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Is another Audio-Interface like RME better? Why? How can I hear the preamp? Audio Interfaces
Old 5 days ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Is another Audio-Interface like RME better? Why? How can I hear the preamp?

Hi,

I am using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 1st Generation since years and I'd like to know what exactly the difference is to high end interfaces like the RME Fireface UCX.

At first: I record with 44khz and I don't care much about latency. I can live with an interface with 1 input (XLR phantom powered and jack for instruments).

I also thought about purchasing a Steinberg UR12 because of their "Class-A D-PRE Mic Preamp" developed by Yamaha. Would there be a hearable improvement if recording with a Steinberg UR12 instead of recording with the Focusrite? For instance, vocals or acoustic guitars with a TLM103? Or a clean electric guitar?

The specs of the Focusrite AD Converter is
Quote:
ADC-dynamic 105 dB (A-weighted),
all inputs dynamic of the A/D-converter 114 dB

Noise In 120 dB (measured at 55 dB Gain with 150 Ohm and 20 Hz/22 kHz-bandpass filter)
The data of the UR12 is also around 100dB.


The RME Fireface UCX is more expensive. They state

Quote:
Microphone/Line 1-2, front
as AD Line In 5-8, but:

Input: Neutrik XLR/TRS Combo jack, electronically balanced
Input impedance: XLR 2 kOhm, TRS 8 kOhm balanced
Signal to Noise ratio (SNR): 112 dB RMS unweighted, 115 dBA
Low Roll Off -0.5 dB: 18 Hz, -1 dB: 12 Hz
Gain range: 0 dB, +10 up to +65 dB
Maximum input level XLR, Gain 0 dB: +10 dBu
Maximum input level XLR, Gain 65 dB: -55 dBu
Maximum input level TRS, Gain +0 dB: +21 dBu
Maximum input level TRS, Gain +65 dB: -44 dBu
CLIP LED: 0 dBFS
SIG LED: -60 dBFS
Now what does this mean? RME 115 dBA, Focusrite 114dB?

Would there be a hearable improvement if recording with a RME Fireface UCX instead of recording with the Focusrite? For instance, vocals or acoustic guitars with a TLM103? Or a clean electric guitar?


Professionals always say "it's about the preamp". How can I hear a difference? Does it make sense for me to buy the UR12? Why the RME Fireface UCX?
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post
Hi,

I am using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 1st Generation since years and I'd like to know what exactly the difference is to high end interfaces like the RME Fireface UCX.

At first: I record with 44khz and I don't care much about latency. I can live with an interface with 1 input (XLR phantom powered and jack for instruments).

I also thought about purchasing a Steinberg UR12 because of their "Class-A D-PRE Mic Preamp" developed by Yamaha. Would there be a hearable improvement if recording with a Steinberg UR12 instead of recording with the Focusrite? For instance, vocals or acoustic guitars with a TLM103? Or a clean electric guitar?

The specs of the Focusrite AD Converter is

The data of the UR12 is also around 100dB.


The RME Fireface UCX is more expensive. They state


Now what does this mean? RME 115 dBA, Focusrite 114dB?

Would there be a hearable improvement if recording with a RME Fireface UCX instead of recording with the Focusrite? For instance, vocals or acoustic guitars with a TLM103? Or a clean electric guitar?


Professionals always say "it's about the preamp". How can I hear a difference? Does it make sense for me to buy the UR12? Why the RME Fireface UCX?
RME and Focusrite are similar quality soudn wise. Higher price does not always equal better sound quality.
Old 1 day ago
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
RME and Focusrite are similar quality soudn wise. Higher price does not always equal better sound quality.
Thank you for our reply. So why is it more expensive then? The Fireface UCX can do more or less the same as the Focusrite 2i2 can do...
Old 1 day ago
  #4
Gear Head
There are several factors that all play a role when it comes to interfaces, preamps are just one part.

Driver stability, longevity, Product support, functionality, converters (in some cases), number of I/O... The list goes on. RME is well known för being incredibly stable, aswell as supporting their products for a long time, even after being discontinued.

And fwiw, RME do sound better then Scarletts.
Old 1 day ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yule View Post
There are several factors that all play a role when it comes to interfaces, preamps are just one part.

Driver stability, longevity, Product support, functionality, converters (in some cases), number of I/O... The list goes on. RME is well known för being incredibly stable, aswell as supporting their products for a long time, even after being discontinued.

And fwiw, RME do sound better then Scarletts.
Thank you for your reply.

So what is the reason exactly that make the RME sound better than the Scarletts?
Old 1 day ago
  #6
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post
Thank you for your reply.

So what is the reason exactly that make the RME sound better than the Scarletts?
Converters, i would assume. Atleast if you are talking about playback.
Old 1 day ago
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yule View Post
Converters, i would assume. Atleast if you are talking about playback.
So no significant difference when recording right?

