An interface allows you to get audio or control signals in and out of your computer.
PCIe, Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 based interfaces are generally best, as they have the fastest connection to the computer and can handle the biggest number of audio channels, although low channels counts, Midi and CV are perfectly able to be transferred via USB at optimal performance.
At the heart of the Digital Audio world lies arguably the most important part of the system, the Analogue to Digital and Digital to Analogue convertors. Simply put, these convertors take an Analogue signal (such as a voice through a microphone) and convert it into a series of numbers, able to be sent great distances or stored over a long time, and then convert them back from digital into Analogue, but without them, we couldn't even begin to make music with our computers.
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Most Digital mixers mimic the look of the old analogue desks, but have the advantage of no added noise,easy signal routing and being able to save and load whole templates. There are also usually many on-board effects getting rid of the need for external hardware.
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