How Many Inputs Does an Audio Interface Have? (Answered)

By Bob •  Updated: 05/11/21 •  5 min read

An audio interface is a device that connects to your computer and lets you record audio.

They are most commonly used in home recording studios, but they can also be found in other places such as churches and schools.

One of the first things people ask when buying an audio interface is, “how many inputs does it have?” This article will answer that question for you!

What is input and output in an audio interface?

Inputs are usually labeled as a microphone, line input, and instrument but they may vary depending on your interface.


There are also different audio outputs (headphone jack vs. XLR), affecting what kind of speakers or headphones you can use with your interface.

Input and output are vital to understanding what an audio interface is.

An input device captures sound from a microphone or other source, such as the Guitar directly plugged in:

A typical home studio has many microphones connected to it for capturing every instrument separately.

The mic cables plug into the back of the audio interface and connect with XLR cables at their ends.

Microphone gain levels can be adjusted on most interfaces, so you don’t have to worry about clipping (overloading) your inputs when recording instruments too loudly.

Outputs send the audio signal out through monitors(speakers) and headphones.

The outputs allow you to listen back to whatever you’ve recorded while still recording new content! 

You’ll need a monitor speaker system if you intend on working in this way. 

What is the number of inputs and an audio interface has

Audio interfaces come with a variety of inputs, from one to eight depending on the model.

The number of input channels varies depending on how many mic preamps you want to use at once or if you’re looking for something more versatile with line-level inputs too.

Most home recording setups will have two or four mic/line-ins at most.

This is just the right amount needed when using one DAW (digital audio workstation) instead of simultaneously.

But you can have 8-16 inputs for a reasonable price. And if you plan to record a full-piece drum kit, you will want to have an 8 channel audio interface.

The more inputs you have, the more instruments or microphones you can plug in at once.

Keep in mind, your DAW can have as many tracks as you like that once recorded via the audio interface, you can control and edit in the software.

Why would you need more than one input on your audio interface – what can they be used for?

Audio interfaces can be used in many ways.

The number of inputs is determined by how you plan on using your audio interface.

For example, if you are a singer/songwriter who only needs to record one track at a time or an engineer wanting more control over input levels, then perhaps an audio interface with two inputs would work best for you. 

On the other hand, if you have multiple instruments that need to be recorded simultaneously – such as drums and bass guitar- then it might make sense to buy something with eight or ten inputs so that both can run through mixer channels at once without too much noise.

What is a 4 in 4 out audio interface?

It means that the audio interface has four input channels and four output channels.

An audio interface with 4 inputs is a good choice.

It has more input and output options than an interface with only 2 channels.

This kind of interface is excellent for beginners and people who want to expand their home-recording without spending too much money.

How to record an entire song with a two-channel audio interface

– Connect both of your instruments and microphone input cables to the inputs on your audio interface.

– Use routing software such as Pro Tools or Logic X to create tracks for each instrument, giving them all unique names that will be easy to remember when mixing.

By default, recording software assigns generic titles like “Input #X.” The first Track should be Guitar, the second Track should be Vocals (or whatever you have connected), and so on.

– Start by setting levels using trim knobs located in the lower-left corner of every visible audio input channel in your DAW’s mixer window.

Note: make sure there is plenty of space between any audio input channels with the same instrument.

– Now it’s time to start recording! Put a few seconds of silence on one Track before you hit record, so your audio doesn’t pick up unwanted noise from when you were setting levels.

– Press record in your DAW and play away! You can even make some light “scratch” tracks by just singing or playing along while muted (don’t forget to un-mute yourself for actual takes!).

Now you’ve created a full song using only two inputs – what about more? 

The answer is simple: use an interface with more inputs!

Remember, the routing software used here will also allow you to mix down all these instruments together into a stereo file if desired. 

And if you’re looking for a computer to do all of this with, check out our article on the best laptops for audio recordings!