By playback you mean the DA converters?
Old 1 day ago
  #8
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post
So no significant difference when recording right?

By playback you mean the DA converters?
There is, but that is a combination of better conversion aswell as preamps.

Yes, although the AD stage is better aswell.
Old 1 day ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post
Thank you for our reply. So why is it more expensive then? The Fireface UCX can do more or less the same as the Focusrite 2i2 can do...
The 2i2 is a 2 in/2 out interface with 2 mic pre's and no ADAT. The UCX is an 8 in/6 out interface with 2 mic pre's, ADAT in and ADAT out for an additional 8 channels in and out, and built-in DSP effects. Of course it is going to cost more. Also RME has a long history of very stable and well supported drivers.
Old 21 hours ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post
Thank you for our reply. So why is it more expensive then? The Fireface UCX can do more or less the same as the Focusrite 2i2 can do...
The RME has more features. Converter wise it's about the same quality though.
Old 15 hours ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

Thank you all

I forgot of course the RME has more features.
Old 15 hours ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
Don't forget. Both Focusrite and RME have different quality units, but there are more than these brands. Don't forget Audient, Universal Audio, Antelope, Apogee, etc...all have their own benefits and specialities.

I.e.
- Universal audio have great plugins you can run befor they hit your conputer. The prices are premium tho
- Audient is british, have good preamps and sound great too. Simple interface
- RME are high quality, super stable drivers. Whilst their totalmix software is hard at first, its great to work with it. Also, they have a lot of aolutions for when your setup is slightly different (i use RME adat interface and hook up lots of different preamps)
- Behringer; cheap, not too bad, good option if you want extra inputs that don't have to be top notch (like old digital synths/chiptune etc)

Its maybe much to take in, but if you are spending the money, be sure you get what you want. If you want to expand later, think about that closely, i did it wrong, luckily, rme had the digiface :-)
Old 13 hours ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Alex_HS's Avatar
The main difference between RME and most other manufacturers (both cheap and expensive).

Goggle translation of the article's part from the Russian site, everything is described correctly.

Quote:
RME Audio is a German manufacturer of professional audio equipment. For readers who have never heard or come across RME products, it is worth making a separate explanation. Since the price of the RME interfaces is significantly higher than, say, the popular cheap “German” M-Audio or Steinberg interfaces, some colleagues make the assumption that, most likely, RME does almost the same thing inside, only “much cooler sound” . In Russia, RME has long been positioned as a very expensive and prestigious Hi-End equipment brand, while also a panacea for all possible technical problems of the studio. Meanwhile, the main difference between RME and the products of mass brands in the internal architecture, capabilities and tasks.

Initially, the RME interfaces appeared as an alternative to the traditional approach of the same M-Audio, when a finished third-party digital chip is taken and several digital and analog channels are hung on it. The driver is taken ready, from the chip manufacturer. The downside is that chip developers have a vague idea of ​​the tasks of musicians, and some abstract M-Audio, with all their desire, cannot influence the chip supplier. As a result, the tasks of a musician or a broadcast worker are not taken into account at all. You can not create a device for a specific task and you can not add any additional function. Also, if DSP is used for internal digital mixing, there will always be a large delay in the signal. This is not so scary for the recording studio, although even there it does not cause joy. But for broadcasters it is generally not acceptable, as there is an unpredictable out-of-sync video and audio.

From the very beginning, RME interfaces were the antithesis of all existing low-cost (by professional standards) solutions. In the architecture of any interface RME is FPGA. This is a programmable transistor array, the logic of which is 100% determined by the user, not the chip manufacturer. FGPA has unlimited flexibility in signal routing and zero signal transmission delay, even if you need to process a hundred channels simultaneously. In FPGA, such processing will be parallel and instantaneous, since there is no command queue and memory, as in traditional DSPs. That is, the signal passes faster a thousand times, with zero processing delay. Cons FPGA - the complexity of the development of hardware and drivers, high cost. Obviously, it makes little sense to use FPGA if the standard task is to record and play back 2 channels. Although a win is possible here, if you need a higher stability of work, since the company RME itself develops drivers and has more opportunities to debug them.

Also, the strongest side of RME interfaces is that they help to bundle into a single complex a huge amount of equipment that already exists in recording studios and broadcasters. In this case, there are problems of general time synchronization of work, mixing and routing of a huge number of channels in real time. Another possibility is the autonomous operation of the interface, without a computer. If you bring control to the iPad, then the RME interface can successfully replace the digital mixing console. Moreover, according to the capabilities and sound quality, the RME interface can give odds to any console for the same price.
Old 11 hours ago
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post

So what is the reason exactly that make the RME sound better than the Scarletts?
don't forget that UCX are made in Germany while Scarletts are made in China. It doesn't change the sound but costs are not the same
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