Product Focus: RME USB & Firewire Interfaces

Product Focus: RME USB & Firewire Interfaces

Ross looks at some of RME's USB & Firewire Interfaces and discusses their features and uses

One of our favorite product lines here at JSS are the audio interfaces by RME.  According to their website, RME is a young German team of developers with a robust vision of creating innovative, user friendly, and high-quality digital audio solutions for less money. Founded in 1996, RME quickly earned their stripes as a premiere industry provider, expanding rapidly into mainstream international markets.

Each developer on the RME team is either a musician or sound engineer - besides being a specialist in hardware and software development. Additionally, to give their designs a persistent competitive edge in today's market, RME developers regularly network with other industry specialists to exchange knowledge and information - truly designing a line of products with superior quality, and affordable, mass-market appeal.

While RME makes a variety of interfaces, today we want to focus on a few of their Firewire & USB interfaces.  All boast ultra-low latency and superb driver stability and have sample rates up to 192 kHz.  Signal routing is accomplished with the included TotalMix FX software, which is extremely flexible.  Their clocking is excellent, and their converters are stunning across the whole product line.  First, let’s look at the Fireface 802.

The Fireface 802 boasts an impressive I/O count of 30 channels in each direction.  There are 12 analog inputs:  four microphone/instrument preamps on Neutrik combo jacks, and eight TRS inputs.  There are also 12 analog outputs (eight TRS and two headphone outputs).  Digital I/O is provided via AES (1x) and ADAT optical (2x, or 1x ADAT and 1x S/PDIF optical).  Word clock and MIDI I/O are also provided.  The unit can be operated via FireWire or USB 2.0.

The Fireface UFX shares many features with the Fireface 802, with a few exceptions.  The UFX II is USB 2.0 only, so no FireWire connection is provided.  However, it does feature an additional set of MIDI ports, has two of the analog outputs on XLR jacks, and offers RME’s DURec Direct USB recording option via a USB port on the front of the interface, allowing the user to record directly from the interface onto a thumb drive.

The Fireface UFX+ is RME’s flagship interface.  In addition to all of the features of the Fireface UFX, it also boasts USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectivity and MADI I/O, meaning it can handle any variety of inputs and outputs, making it an excellent centerpiece to any studio or mobile recording rig.

While the Fireface interfaces all incorporate rackmount designs, RME also makes a line of portable interfaces with the same stellar drivers and audio quality.  The Babyface Pro offers 12 inputs and outputs.  It has four analog inputs (two XLR microphone inputs and two unbalanced TS line/instrument inputs) and four analog outputs (two XLR and two headphone outputs).  Of the two headphone outputs, one is 1/4” TRS while the other is 3.5 mm TRS.  ADAT optical is also provided, which greatly expands the I/O capability of the interface, a huge advantage over other portable interfaces of similar size.  Finally, MIDI I/O is incorporated via the included breakout cable, and the interface ships with a padded carrying case that fits easily into a backpack.

Need even more I/O in a small package?  Check out the MADIface Pro.  It has all of the features of the Babyface Pro, but replaces the ADAT optical ports with MADI ports for an additional 64 inputs and outputs!

Not only do we sell these interfaces, but many on our JSS team are also users.  We use Babyface Pro in our tuning kits and for testing in the shop. I also have a Fireface UFX in his home studio and a Babyface as part of my mobile keys rig.  We can’t say enough good things about RME. Contact Jason, Pete, Larry, or Ross today to order yours!

Ross Ward
Account Manager
615-534-1190 Ext. 5