Can I Use A DAW Without An Audio Interface?

Audio Interfaces have become tools that are spoken heavily about. Which then leads most people to wonder if certain operations can be done without them.

As far as, getting sounds in and out of your computer goes, audio interfaces have made it easier and better because they have high quality inbuilt converters specialised to carry out these tasks.

One of the popular questions I get from people that are new to music production is “Can I Use a DAW Without An Audio Interface?”

You can use a DAW without an audio interface because your computer comes equipped with an onboard sound card that is able to process sound. However, you need an audio interface to connect your microphones and other equipment to use with your computer.

Additionally, audio interfaces have better optimized internal digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters that can improve the quality of the sound and audio being run through it.

Beat Making Daws

Most DAWs primarily meant for beat making, can be easily used without an audio interface. Because there’s no actual audio that has to be recorded into the computer to be processed by the DAW.

Beat Making DAWs come equipped with sounds that are stored on the hard disk of the computer. These sounds become usable within the DAW whenever it is run.

Such functionality does not require any external sound source and the built in sound card will easily be able to handle any Beat Making DAW functionality. So, in such regard an audio interface is not really necessary.

You’ll be able to work within your DAW without running into major issues that would inhibit you from carrying out your work.

Audio recording and editing Daws

With audio recording and editing DAWs things differ a little compared to what you’d expect from a DAW dedicated to beat making and composing.

You’ll be able to use and work within the Audio Recording and Editing DAW without an audio interface but your functionality will be limited to editing.

Recording will rely on the use of an audio interface for the sake of connecting your microphone. However there are exceptions with USB microphones that you can use without audio interface’s.

However, it is always advisable to use an audio interface whenever recording is involved to be better equipped to do the audio work necessary.

Audio interface connections

Audio Interfaces are essential tools in a number of various situations that call for audio production. They come with various input connections specifically meant for equipment to be used in the production of audio.

This is one of the fundamental reasons why audio interfaces are necessary equipment where the recording and editing of audio is concerned.

For example, certain microphones use XLR and TS connection types that you can’t find on a computer. Therefore, in order to use such microphones you’d need an audio interface.

Another example relates to Studio monitors which are the best when it comes to audio production. Most of them also utilize XLR connections which means an audio interface would be necessary in order to use them.

These two examples given here provide enough valid reasoning as to when and why you’d need to purchase an audio interface.

My advice is, get an audio interface if you’re going to be working with DAWs, you may not always need them but they can help you achieve better and professional results.

Audio interface conversion quality

Another reason why an audio interface may be necessary for somebody that’s working in Digital Audio Workstations is the audio quality improvement.

The fact is, audio interfaces are independently created external sound cards whose job is to process audio in and out of your computer.

It is for this reason that audio interfaces are created with superior hardware, more precisely, digital to analog and analog to digital conversion. This makes them the best for audio work.

Which is why you may look to an audio interface as a solution for your audio.

Audio interface Specialization

The specialisation of audio interfaces is another thing that has to be taken into account when dealing with audio DAWs.

Audio Interfaces are created mostly for professional audio work.

E.g. music production, sound engineering, podcasting, composing etc.

This function makes them a valuable tool for somebody working within a DAW. You can certainly use a DAW with no audio interface, but you may need one for use with equipment needed in audio production work.

Inbuilt sound card issues

Inbuilt soundcards are designed for handling simple audio and not really processing complex audio operations like those that you’re likely to have within DAWs.

Therefore, it may be somewhat difficult for you to enjoy the full capability of your DAW if you’re simply relying on your internal soundcard.

This is why, it’s important to know the fundamental abilities and limitations of soundcards as compardd to Audio interfaces in audio production operations.

Final Thoughts

The basic conclusion of this article is that you can definitely use a DAW without an audio interface because your computer comes equipped with an onboard sound card that is able to process sound.

Therefore, unless an audio interface is absolutely necessary in your operations, you may not need it.

You need an audio interface to connect your microphones and other equipment to use with your computer.

Additionally, audio interfaces usually have better opimized internal digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters that can improve the quality of the sound and audio being run through it.

So you can always figure out what can work best for your particular end goal.