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Fireface UFX Black lion premium mod
Old 25th November 2011
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Fireface UFX Black lion premium mod

Just got my Fireface UFX with the black lion premium mod,

I have a mytek, and apogee d/a, not sure that i'll be keeping those anymore

Very happy with it!

Anyone else take the plunge?
Old 26th November 2011
  #2
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dandeurloo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I would love to hear some feedback as well. I have been considering the UFX and getting it upgraded. Not many interfaces out there with that kind of flexibility. Just need to get the sound quality up to the 002 mod or better and I'm in.
Old 26th November 2011
  #3
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Audio Hombre's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i'm curious as to just how much of an "improvement" these bla mods make? they sure didn't add up to any noticeable improvement in this cats test
Old 26th November 2011
  #4
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_Ludovico's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Interested, but what kind of mod are we talking about?
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #5
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dandeurloo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Hombre View Post
i'm curious as to just how much of an "improvement" these bla mods make? they sure didn't add up to any noticeable improvement in this cats test

Not sure but the difference was night and day with my 002. The Sign. Mod is very nice and well worth it. That's my problem now. I need to find something that wont be a downgrade in sonics form it. I hope the UFX can compete because it is much better as far as I/O then the 002.
Old 26th November 2011
  #6
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DUB13's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not sure about this mod, but I recently purchased a FF UFX (3 weeks ago)
Amazing unit. Previously used apogee and ssl converters. These really are quality I am very happy so far. Total mix Fx software is great too
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio Hombre View Post
i'm curious as to just how much of an "improvement" these bla mods make? they sure didn't add up to any noticeable improvement in this cats test
I cracked the lid to take a look,

everything is bigger, hahahaha,

but in all seriousness, a lot of the caps and opamps are replaced, how could their not be an improvement, if upgrade to $5 opamps, vs $1 opamps, usually their is a reason for the price upgrade, i'm not saying this is the price difference with the UFX, but you get my drift,

Much better lower mids and bottom end after the mods,

If your philosphy was true, then an stock m-audio fast track pro should be as good as a mytek / lavry, but it's far from it.

After the mod, the UFX is definately in that territory,
My friends Orpheus is nice, but this is now just as nice ;-)
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandeurloo View Post
Not sure but the difference was night and day with my 002. The Sign. Mod is very nice and well worth it. That's my problem now. I need to find something that wont be a downgrade in sonics form it. I hope the UFX can compete because it is much better as far as I/O then the 002.
the BLA team are confident the UFX is the stuff, I trust their word on it,
the 002 / 003 are anything but special before their mods, and afterwards, even some of the top fella's in hollywood are using it to send out to their outboard gear,

Long live the Black Lion, they rock
Old 26th November 2011
  #9
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
what apogee do you have one from the 80s? there is no way a FF sounds better than any apogee made in the last 10 years. BLA must have redesigned before modding it. The analog section of those things is worse than the converter. also what mytek do you have? the adc96 is not great but? RME? isn't the UFX the latest model? and they mod it ?
for $2000 + mod why not just buy a good converter to start with? An Alesis HDR is better than the RME stuff unmodded
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
what apogee do you have one from the 80s?
there is no way a FF sounds better than any apogee made in the last 10 years.
BLA must have redesigned before modding it. The analog section of those things is
worse than the converter. also what mytek do you have?
the adc96 is not great but? RME?
I have a STereo 192 ADC and a apogee DA16X,

yeah, I went out on a limb... but considering how they polished the turd of a 192 into something that even Tony Maserati trusts... (BTW I preffer the stock UFX then the 192) so you can see that the analog path and opamps make a massive difference once upgraded...

AT the end of the day, most these guys are using the same crystals, so upgrade the audio path, and things clean up real nice
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
for $2000 + mod why not just buy a good converter to start with? An Alesis HDR is better than the RME stuff unmodded
If you'd used a RME UFX and are a composer / mixer / mobile recording engineer,
you'd appreciate how mind blowingly excellent the RME UFX is,

12 a/d - d/ a 16 ADAT in / out, 2 independant headphone outs,

Every input has eq / compression / reverb, and every single output can have a unique mix,

For recording bands, it's a dream that I really can't describe,

AND GUESS what else, hahaha, if your computer crashes while tracking that million dollar take, you always have a pen drive plugged into the front of the UFX, it keeps recording, and the band keeps monitoring, EQ / comp reverb all untouched...

