In the past couple of years, remote meetings have become part of our everyday lives. Most people have the required equipment thanks to their laptops, tablets and mobiles. With the amount of time spent in virtual contact, it’s more important than ever to have a good set up so that you come through properly. There’s nothing more annoying than audio and video issues, such as low or unintelligible audio or dark, undefined video. Roland has decided to offer some simple solutions for those who need reliable, good sounding and looking tools for their important meetings. In this review, I’ll be looking at the UVC-02 web presentation dock and CGM-30 gooseneck condenser microphone. Read on to find out how both of these can make your presentations stand out.
First of all, check out my first impressions and an example of how everything works and sounds in my video review.
Roland UVC-02 review: an audio and video control centre
The UVC-02 is basically a station that bridges your computer or laptop to outboard A/V gear, via a single USB cable. Roland’s design allows you to use professional grade products from the audio and video worlds. The company included various ports so that you can connect many different tools to make your presentations as good as they can be. First of all, an HDMI in port is available to connect to any camera that offers HDMI output. These products are usually of much higher quality than your built-in webcam. If you already own a DSLR or mirrorless model, you’ll have access to its great sensor. You’ll also be able to use a wide variety of lenses that will make you look your best.
Additionally, the product has an XLR input to use with professional microphones. This will definitely be an upgrade to your built-in laptop mic. There are many options available, but classics such as the Shure SM7 or Electrovoice’s RE20 are excellent choices. You’ll be able to employ condenser models, thanks to available 48V (Phantom Power) on board the unit. Additional ports include a monitor out (to use with external speakers) and an auxiliary in (to play clips from an external audio device). There’s also a headset input, which takes a headphone/microphone combo jack.
Controls on the UVC-02
The top panel has some useful buttons that make your life easier and more efficient. You’ll be able to adjust your microphone gain on the fly. Two of them are available, for your XLR connector or the one plugged into the headset in. If you plan on streaming audio through the HDMI in, you’ll be able to control the level thanks to a dedicated knob. The other knobs adjust the monitoring and signal of the auxiliary source.
Quick buttons allow you to enable your microphone, HDMI or video signal. A setup toggle brings the software in and out on your desktop. You can also add an effect and control it with its matching switch and you can also assign two different effects thanks to customizable buttons. They all are backlit, so you’ll always be in control of what is going on. The unit itself is well built and feels sturdy, thanks to a metal enclosure.
Useful companion software
The included editor gives you additional control over many different audio options. First of all, you’ll be able to adjust the EQ on your microphone. You can use this to clear the low end or increase the treble for some high-end air, for a professional sounding result. There are a few other tools such as noise reduction, de-esser and compressor. These are available so that you can work under any condition. Lastly, if your meetings aren’t too serious, you can add fun voice or sound effects. You’ll be able to select these in the software and activate them directly on the hardware interface.
Roland CGM-30 review: sound your best
The CGM-30 is a well-built gooseneck condenser microphone. This 300 mm long microphone easily adjusts into any position and is the perfect partner to the UVC-02 station. Compared to your built-in mic, it has a narrow polar pattern, which means it only picks up the sound in front of it. This makes for a neater, more intelligible result, making your speech easy to understand. There is also an included pop filter/wind screen, to clear things up even more.
Condenser microphones are great for speech, because they usually produce a bright and airy tone. They reproduce the source very accurately. Paired with Roland’s included software, you’ll be able to quickly adjust your voice for the best results possible.
Refer to my video review for an example of how the pairing of the UVC-02 and CGM-30 sounds.
Using both devices together
The combination of the UVC-02 and CGM-30 gives you excellent results. No matter how much marketing goes into built-in laptop cameras and microphones, they never come close to the power of dedicated pieces of equipment such as DSLR/mirrorless cameras and professional microphones. For example, the omnidirectional mics built into our devices pickup everything around our computer. They catch every acoustic reflexion of our speaking voice. This muddies up our speech, making it harder to understand.
The option of using external cameras is an excellent addition. This will really increase the quality of your presentation or meeting. With a minimal understanding of photography, you’ll be able to dial in a really good image, painting you in the best light possible. This type of attention to detail doesn’t go unnoticed in many fields, especially highly competitive corporate circles.
The multiple buttons are great for increasing your efficiency and adding control to your presentations. Everything is easy to use and intuitive. Also, the extra adjustments available thanks to the software are excellent to achieve the best audio results.
If you constantly find yourself in online meetings, the pairing of the UVC-02 and CGM-30 is really a no-brainer. Roland made everything easy to use and set up. They’ve also added great in-depth adjustments with the included software. You’ll probably get your colleagues jealous with your new setup.