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RME Fireface 800 or Universalaudio apollo duo? Audio Interfaces
Old 2nd October 2012
Gear nut
Retrospekta's Avatar

Originally Posted by jimindreams View Post
thx from all great tips , i decided to go with apollo! I will get it probably this week or start of next. I can post a litle review of mine in this thread if your interested. Meanwhile can you guys give hint what 8ch adat preamp i should get it with apollo, i dont have money atm but will get it soon so price range could be up to 500 this time . Is behringers adat8000 worth of risk ? If i could get 12 ch total ins , i could start practicing drum recording

wheeeeeeeee jimi
rme octopre!!
Old 2nd October 2012
Lives for gear
Baz's Avatar

I don't know anything about the Apollo, but what I haven't read yet from people commenting on the FF800 yet, is on the drivers. With an interface, driver stability is just as important sound quality, as the degrees of separation between one products drivers and another's is much larger than the separation between conversion quality IMHO.

RME drivers lead the way as far as I'm concerned. Simply rock solid.
Old 17th October 2012
Here for the gear
bcpaffy's Avatar
UA Apollo

Sure, this statement is only as valuable to you as a random person's opinion, since you are reading it on the internet (but I proceed anyway).

I did a personal listening test for an hour (30min per interface) between the RME Fireface 800 and the Apollo Duo, and preferred the Duo.

I listened in a well treated, small studio control room, through JBL 6300's. I started with 16/44.1 lossless files I had in iTunes. Then inserted a dvd audio disc of Rachmaninoff, and actually preferred the Apollo in both (moreso in the 16/44.1 WAV files).

I moved from pop music, to classical, to country (pop), to electronica.
The Apollo is fantastic. Its playback d/a is better than the blue 192's, in my opinion.

To give a more believable analogy, the difference between 320kbs mp3 and even a flac file rated at 486kbs (as a classical piano recording of a Brahms Intermezzo that was full of pianissimo spots) is night and day. It is even more perceptible through a decent set of cans (Beyer DT 770s)

UAD is expensive, but is as good or slightly better than RME's offerings at this time, again, in my opinion. DSP onboard sells it too. No, the UAD plugs aren't the real thing, but they sure aren't as expensive, and do sound similar, in ways.

Last edited by bcpaffy; 17th October 2012 at 07:43 AM.. Reason: grammar
Old 25th November 2012
Gear Maniac
orpheus_'s Avatar
Don't forget if you're planning on another audio interface PLUS using a UAD just for the plugins (PCIe, Quad, etc.) the latency will be more. I have 2x AudioFire12s which run 24in/24out at 128 samples latency, but when I'm using lots of UAD2 Quad Satellite plugins too I have to work at 512 samples at a worst case.

(Both the UAD and 2x Audiofires are on the same FW800 bus, which would make some difference I think)

That's the main reason I'm considering the Apollo + Thunderbolt. Lower latency.
Old 28th December 2012
Gear interested

This is an old thread and probably the thread started have already chosen, but I have to agree with people saying the fireface is much more stable. I have all kinds of annoying problems with my apollo, the driver is horrible. I always have to restart my computer or unplug the FW cable then re-plug again to get any sound out of the unit. The mixer console on the mac is a cpu hog. It is using 80%!!! of my 2.4GHz core 2 duo when audio input is used and the mixer console is open. UA support wasn't much of a help...
I am crying back for my RME fireface 400 :(

If you want to make music, then go with the RME. It may have inferior quality spec for the converters and does not have the UAD plugin support - but it works and will not get in your way of doing music. Since I had the RME, I forgot I have a "soundcard". Since I have the Apollo, I am "fighting" between UA support and my equipment... not much tune made since I got the Apollo...
Old 30th December 2012
Lives for gear

I would definitely choose RME 400 or 800 over Apollo (I own & use both 400 & 800). I need my stuff to work without drama/BS and RME has a proven track record and fantastic driver support that I trust.

The quality of the Apollo may prove to be great but, for me, it's still too soon to tell.

It's absurd to call the RME 400 or 800 mic pres "weak". They may not have the character of my API 3124 or Great River MP2NV, but I would gladly record an entire album project with RME pres. They are clean, with lots of gain - very good quality mic pres.
Old 30th December 2012
Lives for gear
bigbone's Avatar

Originally Posted by digibird View Post
It's absurd to call the RME 400 or 800 mic pres "weak". They may not have the character of my API 3124 or Great River MP2NV, but I would gladly record an entire album project with RME pres. They are clean, with lots of gain - very good quality mic pres.
Same conclusion here with my FF800..........
Old 30th December 2012
Thumbs up


My first audio interface in the 90s was the Event Audio Gina PCI card for PC.

