Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 by Geissler
First of all: this product has since been replaced by the Audio Kontrol 6, which adds a fair few features. This review will focus on the Audio Kontrol 1.
This is a 2 in, 4 out interface. Input 1 can be line level or mic, depending on whether you're using the 1/4" or XLR input. Phantom is available via a switch on the back. Input 2 is only a 1/4" connector, which can be line or hi-z level. Both inputs have dedicated gain knobs. The 4 outputs are on the back, 1/4", next to the midi I/O and USB ports. This is USB 2.0, bus-powered (no DC input). Other features: direct monitoring via a switch on the front, with gain and a mono toggle. Works perfectly. One 1/4" headphone jack on the front with a gain knob. This has enough juice to power my 600ohm AKG240DF - good! The wheel and 3 buttons on the top can send midi signals, but the software was flaky and I never bothered to look into it further. What does work without a hitch is the LED indication, also on top: you can see phantom status, i/o level/clipping, USB status, midi i/o and monitor level, if you've got the direct monitoring activated.
- good conversion for the price (cirrus logic DAC)
- relatively low latency (~20ms)
- bus-powered and portable
- for just a little more money you're in the focusrite saffire price range, which is superior in almost every way
- online support is useless
- drivers are flaky, at least under windows. I've had bluescreens, DPC latency issues and crackling sound.
Recommended as a first interface if you can find one cheap enough.