Applications

How Impedance Affects Sound Quality in Headphones

Impedance doesn’t directly affect sound quality in headphones. Instead, it indirectly affects sound quality through the way that headphones are made (i.e., their construction) and how they’re paired with source devices. For the best sound quality, pair headphones with source devices that have sufficient power and a similar level of impedance to the headphones. This…

Guitar Pickup Impedance: What Is It and How Much Is It?

A guitar pickup’s impedance is a measure of its resistance to an alternating current (AC) and depends on its resistive, inductive, and capacitive elements. Passive guitar pickups have medium-to-high (output) impedances, typically 5 kΩ – 20 kΩ, and often connect to devices that have very high (input) impedances (i.e., 1 MΩ or higher). Guitar pickups…

What is Impedance Matching in Audio?

Impedance matching refers to using equal impedances when connecting two or more electronic devices. This allows for the maximum transfer of power between the devices. While impedance matching was important in early (analog) telephone and audio systems, it is less important today. Modern audio systems prioritize signal transfer rather than power transfer. There are some…

What are High Impedance (Hi-Z) Inputs in Audio Interfaces?

High impedance (Hi-Z) inputs in audio interfaces connect instruments that have, in themselves, a relatively high impedance. Hi-Z inputs allow a good degree of voltage transfer from these connected instruments. This is especially useful given the typically low signal output levels from such instruments. Many audio interfaces have Hi-Z inputs that offer very high impedances…

Is a MIDI Interface the Same as an Audio Interface?

MIDI interfaces and audio interfaces are not the same. MIDI interfaces are specialized devices that allow MIDI instruments to communicate with computers. Audio interfaces, on the other hand, perform a variety of tasks, including connecting multiple devices, performing analog-to-digital (and digital-to-analog) conversion, and pre-amplifying microphones. Audio interfaces may also include built-in MIDI interfaces. So, although…

MIDI Tracks vs Audio Tracks: What’s the Difference?

MIDI tracks record MIDI data—performance data about sequences of notes played—whereas audio tracks record representations of actual sound waves. They are fundamentally different types of data. Yet, they can both be combined effectively using modern hardware and software to form coherent audio productions.

Can Phantom Power on an Audio Interface Reduce Noise?

Phantom power is used for delivering DC current to active devices such as condenser mics. It is available with many audio interfaces. Phantom power does not, however, reduce noise. It works with balanced audio cables that have noise-reducing properties. It is, therefore, merely this association with balanced systems that gives the impression that phantom power…

What Does Phantom Power Do on an Audio Interface?

Phantom power on an audio interface provides power to active components such as condenser mics. It is delivered through balanced audio cables and can appear to be “phantom” when there’s no visible external power supply. The unique construction and sensitivity of condenser mics mean that they require an additional current to boost their signals, and…

How Does an Audio Interface Affect Sound Quality?

An audio interface can affect sound quality in three main ways: The analog-to-digital conversion process (ADC), the quality of its pre-amps, and the level of noise it generates. Audio interfaces form the heart of most digital audio workflows, so understanding how they may impact the sound produced is important for the audio production process.

Can an Audio Interface Reduce Noise?

Audio interfaces can reduce noise in a digital audio workflow compared with using a computer’s in-built sound capabilities. This is due to the higher quality components and dedicated processing ability of audio interfaces. While there are many possible sources of noise in an audio system, this article considers the role that audio interfaces play.