Even if you drop the coin for Apple’s top-dollar laptop or Alienware’s flagship computer, you are still stuck with crappy audio that is not worthy of play even on a Greyhound bus. At some point you are going to have to upgrade to some kind of recording interface, a soundcard that deliver quality audio both into and out of the computer. The Komplete Audio 6 is a soundcard breakout box that connects to your machine via USB, and uses high-end analog to digital converters to transform audio. Unlike some interfaces in this class, the Komplete Audio 6 is powered completely from USB power and does not need an additional power supply plugged into the wall. Featuring four analog inputs (2 balanced XLR, and 2 1/4″ line-level TRS connections), and four analog outputs (2×2 Stereo 1/4″ TRS connections), there are more than enough lines in and out of the machine to get most of the recording you need done.
Additionally, this interface adds a fully digital input (S/PDIF RCA connections) adding a feature that is generally only found on the highest end cards out there. While most people will only use the main stereo outputs to playback their audio, you will find that the sound you hear will be some of the cleanest noise-free sound that you have ever heard coming out of your computer. Another nice upgrade from previous NI interfaces, is a new chipset that allows for zero-latency audio monitoring while recording live sources, generally a problem with most soundcards today.
This device comes packaged with everything you need to get your machine up and running as a recording computer. Included is a copy of Cuebase LE 6, Traktor LE2 and Komplete Elements MK2, enough to get you Djing, recording and making beats in no time. After a quick install, this interface was running and ready to use. NI makes their installation and registration process painless, and every DAW out there is built to handle and use NI devices. If you are looking to upgrade your audio experience and bring your sound into the new golden age, then this interface is the solution for your quandary.
Native Instruments (MSRP: $249)