Two reasons — quality, and flexibility. But neither does a Mac or iPhone have DA converters anywhere near the quality of a standalone audio device. Adding a USB audio box moves the D-A conversion into a purpose-built unit, with usually better sound as a result. A USB audio interface, will also come with a bunch of its own ports. These may be designed to send audio to a pair of powered speakers, or to accept an input from a microphone, guitar, or other instrument.
USB Sound Cards
And, importantly, there may be more than one input and output:. These are popular with podcasters, for example. At the other end of the list is something like a mixing console, which will have many inputs, allowing your to hook up, say, 16 different inputs and have them all piped into your GarageBand app. For best results, hook it direct to a USB port on your Mac. USB hubs can cause complications, and even malfunctions. If not, then plug the port adapter in too.
Using your new interface is even easier. Just mouse up to the menubar and click the little volume icon. This will include your new USB audio interface.
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If your audio device has a volume knob on it, you use that instead. Depending on the audio device, you may have several routing options. For instance, the device may have inputs as well as outputs. You can choose these in the same volume menu item as before. Just press the Option key when you click it, to see the extra options.
If you prefer, you can also find all of these choices in the System Preferences Sound tab. You can also get quite a bit more advanced. Get yourself the new iPad or the new Apple TV for your family.
How to hook up a USB audio device to your Mac | Cult of Mac
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