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Is the RME UFX still relevant approaching 2016? Audio Interfaces
Old 5th November 2015
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Is the RME UFX still relevant approaching 2016?

Hello,

I was wondering if approaching 2016 whether the RME UFX is still a serious mid-level home studio interface?

After seeing the recent Orion Studio:

Orion Studio Thunderbolt™ and USB AD/DA Interface with 12 mic pres | Antelope Audio

...I'm wondering if I should wait for the Orion Studio's release rather than purchasing the UFX?

Though the Orion Studio comes with:
1. A good internal clock (which the UFX lacks).
2. Better converters.
3. Better / more pre-amps (though I'll be using an external pre).
4. Possibly lower latency.
5. Thunderbolt (though I'll most certainly be using USB as I'm on an older PC).
...it lacks:
1. Standalone recording functionalities (which I might see myself using).
2. MIDI ports.
3. Routing software as robust as Totalmix FX.
4. Comprehensive control via LCD front panel (Orion Studio relies more on PC-based software controls than the UFX).
5. Custom USB chip limiting the Orion Studio to 24 channels over USB / 32 channels via Thunderbolt. The Orion 32+ on the other hand does come with a custom USB chip for 32 channels via USB or Thunderbolt (but is out of my price bracket).
6. Fully developed DSP effects (as the effect listing is incomplete as of today for the Orion Studio).
7. Rock solid drivers.
8. Helpful support staff (with quick turnarounds on bug fixes).
9. Proven track record.
The Orion Studio is also 800 dollars more expensive than the RME UFX (which can be found for 2000.00 at multiple retailers) and not yet released (comes out towards the end of November).

I really want to buy the UFX, but think the conversion quality (and possibly clocking) may hurt me down the road.

That being said, I also have heard good things about the Black Lion Premium mod for the UFX, but have heard similar accounts from people who didn't feel the mod did anything truly positive.

Plus, given that modded UFX's go for less than stock used UFX's on ebay, the BLA mod leaves me a feeling little leary (plus it voids any warranty on the unit which tends to be 2 years in the US).

Thank you,
Nelson
Old 5th November 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 
12tone's Avatar
 

If the drivers for the Orion Studio are up to snuff, feature wise it's a slam dunk...this is coming from an owner of a UFX. I think you should wait a bit to see how Antelope supports it in regards to drivers and associated app/utilities - if you peruse threads here about their gear, there's a decent amount of unhappy campers with their support in general.

The UFX is rock solid - with the best driver support bar none. You'll be able to use it right out of the box and produce professional results, it will not hold you back in that regard in the least. If you don't need USB recording, if I were you I'd consider the FF 802 instead.

I'd also stay away from BLA mods - just a personal subjective opinion, seems like more trouble than it's worth, without any sort unequivocal substantiate-able benefits, a lot of hearsay and rigmarole from BLA if you ask me...
Old 5th November 2015
  #3
Gear Addict
 

@ 12tone : Thank you for the suggestion.

Out of curiosity, why do you recommend the 802 over the UFX, given that the UFX seems more feature-rich and is about the same price (if not slightly more expensive)?

Thanks,
Nelson
Old 5th November 2015
  #4
Gear Nut
UFX is a 7 years old converters !
I don't know if RME is planning a new model, but it will be a good thing !
Old 5th November 2015
  #5
Given that they just released the Babyface Pro, they must be in the process of replacing all of those units with something new. I would be a bit more patient.
Old 5th November 2015
  #6
Lives for gear
I for one, am still completely satisfied with the UFX. There is nothing wanting. Totalmix with my slightly modded "Advanced Remote control" and I'm sorted!!
Worked great with ProToolsHD, LogicProX, RX5+ etc.....
Old 5th November 2015
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Roger Starr's Avatar
 

You might want to consider the new Motu 1248. Motu has raised the bar on all levels significantly with these devices, especially on converter quality and it comes with Thunderbolt as well.

MOTU.com - Overview

BTW, although UFX is great rock solid stuff, it seems to me RME needs to come with a next generation...

Roger
Old 5th November 2015
  #8
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Starr View Post
You might want to consider the new Motu 1248. Motu has raised the bar on all levels significantly with these devices, especially on converter quality and it comes with Thunderbolt as well.

MOTU.com - Overview

BTW, although UFX is great rock solid stuff, it seems to me RME needs to come with a next generation...

