The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
The Eternal RME Conundrum Audio Interfaces
Old 7th February 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
The Eternal RME Conundrum

Looking to upgrade my interface from the Native Instruments KA6, it's been ok but the drivers aren't great, get a few clicks and pops etc. Hard to fault the connectivity for the price though.... So I've decided RME is the way to go based on the fact that modern converters all sound so good to me so my priorities have to be drivers, reliability and connectivity.

Now it gets tricky. Conventional wisdom says to go for the Babyface Pro, on the (baby) face of it that seems logical, except it only has 2 xlr outputs. Ideally I want to route out of my DAW, through external effects and then back in. With this interface it seems that this isn't possible unless I use the headphone outputs, which seems a bit dumb. I'd have thought for a £700 interface it would have more outputs, unless I'm missing something?

So the next choice is the Fireface UC, this is around £150 more than the Babyface pro and I think it's quite a lot older so I'm not sure if this is a better choice? It does have 6 balanced outputs on the back though.

So if the UC is a bit old and has been improved on, the next interface price-wise is the Fireface UCX, however this is now verging on the "same price as a used car" territory and as far as I can tell it's VERY similar to the UC, only with improved converters.

Can anyone offer some guidance on this. It seems a bit dumb to upgrade from my £200 interface to a £700 interface that has less outputs, but then the next choice isn't exactly easy either. I understand you pay a premium for RME gear which is fine, I just need to make sure I'm making the right choice. I'll be running about 5 different synths with some outboard fx.

Thanks
Old 7th February 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 
schmuck's Avatar
Could you go with a pcie card instead? with an RME hdspe AIO you could then add any adat AD/DA unit (e.g. the behringer 8200) and enjoy very low latency when recording outboard...
Old 7th February 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
I have the older UC and am very happy with it although I use external Mic Pre's and a Tascam UH-7000 as a DA, but before I did that I was fairly happy with it as is. Everytime I consider upgrading to something else I always rule it out after weighing my options. Driver stability being one and the i/o options being the other.
Old 7th February 2018
  #4
I use RME Reydat. I love it. Uses optical to interface with the preamps. Great unit, not sure if that would work for you or what the prices are these days.
Old 8th February 2018
  #5
Here for the gear
 
MrMusiX's Avatar
 

The UCX has more processing power: it has a Reverb or Delay as a send FX and EQ and Compression per channel and it can work "stand-alone" as a digital mixer (well...you need a controller of course for this to make sense). It also works with iOS (never tried though).

The UC is "just" the converters and mixing in hardware and I am not sure if it works stand-alone or with iOS. I don't remember exaclty, I guess it can do some EQ, but no compression and teh send FX is computed in the driver, not in hardware.

I chose the UCX because I (rarely) record vocals and it's worth for me just for these occasions to have compression and reverb on the headphone mix but not on the recording.

In retrospective I realized, that I indeed did spent quite some time with "interface problems" with all my previous interfaces (steinberg, m-audio, native instruments, focusrite, terratec, motu,...). Very unstable drivers, missing but advertised features, unusable "hi-z" inputs, no multi-client drivers, gear-destroying noise bursts when switch samplerates...you name it.

With RME everything "just works" as expected (user errors excluded of course).
Old 8th February 2018
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
Could you go with a pcie card instead? with an RME hdspe AIO you could then add any adat AD/DA unit (e.g. the behringer 8200) and enjoy very low latency when recording outboard...
This is what I decided I'm gonna do for an upgrade to my Scarlett 18i20 Gen 1. Use the card for the interface into the computer and the Scarlett for my I/O. I'm just researching a little more before I pull the trigger.
Old 8th February 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
Babyface has Adat options no?
Old 8th February 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Buying into the rme fanboy club is one of the best things I've done gear wise
Old 8th February 2018
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaolin View Post
Babyface has Adat options no?
Correct.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bgood View Post
Buying into the rme fanboy club is one of the best things I've done gear wise
I've been dealing with them for 18 years now without a single negative moment. One time we found a bug in a driver, it got fixed within 3 days after reporting.
Old 8th February 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaolin View Post
Babyface has Adat options no?
Both babyfaces do
Old 8th February 2018
  #11
Lives for gear
 
davet's Avatar
 

UCX

I've used a UCX for about five years. It's been a rock solid performer, never once had a problem, it just works.