As I started increasing track count, I began having MIDI/Audio synch issues with my Gina and Cakewalk Pro Audio.

So I moved to the Presonus Firepod, and then SONAR in the mid 2000s.

The Firepod was pretty much fine - at least it was stable with SONAR.

The only major issue was I could never get my recordings and mixes to sound as full, rich and detailed as my source (tracked) material was.

I struggled with this for years - I could NOT understand why my electric and acoustic guitars, and metal (cymbals, tambourines, etc.), as well as richer and more complex harmonic content in keyboards and vocals, etc. - which sounded so rich and sizzly in my ROOM - did not translate AFTER I had recorded it with the Presonus (I'd always thought the same with the Event card, as well)!

So, I kept hyping the high end in my mixes to compensate for the lack of high frequency detail. And my mixes NEVER sounded right. They never sounded rich and tonally balanced to me.

THEN I switched to the FF800 in the late 2000s. Holy CRAP. I FINALLY could HEAR the high end sizzle, and rich and deep harmonic content in my electric guitars, acoustic guitars, keyboards, drums/cymbals and vocals. Even the high mids in the electric bass sounded way better. It was literally like night and day! I was blown away.

While I think most producers and mix engineers always struggle with getting their mixes right, at least with the FF800 I can HEAR the frequencies that I could NEVER hear before on my lower end audio interfaces.

Now I know there are tons of folks who swear how much better Weiss, Lavry, BLA, etc. are than RME. Well, that remains to be seen. And when I can afford to throw money around, I'll be checking out some of the higher end I/O.

Currently, I'm very happy with my RME UFX (with remote). I LOVE the matrix mixing in Total Mix, and I LOVE how stable RME's drivers are.

Personally, I didn't really hear such a difference (if any) between the FF800 and the UFX, but I got rid of the FF800 because I didn't need two interfaces. I do like the reverb, delay, compression and EQ options in the UFX, as well as the remote. I also dig the improved display graphics on the front panel, 2 HP outs, and XLR main outs.

To sum up (no pun intended), I think RME rocks!

EDIT: In addition to the audio interface upgrade, I also improved several key elements in my recording chain, and monitoring setup. I do have a much more expensive preamp with EQ and compression for my vocal/guitar/bass chain. And I do have a much more expensive and elaborate monitoring setup now. I find that pretty much NOTHING beats having amazing monitors SET UP CORRECTLY in a treated room (with way less reflection).

I also upgraded my guitars, basses, synths and sample libraries, and worked diligently to set up and treat my tracking/mixing room - using double layers of moving blankets all around my mix position, measuring the frequency response at different point in my room, and moving and rotating my speakers and mix position for a few years until I found the perfect speaker orientation in my room.

I still use a relatively inexpensive microphone for all my recording, and relatively inexpensive acoustic guitar and 5-string electric bass, but I use a wonderful higher-end custom Tele made by a local friend here in upstate NY.

Old 30th December 2012
Lives for gear
Baz's Avatar

Originally Posted by digibird View Post

It's absurd to call the RME 400 or 800 mic pres "weak". They may not have the character of my API 3124 or Great River MP2NV, but I would gladly record an entire album project with RME pres. They are clean, with lots of gain - very good quality mic pres.
This ^ But from what I've read, the preamps in the "400" (Ti PG2500) are better than the Ti PG2505's in the 800. I own both but have never done a direct comparison

I actually just posted a comparison between the F400's PG2500 and one of my CAPI pre's on acoustic guitar in the shootout forum, and while the Ti pre's weren't quite where I'd like to be for acoustic, the Ti was much closer to what I wanted to hear than the VP25 was. The differences were night and day. The pre's in the FF series aren't special and are rather boring, but they're quiet , have decent headroom and plenty of gain.The Ti PG2500 especially, is arguably one of the best IC mic amps out there.
Old 30th December 2012
Gear Head

Last summer I moved from Tascam FW1082 to UFX and am most satisfied. Clear improvement in clarity, though it´s not a big surprise. Incidentally bought it from a dude, who had replaced it with the Apollo, not because of converters, but because of the effects therein.
I don´t know much about converters, but the potential difference is bound to be so small, that I would not let it be the determining factor in my decision.
Then again, depends how sensitive one is in these matters.
Old 9th May 2013
Gear Nut
JeffreyC's Avatar

Any new info on comparing these units. I'm still using my old FF800, but considering an upgrade that would be worth it in terms of sound quality.
Old 9th May 2013
I'm a big fan of both RME and UA. I have owned FF800, FF400, and now have a Baby Face for mobile use. I got an Apollo (quad) a few months ago to use in my studio. RME undoubtedly has the best driver support out there, but their actual tech support is not up UA's standard. UA have the best tech support I think I have ever experienced. I can call them, I can only email RME - at least that has been my experience.