Roger
I need a new audio interface, I don't want to buy to another company, RME is really serious. But I don't think to purchase an UFX, I prefer to be patient for the moment...
Old 5th November 2015
  #9
Gear Head
Is there any indication that RME might be developing a new interface with, roughly, the same features as the UFX? I would love a 4 pre-amp, 16 analog in/16 out, but anything new from RME is bound to be interesting. By the way; I am looking for my first NEW interface since I bought my MBox 2 pro, almost 10 years ago. It will be a huge improvement no matter what I get.
Old 5th November 2015
  #10
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Overmann View Post
Is there any indication that RME might be developing a new interface with, roughly, the same features as the UFX? I would love a 4 pre-amp, 16 analog in/16 out, but anything new from RME is bound to be interesting.
Perhaps for the NAMM...
Old 5th November 2015
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Overmann View Post
Is there any indication that RME might be developing a new interface with, roughly, the same features as the UFX? I would love a 4 pre-amp, 16 analog in/16 out, but anything new from RME is bound to be interesting. By the way; I am looking for my first NEW interface since I bought my MBox 2 pro, almost 10 years ago. It will be a huge improvement no matter what I get.
I think it's highly likely because right now their most up to date product is their lowest end product, the Baby Face Pro. They must have a new flagship product coming soon.

\
Old 5th November 2015
  #12
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverb View Post
I think it's highly likely because right now their most up to date product is their lowest end product, the Baby Face Pro. They must have a new flagship product coming soon.

\
Well, several retailers here in Norway have had the UFX on sale now for several months. And bundled with the remote at a reduced price. Is it possible that they know something that we don't?
Old 6th November 2015
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Thank you everyone for the information.

@ Overmann : Can I assume that the reduction in price plus bundling of the remote is unusual for the retailers in Norway (or have they offered similar deals in the past)?

Furthermore, how much was the UFX reduced in price?

I would assume if retailers are reducing the UFX around 20 - 30% plus bundling the remote that the new UFX is indeed incoming.

Furthermore, given that the Babyface was updated with the Babyface Pro and the Fireface 800 was updated with Fireface 802, the UFX would have to be updated sooner or later.

Hopefully we don't have to wait for NAMM in June for an announcement.

Nelson
Old 6th November 2015
  #14
270182
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelsona View Post
Hello,

I was wondering if approaching 2016 whether the RME UFX is still a serious mid-level home studio interface?

After seeing the recent Orion Studio:

Orion Studio Thunderbolt™ and USB AD/DA Interface with 12 mic pres | Antelope Audio

...I'm wondering if I should wait for the Orion Studio's release rather than purchasing the UFX?

Though the Orion Studio comes with:
1. A good internal clock (which the UFX lacks).
2. Better converters.
3. Better / more pre-amps (though I'll be using an external pre).
4. Possibly lower latency.
5. Thunderbolt (though I'll most certainly be using USB as I'm on an older PC).
...it lacks:
1. Standalone recording functionalities (which I might see myself using).
2. MIDI ports.
3. Routing software as robust as Totalmix FX.
4. Comprehensive control via LCD front panel (Orion Studio relies more on PC-based software controls than the UFX).
5. Custom USB chip limiting the Orion Studio to 24 channels over USB / 32 channels via Thunderbolt. The Orion 32+ on the other hand does come with a custom USB chip for 32 channels via USB or Thunderbolt (but is out of my price bracket).
6. Fully developed DSP effects (as the effect listing is incomplete as of today for the Orion Studio).
7. Rock solid drivers.
8. Helpful support staff (with quick turnarounds on bug fixes).
9. Proven track record.
The Orion Studio is also 800 dollars more expensive than the RME UFX (which can be found for 2000.00 at multiple retailers) and not yet released (comes out towards the end of November).

I really want to buy the UFX, but think the conversion quality (and possibly clocking) may hurt me down the road.

That being said, I also have heard good things about the Black Lion Premium mod for the UFX, but have heard similar accounts from people who didn't feel the mod did anything truly positive.

Plus, given that modded UFX's go for less than stock used UFX's on ebay, the BLA mod leaves me a feeling little leary (plus it voids any warranty on the unit which tends to be 2 years in the US).

