Why the Obsession with Audio Quality?


It's All About Making Music

For years, the main selling point on audio equipment has been the quality of its audio performance, and with some justification. Poor audio quality can really harm the ability of your recordings to be taken seriously and to reach the right audience.

At what point though, does the quest for audio quality begin to overtake the suitability of the interface for the job in hand? At what point does the quest for the greatest headroom, the widest bandwidth, and the tightest clocking get in the way of making music?

That's right, you remember! Making music! Wasn't that the reason we all got into this in the first place?

Quality Audio for All

We live in a wonderful era where high-quality audio recording has been democratised. Audio fidelity, and equipment recording pioneers could only have dreamed of, sits upon your desk and is within the financial reach of almost everybody.

This has to raise the question of 'What is Pro-Audio nowadays'; that line used to be fairly clear. There was intensely expensive professional equipment, general consumer electronics, and somewhere in the middle 'Prosumer' equipment, which was effectively consumer electronics with rack mount ears and XLR connectors.

So why is there still an intense obsession with audio quality, when even the cheapest of equipment gives more than adequate results? Where has the modern fetishisation of 'high-end pre-amps' and 'reference quality converters' come from?

Give the Marketing Department a Raise.....

Not many companies would openly say this, but the truth is that every manufacturer is trying to grab your attention with a standout feature. Some of those companies started out making microphone pre's, some of them by making A/D converters; coincidentally they'll all tell you that their standout features are what you need to make the best recordings.

That's not to say we don't care about audio quality; nothing could be further from the truth. iConnectivity's staff comprises of professional musicians, experienced audio engineers, and some seriously nerdy boffins (yes Scott, we're looking at you with your Star Trek shorts)!

We'll keep pushing our audio specifications ever higher and further so that our interfaces remain competitive within the current market. But at iConnectivity, we prefer a different approach to just chasing numbers...

Get The Balance Right

At iConnectivity, we take a very different approach; for us, we recognise the importance of the overall recording chain. The world's greatest mic pre's are no good if you have poor A/D converters. Likewise, hissy, noisy mic pre's with poor headroom will result in hissy, noisy, distorted recordings, even through the greatest A/D converters.

We've made great efforts in ensuring that every link in the chain of our recording interfaces is as transparent as possible. We want you to be able to concentrate on the music, not the interface. After all, how many times do you hear people say, "Well, that song's great but I could definitely hear a little pre-ringing in the converters at 2.5kHz?"

It's all about the features!

Our advice, when purchasing your next audio interface, is to focus upon what features make the interface most suitable for you. How many microphones do you record with at a time? How many outputs do you need? Do you need to connect to iOS devices? Would you like to be able to switch between computers? Do you need easy recall of settings?

Try to avoid getting sucked into the 'numbers game' if you can at all help it. Recording at 24bit 96kHz won't make your lyrics any better, nor will 'reference quality clocking' change the fact your guitar solo sucks. 

What's important to us, above all, is that we design our interfaces to be the link between you the musician and your recordings. Be assured that our engineers worked hard to ensure every component is of a high enough quality not to compromise your recordings, and allow you to concentrate on the music. Because, at the end of the day, that's all that's important.

Bob Malkowski