The FF800 is a solid piece of gear, although I and others have occasionally had problems (clicking and popping sometimes, and this is on Mac's with approved FW interfaces). Also note that, although the name says "800", and you can use a FW 800 cable to connect it, the protocol is still FW 400

I believe the Apollo takes advantage of the full FW 800 bandwidth if you have it. Even so, I did not get good results using it with FW 800 on a Mac Pro. I randomly and intermittently got "lost connection" messages (Mac OS X 10.7.x, 10.8.x, having tried them all). This is probably because it's transmitting both audio and plug-in processing over the same wire. Once I got the thunderbolt option card (and now use a Hackintosh with thunderbolt ports), those issues have gone away, and the unit is rock solid.

The Apollo fills a need for me that has been lacking in all audio interfaces since Digi HD - namely being able to track through plugins with no latency. The converters are fine, if you need better you can connect them via ADAT and still track through plugins. The pre's are useable, but I use external pre's except when I need a more simultaneous pre's than I have.

If it were my decision I would go with the Apollo if I have a thunderbolt capable computer, or will be upgrading to one, otherwise I would get a Fireface UCX, which at least has a pretty good selection of internal FX for latency free tracking.
Old 9th May 2013
Lives for gear
luctellier's Avatar
I can only comment on my personal experience but I've been using SSL converters for a longtime (which I loved) and then switched to RME Fireface 800 and my experience with my RME has only been positive since I got it. Never had any problem and everything runs smoothly and it's super stable.
Old 14th May 2013
Here for the gear
eastcoastdre's Avatar


Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
For the money, it's hard to argue against the RME. After hearing the recent UFX vs Apollo thread, I chose the UFX. It sounded better and I prefer it's features. However, I'd venture to guess that the Apollo would sound nicer than the FF800 (older version of the UFX), but maybe not enough to justify the huge price difference. I think you have to ask yourself if the difference in quality is more important than having more mics, etc.

Sent from my DROIDX using
the RME FIREFACE 800 is the flagship, UFX is a different animal for live recording stand alone.
Old 6th June 2013
Here for the gear

Apollo can really perform

When i made my first post in this thread, the Apollo was new, and there was a lot of talk about it being just that, a new product and that the RME ff800 was a proven product. I can concede why last year, that may have been the consensus, but i have been using the Apollo every day for a year now.

In the studio setting, I did buy the Thunderbolt expansion so i know that is a big expense for the interface and the expansion card, however, it made performance of the interface, console app, and DAW session completely hassle free. Even when i used firewire 800 (that'd be a more appropriate comparison to FF800), i rarely got an error message that people sometimes get with any interface via firewire. Even with just the Duo (I use quad now), the DSP limit was still very reasonable.

It's very convenient to have the console app store settings from recording sessions so that you may revisit a specific session to re-track something, without the hassle of finding the right plugin settings again. it's a great time saver. the monitoring options, headphone mixing options, and 2 aux channels make routing options so convenient, it has become my main unit for live sound as well.

In live sound/recording situations, this is a very stable, well performing unit with quality sound. I'm able to use very accurate emulations of Say the SSL or Neve 88RS across the entire board on the console app, and have high quality reverb sends to either the EMT 140 or Lexicon 224. The quality of the sound has dramatically improved. my employers, as well as regular bands who play there noticed.

I can concede that it is quite a cost to incur to buy this interface and invest in the better plugins, especially if you want to use thunderbolt. However, this unit is truly innovative, and allows smaller project and home studios to have access to much higher quality DAW recordings. I didn't think the realtime processing would be a big deal until i really experimented with the endless possibilities of amazing tones. It saves a lot of time and memory for editing and post production within the DAW as well.

There are many variables to consider when trying to get clear, studio quality results from your firewire/thunderbolt based DAW studio. This interface won't do everything for you, but in my opinion, as the owner of 2 Apollo's, RME UFX, FF800 and the M-audio profire 2626, this interface will get you a lot closer to that 'perfect sound' than the other interfaces i own if you really know how to utilize the full capabilities of this interface. this is true for both live and studio situations.

just as a quick direct comparison to the FF800, i feel these preamps on the Apollo are more neutral, as well as full. this is especially apparent to me when tracking acoustic guitars and heavily layered vocals. and i'm comparing them with no plugins. The low end on things like drums, and heavily tuned down guitars is also tighter and more neutral when tracking with the apollo, where as the FF800 can't seem to capture them as tightly.
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