Review: Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2
Beginners start here, yes, but the rest of us might be tempted to buy a Komplete Audio interface just to get the software bundle.
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We know from our reviews of Native’s new ranges of Komplete Kontrol keyboards that the company is on a bit of a mission to bring huge hardware and software bundles to newcomers in music production – the prices are so low that even those people with just a passing interest in making music will probably be tempted.
Somehow, the company has refined some fabulous technology that integrates sleek keyboard technology with its own software to provide a seamless playing and recording solution for newbies. But you’ll always need an interface to connect all the audio bits up too, right? Don’t worry, Native has you covered there, too…
Komplete Audio 2 is part of a new range of two USB 2.0 powered interfaces that are simple in design, elegant in use and dirt cheap. Above all, they come bundled with a massive range of software. Komplete Start is the new title that ships with most new NI hardware and is almost worth the asking price alone.
In this bundle you get 15 synths and sampled instruments, plus effects, and a couple of thousand loops, and samples. Other titles free with the interfaces include three effects, the Monark synth and Maschine Essentials, all making up a frankly ridiculous bundle, given the asking price.
As to the interfaces, we have the Audio 2 on test here, which features two mic/line combo ins and a simple pair of jack outs, headphone out, plus level and input selector controls. The interface is tiny enough to fit on any desktop and with decent rubber feet and enough weight, isn’t going to move around too much… unless you want it too, of course. Being buss-powered it’s a great ‘throw in your bag’ mobile option, too.
Performance-wise, it stacks up decently with low noise and quality ins to make it a good choice for everyone from singer/songwriters to podcasters. While we don’t have Komplete Audio 1 in for test, just looking at its specs, we’d probably recommend going for the 2, just for the extra input flexibility that you might grow in to – it’s only another £30 (street price). Either way, you’re looking at a lot of hardware and software (especially) for little outlay.
- USB 2.0 192kHz and 24-bit buss-powered audio interface
- 2x combi XLR/jack inputs with 48V phantom power and individual gain control
- 2x stereo jack outputs
- Five-segment LED level meter with peak indicator
- Headphone out with power output and volume control
- Live Lite, Monark, Replika, Phasis, Solid Bus Comp, Komplete Start and Maschine
- Essentials software bundle