Native Instruments have long been at the forefront of what’s possible in music production. While their original Komplete Audio 1 and 2 would have been left in the cold if not for their striking looks – the new Komplete Audio 6 MkII has a little bit more to offer to make it stand out.Table of contents:
Komplete Audio 6 MkII overview
The Komplete Audio 6 MkII is the next installment of Native Instruments’ Komplete lineup, and it boasts several added features and greater recording quality. The unit is a 6×6 audio interface that demonstrates a high performance as well as a sleek design.
The Komplete Audio 6 MkII is a compact 6-channel USB audio interface, featuring two XLR-1/4” combo inputs with phantom power capabilities, line/instrument switches, assigned gain controls, as well as two 1/4″ line inputs located on the rear panel.
It also comes equipped with S/PDIF stereo digital I/O and MIDI input and output to allow connections for additional digital and MIDI equipment.
Fans of the original Komplete Audio 6 will be right at home here, as much of the original design remains intact. However, the output volume knob is no longer centered on the top panel, rather it has been pushed to the right side to make room for the upgraded LED digital VU meter for convenient monitoring and gain staging.
The main thing that gives the MkII its edge is that all four of its analog outputs are DC coupled. Low frequencies and flat voltage interference will not be removed by any sort of filter – a feature normally found in most other interfaces.
In practice, this allows the KA6 MkII the ability to pass control voltages (CV) directly from software to hardware modular or even semi-modular devices. So, for any readers with a Eurorack, you’re in luck. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another interface to do this – for the price at least.
Native Instruments’ KA6 MkII is undoubtedly a step up from the original unit, the Komplete Audio 6, which only had a maximum sample rate of 96 kHz. The interface is now capable of recording up to 192 kHz at 24 bits, which should be a huge sigh of relief for our fellow audiophiles.
The original model was limited – best suitable for hobbyists or lo-fi bedroom artists in need of a mic input or two. We think it’s amazing how Native Instruments has been able to reimagine the KA6 in such a way, that the unit is now a totally viable option for professional producers.
Producers and DJs can plan to utilize it during live performances as well, which simply wasn’t possible before.
Sample rate/dynamic range
This unit allows you to record up to 192 kHz at 24 bits – a huge amount of dynamic range and recording power for such a small piece of equipment. The Komplete Audio 6 MkII offers users an ample amount of headroom – unlike a lot of other entry-level interfaces around the same price range.
The built-in mic preamps of the Komplete Audio 6 MkII are reliable and solid. They’ve been remodeled to achieve a lower noise floor and higher gain.
The Komplete Audio MkII is small and compact, so however your setup is put together, the unit will have no trouble fitting in.
There will be a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself when buying this: do you want something with more connectivity, or do you want a cheap unit with the ability to manipulate a Eurorack or other modular devices?
For the latter question, you really can’t go wrong here. For the first, we would say that the KA6 MkII is still perfectly fine for amateurs or musicians just starting out, but veterans of the audio engineering world would probably look elsewhere.
The Komplete is exceptionally light and compact, so bringing it around with you won’t be an issue. In fact, in regards to how well this interface can fare during live performances, traveling without it might not even be an option for some of you.
As far as build quality is concerned, you won’t find much to complain about here. The Komplete Audio 6 MkII is a robust and sturdy interface. The knobs don’t wiggle, the box feels solid, for the price of the unit, nothing feels plastic-y or cheap.
With Native Instruments being as big a name as it is in the audio production world, it should come as no surprise that the software bundle here is fantastic. The interface comes with several gigabytes of sounds and effects all from the Komplete lineup. You’ll even receive two e-vouchers – a gift card to the Native Instruments online store as well as a two-month pass for samples at Sound.com.
Komplete Audio 6 MkII vs. other interfaces
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen
While the Focusrite is roughly ten to twenty dollars cheaper, the extra I/O features on the Komplete, as well as its modular capabilities, make it the obvious choice for the price range.
PreSonus Studio 68c
The PreSonus is slightly more expensive than the Komplete, however, it offers the same DC-coupled outputs that the KA6 MkII does, and is arguably the better purchase just for how well designed it is.
Solid State Logic SSL2
At around $230, this is the cheapest option compared to the KA6 MkII. The trade-offs are drastic though, and we would rather spend an extra $20 for more connectivity.
Final verdict on the Komplete Audio 6
The Komplete Audio 6 MkII is a well-designed interface. Its performance is nearly unmatched at this price, and those who buy it will not regret their decision. While the price is almost double of the original models, we’d say that it’s completely worth the extra dough. The extra I/O makes it far more versatile, and the new DC-coupled outputs are a breath of fresh air.
- Outstanding build quality.
- DC-coupled outputs.
- High-quality audio.
- MIDI ports.
- Only monitors for headphones.