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Cakewalk V-Studio 100 Reviews

4.5 stars based on 3 customer reviews
  • from Washington D.C. November 7, 2011Music Background:
    Part-Time Recording Engineer, DJ, Musician

    Excellent Compact Audio Interface, Digital Mixer, DAW Control Surface, & Portable Recorder

    I've been interested in building a small portable studio based around two laptops running 32-bit Windows Vista and 64-bit Windows 7 both with Cakewalk Sonar Studio 8.5.3 running many different VST and VSTi's. All of my Windows PCs are optimized for audio, using tools such as Thesycon DPC Latency Checker and Resplendence LatencyMon.

    For Live DJ and small gigs, I wanted an audio interface with enough inputs to connect one hardware synth, one hardware guitar processor, one acoustic or bass guitar direct, and a mic. So I needed a multi-channel audio interface with good audio quality and rock-solid drivers with low latency since I also use several software-synths and effects plug-ins live.

    After owning and testing a MOTU 828 mk3 Hybrid, MOTU UltraLite mk3 Hybrid, and a Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1, I found that the MOTU units had excellent audio quality, but the Windows drivers were not acceptable regarding latency and stability. The NI interface didn't have enough I/O plus I couldn't get acceptable stability at low latencies either. I never could get my hands on a RME unit, they are supposed to have rock-solid drivers.

    So I bought this Cakewalk VS-100 and it really surprised me - the drivers, which Roland calls "VS-Streaming Technology" are indeed rock-solid with very low latencies when running multiple soft-synths and effects plug-ins simultaneously. With Cakewalk Sonar set at 24-bit 44.1kHz, the drivers are much more stable with lower latency compared with the MOTU and NI interfaces. It's D/A converter audio quality isn't quite as clear and pristine as the MOTU units, but it's noticeably better than the NI Audio Kontrol 1, plus the frequency response is on par with the MOTU units.

    As a multi-channel audio interface, it doesn't have as many I/O as the MOTU units plus there is no complex routing for the digital mixer when used without a computer like the MOTU units have - it seems you must have a computer attached and your DAW running to use Outputs 3/4 and 5/6 on the VS-100.

    In addition to the multi-channel audio interface, there is a small control surface for Sonar and other DAWs with a motorized fader, transport controls, track select buttons, track arm, mute, solo buttons, marker and loop buttons, plus ACT which allows you to assign the hardware knobs to control software parameters. All of these hardware controls work flawlessly in Sonar and really do increase productivity.

    The digital mixer section has just enough knobs for control over your audio input levels, plus there is a separate compressor and EQ each for Inputs 1 through 6, and a global reverb with send levels. When disconnected to your computer, it can function as a 2-track recorder using SD-HC cards - I am using a 16GB and it works like it should and the audio quality is good.

    The mic preamps are pretty good, on par with the MOTU units and the hardware compressors and EQs are pretty good as well. The reverb is usable, but doesn't have very many parameters to fine tune it's sound.

    All in all it's a great device and it's driver stability with low latencies really did impress me. I will keep the bigger rack-mounted MOTU 828 mk3 Hybrid for recording live bands who have no need for real-time VST effects processing, but for smaller gigs and Live DJ, the Cakewalk VS-100 is the best choice for me.

  • from April 20, 2012

    VS-100...wonderful widget

    Want to practice guitar, vocals or other instrument to backing tracks without having to be connected to a computer? That's why I got the V-Studio 100 and that's exactly what it does for me. It is a very well made device, typical Roland quality and works as advertised.

    It has a nice six input mixer, an SD card recorder and a DAW interface section that works when connected to a computer via USB. The box comes with SONAR VS, and NI's Guitar Rig 3.

    Although I can't find any "properties" data on the Guitar Rig 3 program I'm pretty sure it's a 32-bit version which would explain why it will not work as a VST in SONAR VS while running on my 64-bit laptop. That's pretty frustrating, however, the GR3 works just fine with the VS-100 while running as a stand-alone app. That's too bad.

    I also had to download a 64-bit Windows 7 driver for the VS-100. The one in the box wouldn't work with my machine...Vista or XP only. A quick Goog search found what I needed on the RolandUS website and the downloaded driver works perfectly.

    The VS-100 sound is very good, for a product in this price range and the interface is pretty easy to get used to and use. You can also play a .WAV backing track from an SD card and record what you play along with it. That's nice. The unit accepts SDHC cards as its storage medium and I think it can take up to 16 GB although the documentation doesn't say. I know it works with 8GB for sure.

    For me this was a good purchase, well worth the money to get some much needed mobility. It's nice not to have to light off the whole studio just to practice with a backing track and it's nice to be able to do that and include a few of friends just about anywhere you've got a wall plug.

  • from Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean June 28, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Guitarist.

    Excellent piece of hardware

    This is a great all in one, wonder box. A true "swiss army knife". I bought this as a replacement when my Tascam Fw-1082 was out of commission. I now have my Tascam back up as the stand alone work station and my V-studio as my studio on the go. It connects flawlessly with my DAW and it's powerful MIC ins pick up band instruments and vocals as clear as glass.The VS100 also records perfectly to my SD card without a laptop if you choose. I must admit, at first the small size was a deterrent especially coming from working with a Tascam board with 9 flying faders. But it shows that technology has arrived where equipment can be smaller and still do everything and in some cases, more than the "big boys".

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