Signal to Noise Ratio: Why it Matters for Your Audio Interface

Signal to Noise Ratio: Why it Matters for Your Audio Interface

If you’re a musician, podcaster, or content creator who relies on an audio interface to record and mix your work, you’ve probably heard of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). But what exactly is SNR, and why does it matter for your audio interface?

In short, SNR is a measure of the quality of your audio signal compared to any unwanted noise that might be present. The higher the SNR, the better the quality of your recording or playback.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what SNR means in practical terms, why it’s important for different types of audio applications, and how you can make sure you’re getting the best possible SNR from your equipment.

What Is Signal-To-Noise Ratio?

Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is a measure of the amount of signal present in an audio recording compared to the amount of background noise. It is expressed as a ratio, where the signal is the numerator and the noise is the denominator.

A high SNR means there is more signal than noise, while a low SNR means there is more noise than signal. SNR is an important consideration for audio interfaces because it affects the quality of sound that can be recorded or played back.

The higher the SNR, the better the quality of sound will be, with less background noise and clearer audio recordings or playback. It’s important to choose an audio interface with a high SNR to achieve professional-quality recordings and avoid unwanted background noise.

Why Is Snr Important?

But why is SNR important? The answer lies in the quality of the audio signal. A high SNR means that the audio signal is strong and clear, with little to no interference from other sources. On the other hand, a low SNR means that there is more noise in the audio signal, which can result in a lower quality sound.

To put it simply, a high SNR is essential for achieving high-quality audio recordings, particularly in professional settings.

Here are three reasons why:

  • High-quality audio: A high SNR ensures that your audio recordings are free from unwanted background noise or static, resulting in crisp and clear sound quality.
  • Improved dynamic range: A higher SNR allows for a greater dynamic range in your recordings, enabling you to capture both quiet and loud sounds without distortion.
  • Better recording accuracy: With a high SNR, you can be confident that your recorded audio accurately reflects what was captured by your microphone or instrument.

In summary, having a high SNR is crucial for achieving top-notch audio recordings. So if you’re serious about producing quality content or music, investing in an interface with a high SNR should be at the top of your priority list.

How Is Snr Measured?

Dynamic range refers to the difference between the loudest and softest sounds the interface can record. THD+N is a measure of the total harmonic distortion plus noise, which is important for capturing sound accurately. A-weighting is a method of measuring sound pressure level in decibels, which helps to better distinguish between signals and noise.

Dynamic Range

When it comes to measuring the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of your audio interface, understanding dynamic range is crucial.

Dynamic range refers to the difference between the loudest and quietest sounds that can be accurately captured or played back by your audio system.

The greater the dynamic range, the more nuanced and detailed your audio recordings or playback will sound.

A high SNR indicates a strong signal with minimal background noise, while a low SNR means that unwanted noise is overpowering your desired signal.

Therefore, having a wide dynamic range is essential for achieving a high SNR and ensuring that your audio recordings or playback are of top-notch quality.


Now that we understand the importance of dynamic range in measuring SNR, it’s time to discuss another crucial factor – THD+N.

Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N) refers to the amount of distortion and noise added to an audio signal when it passes through an audio interface or other equipment.

This measurement is critical because it can significantly impact the quality of your audio recordings or playback.

A higher THD+N measurement indicates more distortion and noise, which will negatively affect your sound quality.

Therefore, keeping THD+N as low as possible is essential for achieving a high SNR and ensuring top-notch audio quality.


Now that we’ve covered the significance of THD+N in measuring SNR, it’s time to delve into another crucial aspect – A-Weighting.

A-Weighting refers to a frequency weighting method applied during SNR measurement that takes into account the sensitivity of the human ear to different frequencies.

This is because our ears are more sensitive to sounds within certain frequency ranges than others.

By applying this weighting factor, we can obtain a more accurate representation of how noise affects human perception of audio quality.

So, understanding A-weighting and its role in SNR measurement is important for ensuring that your audio recordings or playback meet industry standards and sound great.

What Is A Good Snr?

A good signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is crucial for high-quality audio recording and playback. The higher the SNR, the less noise or interference there is in the audio signal relative to the desired sound.

A SNR of 90 dB or greater is considered excellent, while a range of 60-80 dB may be acceptable for some applications. It’s important to note that different types of audio equipment may have different SNR specifications, and what is considered a good SNR for one device may not be sufficient for another.

Additionally, it’s important to consider other factors such as frequency response and distortion when evaluating audio quality. Ultimately, choosing an audio interface with a good SNR can help ensure that your recordings and playback are clear, accurate, and free from unwanted noise or interference.

How To Improve Snr With Your Audio Interface

Have you ever tried to have a conversation in a noisy room? It’s frustrating, right? The same goes for audio recordings. If there’s too much noise interfering with the sound, your recordings won’t be as clear as they could be.

That’s where signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) comes in. A good SNR means that the signal (your voice or instrument) is much louder than any background noise. If your audio interface has a low SNR, then you might hear hissing or humming sounds on your recordings.

So, how can you improve your SNR? First, make sure you’re using high-quality cables and equipment. Cheaper gear can introduce more noise into the system. Second, consider using an external preamp or interface with a higher SNR rating than your computer’s built-in sound card. Finally, make sure you’re recording in a quiet environment and keep your microphone away from any sources of interference like fans or air conditioning units.

With these tips, you can improve the SNR of your audio recordings and achieve clearer, more professional-sounding results.


In conclusion, the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) is not just a fancy term used by audio professionals to sound smart. It is an essential factor that can make or break your audio recording experience.

Without a good SNR, you might end up with low-quality and noisy recordings that no one wants to hear. Imagine spending hours recording your latest masterpiece only to find out that it sounds like it was recorded in a busy street with cars honking in the background. That’s what happens when you ignore the importance of SNR. Don’t let this happen to you!

Thankfully, improving your SNR is not rocket science. With a good quality audio interface and some basic knowledge about how SNR works, you can achieve crystal clear recordings that will blow your mind.

So invest in a good audio interface today and take your recordings to the next level! Trust me, your ears (and your audience) will thank you for it!