Review: Numerous Ports Make Rubix44 Your Complete Studio Mixer

I'm working on a video and podcasting studio, so when the Rubix44 ($299.99) from Roland showed up, it was the perfect accessory to try to integrate. The Rubix44 is reminiscent of a Rubic's Cube, because it looks straightforward, but it's actually quite sophisticated, and you'll want to read the instructions to master it. For example, while I love that it has special combo jacks that support both XLR and 1/4-inch microphone connections, the instructions state to use XLR to ensure higher volume. That stymied me for a while, but then I read the manual! Note that Roland only includes a setup guide in the box. The manual has to be downloaded, so it's not entirely my fault!

Speaking of what's included, Roland includes a license code for Ableton Live Lite. This is an entry-level version of the digital audio workstation software, but you can get a $100 discount on the full version too. This was a nice touch. Of course you can use GarageBand or other tools as well. 

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Rubix44

While the Rubix44 has a USB-based interface, it does support the iPad, with the Apple Lightning to USB Camera adapter sold separately. Mac users do not have to install anything, unlike Windows users, but you will need to adjust the sound settings in the system preferences. Again, this is documented in the manual. Once configured properly, you can route the output back to the Rubix44 and listen to the processed sound using the 1/4-inch headphone jack. Every input (and output) has a volume dial and the device can accommodate guitars and other high impedence (Hi-Z) sources. The unit is well built with metal construction. They have easy-to-read indicators, that could be seen on stage by a performer (although if they are color-blind, the red/green lights might be an issue.)

Rubix44

Pros

  • 4-in/4-out USB audio interface
  • MIDI In/Out ports
  • Hi-Z sources supported
  • Combo jacks support XLR and 1/4-inch phone connections
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite
  • Well-built, metal construction
  • Easy-to-read indicators

Cons

  • Need to download the manual... and read it to get the most out of the Rubix44!

Final Verdict

It's hard to imagine the Roland Rubix44 not supporting the various audio sources you will be working with, whether you work in the spoken voice or music industry.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.