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  • #16
    Hey PFRfan - you replied to a spambot but as your reply is so on-target and will likely be of interest to others, I've left it up. Some people still don't get the different between USB 1.1 and USB 2.0.
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    • #17
      The reverb is far better than I expected - it's clean, smooth, and transparent. However, note that the only variable parameters are algorithm (with your choice of echo, room, small hall, or large hall) and for all algorithms, a maximum pre-delay time of 160 ms and maximum decay time of 5 seconds (see the attached image). Also, remember that this is for monitoring only, and only through direct mix A - I recorded the audio examples by taking the headphones output and feeding it into Octa-Capture inputs 3+4.



      As to the audio exampes, do check them out - this is a very fine reverb, without periodicity or flutter.



      The first audio example is the Room algorithm, the second the Echo algorithm, the third the Small Hall algorithm, and the fourth is the Large Hall algorithm.
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      • #18
        And let's finish off our trip into DSP-land with the compressor. Unlike the reverb, this is available for recording, not just monitoring. The audio example plays the uncompressed sound of talking through a mic, then the compressed version, with a -20dB threshold and 8:1 ratio (note that this also brings up the background fan nose of my computer - sorry about that). Overall, the compression is more than utilitarian; it doesn't add artifacts, and it takes some work to make it "pump."
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        • #19
          First, the standard disclaimer – this doesn’t mean the review is over, just that I think I know the unit well enough to provide some conclusions. I still want to try cascading it with the V-Studio 700 just to make sure it works as expected, but aside from that, I think we’ve covered pretty much everything that’s important. However, if anyone has any questions or comments (particularly from those who own the unit), please continue to post.



          Also for those wondering about Roland’s participation in the latter part of this thread (or lack thereof), unfortunately their Product Manager was in Japan during the recent earthquake. He’s safe, and we wish him well; fortunately, reports are that Roland, being located in a more southern part of Japan, has not suffered serious damage. But I can certainly understand that there are far more pressing issues right now then checking in on a pro review. Hopefully when the situation settles down, he’ll be able to add some comments.



          Now, about the Octa-Capture.



          The primary characteristic that stands out to me is cost-effectiveness. For under $600, you’re getting eight high-quality mic pres, onboard DSP, a very nice mixer application, Auto-Sens level setting, and a relatively intuitive front-panel user interface. That’s quite a deal.



          Here are what I consider the main limitations:

          • Only one headphone out. Granted, I don’t know where they would have been able to fit another one on the front panel, but sometimes it helps to be able to have someone else listen on phones while tracking. Of course you can do this, but you’d need to add a headphone amp to a couple of the monitor outs.

          • No optical I/O, either S/PDIF or ADAT. There is coaxial S/PDIF, so you’re not totally lacking for digital I/O. The ADAT input is perhaps less of an issue than it appears at first, because the main reason for adding ADAT I/O is to provide expansion - being able to cascade Octa-Captures is a mitigating factor.

          • The reverb works only with Direct Mix A, and you can’t record with it. Actually this is kind of a flattering limitation, because I wouldn’t care if it weren’t for the fact that the reverb sounds very good.

          • The compressor can’t go in front of the A/D converter to prevent overloads. However, see below for my comments on Auto-Sens.



          And now, what I consider the main strengths.

          • Eight combo jack inputs for line inputs or XLR mics. Even better, four are on the front panel and two of these can serve as high-Z instrument inputs. A lot of interfaces have one or two front-panel ins, but having four is really convenient, as is having eight really good mic pres.

          • Auto-Sens. Why doesn’t every interface have this? This is a really useful and time-saving feature that’s easy to use and effective. Big props.

          • Compact size. This could definitely work for mobile, laptop-based recording applications. It’s not tiny, but I don’t see how it could be any smaller and still provide equivalent functionality.

          • Individual +48V phantom power for each input. I think this is very important, and otherwise surprisingly rare in the world of interfaces – most let you enable phantom power for all mics or none, or particular groups of mics (e.g., one group of four and another group of four, or for a couple inputs but not for the others).

          • Front-panel programmability. Of course the mixer application is much easier to use, but you can do everything you need to do from the front panel. Although pushing buttons and turning dials can be tedious, the Octa-Capture “operating system” isn’t hard to deal with.

          • Universal (100-240V) “line lump” power supply. It only takes up one space on a barrier strip, and works anywhere with the right plug.

          • Cascadable. I like that you can add another eight mics if needed, while staying within the same interface context.

          • MIDI in and out. I’m always surprised at how many audio interfaces don’t include MIDI. It’s still a part of my studio, that’s for sure...

          • Stable, trouble-free drivers. Installation was totally painless, and the performance is exceptional. I attribute part of that to Windows 7, but Roland shares in the credit.



          I feel that at this point, there’s a certain level of “interface fatigue” - there are so many of them out there, with such varied feature sets, that there really is something for everybody. Roland is entering a crowded market at what are still sketchy economic times, but it would be a shame if the Octa-Capture got “lost in the noise.” This is a really solid interface, with some unique features, at a righteous price.



          I’m sure many will look at the Octa-Capture and say “nice, but I already have an interface.” However, when you get your hands on one, the Octa-Capture solves a lot of problems faced during typical recording situations – from being able to handle multiple mics, to giving the singer some really nice reverb in the headphones, to adding light compression on the inputs, to automatic level-setting. Roland definitely did their homework with the Octa-Capture. For their first foray into pro-level interfaces, they’ve made the right moves.
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          • #20
            Hi!



            Thanks a lot for this great review I was very thrilled while reading it!



            I was asking myself, regarding all the specs and graphs, if the preamps, converters etc are significally different from those in the VS700R? Is the VS700R an Octa-Capture with a built-in Sonic Cell ( sorry, maybe more an octa-Capture with ADAT, less the 4 sub-mixes and reverb and a Fantom XR with ARX) or is there something more regarding sonic performance as an audio interface? Have you already done the graph thing with the VS700r that you own? Is there any differences at all?



            Thanks!

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            • #21






              Quote Originally Posted by Dyonight
              View Post

              Hi!



              Thanks a lot for this great review I was very thrilled while reading it!



              I was asking myself, regarding all the specs and graphs, if the preamps, converters etc are significally different from those in the VS700R? Is the VS700R an Octa-Capture with a built-in Sonic Cell ( sorry, maybe more an octa-Capture with ADAT, less the 4 sub-mixes and reverb and a Fantom XR with ARX) or is there something more regarding sonic performance as an audio interface? Have you already done the graph thing with the VS700r that you own? Is there any differences at all?



              Thanks!




              I have not measured the sonic performance of the VS-700R, but it does seem very similar (if not identical) in terms of sound quality. When I asked the same question to Roland that you're asking, the response was that the mic pre sections and signal path are essentially the same. There are some functional differences: The VS-700R has optical I/O, word clock, and the Fantom VS built-in, but doesn't have the Auto-Sense function, reverb for cue mixes, or the additional hi-Z input.



              BTW if you have a VS system, I highly recommend downloading the latest drivers (the same ones used for the Octa-Capture). They have superior mojo than the previous ones for sure. Also, assuming you're using it with Sonar, you'll be happy to know that the X1b update includes tight integration between the VS-700C console and X1, like ProChannel support.
              _____________________________________________
              There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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              • #22
                Okay, there's been one remaining loose end to this review - testing out the ability to cascade two Octa-Captures. While I don't have two of them here, Roland claims you can also expand the Cakewalk VS-100 or VS-700R interface (further evidence that the two are very similar) and as I have a VS-700R, I figured I'd give it a try.



                My first attempt was not successful because I looked in the Octa-Capture manual about how to do expansion, and figured I'd make the Octa-Capture the timing master and slave the VS-700R to it. However, that's not the way to go. I did something that disconnected USB from the VS-700R, and thought I'd have to re-install the driver.



                While looking for the driver in my last download of V-Studio updates, I stumbled upon a PDF about how to do expansion with an Octa-Capture. Long story short: The order in which you turn on the units and connect them is subtly different than connecting two Octa-Captures. When I followed the instructions for expanding the VS-700, everything worked perfectly - I didn't have to re-install anything or jump through any hoops, I just had to RTFM once I found it And let me say once more to the Roland manual-bashers - something changed, because the documentation was totally clear, and holds you hand all the way through.



                I booted up Sonar, and here's what I saw:







                The top three entries are the last I/O of the VS-700R, and the next four entries are the first expansion I/O for the Octa-Capture. Pretty slick. This turns the system in a 27 in/32 out interface (technically 29/34, but you have to give up the coax S/PDIF I/O to provide sync between the two devices).



                You can't run two units at 192kHz - I'm crushed, because I do ALL my recording at 192kHz (yes, I'm kidding - does anybody really use 192kHz for their day-to-day recording?). Seriously, for those who need lots of I/O, this is really pretty darn cool.



                Anyway, I think I've pretty much covered everything now. To re-iterate, I've been VERY impressed by the Octa-Capture's performance and general design. Roland made a lot of very good moves with this interface.
                _____________________________________________
                There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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                • #23
                  Ooops...two other details I forgot to mention.

                  • The package comes with two rack ears for rack mounting.

                  • There's also a "Cakewalk Production Plus Pack" DVD included. It includes some virtual instruments (Cakewalk Sound Center, Rapture LE, and Studio Instruments Drums, all of which are cross-platform) and Sonar LE 8.5.1 (Windows only).

                  _____________________________________________
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                  • #24
                    This review has been helpful. I'm planning on upgrading from an E-MU 1616m to either the Octo-Capture or the MOTU Ultralite mkIII. I'm leaning toward the OC more now because of this review.



                    I did not see a review of the Ultralite. Do you have an opinion/comparison about it?