Thank you,
Nelson
According to RME, Thunderbolt improves nothing for audio or latency performance. USB2&3 is plenty adequate. I had this discussion with the US rep yesterday. There is this idea that new is better. Being on the sales side, I would say this is not so. If what you have works reliably and sounds good, stay with it.
Old 6th November 2015
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
EricBradley's Avatar
 

That's just plain wrong.
Using Thunderbolt can reduce latency since you can use PCI audio instead USB/FireWire.

The safety buffers related to PCI are much smaller than the ones for USB so if implemented correctly you will automatically get less latency.
Old 6th November 2015
  #16
270182
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverb View Post
I think it's highly likely because right now their most up to date product is their lowest end product, the Baby Face Pro. They must have a new flagship product coming soon.

\
I don't think so. They were showing me the same line at a rep show yesterday, happy their drivers are the most stable, were the first company to have ElCrappiton figured out, and respectable preamps. They were citing the high-end users and productions using their MADI interfaces, not Dante or anything else. I think you can have confidence in their existing line. The fact RME can stand on that, and people expect nothing less from RME, speaks volumes.
Old 6th November 2015
  #17
270182
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricBradley View Post
That's just plain wrong.
Using Thunderbolt can reduce latency since you can use PCI audio instead USB/FireWire.

The safety buffers related to PCI are much smaller than the ones for USB so if implemented correctly you will automatically get less latency.
According to them, USB3 is adequate and has the same latency as Thunderbolt.
Old 6th November 2015
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
EricBradley's Avatar
 

It's perfectly adequate but it still needs the USB protocol buffer that isn't needed when running a PCI connection. (32 samples).

Don't get me wrong. I use my RME UFX every day and it is on for 12 hours a day.
It has failed me once in almost 5 years, a remarkable achievement.
Old 6th November 2015
  #19
Lives for gear
Eric, I had a lengthy discussion with some one from RME about the USB protocol some time ago. The implication was that RME don't really use the "USB protocol" and had developed their own via firmware.
This allows them to negate any of the usual USB problems associate with the "protocol". The USB port and associated hardware merely facilitates RME's solution.
Old 6th November 2015
  #20
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelsona View Post
Furthermore, how much was the UFX reduced in price?

I would assume if retailers are reducing the UFX around 20 - 30% plus bundling the remote that the new UFX is indeed incoming.
Well, I have to admit that I only started looking at mid/high-range interfaces about 2 months ago, but during that time most of the retailers here are selling the UFX at a reduced price, and a couple of them have hade "sales" of the UFX back to back. They just sold out their stock of bundles and now have a november-sale of the UFX. I'd say the price has been reduced about 20%. Now, the fact that they restocked could speak against the idea that RME have let them in on the fact that they are coming out with a new device, perhaps.

Or maybe it is just a great price, and I should get it now while it's price is reduced ...

The UFX seem to have everything or most of what I need, and it's pre's and converters are supposed to be as good as most things out there (certantly good enough to not be the bottleneck). But the thought of something new and flashy from RME is making me take a step back.
Old 6th November 2015
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
EricBradley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattrixx View Post
Eric, I had a lengthy discussion with some one from RME about the USB protocol some time ago. The implication was that RME don't really use the "USB protocol" and had developed their own via firmware.
This allows them to negate any of the usual USB problems associate with the "protocol". The USB port and associated hardware merely facilitates RME's solution.
They have their own FPGA chip that they have control over but there is no way to circumvent the connection via USB.

It's even described in all their manuals.
Compare the Safety buffers on a PCI card vs USB card and you will find that USB (and FireWire) interfaces utilize an extra protocol buffer.
Old 6th November 2015
  #22
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASCMe View Post
I don't think so. They were showing me the same line at a rep show yesterday, happy their drivers are the most stable, were the first company to have ElCrappiton figured out, and respectable preamps. They were citing the high-end users and productions using their MADI interfaces, not Dante or anything else. I think you can have confidence in their existing line. The fact RME can stand on that, and people expect nothing less from RME, speaks volumes.
@ ASCMe : So did RME mention anything new being added to their product line-up?

If not, would you know if RME usually waits for something like NAMM to make an announcement on new products (rather than AES)?

Thank you,
Nelson
Old 6th November 2015
  #23
Gear Addict
 
krevvy's Avatar
Rme gear is solid and lasts for years..
I'm still rocking the hdsp9652 in my main daw... Still supported by RME after all these years!
Also have a ufx for my portable recording rig, solid device. Durec came in very handy once when my laptop decided to die halfway through a session ... Luckily durec kept on going and I didn't miss anything.
Old 6th November 2015
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Herb's Avatar
 

Bigger... Better... Faster... More...

