Making music is a profession that's definitely gone digital. In lieu of big mixing consoles, synths and sequencers, today an entire studio can easily be packed into one laptop or PC thanks to digital audio workstations and software plugins. Even so, analog signals still have to come and go between those virtual tools and equipment like microphones and speakers. This is why audio converters are so crucial. Their job is to translate digital and analog signals back and forth, allowing all of your gear to communicate.
At this point you may catch yourself thinking that a lot of your equipment comes with its own built-in converters, so why bother with a dedicated one? It's a good question, and the answer is simple: integrated converters are designed to get the job done, and only just. If you want the best results, though, there's simply no substitute for letting all of your electronics handle input and output in their primary format - then all you have to do is bridge the gaps with dedicated audio converters like those found here, and you'll know that all of your components are working "in their element."
The majority of audio converters in this section are comfortable doing both digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital, but there are a few one-way models, so be sure to take that into account when planning your setup and choosing your hardware. For maximum versatility and portability, consider a desktop converter like the Antelope Audio Integrity Zodiac, Lynx Hilo or Benchmark DAC1. These are easy to set up, and make good choices for a mobile recording studio. There are also plenty of rack-mounted models, which are well-suited for road case racks or permanent installation between other pieces of rackmount audio equipment that need conversion to connect together.
There honestly isn't much more to say about audio converters: they're straightforward electronics that do a basic, but valuable, job. Narrow down your decision by thinking about the available connector types and features of each converter, and you'll soon figure out the best one for your own studio or sound system.