Do Studio Monitors Need an Interface?

Do Studio Monitors Need An Interface?

When building a home recording studio, there are several important things you need to consider in order to build one successfully.

From choosing the right kind of equipment to knowing how to operate it, these are some of the many essential factors.

However, one vital factor that many people end up overlooking is the quality of sound that is being produced in the studio.

If you don’t monitor the sound efficiently, it can seriously affect the entire home recording experience.

For this very reason, it is suggested that you should use an audio interface with your studio monitors to enhance the sound quality.

More than that, you should also know how to connect your studio monitors with the audio interface.

What Is An Audio Interface?

Steinbergs Audio Interface

For those who may not know, an audio interface is like a piece of hardware or a device that allows you to connect your computer with numerous audio sources such as a keyboard, guitar, microphones, and instruments, to name a few.

By doing so, it greatly helps improve and expand your computer’s sonic capabilities.

An audio interface features several slots known as ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’ that let you connect different sound equipment to your computer.

Among many other devices, you can use an audio interface to connect your studio monitor with your computer and use the interface to greatly enhance the quality of the sound so that the recording software can mix and record the sounds better.

You can think of the audio interface as your computer’s external sound card that helps provide a very raw and accurate sound.  

Can you Use Studio Monitors Without an Interface?

If you don’t have an audio interface, you can connect your studio monitors with the computer with the help of the following steps.

However, you should know that it won’t produce the same level and quality of sound as an audio interface would.

  • You will first need a 3.5mm jack to 2x XLR cable in order to connect your studio monitors to a computer without an audio interface.
  • There are many different types of cables that are available in various lengths. Choose the right one according to your requirements.
  • If, however, the cable turns out to be too short for your studio monitors, you can extend it with the help of any regular microphone cable that you might have available.
  • Make sure to get two speakers in order to connect both the speakers to the computer.
  • Lastly, simply plug the ends of the cable in both the devices and establish an uninterrupted connection between your studio monitors and the computer.

How to Connect Your Studio Monitors to Your Audio Interface?

To connect your audio interface to the studio monitors, you need to make sure of a few important things.

Firstly, have the right tools to be able to successfully connect the two devices without experience any kind of problem.

Secondly, try to get your hands on the best quality cables with proper jacks so that they can easily be fixed in the slots of the audio interface.

Materials Required

For studio monitors interface, you need the following two things:

What type of Jacks and Connectors?

Simply getting your hands on the materials isn’t enough here; you need to make sure that you have the right kind of cables, jacks, and connectors in order to establish a smooth studio monitors interface connection.

Jacks and Connectors

When buying jacks and connectors for studio monitors, the following types are generally used:

  • ¼” TS to ¼” TS
  • ¼” TRS to ¼” TRS
  • ¼” TRS to XLR

It is also important to know what the acronyms stand for.

  • TS  = Tip, Sleeve
  • TRS =  Tip, Ring, Sleeve
  • XLR = External Line Return
  • ¼” = diameter of the plug.

Studio monitors interface uses all three types; however, TRS connections are given major preference as they provide the best sound quality.

They have a great ability to establish proper, enhanced connections between your computer and the audio interface, which further help prevent background noise and other unwanted sounds.

Cables

In terms of cables, ‘optical cables’ are most commonly preferred to create a connection between audio interface and studio monitors. Optical cables are also often referred to as ‘lightpipe cables.’

The main reason why they are most popular among other cable options is that while they can use one connection to carry more than one channel for creating sounds in the digital studio.   

Studio monitors interface typically works best with S/PDIF or TOSLINK signals because they can carry two channels of audio.

Optical cables are highly compatible with these signals, so they work quite efficiently when creating a connection between an audio interface and your computer.

Connect the Cables and Jacks with the Devices

Connecting Audio Interfaces

The last thing left for you to do is join the cables and devices at the right slots to establish a connection.

At this point, make sure that you attach the correct ends of the cables in your studio monitors and then attach it further to the audio interface through appropriate slots.

Another very important thing to learn here is that there are two main kinds of slots located on the audio interface: an input slot and an output slot.

These slots further two kinds of signals: mic level signals and line-level signals.

  • Mic level signals typically from the microphones that are connected to the audio interface. These signals believed to be quite weak, and they require some kind of boost in order to work properly.
  • Line level signals, unlike the former, are way stronger, and they don’t require any kind of boost or push.

When creating a studio monitor interface, always remember that the signals between your studio monitors and the audio interface heavily rely on these line-level connections, so make sure that you insert the jacks and cables in the right slots.

However, this process isn’t just a matter of ‘joining cables’; you have to take care of many other important things.  

  • The first major factor here is making sure that you have the right kind of studio monitors. This plays a vital role in the entire process.
  • The goal here is to set the studio monitors in a very strategic manner, so make sure that that you are using the right and the appropriate length of cables that is most suitable for this purpose.
  • This is perhaps the most crucial element of the whole studio monitors interface process. At this point, you need to ensure symmetry in the way that you position both your studio monitors. The first thing to make certain is that the distance of the left speaker from the left wall is exactly the same as that of the right one from the right wall. The second thing to be sure of is that the distance of both the speakers should be the same from the listener from both directions.
  • Once the right kind of symmetry is achieved between the positions of the speakers, the next feature to ascertain is that they are positioned at the right angle. When it comes to the speakers alone, the ideal angle is 60 degrees while, on the other hand, the suitable angle between the listener’s location and each speaker is 30 degrees.

Final Word

Although it is possible to connect studio monitors to the computer without using an audio interface, you should know that it greatly compromises on the quality of the sound that is produced.

An audio interface is like your secret must-have weapon if you want to produce high-quality recordings of your voice with the help of any instrument or device.

Furthermore, the interface will also help master and mix your recordings later if needed.

There are many different kinds of audio interfaces for studio monitors that are available on the market.

Your job is to do careful research in terms of the features, qualities, cost, etc. in order to get your hands on the best kind of audio interface that best fits your purpose.

Once you do purchase the right interface, you should then be able to connect it to your computer and studio monitors, according to the guidelines mentioned above.

Lastly, if you wish to get the most out of your studio monitors, always remember that their positioning with the audio interface is what will determine the level or the quality of the sound produced.

Once you make sure of that, prepare yourself to create some of the best recordings, sounds, and mixes!

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