Do you want a small sound card with a high quality sound, clever features, a good construction, and an affordable price? If you do, follow me to give Roland’s Quad Capture a try. If you need even more, follow me too because Roland has something in store for you.
When it comes to audio interfaces, if you ask for renown manufacturers you’ll hear many brand names but probably not Roland.
The brand’s visibility is rather low in this market segment where it used to go under the name Edirol until a couple of years ago. Edirol audio interfaces were no “reference products” but offered a rather good value for money for beginners. Its audio quality didn’t quite meet professional standards. However, Roland has the knowhow for professional audio products: just consider the V-System digital live mixers sold under the brand name RSS (Roland System Solution).
So why not put RSS’ technology into a Roland sound card? That’s what Roland did with the Quad Capture… And it worked!
The Quad Capture is a 4×4-channel audio interface with 2 analog plus 2 digital inputs and outputs.
Both analog inputs are on XLR/TRS combo connectors, while the line outputs are on balanced 1/4″ jacks. All digital ins and outs are on coaxial connectors. You also get a 1/4″ headphones out.
If we do the math, we have 4 input channels but how many output channels? 2 analog line-level output channels + 2 analog headphones channels + 2 digital output channels = 6 output channels, right?
Unfortunately not! Like the Duo and Tri interfaces, the headphones out doesn’t use dedicated channels, but rather the main output signal is just split inside the hardware to feed both outs. The monitoring quality doesn’t seem to be affected by this. However, in use it can become a bit annoying.
Add a pair of MIDI ins/outs and you get a full overview of the available connections. Surprisingly it lacks ADAT connectors, but considering the price…
All this is packed in a 19″ half rack typical for 4×4 sound cards. The housing is made out of black metal except for the plastic front plate — and it looks nice. The rounded edges and the chrome binding surrounding the front panel give the unit a sleek but classy look. The big chrome BTR screws give it a professional touch. Considering its light weight (1.26 lbs, it seems that the metal sheet used for the housing is quite thin. But it is made out of aluminum instead of iron, which increases rigidity while decreasing weight. Thus, you can easily fit this sound card together with your laptop inside a (large) carry bag.
Moreover, the quality of the controls and buttons is pretty good. The same applies to the LED indicators on the front plate.
The rear switches are the only negative aspect. These small plastic switches feel quite cheap — the low price doesn’t come without compromises.
However, the quality of the switches is not the main problem, it is the functions they are assigned to.
The Quad looks nice and provides a quality feel that is very different from the abundant plastic products in this price range that try very hard to look pro. Pro musicians or sound engineers won’t be ashamed to take it out of their bags for a session.
Now let’s take a closer look….
If this audio interface had different audio channels for the main and headphones output, I would award it with the “Top Value” Award. In spite of the few cons detected, this audio interface is well built, offers MIDI and digital connections, low-latency operation and premium audio quality for only $270 —easily worth a “Value for Money” Award.
If your are seduced by the premium audio quality but need more connections, give the Octa Capture a chance — my first choice if I had to change my RME Multiface.
- Build and look
- Sound quality
- Amazing Auto-Sens function
- Ground lift
- No additional power supply
- Speakers and headphones share he same analog channels
- Average-quality switches on the rear panel
- No phantom power indicator
- No ADAT connectors
To read the full detailed review see: Roland Quad Capture Review