Xone:K2 – Quick Sound Check
One of the most often asked questions we received after our reviews of the Allen&Heath Xone:K2 was about the quality of the integrated audio interface. Is the soundcard good enough that it can be an alternative for and replace, for example Traktor Audio 6 or Traktor Audio 10 in an
external mixer setup (no timecode usage, see the setup example in
Allen&Heath Xone:K2 - A closer look)?
In preparation for some more extensive video reviews and tutorials about the Xone:K2
we ran a quick test of the K2 soundcard.
Xone:K2 has an integrated four channel audio interface (16 bit). The audio interface can be used with either a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz.
Setup on Mac OS X is as easy as it can be. Simply connect the K2 to a USB port of your Mac. That’s it. The audio interface is class compliant and all four channels are immediately available. On Windows only two channels can be used unless you have installed the ASIO driver; once the supplied ASIO driver is installed all four channel will be available.
The Test Setup
To test the sound quality of the two stereo channels in external mixer of Traktor
we created the following setup:
First we created an aggregated audio device from Xone:K2 and Traktor Audio 10 and used the following soundcard channels for Traktor decks A-C:
- Output 0/1, Deck A: Xone:K2 Headphone Socket
- Output 2/3, Deck B: Xone:K2 Master Out (Cinch)
- Output 4/5, Deck C: Traktor Audio 10, Master Out
The Sample Rate in Traktor was set to 44.1 kHz and the Latency Buffer was set to 128, resulting in an overall latency of 4.9ms.
The Headphone Output of the K2 (front of the controller) was connected to channel 1 of the mixer (a Xone:DB4) using a 3.5mm jack to RCA/cinch adapter cable (a quite cheap one). Master Output of the K2 (rear of the controller) was connected to channel 2 of the mixer using RCA/cinch cables. And finally the Main Output of the Traktor Audio 10 was connected to channel 3.
We loaded a track in WAV format into deck A of Traktor, played it and then created a duplicate in deck B and another one in deck C. The mini set was recorded
with a little recording tool on the Mac using the Record Output of the mixer.
The recording starts with the break on the track where audio is coming from deck A (channel 1 of the mixer, headphone socket of the K2). In the first four bars after the break you hear the sound from channel 1 as well. Then, with some quick blends,
the next four bars come from channel 2 (Xone:K2 Master out) and the rest of the recording comes via
channel 3 (Traktor Audio 10, Main Out).
We set three hotuces in the recorded wave file to mark the blends as
you can see in the screenshot above.
Check yourself! Download the recording to see if you can hear any difference between the audio coming from the
Xone:K2 and the Traktor Audio 10? Can you? We can't.
Download recorded file here
We will do some more tests in the near future. As for today we just wanted to share this first impression with you and give you a chance to judge yourself.
The track used for this test is Plastix (Tim Wolff Remix) by Camiel Daamen
released on the Dutch label Klopfgeist.
Authors: Karl Yates, Rainer G. Haselier
Published: February 19, 2012