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Audio Interfaces

RME Fireface UFX

The RME Fireface UFX is a FireWire and USB audio interface supporting up to 30 channels of I/O, comprising 12 channels of analogue I/O (including 4 microphone / instrument inputs, which use the same technology of the RME Micstacy) and 18 channels of digital I/O (2 x AES and 16 x ADAT, running at all conventional sampling frequencies up to 192kHz). Also included are two pairs of MIDI I/O and word clock I/O (with a switchable 75Ω termination).

The software included with the Fireface UFX is an evolvement of the software used with previous RME interfaces. TotalMix FX looks similar to the previous version of TotalMix and works with the same principle. There are three banks of faders - the top one displaying a channel strip for each hardware input, the middle one displaying a channel strip for each software output and the bottom bank displaying a channel strip for each hardware output. By using these three banks, any signal (either from hardware or software) can be routed to any (and many!) outputs. Further to these three banks is a Control Room section, in which headphone outputs and the main output can be managed. Each channel is adjustable, including the usual suspects of Mute, Solo, Level and Pan, as well as settings such as Phantom Power and Gain (for analogue inputs), AutoSet level (for inputs 9-12) and an FX Send, which utilises the on-board effects unit. Furthermore, each channel has EQ and Dynamics settings. Although the built-in EQ, Dynamics and Effects may not be up to the standard of dedicated outboards or plug-ins, they can be useful.

In addition to the versatility allowed by the connectivity, the UFX is flexible in functionality. As well as working logically when connected to a computer using the included TotalMix FX software, it can work in standalone mode. All functions available from within TotalMix FX can be controlled by either the front panel or by using a MIDI controller, controlled by the Mackie Control protocol. For some functions, such as Talkback and Dim, a simple MIDI controller is sufficient. And of course, it is fully compatible with RME Advanced Remote Control, which can be bought separately.

When in standalone mode, the UFX is more than just a converter / pre-amplifier / processor / monitor controller. A memory stick or hard drive can be plugged into the USB port on the front, which can then be recorded to directly, using RME's DURec™ (Direct USB Recording) technology. This allows recording of all inputs and all outputs, up to a 2TB limit (over 172 hours of a 24 channel recording (24-bit, 48kHz WAVs)). As this function uses the UFX's internal DSP, it is completely independent from the computer. Furthermore, it can be used even when the unit is connected to a computer. This allows a secondary recording to be set up to carry on recording even if your DAW crashes and needs rebooting.

The RME Fireface UFX is a versatile and robust interface that offers more than most. The range of connections allows it to be applicable in most studio environments. The flexibility of the TotalMix FX software makes it easy to create low latency mixes and various presets. The DURec™ capability allows for easy recording when in standalone mode, as well as providing a backup recording solution without having to buy any more equipment.

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