Does its new compact interface uphold the brand’s enviable reputation? We take a look in our Roland Duo Capture EX review
It’s a bit of a cliché to say that there is very little in this world that can be relied upon completely. Like many clichés, there is truth in the statement however.
In the world of audio interfaces, this is often very much the case. Sometimes, an audio interface will just not get along with a particular computer, seemingly without any discernable reason.
A few years ago, Roland’s UA-25 interface (at the time branded Edirol, and then Cakewalk) was something of an exception. Its ability to work with anything, and exceptional reliability made it one of the most popular audio interfaces ever.
The new Duo Capture EX is the direct descendant of this interface, with several key upgrades, including new preamps and even iPad compatibility.
Does it live up to the reputation of its outrageously successful ancestor? Find out in our Roland Duo Capture EX review.
Classic Roland Build Quality
You might have noticed that there are a few 2-input, 2-output, USB audio interfaces available. Well, I say ‘few’, but what I mean is hundreds. As a result, the Duo Capture EX has a task ahead of it to set itself apart from the masses.
Lifting the unit from its box, it becomes fairly obvious that this isn’t a problem for Roland. The brand has a reputation for excellent built-quality, which is amply upheld here.
The tough, metal chassis has protective front edging, and all sockets and knobs are seated solidly and securely. Compared to many other interfaces at this price, the Roland unit oozes quality.
In terms of specification, the Duo Capture EX follows a fairly familiar template, with USB connectivity, two XLR combi sockets with phantom power, two outputs, plus MIDI ‘in’ and ‘out’.
It should be noted that both the jack inputs and outputs are all balanced jack sockets however. Very impressive at this price…
The front panel is equipped with the two inputs, gain controls for each of these, a master volume and a headphone socket. To the rear, the two jack outputs are features, along with standard MIDI connections, phantom power switch, direct monitoring switch, hi-/ lo-z switch (for switching the line in jack of input 1 to an instrument level input) and a sample rate switch.
A connection for a PSU is also featured, and, rather usefully, it can even be powered by AA batteries.
Like previous models, the Duo Capture EX just seems to work seamlessly with anything. On all platforms tested (which included Windows, OSX and iOS), installation with the absolute minimum of fuss. With some adjustment of settings, latency was reduced to less than 10ms.
As previously stated, the one thing that has characterised Roland interfaces over the years has been smooth, problem free operation. This new model is no exception. No issues of any kind were experienced during testing.
The pre-amps equipped to the Duo Capture EX are the same used in its high end, VS range of recording equipment. When put to the test, they deliver results that are subjectively, much better than those of its predecessors, and among the very best available on a unit of this kind.
Recordings through these are clear, focused, and detailed, with a pleasingly warm low-end. Results also have a far lower noise floor than previous models, and in general, the Duo capture EX is far less susceptible to the kind of electrical interference that can sometimes causes issues on more affordable interfaces.
In general, audio quality was excellent, both on recording, and upon playback.
As previously stated, the Duo Capture EX enters a very crowded marketplace, and faces a very difficult task to discern itself from its competition.
With a combination of excellent build, great audio quality, and impressively robust performance across all supported platforms, it presents a very strong case for getting your hard-earned cash.
It’s very bit as reliable as its predecessors, but with better audio, excellent pre-amps, battery operation, and even iPad compatibility. For the asking price, it’s a tough act to follow…