Roland is synonymous with quality and innovation in electronic music, so it’s no surprise that this Cakewalk audio interface, a Roland brand, offers a hot combination of features.
You’ll pay a bit more for the Roland Cakewalk UA-1G than the other entries in this class, almost three times the price of Griffin’s iMic. But you’ll get more inputs, more outputs and more features.
In fact, it’s a bit of stretch to compare this to the iMic or Behringer’s UCA202 directly. The Roland Cakewalk UA-1G is a much chunkier device, twice the size of the Behringer. It has to be, to fit in some significant extra features and functionality.
The Roland Cakewalk UA-1G has left and right phono inputs and outputs, like the Behringer. It also has 3.5mm stereo inputs and outputs, like the iMic. In addition, there’s a 6.3mm standard guitar input, plus the stereo in and out double as digital in and out. That’s impressive device support for an interface that’s only 160mm long and about 60mm wide.
The build quality of the Roland Cakewalk UA-1G is noticeably better too. The interface is a solid obelisk of black plastic, with a double-shielded integral USB cable that’s 1.2m long.
The exterior of the Roland Cakewalk UA-1G's case has built-in lights to show which jacks are active when sound levels coming in are peaking. There’s also an external volume control. With a peak sample rate of 96KHz, it’s impressive that all these features are still powered from your computer’s USB port.
How about performance? The Roland Cakewalk UA-1G wasn’t quite as plug and play as the Behringer and Griffin entries. It runs in two modes, using bespoke Roland drivers or Mac OS Core Audio. You have to make sure the device is set to the correct mode before use with the Advanced Driver switch.
There are also switches on the back of the unit which alter sample rates for recording and playback, which are a little small. But the audio results were beyond reproach, especially with the Roland drivers.
The Roland Cakewalk UA-1G is a compact device, with a sturdy integral USB cable. It enjoys up to 96KHz sample rate, and has lots of input and output options. We weren't keen on the fussy hardware configuration, but this is a market-leading product.