The What: Roland has introduced its VR-4HD High-Definition AV Mixer, a compact and portable AV mixer that integrates a digital audio mixer, video switcher, multi-viewer touchscreen and USB video/audio streaming interface into a standalone device.
The What Else: The VR-4HD has three dedicated HDMI input connectors compatible with a variety of equipment and offering support for 1080p/1080i/720p video resolutions. A fourth input includes a scaler to support both video and computer resolutions and also supports analog RGB and component input, as well as HDMI, so older devices can be used as sources without the need for external conversion equipment. HDCP is supported for input of copy-protected content from devices such as Blu-ray disc players.
“The VR-4HD is a portable live HD production solution ideal for schools, churches, council meetings, corporate events, sports, training, or any other live event,” said Christian Delfino, vice president of product management for the Roland Professional AV Division. “Whether being used to produce an online broadcast, support a presentation or even as the hub for a multi-input teleconference system using standard online chat software, the VR-4HD’s all-in-one hardware design and audio digital signal processing capabilities, including Auto-Mixing function, make it easy for a single operator to achieve professional results.”
The VR-4HD’s 18-channel audio mixer features Roland’s digital signal processing offering three-band parametric EQ, reverb, a compressor/gate on the mic inputs and level/multiband EQ on the master mix. The VR-4HD supports advanced features including auto-mixing, echo cancel, audio follow, and up to 500ms of delay for perfect lip-sync between audio and video. The VR-4HD’s audio mixer can mix the four XLR microphone inputs, unbalanced stereo inputs on RCA and 1/8 mini connectors, along with the audio embedded in the four HDMI inputs. The final mix can be output via XLR or RCA and also embedded into the HDMI output, while a headphone output facilitates audio monitoring.
A unique loop-back audio capability via the USB 3.0 port can bring in audio from a connected PC using conferencing software such as Skype, and return audio to the PC without any feedback thanks to the included Echo Cancellation feature. This makes the VR-4HD an ideal web conferencing tool that allows for multiple video and audio sources to be used with online web conference software.
The included Auto-Mixing function makes for simple and easy mixing of multiple presenters or panelists at conferences and events by automatically managing the levels of individual microphones, and can even give priority for volume to an event moderator who will always be heard above the other participants. The Auto-Mixing function can take care of managing audio levels across audio sources even when an operator is not present.
The VR-4HD includes DSK (Downstream Keying), Picture-in-Picture (PinP), Split and Quad composting effects well suited for creating news-style broadcasts and corporate presentation content. The DSK supports both Luminance Keying (Black / White) and Chroma Keying (Blue / Green). Compositing two videos in one screen using Picture-in-Picture or the split function is ideal for seminars and presentations.
Recording or webcasting from the VR-4HD is easily achieved by connecting to a PC or Mac using the built-in USB 3.0 connection. Up to full 1080/30p uncompressed resolution video can be outputted from the VR-4HD. The VR-4HD embeds the audio mix with the video program and delivers it at the selected resolution. Included VR Video Capture application for Mac and PC provides an easy and effective way to capture uncompressed video with high-resolution audio. The VR Video Capture application can also capture compressed video for easy and immediate delivery of content to online video sites or internal corporate servers.
Additionally, main audio is included on both HDMI program and preview outputs, as well as via XLR and RCA connectors, and AUX audio output from RCA connectors is also provided. The HDMI preview output can be set to a multi-view mode, where all inputs are displayed with colored borders indicating the program selections. The balanced XLR main audio output is suitable for connection to professional PA equipment, and the AUX audio output can be used for sending monitor signals to presenters on stage.
The VR-4HD can also be controlled by the companion PC/Mac RCS application when connected by USB and also has RS-232 for integration in third-party control systems. A Tally/GPIO connector is also provided for connection to a camera tally light system or to additional equipment.
The Bottom Line: The VR-4HD features a clean, intuitive control layout with broadcast switcher cross-point switches for key and transition operations and an easy-to-use touchscreen interface. User-assignable buttons allow customization for quick access to functions needed for a particular application. The audio mixer features short-throw faders and knobs for dedicated hardware control of each individual audio source. The VR-4HD’s rugged construction ensures long-term reliability even under the most demanding conditions of portable and professional use.
The Roland VR-4HD High-Definition AV Mixer will be available in December 2016.