The Roland UA series audio interfaces provide astonishing performance at affordable prices…
The Roland UA series of audio interfaces played a huge part in bringing the power of home recording to the masses. Whilst the names have changed somewhat- the cryptic codes are pushed to the background in favour of easier to understand names such as ‘Duo-Capture’, ‘Quad-Capture’ and ‘Octa-Capture’- and the devices are now branded as Roland rather than Edirol or Cakewalk, the devices themselves still hold true to the principles that made the UA-25 USB interface one of the most popular ever made.
The current range has upped the stakes, improving audio quality, preamp quality and performance, and with models closely tailored to different types of users. Here’s an overview of the current Roland UA audio interface range.
Roland Duo Capture
The smallest interface in the range, the Roland Duo Capture is a very capable, ludicrously affordable device. Providing a simple 2 input, and 2 output interface, with a switchable guitar/ mic input, or mini-jack stereo line-in with low latency drivers, this is a convenient unit for the singer/ songwriter.
The Roland Tri-Capture
The Roland Tri-Capture bears a passing visual resemblance to UA-interfaces of yesteryear, but packs in even more bang-for-the-buck. The unit is a 2 input, 2 output audio interface, with an XLR mic input with Phantom Power (allowing condenser mics to be hooked up with the minimum of fuss), guitar input and stereo aux input.
Balanced quarter inch jack outputs ensure that playback isn’t ruined by background noise and interference, and the interface is capable of 24-bit 96kHz operation. The ‘Tri’ part of the name refers to the fact that aside from the two physical inputs, the interface can ‘loop’ audio playback from the host computer and record it – ideal for grabbing audio from websites, DVDs etc.
The Roland Quad-Capture
The Roland Quad-Capture is (surprise, surprise…) a 4 input, 4 output USB 2.0 interface. The upgrade to USB 2.0 allows the device to record or playback more channels of audio at the same time. So, whereas a USB 1.0 interface is only capable of two tracks of playback whilst recording two tracks (i.e. stereo input and output), USB 2.0 is capable of far higher track counts.
Two combo XLR/ Jack inputs are equipped on the front, enabling microphones, guitars and line level sources to be connected. Phantom power is available when XLRs are connected. The Mic pre-amps are digitally controlled VS series designs, as found in Roland’s V-Studio 700 digital mixer, delivering transparent quality, with compression, low-cut filter and phase invert functionality if required. Auto-Sens automatically sets input gain levels at the push of a button.
The additional inputs and outputs are available via a coaxial digital in and out to the rear. A MIDI in and out allows synths, sound modules and other MIDI gear to be hooked up. All of this is delivered with Roland VS streaming technology, delivering minimum latency, low noise and sound quality to rival interfaces at much higher prices.
The Roland Octa-Capture
The Roland Octa-Capture is a more studio-focused addition to the Roland UA series. It packs a huge amount into a unit that is only a little more than half-rack sized. Capable of 10 input channels and ten output channels, the front and rear are equipped with four combo XLR-jack sockets each. These can be used as either microphone preamps (being the same VS series preamps as the Quad capture and VS 700), or line inputs, with input one and two equipped with a hi-z guitar level switch.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.