FWIW, had a similar experience with a Lynx PCI card.
Old 8th February 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Karloff View Post
Both babyfaces do
Although the ADAT port on the old BF sounds a tad "vintage" by now.
Old 8th February 2018
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
If I go down the pre-amp -> adat -> Babyface route it worries me I'll end up spending far more than if I just went for the UC / UCX. I guess I'm just going to have to sell the car.
Old 8th February 2018
  #14
Here for the gear
 

I'm in the same boat as OP, I think that the Fireface UC is too old for this price tag.

9 years old is quite a lot and competition is strong nowadays, Antelope is offering 4 mic pres for £800 with their new Discrete line. I hope RME will announce an update during Musikmesse
Old 8th February 2018
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
Although the ADAT port on the old BF sounds a tad "vintage" by now.
In related news
1 Babyface Snow edition for sale. Vintage adat and quad hd white finish. $3200
Old 8th February 2018
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofort View Post
I'm in the same boat as OP, I think that the Fireface UC is too old for this price tag.

9 years old is quite a lot and competition is strong nowadays, Antelope is offering 4 mic pres for £800 with their new Discrete line. I hope RME will announce an update during Musikmesse
Will the Ardvark.. Um I mean Antelope product have support as long as other brands?
Old 8th February 2018
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Karloff View Post
Will the Ardvark.. Um I mean Antelope product have support as long as other brands?
Old 8th February 2018
  #18
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Luzon View Post
Ideally I want to route out of my DAW, through external effects and then back in. With this interface it seems that this isn't possible unless I use the headphone outputs, which seems a bit dumb. I'd have thought for a £700 interface it would have more outputs, unless I'm missing something?
Luckily you are missing something. Babyface has ADAT. So you would pair it with an 8channel ADAT converter for the ins/outs. Cheapest recommendation is Behringer ADA8200. I had an ADA8000 and it was solid for synth line-in business. I never used it for effects, so I can't comment. My recommendation would be to look for a used Apogee Rosetta 800. That's the route I took for outboard, I'm very happy with it. I use it for my outboard

Quote:
So the next choice is the Fireface UC, this is around £150 more than the Babyface pro and I think it's quite a lot older so I'm not sure if this is a better choice? It does have 6 balanced outputs on the back though.

So if the UC is a bit old and has been improved on, the next interface price-wise is the Fireface UCX, however this is now verging on the "same price as a used car" territory and as far as I can tell it's VERY similar to the UC, only with improved converters.

Can anyone offer some guidance on this. It seems a bit dumb to upgrade from my £200 interface to a £700 interface that has less outputs, but then the next choice isn't exactly easy either. I understand you pay a premium for RME gear which is fine, I just need to make sure I'm making the right choice. I'll be running about 5 different synths with some outboard fx.

Thanks
I have a UCX. Love it to PIECES!!!! It's great to me b/c it's the foundation for my entire setup. It has enough expandability to last me a very long time. I got it I wanted a UFX but couldn't afford the price tag and couldn't find one used in my price range (I actually saw one go for $600 used about 5 years ago on ebay, I was sooooooooooooo upset I didn't have $600 bucks. I have nightmares thinking about it lmao).

Anyway, it's very nice being able to use an external clock, track 2 mics and 3 stereo instruments simultaneously thru the UCX itself, run all 8 channels of outboard, connect with firewire in my studio or USB on the road (I prefer firewire over USB) good headphone out, 1 2-ch high quality ADC thru spdif, 2 outs for my monitors, 2 outs to run out to the 2 mono compressors on my mic signal chain (since they both have dual inputs) and coming back in thru the spdif ADC.... oh, and 2 midi channels if I had multiple controllers.

