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Roland has announced the RPC-1 R-BUS Interface Card. Currently available for PC, this new PCI card is designed to work with Roland’s VM-3100Pro V-Mixing Station and any ASIO-compliant recording software to give users a complete computer-based digital recording and mixing solution.

Unlike other audio cards, the RPC-1 uses Roland’s R-BUS format for exchanging eight channels of up to two-way 24-bit/96kHz digital audio along with MIDI control information using a single 25-pin D-Sub cable. When combined with the VM-3100Pro, the RPC-1 gives users the advantages of computer-based recording with the VM-3100Pro’s physical faders and knobs for tactile mixing, plus plenty of 24-bit I/O and signal routing options, transport controls and Locator buttons, and onboard dual stereo effects processors with dynamics processing—making it an extremely powerful system.

The RPC-1 card fits into an open PCI slot on a PC and connects to the VM-3100Pro using a single R-BUS cable. Functioning as the front-end to the computer, the VM-3100Pro offers eight analog mic/line inputs quality (including two XLR inputs with phantom power) with 24-bit A/D conversion for pristine sound. By using the VM-3100Pro’s powerful internal effects and EQ, users can reduce strain on the computer’s CPU, allowing more audio tracks to be recorded.

Once recorded to disk, the RPC-1 can send eight discreet channels back to the VM-3100Pro for mixdown, giving users the ability to control up to 28 tracks using real (not "virtual") faders, knobs and buttons. And because R-BUS sends MIDI control information, no MIDI connections are necessary to operate the sequencer’s transport functions from the VM-3100Pro, or to use the mixer’s MIDI Fader mode for mixing sequencer or audio tracks on the computer.

Best of all, the RPC-1 R-BUS Interface Card and VM-3100Pro V-Mixing Station can be purchased for about the same price as more limited computer-based audio recording systems, which typically include only a PCI card and breakout box for handling audio I/O. And because the RPC-1 uses Roland’s R-BUS audio format, it can interface with any R-BUS-equipped device such as Roland’s flagship XV-5080 128-Voice Synthesizer/Sample Playback Module or be converted to other popular audio formats, making it an extremely flexible card.

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