I really really really can't descibre how amazing this unit is,


the black lion mods bring it absolutely up to par with my mytek,

me happy ;-)
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #12
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by laddie.music2 View Post
I have a STereo 192 ADC and a apogee DA16X,
16x is a fine unit it got the bigben built in


Quote:
Originally Posted by laddie.music2 View Post
yeah, I went out on a limb... but considering how they polished the turd of a 192 into something that even Tony Maserati trusts
I don't know who Tony Maserati is does he build converters?
mytek 192 adc is a nice converter too, it needs no mods

Quote:
Originally Posted by laddie.music2 View Post
... (BTW I preffer the stock UFX then the 192) so you can see that the analog path and opamps make a massive difference once upgraded...
wow they upgrade the opamps?
the biggest issue with RME stuff along with the opamps and line sections is the power supplies
but the analog sections are horrendous, like behringer

Quote:
Originally Posted by laddie.music2 View Post
AT the end of the day, most these guys are using the same crystals, so upgrade the audio path, and things clean up real nice
yeah and they use the same 6061-t6 for ears and the same anodized finishes, to bad they all don't have the same designers
Old 26th November 2011
  #13
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🎧 10 years
Apogee and mytek are beautiful!, i agree,

Functionality of the UFX is amazing, that's it's strong point, it has plenty of digital in and out if you wish to use external converters, which is great,

Tony Maserati mixes a few gems like Beyonce and the usual suspects,


Point is, if you can mod such a flexible unit that can be portable in a 1 unit rack, to sound in the league of apogee etc... then why not, it's money well spent,


I rely on low latency drivers too, RME's mixers / latency drivers are unbeatable.

again... right now... I don't feel a need to use my apogee's etc... we'll see in a few months, maybe i'll change my mind after the honeymoon
Old 26th November 2011
  #14
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🎧 15 years
RME UFX here! this stuff was recorded with a mackie 24-8 into a UFX mixed very quickly! click on CISSY STRUT!!!! Hallertau | Albany, NY | Rock / Funk / Jam Band | Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos | ReverbNation
Old 26th November 2011
  #15
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_Ludovico's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
From BLA website :


Quote:
There are two different modifications available for the RME Fireface UFX:

The RME Fireface UFX Basic Mod is $575 and consists of an analog stage op-amp upgrade as well as converter decoupling on both the A/D and D/A sides. The drastic difference after the mod is analogous to the effect of comparing regular flat and pixilated video to the vivid sharpness and dimension of High Definition.

The UFX Premium Modification includes the same upgrades as the Basic mod, but instead uses higher-grade op-amps that elevate the D/A to a startling new level. The op-amp we’ve chosen brings an increased clarity to the low- and low-mid EQ, while adding dimension and spatial separation in the mid-high bands.
We also replace the input and output signal path capacitors with premium audio grade electrolytic caps, which dramatically improve the bass response, and smooth out the high end to deliver a sound that’s warm, true and distinctively responsive. We use the same caps for the converter decoupling as we do in our esteemed 003R Signature modification. The UFX Premium Mod is only $750, and we feel is the best sounding of all the modifications within this performance range (Ensemble, UFX, and SSL).
That's a bit crazy!!!!

I don't like that kind of hyperbole. Just like guys who mod amps, they always try to make you think you've never heard your amp until you get this mod, that the whole thing is gonna turn into an angry beast rocking the sh&/t out of your soul, when in fact it's very subtle. And worse, if it's in fact NOT subtle at all, you might just end up plain disapointed.

