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  • Anderton
    started a topic Roland Octa-Capture Interface - Now with Conclusions

    Roland Octa-Capture Interface - Now with Conclusions

    To say that Roland has been putting a full-court press on promoting this interface would be an understatement – they think they really have something on their hands, and this Pro Review is just one example of the confidence they have in the product. After all, any company that would expose their baby to the kind of scrutiny has to be pretty sure there aren’t any hidden issues.



    But really, I’m not surprised. I’ve used Edirol interfaces in the past, which come from the same lineage, and was always curious why their drivers seemed a little faster and a little more solid than other interfaces of that time. I’m also using the V-Studio 700 currently with Cakewalk Sonar X1 (as well as Sony Vegas and several other programs), and while it has a few rough edges in terms of integrating the control surface with all the changes in X1, the interface section has been solid. (FYI – I’ve heard that the next X1 update will include optimizations for X1, so no worries there.) I was particularly impressed with the V-Studio mic pres, and from what I understand, the ones in the Octa-Capture are based on the same basic technology.



    As is traditional with Pro Reviews, I like to start with a photo tour and with links to the product landing page as that will give you some background on what Octa-Capture is all about. Incidentally, I like the way the landing page isn't afraid to get all techy - it doesn't insult your intelligence with "The greatest achievement in the history of Western civilization!!!"-type lines, preferring instead to explain the technology behind the product. Nice.







    The above image shows an overall view of Octa-Capture. This is a compact unit, measuring approximately 11.25” x 6” x 2”. It not only fits in a 1U rack space, but the package includes rack ears if you prefer not to go the tabletop route. Power comes from an external transformer, packaged as a “line lump” (not a wall wart) so the power cable takes up only one space on a barrier strip.



    Octa-Capture cannot be bus-powered (I tried), which isn’t surprising given that the eight mic pres are all Class A types. If you’re not familiar with Class A technology, it is far less efficient than Class B or Class AB amplifier structures, which is why Class A is used for preamps, headphone amps, and other low-power applications while Class B and Class AB (as well as other classes) are used for power amps. However, the advantage of Class A is the total elimination of crossover distortion as there is no crossover, and exceptional linearity as the signal always remains in the linear portion of the amplifier.



    If that’s too much information, the bottom line is that Class A provides the most accurate amplification of lower-level signals, with the tradeoff being more power consumption.



    Now let's take a look at the front panel.







    Note that four of the inputs are on the front, as shown in the following closeup of the panel's left side.







    Another four inputs are on the back. This "split input" approach helps keep the size down, but it also means that more “permanent” patching can be on the rear, while the front is where you plug in devices as needed. The two left-most inputs can also serve as hi-Z instrument inputs.



    Now let's check out the front panel’s right side, with the panel navigation controls.







    Wait – why would you need that, given that there’s an included mixer applet? Simple: You can also use Octa-Capture stand-alone, which in conjunction with the small size, makes it a natural for live recording (or even for something like a keyboard mixer). We’ll be explaing what these are all about later on, but as you can see, there’s direct monitoring and a headphone jack.

  • Suprawill1
    replied
    Hi Craig,
    Another thanks for sharing your time.
    I see you went with a TASCAM US-20x20 for better latency. Are you also experiencing notable audio performance over the Octa?
    I wanted to stick to Roland because I'm not ready to go to Windows10. (currently on 7 Pro) I am however, thinking of going with the Studio Capture. From what I understand, it has pretty much the same technology as the Octa but with 16 combi in, 12 pre's, 8 out plus S/pdif, 2 headphone outs and LED meters for all 16 channels in and out. I had been throwing the Studio Capture and Clarett 8Pre USB back and forth but the latter isn't available until April and I'm hoping to make a move before then.
    I don't think I'm as concerned about latency as I am sound quality and the features that the S Capture offers. I currently have the Tascam FW-1082 and at 44.1 - 64 samples, I'm getting 2.7ms and 1.5ms with 32 sample rate. So with that said, I'm looking at the Studio Capture unless you can convince me otherwise. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Will

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  • mikeyboot
    commented on 's reply
    Thank you. I think you pretty much hit the nail; I'm not even past the USB 1 connection, and I thought I was doing quite fine.. It's time to give myself a real treat as making and listening to music is gonna be with me for the rest of my life. After even more research I bought the RME UCX with way less xlr ins and for way more money, but quality is outstanding(!).

  • Anderton
    replied
    Originally posted by mikeyboot View Post
    Does it (still) serve you well?
    Actually, yes. When I do video work with Windows, I need two interfaces - one ASIO, and one WDM. The TASCAM works fine for the ASIO end of things, and the Octa-Capture does the WDM duties. So I still use it regularly in my studio, and it still works just fine, at least with Windows. (I have a Mac desktop that runs Snow Leopard but am distressed that a) Apple provides no upgrade path to 64 bits other than "buy another computer," even though it's technically possible and b) I keep running into newer programs that aren't compatible.)

    Even if some of the cards mentioned have better/hotter/newer preamps and other digital in/outs, getting the OctaCapture would still be a great upgrade from my Edirol UA-5, don't you think?
    I'm not very familiar with the UA-5, but I took a quick look online and it doesn't seem to be USB 2.0. That alone would make the OctaCapture a whole lot better. And I must say, the auto-level setting function is really very useful. It's not just for lazy people

    Leave a comment:


  • mikeyboot
    replied
    Hi Craig and thank you for this thorough OctaCapture review! It has helped a lot to narrow down the search for my next sound card. I've been recording music the last 20 years on 4-track, ADAT, digital porta and lately on computer, with most satisfying results.

