The main thing when choosing any professional audio product is the sound quality. The rest depends on personal preferences. The hardware that brings the audio signal includes many factors. Of course, today’s input/output audio interfaces have become much better if compared with older ones. On the other hand, the purchase of an audio interface that supports recordings of professional category involves loosening a large sum of money.
|#||Model||Rating||Dimensions||Maximum ADC frequency||Our top||Check|
|1||Komplete Audio 6||11 x 4 x 7 inches||96 kHz||1|| Check|
|2||Steinberg UR22mk2||8 x 9.2 x 4 inches||192 kHz||2|| Check|
|3||Tascam US122MKII||7.5 x 5 x 2.5 inches||96 kHz||3|| Check|
|4||Presonus AudioBox 22VSL||12.5 x 7.5 x 4.2 inches||96 kHz||4|| Check|
|Komplete Audio 6|
|Dimensions||11 x 4 x 7 inches|
|Maximum ADC frequency||96 kHz|
|Dimensions||8 x 9.2 x 4 inches|
|Maximum ADC frequency||192 kHz|
|Dimensions||7.5 x 5 x 2.5 inches|
|Maximum ADC frequency||96 kHz|
|Presonus AudioBox 22VSL|
|Dimensions||12.5 x 7.5 x 4.2 inches|
|Maximum ADC frequency||96 kHz|
However, it is also possible to get a good result in terms of high quality recording without liquidating your budget. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 offering an excellent quality-price ratio in one product does not lose popularity among users successfully competing with new professional devices.
Komplete Audio 6 Full Review
NI komplete audio 6 is still of interest to customers and this is due to several reasons. The sound card is very popular because it includes whatever tools necessary to produce music and is inexpensive if you compare it with other models of the same level. Audio 6 includes a flexible interface with many options for connecting microphones, guitars, MIDI instruments. The device has four analog/digital inputs/outputs, MIDI and it characterize by a minimum latency. All is within an ultra-resistant and elegant aluminum chassis and with all the necessary visual information. The device also has two microphone inputs, which have preamps in them, plus Cirrus Logic converters, creating an accurate, clear sound. The included software is of high value to the buyer.
Build quality is excellent and solid. The small size (52 x 159 x 122 mm) of the sound module is great for home studios. It has smooth and solid knobs and buttons that do not create any noise for at maximum gain. The Komplete Audio 6 is a universal interface device with a well-designed output monitor that sounds great and does not depend on the main levels. The indicator lights surrounding the handle of the main volume knob are clearly visible. These features make navigation through the physical interface very easy.
The form factor that is the format of the sound card is an element to be evaluated especially when you have run out of space. Do you work on a cluttered desk? Then Komplete Audio 6 in with small sizes could be an excellent solution.
Komplete Audio 6 records signals from microphones and instruments and gives us the impression of being very resistant. If you plan to “move along the road” with your musical activity, it will be a good option, without a doubt.
Native instruments audio interface has an elegant appearance with aluminum panels 2 mm thick and glossy glass on top. Maybe this is the most beautiful interface of all those that we had to see. On top, a huge and practical knob performs the function of the output volume control as in Audio Kontrol 1. The output to the headphones must be set separately and we must say this at once.
Inputs and outputs
Perhaps the most intriguing of the device is that it has a large number of inputs/ outputs in such a compact housing. There are four analog inputs/outputs (XLR/TRS), two independent digital channels. In total, they are six and this number appears in the title (komplete 6).
- TRS, commonly called jack, useful for connecting devices that provide a line or high impedance signal (keyboards, iPods, guitars, etc.).
- XLR, also known as cannon, it is primarily used for connecting microphones.
- S/PDIF uses the same connector as the RCA but carries digital signal.
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The number of preamps, whether they are microphone or line, is another important parameter to be evaluated before the purchase. The quality of the preamp instead is given by many factors, but first of all:
- maximum amplification
- selection of continuous or discrete amplification (with pre-set steps)
- intrinsic noise.
Converters and Resolution
Native instruments interface is powered through the USB port, which allows you to carry it with you comfortably everywhere, and has two balanced microphone inputs (combined XLR-jack) that are backed by high-end preamps and Analog-to-Digital converters with 24-bit of the reputable manufacturer Cirrus Logic, which guarantees a great quality of audio when recording and reproducing.
The AD and DA converters are those components of the sound card that deal with the conversion of the analog signal into digital and vice versa of the digital signal into analog. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers make known the specifications of these components, limiting themselves to giving specific data only to preamplifiers and internal resolution. Converters make the bulk of the sound of a card, because they are the link between the preamp and the audio file that you save on your PC and at the same time the link between your software and what comes out of the speakers (obviously if the speakers are connected to the card). On the other hand, the resolution is always known, indicating the sampling frequency and the maximum bit rate at which the card can operate. Now typical values are 192 KHz as sampling frequency and 24 bit as quantization bit rate. This value refers to the maximum limit supported, which you will hardly actually use. Many of your future recordings will definitely not go beyond 96 KHz/24bit.
Latency, Drivers and Included Software
When setting the minimum buffer of 32 samples in а mode tuned for 44 kHz, we get the total latency less than 9 ms. The output latency will be half that. This is a common indicator for a device on a USB 2.0 bus. Of course, achieving such a low latency and ensuring stability with the 32-sample buffer is an incredibly difficult task. Of course, you do not have to use a small buffer without special need. It is necessary to play the guitar or keyboards. In other cases, the application compensates for the buffer. When working with sound, there is no threat of any latency.
Since it is a typical product of Native Instruments, it includes an excellent software package, obviously. In this one, we find Komplete Elements with 3GB of sounds, instruments and effects, the Cubase le 6 sequencer; and, for DJs, traktor audio 6 drivers. It even gives you a voucher redeemable for € 25 in the online purchase of any instrument and effect of the komplete range.
Adjustment of the buffer has two drop-down lists: Process Buffer and USB Buffer. The latter allows increasing the stability of the USB bus. Native Instruments is seriously suited to the task of incorporating many years of experience in the development of drivers for DJ controllers connected to the laptop. During the update of the drivers, the manufacturer also refreshes the stuffing of the device.
- The interface does not need a power adapter. MIDI In and Out with indicators monitors its activity, 48V phantom power, and buttons to toggle between instrument and line signals
- Combined inputs work as microphone/guitar/line
- The indication of the input levels is transmitted by changing the brightness of the LED on the top panel of the card
- Available modes of digitization are from 44 to 96 kHz
- The card does not have any software mixer. All hardware adjustments are available on the case. On the rear panel, there is a MIDI input-output. S/PDIF interface allows you to connect additional 2 channels to the input or output
- The measurements are close to the DAC parameters (dynamic range 105 dB, distortion + noise 87 dB) and ADC (dynamic range 105 dB, distortion + noise 95 dB). The parameters are typical for the entry-level interfaces
- By purchasing this audio interface you get not only a sound card, but also many other bonuses. However, if you have never encountered the procedure for activating Steinberg or NI products, some difficulties may arise.
Cubase le 6 review
Hundreds of thousands of fans and musicians from all over the world are addicted to CUBASE because we continuously appreciate its important improvements, which allow us to turn our personal computer into a recording studio at a very professional level and quite affordable. It not only provides unlimited audio or MIDI tracks, but also important software sounds to be applied to those tracks generated by MIDI, as well as very diverse and high-end effects (reverberations and echoes).
In addition, it includes many quality tools in terms of different equalizations, tunings -distinct even to the entire audio tracks previously recorded or performing specific tunings-, variations in their durations, and a huge amount of individual or collective refinements between their tracks, manual or automated mixtures with very specific and spectacular nuances, etc.
In Cubase 6, detection is based on volume levels, rather than time-based. The control that was previously sensitivity is now the Threshold. With this control, we can adjust the position of two horizontal lines that appear on the waveform creating a volume range. All points between these lines will produce a hitpoint. In this way it is much easier to quantize the audio, as well as filtering unwanted sounds, both functions are very interesting when we work with drum tracks.
We refer to digitize to describe the process of converting analog audio, captured through microphones or generated by synthesizers, guitars or other electrical instruments, into digital audio that is the only format that can be stored in memories or hard disks.
Compact audio card with a large number of options at a very low price; 24-Bit quality/ 192 kHz. It has D-PRE microphone preamps with phantom power and an interesting number of high quality connections. One of the most interesting options of this portable sound card is its support of native MIDI input and output drivers compatible with iPad. It also includes Steinberg Cubase AI Software (download version). The initiation version of one of the most used music production programs by artists around the world.
- 2 x 2 USB 2.0 audio interface
- 24-Bit/192 kHz & Two Class-A D-PRE mic preamps
- Compatible with all major audio editing, mastering, and music production software
- MIDI input/output & iPad connectivity. System requirements: mac OS X 10.7/10.8/10.9/10.10/10.11 and windows 7 SP1/8/8.1/10
- Cubase AI and Cubasis LE included. Please refer the User Guide before use.
In this audio Interface you have everything you need: 2 XLR Mic inputs with 48V Phantom power with good preamps next to 2 jack line inputs 1/4 of which you can change one to High Impedance mode Hi-Z to directly connect an Instrument. It includes a Midi Input and Output port that is perfect for future extensions of your studio and its Converters work at 24 bits and up to 96 KHz.
- (2) XLR microphone inputs with phantom power
- (2) 1/4″ balanced line inputs with switchable guitar input
- MIDI input and output
- Aluminum case construction
- Steinberg Cubase LE4 48-track recording software included
PreSonus AudioBox 22VSL
This simple but solid AudioBox 22VSL interface comes with two inputs and two audio outputs. In addition, it displays MIDI In / Out ports, and practical ultra-low latency functionality when used with audio software that supports ASIO or Core Audio, or with the Studio One Artist 2 sequencer (which is included as standard). The two microphones / instrument inputs on AudioBox 22VSL combo connectors are equipped with level controls, and offer a main output level and another for headphone output. An additional control mixes the input and output signals of the computer during recording.
- 24-bit / 96 kHz 2 x 2 USB 2.0 recording interface
- 2 dual-purpose front-panel input channels
- Mixer control (blends the input signal with the computer playback stream for zero-latency monitoring)
- Headphone jack with level control
- Main-output level control
- LED clip indicator for each channel
- Studio One Artist digital audio workstation software included