Exaggerations of this kind are a bit of a turn off for me...
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #16
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
what apogee do you have one from the 80s? there is no way a FF sounds better than any apogee made in the last 10 years. BLA must have redesigned before modding it. The analog section of those things is worse than the converter. also what mytek do you have? the adc96 is not great but? RME? isn't the UFX the latest model? and they mod it ?
for $2000 + mod why not just buy a good converter to start with? An Alesis HDR is better than the RME stuff unmodded

You have obviously never used the UFX. You have made this painfully clear! I sold my Fireface 800 years ago never satisfied with its sound. The UFX is a different beast. Better pres, AD and DA all the way around. I can only imagine with properly intergrated Op Amp upgrades and power supply tweaks it would be among the best out there! You should listen too one first!
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ludovico View Post
From BLA website :




That's a bit crazy!!!!

I don't like that kind of hyperbole. Just like guys who mod amps, they always try to make you think you've never heard your amp until you get this mod, that the whole thing is gonna turn into an angry beast rocking the sh&/t out of your soul, when in fact it's very subtle. And worse, if it's in fact NOT subtle at all, you might just end up plain disapointed.

Exaggerations of this kind are a bit of a turn off for me...
Yeah I kind of agree, even though I got the mods done...

I had exactly those sentaments, but heck, in the world of audio, higher quality parts, do equate to clearer sound, and when we are dealing with converters.... clearer is alwasy better,

with guitar amps, mic / preamps, I don't neccessarily agree, as neve, api etc all use quite cheapish parts on the resistor / cap side, but I wouldn't change anything out ever!!!, if cheap parts make these things sound the way they do, then I love every part that's in em....

Subtle??, in the case of BLA mods, deifnately not subtle, just beautiful
Old 26th November 2011
  #18
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dandeurloo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I can't speak for the UFX mod but the Sign 002 mod is like that for sure! Very stunning. I got rid of my Rosseta 800 after the mod.

The thing I love about the UFX is like posted above. Its has incredible I/O and the RME drivers are rock solid. Could be the thing to get if the BLA mods can get the Audio up to par.

Right now I am really on the hunt for something that can have much more I/O options then the BLA 002 but sound as good or better.

The other cool thing about the UFX or something like it. I can use my great sounding BLA 002 convertors as stand alone ADAT convertors in conjunction with it (002 only, sorry 003 guys). So I would only be gaining I/O and could still use my BLA investment.
Old 26th November 2011
  #19
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Avening's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
All this talk is subjective anyways, guys. Well, at least it is to me (FWIW).

Any work I've done has been passed around from 192's, to Apogee AD/DA's, to RME's, to whatever else. All sounds the same to me. The only times I have ever really been taken in by how bad something sounded was listening to the old MBox 1 when Digidesign released it all those years ago. As for the rest of them, who cares. I have a 192 I/O, I have a UFX too. In a blind test, I couldn't tell you which one I was working on. Same goes for the digi's and the apogees. Even in that MBox challenge test that Avid did recently, I was one of the individuals that didn't hear much difference at all. Not so much that I'd be inhibited by using any of the tested units.

Convertors or interfaces that have a very pronounced "wow" factor really throw me off. And not in a good way. Especially from the DA side of things. Same effect as listening to a set of high end stereo speakers compared to a set of NS10's. The NS10's sound bad for a reason, and of course the stereo speakers are going to sound more "clear" with "better high end" and "tighter lows", and whatever superlatives you'd generally use. But what is really telling the true story?

I'd be willing to bet if one was to set up an 8-channel mytek (or lynx or apogee, ect) on an 8 channel bucket of an SSL, then on the adjacent bucket set up the UFX, it would take people a long time of mixing to hear any difference (if they did at all). I know I wouldn't.

We can talk specs until we're blue in the face, but the bind listening test are really the proof in the pudding. It seems when people know what they're listening to , they have great accuracy. However, when the blindfolds come on, people's accuracy goes down the hole ... drastically. Same happens with your other senses. Ever seen a very esteemed and seasoned chef be blindfolded and have to describe something they taste? It's hilarious how they mess up even the most basic foods.

Happy UFX owner here.

Anyways, YMMV.
Old 26th November 2011
  #20
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dandeurloo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I agree that once you are working on high end convertors that is what you need. But the 002 was by no means "High end", now it is very nice. I still work at a few different studios and they have Mytek and apogee and one uses a few RME's. I personally like the BLA 002 and the Myteks the best. But we get good work done on all of them.

