Quick review: Roland DUO-CAPTURE mk2 for iPad

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Yes, it arrived! The new DUO-CAPTURE mk2 from Roland. Now my setup is even smaller and more portable—I’ve finally gotten to not requiring a power supply. The big iPad 4 now runs my synthesizer/sequencer and the iPad Mini runs the realtime effects.

I’ve been searching for months now for an audio interface ever since I got the LiveFX app from elephantcandy. I had been trying out the IK Multimedia iRig to capture inbound audio into the iPad Mini running LiveFX, but that’s really set up for guitars. I needed something with a clean line input, and I was really happy to hear about the mk2 after reading all the NAMM coverage.

At the beginning of March the mk2 started arriving at dealers and I immediately placed my order. Of course, no reviews existed at the time so I bought it pretty much on faith. It turns out to be quite the awesome little box.

The mk2 conencts just fine to the iPads when using a USB-to-Lightning camera connector. On the bottom of the unit there are two switches: a computer/tablet selector and a sample rate selector (44.1KHz, 48KHz). Setting the unit in tablet mode, it was ready to go after plugging it in. The unit itself feels cheap and it weighs almost nothing, but it seems like it could take a bit of abuse. The two volume sliders on the top control input and output volume, and that turns out to be a necessity when using a headset. The front panel has line in/out and it seems to have really low latency and a fairly clean DAC.

I’ve now used it for probably about 3 hours total and so far it has been very stable. I think for musicians on the go this is a pretty good lightweight piece of hardware, and especially for iPad users it feels like it is light on the battery. I’ll be trying it out in a live set tomorrow, so we’ll see how it holds up for real!

New toy, soon

New toy coming soon … but will it blend work? I’ve been retooling my setup a little to see if I can get away with a 100% iPad-only solution. There are a lot of interesting new apps coming out that solve the problems of capturing and transforming incoming audio. I’m excited to see what can be done with a new audio interface that’s built for iOS.