputs for mixing.

Anyhoo, whether you need a lot of inputs or only a few, make sure you sit down and think through what you need. Then go find the perfect piece for you.

Oh, and by the way, the best compliment to a new piece of gear? A Home Studio Corner VIP membership.

For 10 smackeroos per month, you get access to:

  • Weekly training videos, each designed to help you get better, faster
  • Weekly mix critiques – I critique a new mix every week. Very valuable stuff.
  • Exclusive discounts – Members get 30% off of my other products, plus special offers that no one else sees.
  • Best forum on the internet – The VIP member forum is full of awesome, quirky, helpful folks who are passionate about music and helping each other get better.

Get started right here:


Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner