Electronic music producers and DJs know Native Instruments as the minds behind such indispensable tools as the Maschine controller and Traktor Kontrol interfaces. With NI's obvious grasp on musicians' need for solid hands-on tools and powerful software integration, it stands to reason that they would build a compact, yet heavy-duty USB audio interface like the Komplete Audio 6. From its instant-visual-feedback indicator lights and big, tactile analog volume knob to the high-end Cirrus Logic analog-to-digital converters under the hood, it's obvious that the Komplete Audio 6 interface is meant to meet the demands of any task you throw at it: studio production, mobile recording, live DJ gigs, or just laying down demos at home. And with all the software that Native Instruments has included -- Cubase LE 6 for recording and mixing, Traktor LE 2 for live DJ performances, and the must-have virtual instruments, effects, and sample library in Komplete Elements -- you'll have all the tools you need to start making tracks right out of the box.
One Big Volume Knob with Intuitive Indicator LEDs
The first thing you'll notice about the Komplete Audio 6 USB interface is its intuitive top panel, with one big, fat analog volume knob smack in the middle. Whether you're using your audio interface for casual listening at home, or for cranking up the PA at a packed gig, it's a lot easier to grab this main volume knob instead of mousing a volume slider on a screen. The volume control is surrounded by 15 easy-to-read, professional-looking indicator LEDs: signal presence and clipping for all four analog inputs and both pairs of analog outputs, S/PDIF digital sync, MIDI I/O signal presence, USB and +48V phantom power indicators, and lights to indicate which pair of outputs you're hearing over headphones or the monitor outputs. Considering that all this intuitive visual feedback fits into a compact 6.3" x 4.8" footprint, it's easy to see how this built-like-a-tank bus-powered interface can integrate with any studio desk setup, DJ booth, or mobile recording rig.
Four Analog Ins and Outs with High-End A/D Conversion
If you're going to do serious audio production, you need serious preamps and A/D converters -- and that's where the Native Instruments Komplete 6 interface really shines. On the simple, elegant front panel, you'll find two combination XLR-1/4" jacks for plugging in any analog inputs: microphones, instrument-level sources like a guitar or bass, or line-level signals. Both of the Komplete 6's transparent-sounding preamps has their own gain knob for dialing in a healthy level. Together with two more 1/4" line inputs on the back panel, four channels of analog audio sail through Cirrus Logic converters over USB into your PC at up to 96 KHz/24-bit resolution. With an extremely low noise floor and low round-trip latency between the sound card and your PC -- plus zero-latency monitoring when you monitor the inputs directly -- the Komplete Audio 6 is excellent for recording vocals and live instruments.
More I/O for Stage or Studio
On the NI Komplete Audio 6's back panel, you'll also find four analog outputs. Use these four line-level balanced 1/4" outs to feed your main speakers plus a second pair of monitors, an outboard processor, or a headphone amp. There's a front-panel knob for controlling the volume to outputs 3/4 independently, and a pushbutton to convert a stereo signal to a mono signal -- great for checking to see if your stereo recording is in phase, or just for feeding a pair of mono subwoofers from outs 3 and 4. There's also a 1/4" headphone jack with its own volume control, and a button for toggling the headphone output between stereo out pairs 1/2 and 3/4 (no messing around in a software control panel just to select what you're monitoring). Of course, you'll also find stereo S/PDIF I/O for connecting digital outboard gear, and MIDI I/O for connecting keyboards or other controllers.
Included Software: A Complete Studio In a Box
The Komplete Audio 6 USB interface would already be a great value without bundled software, but Native Instruments has sweetened the deal by including several applications to help you get started right out of the box. Komplete Elements includes over 3 GB of NI's virtual instruments, effects, and samples, while Cubase LE gives you a serious DAW that's ideal for sequencing and audio recording. Plus, Traktor LE is included -- an entry-level version of NI's rock-solid DJ and live-performance software that allows you to make seamless loops and tweak your tracks with effects and filters. There's also a $30 electronic voucher that you can redeem for more software instruments and effects from Native Instruments' online store. All this bundled software truly makes this interface a do-it-all solution for your studio or mobile recording rig.
- Bus-powered USB 2.0 interface with 4-in/4-out analog I/O plus 2-in/2-out digital I/O
- Up to 96 kHz/24-bit audio resolution
- Two clean, clear microphone preamps with +48V phantom power with front-panel XLR-1/4" combination jacks
- Two back-panel 1/4" analog line inputs
- Four analog balanced 1/4" TRS line ouputs
- Zero-latency monitoring
- Cirrus Logic A/D converters
- Bundled software: Cubase LE 6, Traktor LE2, and Komplete Elements
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more complete audio solution in such a compact footprint. Don't let its low price fool you -- the NI Komplete Audio 6 is a heavy-duty interface with incredibly well-spec'd A/D converters that will help make the most of your instruments and microphones. The 6x6 I/O gives you just enough routing options to build your studio around, and the bundled software is easy to install and use. Whether this is your first interface or your fifteenth, the Komplete Audio 6 is a killer solution for getting sound in and out of your computer.