I grew into all of that over time by making methodical purchases, but I had a clear mental picture of the end product I wanted. If you eventually want a setup like that, it's worth getting it now... b/c it's not THAT much more than a new Babyface + ADAT converter.

But if all that is overkill... get a used Babyface/BabyfacePro and a used ADA8000 (maybe have it modded by Black Lion Audio or someone similar, just to be on the safe side).

The UC is a solid option, just it has the previous generation conversion and it's USB only. But it's not like the previous generation conversion was crap lol. I'm pretty confident it won't be a bottleneck.
Old 8th February 2018
  #19
Lives for gear
 
worm's Avatar
 

People have made great music with lesser conversion, dudes.

(just recieved a ucx in the post today :p)
Old 8th February 2018
  #20
Lives for gear
 
login's Avatar
I would go for the UC, yes it is old but it is more than enough, as others RME products it will be supported for many years more, the USB connection makes it future proof. I think since actually, all RME USB interfaces share the same drivers the support will go down the road easily.

It is very stable, clear preamps, lots of I/O, ADAT and the double MIDI port is very useful.

The only reason I would pick the babyface Pro over the UC is if I need something more portable, but for the studio, the UC seems the better choice, the number of extra I/O is just much more important than DSP effects on the babyface.

As for the price of RME products, I will say it is one brand where you actually don't pray a "premium" for the brand name as Apogee or UAD, RME quality is without a doubt even better than those two brands especially when it comes down to drivers and software. The products are feature packed to the teeth: adat, midi, totalmix, DSP, word clock, etc. They are priced very fairly against the competition.

In fact, the EU price for the Fireface UC is IMHO is the best deal around in audio interfaces, in the US it still goes for 1,350 USD.
Old 9th February 2018
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
I would go for the UC, yes it is old but it is more than enough, as others RME products it will be supported for many years more, the USB connection makes it future proof. I think since actually, all RME USB interfaces share the same drivers the support will go down the road easily.

It is very stable, clear preamps, lots of I/O, ADAT and the double MIDI port is very useful.

The only reason I would pick the babyface Pro over the UC is if I need something more portable, but for the studio, the UC seems the better choice, the number of extra I/O is just much more important than DSP effects on the babyface.

As for the price of RME products, I will say it is one brand where you actually don't pray a "premium" for the brand name as Apogee or UAD, RME quality is without a doubt even better than those two brands especially when it comes down to drivers and software. The products are feature packed to the teeth: adat, midi, totalmix, DSP, word clock, etc. They are priced very fairly against the competition.

In fact, the EU price for the Fireface UC is IMHO is the best deal around in audio interfaces, in the US it still goes for 1,350 USD.
I think you're probably right, my setup is only going to grow so I may as well spring for something I wont need to replace in a couple of years. Just need to get past paying so much for something that's a bit old. Anyway, I guess I'll be helping everyone out because as soon as I buy the UC RME will bring out a new version
Old 9th February 2018
  #22
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS View Post
Although the ADAT port on the old BF sounds a tad "vintage" by now.
That means the price on ebay should be doubling very soon
Old 12th February 2018
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
That means the price on ebay should be doubling very soon
Yeah, hold on to it for a few years, prices will skyrocket.
Old 12th February 2018
  #24
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
Could you go with a pcie card instead?...
This seems to have been missed, or perhaps dismissed without comment.
Old 12th February 2018
  #25
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRT_in_WMass View Post
This seems to have been missed, or perhaps dismissed without comment.
Wouldn't that mean I'd have to buy a pre amp as well though? I need at least 2 pairs of stereo outputs.
Old 12th February 2018
  #26
Lives for gear
 
schmuck's Avatar
Some adat boxes (like the mentionned Behringer or Focusrite ones) have preamps built in and their inputs work perfectly for synths/FX. Their outputs are balanced line level so no extra gear needed.

As another poster pointed out though, a babyface offers adat as well, so you can add more ins/outs with it, too.

