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A 60-channel, 24-bit/`92kHz high-end USB & audio interface with TotalMix high-end digital mixer and signal router.
The Fireface UFX is the new flagship of RME's audio interfaces and offers 60 channels of audio with digitally controlled high-end preamps, reference class converters, and full 192kHz operation. Fireface UFX is a highly integrated pro audio solution, a full-blown studio packed in a 19" enclosure. It's an interface designed for users who don't want to make compromises in sound, stability and ultra-low latency operation, and who long for a professional feature set.
The Fireface UFX offers ultra-low latency operation with USB and FireWire, combined with legendary RME driver stability and maintenance. Other features include active jitter suppression, professional reference level support, advanced standalone functionality, RME's unique DIGICheck metering and analysis toolbox, and, of course, nearly identical operation and features on Windows PC and Mac. On top of it all of that you get TotalMix FX, the new digital high-end mixer and signal router, driven by two powerful DSP, with integrated EQ, Dynamics, and Reverb/Echo effects up to 192 kHz, plus built-in monitoring control. The full-blown feature set is backed up by extraordinary usability. At its heart is a bright multifunctional color display with full front-panel metering for all 60 channels plus effect bus, and complete control of all key features - directly from the front of the UFX.
The Fireface UFX, like any other RME product, combines excellent analog circuit design with high-grade AD/DA converter chips. Therefore, all balanced TRS & XLR I/Os and both Phones (TRS - Stereo) outputs guarantee outstanding low noise and distortion values. In RME's typical tradition and product philosophy, converters and preamps don't produce sound. They do not add or remove anything from the source signal - just capture it as it is.
Equipped with the latest A/D and D/A converter chips, all I/Os on the Fireface UFX operate up to 192kHz and reach 118 dBA dynamic range on playback - even both headphone outputs. Their high-power technology delivers high volume no matter if high- or low-impedance phones are used. The balanced analog inputs are based on RME's low-latency converter design from the high-end converter ADI-8 QS. The DA section is based on RME's M-series. Both designs guarantee excellent S/N and THD specs across a wide analog level range.
Due to its efficient jitter reduction, RME's superior SteadyClock finalizes the state-of-the-art AD/DA conversion, even when clocking to an external digital source.
Every input and output is individually switchable to common professional studio levels: -10 dBV, +4 dBu, HiGain (equivalent to +2 dBV, +13 dBu, and +19 dBu for digital full scale) - directly on the device or via TotalMix. The balanced XLR outputs even provide a level of up to +24 dBu. All outputs can be used for ASIO Direct Monitoring purposes.
The UFX has four high-transparency preamps backed up by four stereo converters with RME's new parallel converter technology.
The microphone and instrument preamps of the UFX use the core technology from RME's Micstasy - a high-end preamp for supreme sonic demands and critical applications, like the professional recording of classical concerts. The fully symmetrical preamp design impresses with extremely low distortion, excellent signal-to-noise ratio and a perfect linear frequency response. A premium solution for transmitting and amplifying any audio input truly unchanged, be it high-level stage or typical studio signals, lower level and high-impedance instruments, or dynamic, condenser, and ribbon microphones.
The digitally controlled gain of up to 65 dB, adjustable in steps of 1 dB over a range of 55 dB, is individually set for every preamp by the display-supported controls on the front of the UFX. All level settings are 100% reproducible and can also be adjusted comfortably within the TotalMix software on the host computer or by a MIDI remote controller.
The four inputs on the front use balanced XLR/TRS combo sockets and operate alternatively as Hi-Z inputs. Directly plug in up to four guitars or other instruments with no other hardware required. Each channel can be individually switched to 48V phantom power or instrument level. LEDs for signal, clip, TRS operation, and activated phantom power give a complete overview on the unit's status.
Advanced Parallel Conversion
The four UFX preamps are feeding not only four, but eight AD converters. Every microphone channel uses a double, parallel AD conversion on two AD converters at the same time to reach exceptional signal-to-noise values and a performance not available with a classic converter design.
The UFX follows RME's tradition of providing flexible and expandable audio systems. Adding additional preamplifiers or more analog inputs is easily done via the dual ADAT optical I/Os on the rear.
The DSP-based TotalMix mixer allows fully independent routing and mixing of all 30 input and playback channels to all 30 physical outputs. Up to 15 totally independent stereo submixes plus a comprehensive Control Room section offer incredible monitoring capabilities and routing flexibility.
Theis next generation of TotalMix delivers hardware mixing/routing with lots of new features and a highly improved usability. For a seamless integration of the new features TotalMix FX, has been rewritten from the ground up.
