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Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1
3.75 3.75 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

A decent starter interface.


23rd December 2011

Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 by Geissler

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 2 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.25
Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1

First of all: this product has since been replaced by the Audio Kontrol 6, which adds a fair few features.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.

Pros:
- cheap
- good conversion for the price (cirrus logic DAC)
- relatively low latency (~20ms)
- bus-powered and portable

Cons:
- 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.

8th May 2012

Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 by lostwars

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1

As the previous review states, this is a legacy product but will be huge on the used market.

I recorded an entire album with this interface and Ableton Live. It worked pretty well. It has a neutral sound and the DAC is awesome. Very high quality DAC. If not used for an interface, used as a monitoring box for your second rig - its an amazing deal.

Sound Quality - Either Mic or Line, everything I put through this box was clean and transparent. even with the mic gain cranked, I got good sounds out of my dynamics and clear even performance from condensers. Records up to 192k. At that level you better have a decent rig though, latency is evil at that level. At 44.1 16/24bit you're doing just fine.

Ease of use: The only issue I had with this unit was how confusing it was to start out. There is one XLR/Line input and one Line In input. There are two switches, for the XLR its Mic or Line - for the Line In theres Line or Instrument. If two inputs are used, the selections "change"...its hard to describe but it was hard to use two mics at once with the interface. Output level knobs are great (4 outputs) and the monitoring section has a MONO button.

Features: USB interface software is very basic but once you get it going in your DAW of choice, its a great performer.

Bang for buck: If this is at $125 or below used, theres not a better deal in basic usb interfaces. The DAC is high end and I use the box now for monitoring on my laptop rig. I wouldn't buy this new though, there are better deals to be had.

 

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