Selecting and Using Appropriate Audio Input Devices

Selecting and Using Appropriate Audio Input Devices

Understanding Audio Input Devices

  • Audio input devices are essential tools for capturing or recording sound in music production.
  • Such devices can range from microphones to musical instruments, MIDI controllers, and more.
  • The suitability of a device depends mainly on the type of sound or signal you wish to capture.


  • Microphones convert acoustic sound waves into electronic signals which can then be amplified, recorded or transmitted.
  • There are different types of microphones, each suited to specific tasks:
    • Dynamic microphones are robust and resistant to moisture, making them suitable for live performances.
    • Condenser microphones are more sensitive and accurate, making them ideal for studio recordings.
  • You select a microphone based on the type of recording environment and the nature of the sound source.

Musical Instruments

  • Musical instruments can be used as audio input devices when connected to a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
  • Electric instruments such as guitars and keyboards can be connected directly to the computer or audio interface.
  • Acoustic instruments would typically require a microphone for recording their sound.

MIDI Controllers

  • MIDI controllers, such as a MIDI keyboard or digital drum pads, do not produce sound by themselves. They generate MIDI data which can be used to control software instruments in a DAW.
  • They are selected based on the requirement for the composition or creation of music.

Setting Up and Using Audio Input Devices

  • Before using any audio input device, it’s crucial to correctly set it up and check the input levels to prevent distorted or low-quality sound recording.
  • When using microphones, consider the ideal distance and angle from the sound source. Each microphone has a polar pattern that determines how much sound it picks up from different directions.
  • For musical instruments, it’s important to ensure there is a clean and clear signal path from the instrument to the audio interface or DAW.
  • When using MIDI controllers, ensure that the controller is properly mapped to the corresponding software instrument in the DAW.

By paying careful attention to the type and setup of audio input devices, you can ensure the highest possible quality in your music productions.