I didn't imagine there was much room for innovation in USB-recording interfaces, but at the 2009 NAMM show--the annual convention for buyers and sellers of professional music gear (read: music gearhead paradise)--a couple of companies introduced some new takes on this very prosaic, but necessary, piece of gear.
For the uninitiated: A recording interface is the bridge between your musical output and your computer. You attach it to the computer, then plug your instrument (or multiple instruments, or output of a mixing board) into it, and voila. There are countless types of interfaces at all levels of price and complexity, but for home musicians who just want a quick way to get their musical ideas down on their hard drives, an inexpensive USB interface is the way to go. M-Audio is probably the best-known brand at this level, although Tascam and Edirol (part of Roland) are somewhat common as well.
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