Every input and output channel comes with a luxury feature set, comparable to a full-scale digital console. The effects per channel include 3-band parametric EQ, adjustable Low Cut, Auto Level, Compressor, Expander, MS Processing, and phase reversal. The Reverb and Echo effects unit is available for all channels by a stereo send and return bus. All these effects are available even at 192 kHz operation. Two DSPs ensure an impressive performance even in extreme applications. As usual with RME, TotalMix is available with all channels (90) at all sample rates, completely unlimited. The second DSP calculates the effects only so it has sufficient resources. For example, at 48 kHz, 60 EQs, 34 Low Cuts, and Echo can all be activated. With activated Reverb and Echo, you can still use 46 EQs and 32 Low Cuts.
The FX-DSP uses automatic overload surveillance. As soon as no effect can be added anymore, the TotalMix surface will clearly let you know. When changing to higher sample rates, the UFX automatically deactivates all effects that exceed the DSP's performance - the DSP will never be overloaded. This also prevents the user from destroyed loudspeakers.
The complete effects section not only adds a lot of flexibility to the recording chain, but makes latency-burdened software dispensable. TotalMix can easily replace any external mixer, e.g. to create different latency-free monitoring mixes with EQ and Reverb for the main studio monitors and the headphone of the vocalist(s) in the recording room. Furthermore, the DSP hardware calculates RMS and Peak levels for all 90 level meters, so there is zero CPU load on the host.
The main functions of TotalMix can be remote controlled via MIDI with any Mackie Control compatible controller (sold separately).
The UFX is not only a perfect desktop level controller, but a monitor switcher and source selector with integrated talkback function for modern Mix-In-the-Box studios. As the UFX includes the usually externally added monitoring controller, it also preserves the original sound, as its hardware output stays directly connected to the studio monitors.
The big rotary encoder on the front of the UFX maintains precisely controls the three dedicated stereo monitor outputs: Main Out, Phones 1, and Phones 2. Start turning the volume encoder and the display shows the current gain value in big numbers. The small encoder buttons provide direct access to pan and reverb for the selected output. Pushing the volume knob switches between the outputs.
The above gain (volume) settings at the unit work hand in hand with the Control Room section of TotalMix FX. Any physical output can be assigned to the three, directly knob-controlled monitor outputs. For example, just assign the AES/EBU output as Main Out, or as Phones Out - any output can be used. The functions Talkback, Listenback, Mono, and Dim will work automatically for the assigned outputs in the expected way.
USB & FireWire
With the release of the Fireface 800 in 2004, RME stirred up the FireWire audio market, setting benchmarks and providing a superior solution with a unique feature set. It is no surprise many customers and testers respect RME as one of the references and technology leaders for FireWire audio interfaces. In 2009, RME released the Fireface UC, a USB solution which again provided an exceptional performance, previously not available from USB audio interfaces.
The secret of success: RME is the only manufacturer not to use a third-party USB or FireWire audio technology, but a self-developed Hammerfall Audio Core with an outstanding performance and pro audio features.
The Fireface UFX now combines USB and FireWire, both made by RME, within one interface.
The Fireface UFX has been uncompromisingly optimized for highest performance under Windows and Mac OS. It uses a special customized firmware for every operating system. Like other RME USB 2.0* interfaces, the UFX provides revolutionary ultra-low latencies even with multiple channels.
The Fireface UFX is compatible to USB 3 chipsets.
The completely redesigned FireWire core provides the UFX with the same exceptional compatibility and performance as RME's USB solution. For the first time, the UFX does not have any FireWire chip inside at all - it's completely programmed into the FPGA, under direct control of the RME masterminds, and updated by a simple firmware update - if ever necessary. This new technology is even compatible to Agere's infamous rev. 6 chip.
In search of an exceptional usability experience for the huge feature set, RME integrates a high-resolution color display into the front panel. In combination with three rotary encoders, all important features of the UFX can be manually controlled directly on the UFX itself. TotalMix, connected PC or Mac, is synced to the interface controls and follows all changes automatically.
The four keys, the two encoders 1 and 2, the high-resolution, and clear color display, and a well thought-out menu structure, enable you to quickly change and configure all the device's settings even without a computer. Help notes and clear markers in the display guide you through all functions.
RME's new flagship is just a phone call or click away. Order today!
Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about RME Fireface UFX:
I was using MOTU stuff for years prior to getting the UFX. 896HD, 8pre, 896mk3. All good interfaces, but I had to tweak my laptops just to get them to run (disable wireless, disable video card, disable anti-virus, etc etc). There were issues with dropouts, cracks, pops, etc etc, which made it dangerous to use loud monitors, or use them for live monitoring/recording.All those problems are gone with the UFX. I am running at 64 samples, 44.1 24bit, and can monitor/record any number of inputs through software without tweaking the laptop at all. The sound is also noticeably better. I have been recording my bands album on the MOTU prior to purchasing the UFX. After the first vocal take on the UFX, the difference was obvious. Much more realistic, and just better sound. DI also works well, and I like the sound of a bass right into the UFX vs direct box->MOTU. Much more dynamic range by going straight into the UFX.The only con is that it is more expensive then other interfaces, but it is definitely worth it. It sounds great, unlimited routing options, and it worked for me with any computer I threw at it. Would buy again.