    Perhaps it's time for me to realize that my Edirol UA-5 is outdated (partly because of latency issues I think, though I've grown used to it) but I've kept it because it's so darn stable and easy to plug-and-play without any drivers (I'm using MBP -13, Snow Leopard, Ableton Live 8).

    So, I've started to look around. SPL Crimson, Apogee Duet, RME Babyface Pro, Apollo Twin seems to be there at the top. With a tad less money you can get the OctaCapture with the exclusive ability to record 8 XLR-tracks simultaneously. Equally stable as the units above, though slightly older. According to the local music store Roland has not yet revealed any plans to replace the OctaCapture (released in 2011)..

    I guess my question is if the OctaCapture to this day is an up-to-date unit?

    Does it (still) serve you well?

    Even if some of the cards mentioned have better/hotter/newer preamps and other digital in/outs, getting the OctaCapture would still be a great upgrade from my Edirol UA-5, don't you think?


    Best regards, Mikael
    Last edited by mikeyboot; 07-05-2016, 06:04 PM.

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  • ex350
    commented on 's reply
    Hi Craig
    Thanks a lot & appreciate your kind reply.
    Thought I was a little late on this thread as it was written quite long time ago.
    Sorry .. I was a little vague describing my requirements.
    I wanted to record a full band using the audio interface .. & record using Sonar X2
    My band consists of 3 guitarists, 1 bassist, 1 electronic drumkits & 5 vocals
    So I wanted to have at least 10 analog inputs
    I would want to plug the edrum in a laptop with links to Addictive drums
    I'm currently using Windows 8.1 with USB3 & USB2

    Thanks for letting me know you are using Tascam US20x20.... I was reading the reviews for that too & could be one of the option as well.

    As you suggest ... I will start a thread in the forum you suggested.

    Thanks again for your kind reply.
    Cliff

  • Anderton
    replied
    Hi Cliff,

    Well, everything that was true about the Octa-Capture in 2011 is true today...there are drivers for recent operating systems, so that's not an issue. But a lot has happened since then!

    You say "Planning to get a 10 to 16 input interface (Roland Studio Capture?)" There are a LOT of options but you need to be more specific...do you need mic inputs, a mix of analog and digital inputs, or...? Are you using Mac or Windows? What kind of ports do you have available (USB 2, USB 3, FireWire, Thunderbolt, etc.)?

    I recommend you start a thread in my Sound, Studio, and Stage forum that specifies what you need as closely as possible, so others can chime in with their recommendations. I'm currently using a TASCAM US-20x20 because it handles USB 3, and has less latency than USB 2 interfaces.

    All best,.

    Craig

    Leave a comment:


  • ex350
    replied
    Hi Craig ... superb review.
    Review thread was in 2011 ... Is it still relevant today? 2016
    Planning to get a 10 to 16 input interface (Roland Studio Capture?)
    Or any suggestion for similar products.
    Thanks in advance
    Cliff

    Leave a comment:


  • dboomer
    replied
    I've been using Octa-Capture with my MacBook Pro which has USB 3 ports with no problems at all.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chumer
    replied
    Obliged as always Craig!

    Leave a comment:


  • Anderton
    replied
    I haven't tested the Octa-Capture with 3.0, however, the 2.0 devices I've tried with 3.0 have worked. I do know there are some reports of 2.0 devices that don't work correctly with 3.0, but these are in a minority.

    One issue I have encountered with 3.0 is sometimes I have to wait until the computer boots up fully, then apply power to the device connected to USB 3.0. Why? Who knows...they're computers.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chumer
    replied
    Hello everyone,

    I am a bit late to the party but I have one important question I need clarified please and much thanks. I just bought an HP Envy Touchsmart Model: M7-J178CA Product: E8A17UA#ABL notebook (to use with Sonar Producer X3) but it does not have any dedicated USB 2.0 ports. It does have four USB 3.0 ports which are of course backwards compatible. Will I be able to use the USB 3.0 ports with the Roland Octa-Capture and/or in the worst case scenario will I be able to use a USB 2.0 hub to make the translation, and if so what hub would give the best results?

    Leave a comment:


  • Marcosstein
    commented on 's reply

    zzzextreme, i like to now if you are succesfull using octa-capture and mmp-2 through spdif, cause i'm having trouble. I can only sync using mmp-2 as master but i get errors when running a daw making my octa-capture stop working.

    I'm using 75 Ohm spdif cables.

     

    Sorry fo my english.

     

     


  • Chumer
    commented on 's reply

    Hello Craig and all others,

    I'm torn between the Roland Octa-Capture and the newer Focusrite 18i20.

    It would be nice to have the Roland's reverb and compression for monitoring, four monitor sends, digitally controlled preamps and auto-leveling, however it would be also be nice to have two separate headphone outputs, (the presumably nicer) Focusite preamps plus newer gear (as is the case with the 18i20) usually means better gear in the fast moving world of digital audio plus the Focusite is $100 less than the Roland .

    I would be using for my hobby studio and I like the idea of flexible routing and numerous I/O's, but I have no plans for recording live bands, just myself (singer / guitarist/ keyboard player) and lots of toys which I would rather leave plugged in at all times. 

     


  • eric.birchall
    replied

    Hi Craig , great article very informative , I have an Octacapture , Win 8 64 bit (not touch screen) with Sonar x2a pro. To my unskilled ear the results have been excellent , I bought this to record my band as a practice aid for new (original) songs , the band were so impressed they want to record more serious demo stuff . To date we always use a DTExplorer drum kit but now I'm about to embark on recording a full acoustic set . Do you think I should use the gate/compression or switch it off ? I thought I maybe able to reduce drum to drum spill in this way. Maybe I could report back with the results at some point?

    Ric

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