I'm saying this having never used one but having used other RME gear, if you find the UFX sonically lacking then I suggest the problem is you and not the hardware.

And why even mention the clock and automatically claim the clock is better in the Antelope.

Acoustically focused clocking? The bulls nuts.
Old 6th November 2015
  #25
i am still on fireface 400 which is running great. thanks to rme for drivers support especially to those who are on mac os x. like other guys said ufx is more than enough and will deliver pro results anytime of a day. great products and great support from this company, there is nothing more you could ask for.
Old 6th November 2015
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelsona View Post
4. Possibly lower latency.
......


I really want to buy the UFX, but think the conversion quality (and possibly clocking) may hurt me down the road.
It's always a good idea to wait if you can... b/c the UFX price will go down and it gives you a chance to evaluate the competition.

However... I haven't seen anything that would suggest lower latency from any of the Thunderbolt/USB3 options coming out. The reason being... and of course I could be wrong.... that's just the protocol of data transfer. It's a faster protocol... but latency isn't just dependent on speed of transfer. It has to do w/ the audio driver coding and how good it is. Thunderbolt/USB3 isn't going to change how good the audio driver coding is... and RME and a few other companies have proven that Firewire and even USB2 is really fast enough to deliver great latency results. In fact.... no company has really maximized the potential in my opinion, b/c nothing is as fast as a workstation not connected to Windows/Mac OS or a digital recording console... which is damn near immediate with everything you do.

So, I would manage my expectations there and not even consider this a possibility, to avoid disappointment. B/c in the real world, the theoretical thruput doesn't matter.

Also... regarding conversion, I have a UCX and did a simple loopback test. The resulting audio feed completely cancelled out the original waveform when I flipped the phase. I only did one pass but.... I mean, in the real world.. we're only doing one pass anyway right? lol. There was no audible degradation or manipulation of the signal, telling me what you see is what you get w/ these units. I've never done this test on another interface unfortunately, so I don't know if every interface for the last 20 years is capable of that... but... I know conversion wise, the AD/DA converters are 100% honest. That's for certain. That's how I like it... b/c I use them for outboard.. and b/c I want to create character in the mix itself. But... I can understand if you're looking for something w/ character or an enhancing sound quality to it.
Old 6th November 2015
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekkan View Post
UFX is a 7 years old converters !
I don't know if RME is planning a new model, but it will be a good thing !
Wasn't UFX released in 2011 or so?

That's not 7 years. They came out w/ new converters.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
Old 6th November 2015
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverb View Post
Given that they just released the Babyface Pro, they must be in the process of replacing all of those units with something new. I would be a bit more patient.
I think this is good advice because, perhaps they may raise the bar even higher for the same price? Who knows. I'd wait 6-12 months if you have the time.

But... if you can't wait a full year to see what happens... it's not like you'll have buyer's remorse in a few years if they upgrade it. (Was 802 an upgrade? it sure didn't look like it to me lol, it looked like a new product w/ less features). Anything in the current line that you grab will deliver at a high level for years to come. There are people w/ Fireface 400's and 800's that still love their units and don't feel a need to upgrade.
Old 6th November 2015
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricBradley View Post
They have their own FPGA chip that they have control over but there is no way to circumvent the connection via USB.

It's even described in all their manuals.
Compare the Safety buffers on a PCI card vs USB card and you will find that USB (and FireWire) interfaces utilize an extra protocol buffer.
But Thunderbolt doesn't matter if you can't write a great USB2/Firewire driver comparable to RME and a few others either.

I don't see why people would think if Company A < RME on USB2/Firewire, that Company A would be > RME on Thunderbolt just b/c of protocol change. It's more to it then that.

Of course protocol matters as evidenced by RME PCI > RME Firewire/USB. But... it doesn't matter nearly as much as the marketing efforts suggest it would. People really need to manage their expectations.

I don't know Orion's drivers by any means.... but if they aren't comparable to RME now, then I wouldn't expect a huge performance boost switching to Thunderbolt. It's a recipe for disappointment.
Old 6th November 2015
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
EricBradley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post
Wasn't UFX released in 2011 or so?

That's not 7 years. They came out w/ new converters.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
November/December 2010 if I recall correctly.
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