By Mark Gonzales
The OCTA-CAPTURE. A revolutionary high speed USB audio interface with extremely low latency, multiple ins and outs, MIDI, low-cut filter, VS preamps, etc.,etc.,etc....Huh? Yes, it’s all true, and though the preceding is a pretty impressive collection of features, unless you’re really tuned in to the technological aspects of music, it’s also pretty confusing. Educators are focused on teaching people to play music, as they should be. Teaching evolves, though, and today much of that evolution is technology-driven. So, in this article I want to take a little time to explain this product to you in plain English; its features, its uses, and why you might want to have one (or two!).
First, imagine this scenario. It’s time for your Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite recital. Your students perform as usual, and out in the audience the parents jockey for position with their video cameras to capture a shaky version of Junior’s performance that neither sounds or looks too good. This year, though, to the delight of everyone, you’ll instead be ready to offer a DVD or CD of the entire program with sound that will rival a professional studio. It’s this little box, the OCTA-CAPTURE, that will help make that possible.
The OCTA-CAPTURE is a tool for recording music with a computer. When people want to record the sounds of voices or acoustic instruments like a classical guitar, a brass ensemble, etc., they need a way to get these sounds into their computer recording program. (No program? No problem. Roland bundles Cakewalk Production Plus with each OCTA-CAPTURE.) There is a microphone input on most computers but, for a variety of reasons, simply plugging a microphone into it to record music is really inadequate. The OCTA-CAPTURE acts as a bridge between microphones (up to eight at a time - “Octa”), and the USB port on your computer to “capture” extremely high quality sound. That “bridge” function is the essence of any USB audio interface, of which there are many on the market today. Now, I want to tell you what makes the OCTA-CAPTURE better, easier to use, and , yes, “revolutionary!”
Let’s first consider all of those multiple inputs (10 in all), which can accommodate either microphones or 3/4-inch jacks for things like electric guitars. Most audio interfaces have fewer inputs, sometimes only one. Is more better and, if so, why?
The answer really depends on what you want to record, and how you want to be able to record it. Let’s suppose you’re a one man show, recording one part at a time from a digital keyboard, then layering it together. To that, you add a certain number of vocal parts, also recorded one at a time, until you have your finished product. Some music is made pretty much that way these days and doesn’t require the multiple inputs on the OCTA-CAPTURE. As an educator, though, you might find that approach limiting. Anytime you want to record ensembles of acoustic instruments or voices performing simultaneously, you will need the multiple inputs of the OCTA-CAPTURE.
Here are some more real world scenarios.
Yes, you say, but I’m not a recording engineer. I know it takes hours to get all those recording levels right, and I wouldn’t know how to do it in the first place.
Roland understands. So, now it’s time for “revolutionary.” In a process that takes only a few minutes, the OCTA-CAPTURE will automatically set the optimum recording level for each input. Imagine that. Your recording engineer is hiding inside of this little box. So, the OCTA-CAPTURE doesn’t just make it possible to record ensembles: it makes it easier, too.
There are other important and exciting features of the OCTA-CAPTURE to discover, and a Roland education specialist can tell you more, while guiding you to find the right combination of products for your situation. But, here’s the bottom line. If simple, high quality recording of ensembles, vocal groups or even acoustic pianos is part of your education vision, Roland products like the OCTA-CAPTURE make that not only possible, but easier. With an OCTA-CAPTURE, a PC or Mac and some microphones, you can do what used to require a truckload of equipment and a professional engineer. And remember - all the software you will need (your state-of-the-art digital audio workstation)is included with your OCTA-CAPTURE. The possibilities are endless!