In my experience, pcie just has better latency, but of course is also a bit more portable. But if not for laptop use, I personally would definitively go pcie.
Old 13th February 2018
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
Some adat boxes (like the mentionned Behringer or Focusrite ones) have preamps built in and their inputs work perfectly for synths/FX. Their outputs are balanced line level so no extra gear needed.

As another poster pointed out though, a babyface offers adat as well, so you can add more ins/outs with it, too.

In my experience, pcie just has better latency, but of course is also a bit more portable. But if not for laptop use, I personally would definitively go pcie.
Thanks for all the advice, really appreciate it. Hadn't considered the ADAT route much, but that actually seems to be my best bet. Bit reluctant to go for PCIE as I'd like the laptop flexibility occasionally BUT I'm really leaning towards the Digiface USB with a couple of those Behringer ADA pre amps hooked up to it. Can have something insane like 16 in X 16 out for about £600.
Old 14th February 2018
  #28
Lives for gear
 
CasimirsBlake's Avatar
 

PCI Express allows for potentially lower latency operation than USB audio interfaces can traditionally provide. But, this being RME, their latency performance via both interfaces is pretty awesome. Is operating a ton of virtual instruments and audio tracks at 32/64 samples really important to you? Well having a PCIex interface may be worth considering. Personally I'm 100% satisfied with my Babyface Pro.
Old 8th March 2018
  #29
Gear Head
 
shooten's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post
Luckily you are missing something. Babyface has ADAT. So you would pair it with an 8channel ADAT converter for the ins/outs. Cheapest recommendation is Behringer ADA8200. I had an ADA8000 and it was solid for synth line-in business. I never used it for effects, so I can't comment. My recommendation would be to look for a used Apogee Rosetta 800. That's the route I took for outboard, I'm very happy with it. I use it for my outboard



I have a UCX. Love it to PIECES!!!! It's great to me b/c it's the foundation for my entire setup. It has enough expandability to last me a very long time. I got it I wanted a UFX but couldn't afford the price tag and couldn't find one used in my price range (I actually saw one go for $600 used about 5 years ago on ebay, I was sooooooooooooo upset I didn't have $600 bucks. I have nightmares thinking about it lmao).

Anyway, it's very nice being able to use an external clock, track 2 mics and 3 stereo instruments simultaneously thru the UCX itself, run all 8 channels of outboard, connect with firewire in my studio or USB on the road (I prefer firewire over USB) good headphone out, 1 2-ch high quality ADC thru spdif, 2 outs for my monitors, 2 outs to run out to the 2 mono compressors on my mic signal chain (since they both have dual inputs) and coming back in thru the spdif ADC.... oh, and 2 midi channels if I had multiple controllers.

I grew into all of that over time by making methodical purchases, but I had a clear mental picture of the end product I wanted. If you eventually want a setup like that, it's worth getting it now... b/c it's not THAT much more than a new Babyface + ADAT converter.

But if all that is overkill... get a used Babyface/BabyfacePro and a used ADA8000 (maybe have it modded by Black Lion Audio or someone similar, just to be on the safe side).

The UC is a solid option, just it has the previous generation conversion and it's USB only. But it's not like the previous generation conversion was crap lol. I'm pretty confident it won't be a bottleneck.
I’ve been eyeing the UCX lately. I’m a little concerned that it’s a 6 year old interface. From what I’ve heard about RME, they support all of their products with SW updates well. I’m replacing a presonus firestudio project that has served me well since 2008. They stopped updating drivers when it went EOL.

I need spdif and many more I/O than the Apollo products. I don’t need more than 2 pre’s with the outboard gear I have. Is it still a good buy? The UFX is a bit out of my wife’s extremely tolerant price range.
Old 8th March 2018
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmuck View Post
Could you go with a pcie card instead? with an RME hdspe AIO you could then add any adat AD/DA unit (e.g. the behringer 8200) and enjoy very low latency when recording outboard...
I've been using one of these for a little over a year now, and it's been fantastic. Tracking at a 32 buffer with no issues. Drivers are solid.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump