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Roland’s new hardware is a ‘plug and play’ mini studio for smartphone vloggers

Image: Roland

Music hardware company Roland unveiled its first consumer hardware for vloggers ahead of the 2020 Consumer Electronics show. Called Go:Livecast, the little box connects with smartphones to operate like a mini broadcast studio, letting online creators easily manage the basics of live video production.

The Go:Livecast has a minimal interface and is meant to be approachable for everyone, no matter their skill set. Roland says it has a “plug and play” setup — just connect a smartphone and headphones for sound monitoring and you’re ready to stream. There’s scant inputs and outputs. One side lets you plug in headphones to monitor sound, the other side has a XLR 1/4 combo input with a phantom power switch if you want to use other sound sources like a microphone or electronic instrument. On the back is a microUSB out for charging and a microUSB out to mobile.

Image: Roland

The hardware portion is for things like quickly adjusting volumes, muting audio, and inserting pre-recorded clips into livestreams. The companion app then lets users access loads of video features. Streamers can log in to their preferred platform and start streaming through the app, monitor comments in real time, and even apply a filter for a “polished, softened look.” The app also automatically detects portrait and landscape mode based on the smartphone’s position, and can handle multiple angles and split-screen views by connecting another smartphone or tablet camera with Wi-Fi.

Roland is clearly catering to online content creators who don’t (or can’t) go all-in on their production but want something that’s a little more up to snuff. This is a big pendulum swing for the company as it’s stayed in the pro field with streaming gear in the past. Even last year’s VR-1HD mixing deck — also marketed as a “plug and play” broadcast studio — is still meant for professionals using multiple cameras, and comes with a hefty price tag of $1,495.

Livestreaming has become a massive market, with successful online personalities inking book deals and raking in millions of concurrent views for platforms like YouTube Live, Twitch, and Mixer. So, a simple, affordable device that easily allows people to up their production game a bit seems like a no brainer.

The Roland Go:Livecast will be available later this month for $249.99 at Amazon and authorized Roland retailers.