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Best USB interface of Native Instruments KA 6 vs. Roland Quad Capture?, [TOS #6: moved from General Audio, was "Audio Interface Decisions
LC155
post Apr 21 2012, 16:45
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Hey guys,

I've recently gone ahead and ordered a AT2035 mic. I knew I needed an audio interface so I could begin recording to the PC, so I did my research. After about a week or so, I came to two choices. The Native Instruments KA 6, and the Roland Quad Capture.

And it's here where I'm stuck. I've found no direct comparison reviews of any sort between the two, and user experience online shows both to be rock solid, stable and with low latency. I'm just wondering if one has higher quality over the other, and if one colours the sound less or something, and so-forth. I'm hoping that someone here has experience with one (or both, ideally) and can give input as to how they found it. I'm dead set on either one at this point, just finding out which one is the problem! The bundled software they come with won't be an issue for me. Just looking for the highest quality USB interface out of those two.

Thanks.

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RonaldDumsfeld
post Apr 22 2012, 00:18
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As far as I can tell from a quick look at the specs the NI box offers two extra line level input and output channels over the Roland with the only trade off being that you can record on the Roland at a higher sampling rate (192 vs 96).

I never found very high sampling rates very useful. Everything is bigger, takes longer and I couldn't hear any audible difference anyway.

Being able to cue is the most obvious answer to your second question. The ability to listen to one stereo program whilst playing another. (*1). You might think that is only useful to Djs but it's a very useful feature for everyone when you get used to it. You can be playing back one program whilst searching for the next sample you want to play or talking on a headset without interrupting the currently playing program for example.

Likewise with the extra inputs. With the Roland you can play and record your voice and a guitar - with the NI you could add a rhythm track or even just a click track to keep yourself in time(*1).

I started out like you with a simple device (2 in/4 out). Now I use a multiple channel interface much like a sophisticated switch or the controls on an old fashioned integrated amp or receiver. Leave everything permanently connected and switch between them as circumstances dictate. Output to desktop monitors, floorstanding speakers and a sub, another pair of speakers in different room, headphones/headset, various old recorders and a return loop for instant one click recording of any input or output pair. Likewise with the inputs. Record decks, various recorders, various mics, an instrument, headset, even the radio TV and PC. Basically anything that can produce a noise is connected to anything that can reproduce that noise and they can all operate simultaneously and independently. Not only that it's possible to add mix and effects and/or EQ to any channel. One example of the usefulness of this might be you wanting to add some comfort reverb to your vocals whilst singing but not record that reverb. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination

Obviously I could quote examples that have proven useful to myself all night but of course everyone's requirements and expectations are different. I take the trouble to write this because I was delighted to make the discovery myself and would like to share. If you are absolutely certain you will never need anything except a stereo in/stereo out box get the Roland but, like I said before, I'd be surprised if you didn't find an use for those extra channels for a very similar price.

(*1) Both boxes do offer SPDIF I/O on co-ax as well as line so if you have a suitable device you might be able to use that for cueing or backing tracks. Depends.
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