An Excellent Piece of Gear For Live Streaming
I recently did a review of the new Creative Sound Blaster K3+ audio interface. It's more than your typical interface unit. Here is how Creative define it on their site: "An external sound mixer module with hardware audio processing such as reverb, autotune, and voice morphing effects." They also call it a "USB-Powered Recording and Streaming Mixer with Sound Effects Processing and Soundboard."
What does all that mean?
Let's start with what it is at its heart, which is an audio interface. By that, I mean that the K3+ is a "unit" (a box of some sort) that allows you to plug microphone into it. An interface uses its analog-to-digital converters and mic preamps to allow you record high quality audio.
Most interface units plug into a computer, usually with a USB cable. Then you can record the audio into your computer and produce that audio in whatever way you want (music, video, voiceover, etc.).
How is the K3+ Different?
The K3+ was designed primarily for people who do lots of live streaming, especially musicians. And because folks who do live streaming often want to use their mobile devices to create live streams or videos on the go, they would need something that allows them to be mobile, but still be able to produce professional quality audio in their streams/videos. The K3+ allows you to do just that.
The K3+ can be powered by a USB "power bank." I wasn't familiar with that term. But what it basically means is those portable USB things you carry around to recharge your mobile devices when their batteries die on you while you're nowhere near an outlet.
If you have any mobile devices at all, you probably already have one. The one I have had for years - the Insignia Portable Charger (~$25) worked perfectly.
So you can use the K3+ literally anywhere! No need for a computer and no need for an outlet. Also, you can connect the K3+ to a mobile device and have the ability to make your live streams and videos sound WAY WAY better than 90 percent of the other folks out there doing live stream broadcasts. Check out the video below to hear just how much better.
In order to connect the K3+ to your mobile device, you'll need a special kind of cord with a pin called a "4-pole 3.5mm." This is not (currently) included with the K3+. So you'll have to buy that separately.
You cannot use just a regular 3.5mm cord. It must be the "4-pole" type like this Archeer cable. These have 3 black lines on the pins at the ends.
What Can The K3+ Do?
The K3+ allows you to plug your good studio condenser mics into it so you can get awesome sounding videos (or podcasts, etc.). The unit lets you record "Hi-Res" too, offering 24-bit/48KHz recording. Of course there is 48V phantom power for your condenser mics.
But there are several features you don't see on other interface units. One of those features is reverb to spice up your live musical performances (which I demo in the video below). There are several available reverbs, each with the ability to control amount of reverb and delay.
There is also an "autotune" feature. This allows you to do things like mimic the T-Pain/Cher effect and/or make your voice sound like those robots in the TV show, Legion. You can probably come up with several creative uses for this effect.
Another interesting feature is the Sound Board. This could be handy if you're a podcaster and want some quick sound effects, like a few seconds of dramatic drums, applause, laughter, and a few other sounds.
There are two headphone jacks, each with it's own volume control. This can be handy if you're doing a podcast interview or performing with 2 musicians.
Also, there is a VoiceOver mode. The K3+ not only has inputs for microphones, but also for external sources. So you could have music coming in from another mobile device or CD player while you are using the mics.
When you engage the VoiceOver mode, that background music will fade into the background whenever you speak into the microphone. This ensures the vocal is always the prominent sound and can be heard over the music.
There is a term for that in audio recording and broadcast called "ducking." You can read more about ducking in our post What is Ducking In Audio Recording?
If all you want to do is record audio on your computer, then you're probably better off with a standard interface unit such as a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. But if you do live streaming and want to be mobile and able to record quick videos that sound awesome, and get them immediately onto YouTube, Facebook Live, etc, then the Sound Blaster K3+ is what you want.
See the video below to hear for yourself what the K3+ can do.
If you want to find out more or buy one for yourself from Amazon, CLICK HERE