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                    • #25






                      Quote Originally Posted by Guitarpima
                      View Post

                      This review has been helpful. I'm planning on upgrading from an E-MU 1616m to either the Octo-Capture or the MOTU Ultralite mkIII. I'm leaning toward the OC more now because of this review.



                      I did not see a review of the Ultralite. Do you have an opinion/comparison about it?




                      I reviewed the original Ultalite back in 2007, but the Mk 3 is quite different. The main differences I see compared to the Octa-Capture:



                      * Octa-Capture has 8 mic pres with individually enabled phantom power. Ultralite has 2 mic pres. Neither has ADAT port expansion for adding additional octal mic pres, so if you need more than two mics at a time, your decision just got made for you in favor of Octa-Capture.

                      * Ultralite works with both FireWire and USB. Octa-Capture is USB 2.0 only, so if you need to work with FireWire, again the decision was made for you in favor of Ultralite.

                      * Ultralite includes EQ as part of its DSP; both have dynamics and reverb, although the Ultralite has two compression options.

                      * Octa-Capture's Auto-Sens level setting is a very cool feature, which Ultralite doesn't have (no do other interfaces I know of).

                      * If you're a Sonar fan with a V-Studio system, you can expand it with the Octa-Capture for sessions that require lots of inputs.



                      Hope this helps!
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                      • #26
                        I should have mentioned I'm a Sonar user. I like the new X1 but they added more clicking around.



                        The VS things don't really interest me as I prefer to input the numeric values myself. I think I'm going with the OC.



                        I Appreciate the response. Thank you

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                        • #27






                          Quote Originally Posted by Guitarpima
                          View Post

                          I should have mentioned I'm a Sonar user. I like the new X1 but they added more clicking around.




                          I've logged quite a few hours with X1, and I think the key to faster workflow is screensets and keyboard shortcuts. "D" is my favorite - type it to show or collapse the dock.








                          I appreciate the response. Thank you



                          Hey, that's why we're here
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                          • #28
                            Thanks for the in depth review Craig. I have owned the VS-700 for almost a year and have been looking at the Octa Capture for expansion. One question I have is about the headphone mix with both used together, do you have access to all 16 channels in the mix, and are all 4 mixes available with 16 channels, or a single 16 channel mix, or do you have to choose your mix from the separate 8 inputs from each unit independent of the other?
                            Kevin

                            http://www.acousticalsolutions.com/
                            Banned 7/22/09-7/29/09
                            Basses
                            '73 Fender Telecaster Bass
                            '85 Modulus Quantum 6 Thruneck Custom Pre-Serial
                            '86 G&L L2000 Fretless
                            Opus 5 String "Frankenwood" Fretless
                            Ibanez BTB455QM
                            Fender Jaguar Bass
                            Peavey GV
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                            Carvin PB-150/or Sunn Concert Bass & JBL loaded 1-15"cab
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                            • #29






                              Quote Originally Posted by ModmanQ6
                              View Post

                              Thanks for the in depth review Craig. I have owned the VS-700 for almost a year and have been looking at the Octa Capture for expansion. One question I have is about the headphone mix with both used together, do you have access to all 16 channels in the mix, and are all 4 mixes available with 16 channels, or a single 16 channel mix, or do you have to choose your mix from the separate 8 inputs from each unit independent of the other?




                              If I understand your question correctly...the extra inputs show up just like regular inputs on the VS-700, it's as if the V-700R had another bunch of inputs...nothing more, nothing less. However, of course things like Auto-Sense work only on the Octa-Capture as that's built into the O-C hardware.
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                              There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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                              • #30






                                Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
                                View Post

                                If I understand your question correctly...the extra inputs show up just like regular inputs on the VS-700, it's as if the V-700R had another bunch of inputs...nothing more, nothing less. However, of course things like Auto-Sense work only on the Octa-Capture as that's built into the O-C hardware.




                                No, I'm wondering specifically about the direct headphone mixes. Each unit, the R700 and the Octa Capture provide either 1 or up to 4 mixes (OC) of their 8 inputs. I want to know if their combined 16 inputs can be mixed in a single direct headphone monitoring mix (or 4 via the Ocata Capture's new upgraded abilities). My fear is that they are going to remain independent of each other's direct mixes and the accumulated 16 channels will have to be run through the outputs of the softwar with latency from the long round trip.
                                Kevin

                                http://www.acousticalsolutions.com/
                                Banned 7/22/09-7/29/09
                                Basses
                                '73 Fender Telecaster Bass
                                '85 Modulus Quantum 6 Thruneck Custom Pre-Serial
                                '86 G&L L2000 Fretless
                                Opus 5 String "Frankenwood" Fretless
                                Ibanez BTB455QM
                                Fender Jaguar Bass
                                Peavey GV
                                Rigs
                                GBE-750 w/ Neox 212T
                                Carvin PB-150/or Sunn Concert Bass & JBL loaded 1-15"cab
                                Orange Crush 35B

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