But yes we should hear some before and afters of the UFX. I wonder how much clocking gets fixed in it. I know that was a huge difference in the Sign 002 mod. That and the extra PSU for the Audio paths. They completely rebuild those 002's into something very cool. Not sure how much can be done in the UFX 1U chassis.
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #21
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
You have obviously never used the UFX. You have made this painfully clear! I sold my Fireface 800 years ago never satisfied with its sound. The UFX is a different beast. Better pres, AD and DA all the way around. I can only imagine with properly intergrated Op Amp upgrades and power supply tweaks it would be among the best out there! You should listen too one first!
I should listen to one first, I think you mean. but I just don't see why a 2000 interface needs upgrade?
I hope it's better than FF800. I will check it out, I bet it's marvelous The only problem is, If I like the UMX and purchase one I will have to get it modded too. To hear what you guys are hearing. Thanks for the tip and sorry for the confusion
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #22
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by laddie.music2 View Post
Functionality of the UFX is amazing, that's it's strong point, it has plenty of digital in and out if you wish to use external converters, which is great,
RME always has lot of features in their units, comparably to other brands, agreed


Quote:
Originally Posted by laddie.music2 View Post
I rely on low latency drivers too, RME's mixers / latency drivers are unbeatable.
yeah they always have good driver support
Old 26th November 2011
  #23
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DR Music's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
UFX mod f$&king rocks!!!
I'm almost to having enough to buy the unit a month or two away..
Then I'm dropping it off at BLA!!!!
It's the only mod that is as good as the 003 sig mod!!!! And that's amazing?
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #24
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dandeurloo View Post
I agree that once you are working on high end convertors that is what you need. But the 002 was by no means "High end", now it is very nice. I still work at a few different studios and they have Mytek and apogee and one uses a few RME's. I personally like the BLA 002 and the Myteks the best. But we get good work done on all of them.

But yes we should hear some before and afters of the UFX. I wonder how much clocking gets fixed in it. I know that was a huge difference in the Sign 002 mod. That and the extra PSU for the Audio paths. They completely rebuild those 002's into something very cool. Not sure how much can be done in the UFX 1U chassis.
people always claim RME is as good as apogee or lynx so now they ungraded their line to UMX so now,
RME shoud be better than than apogee or lynx? is that what some are claiming.

I will say the FF800 & ADI series are not 1/2 as good as apogee rosetta and about a 1/3 as good as the c777 based stuff. They are not as good as lynx. Maybe the UFX are now as good as apogee or lynx, but I doubt it. the ADI and FF series were about as bad as 002 just a little worse

What I don't understand is a new supposedly better product UFX ,needs modifications? I don't get it?
If it's better than FF800 or ADI series, it just proves how bad those are. Since if a stock UMX is better than them
and now the 'new' BLA mod makes them even better, they must ave been bad 2 fold. It has to one or the other

by the way, lynx is not as good as apogee Rosetta. An aurora is about as good as the older Rosetta AD units from 10 years ago. Which is good and still better than FF or ADI series. I am curious about UFX but still very skeptical especially if it needs modification. Ironically BLA doesn't mod lynx, Mytek or any apogee products since they simply don't need modification. they are already professional level.

whatabout the new BLA products like Sparrow, does BLA have a mod for those?
Old 26th November 2011
  #25
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DR Music's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by laddie.music2 View Post
Just got my Fireface UFX with the black lion premium mod,

I have a mytek, and apogee d/a, not sure that i'll be keeping those anymore

Very happy with it!

Anyone else take the plunge?
Congrats brother!!!!
That's some serious converter power there!!
Beautiful!!!
You have the MKll MicroClock?
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #26
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Avening's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
I am curious about UFX but still very skeptical especially if it needs modification. Ironically BLA doesn't mod lynx, Mytek or any apogee products since they simply don't need modification. they are already professional level.

whatabout the new BLA products like Sparrow, does BLA have a mod for those?
The UFX does not need modification at all. Some will choose to do it, and all the power to them, but it doesn't require modification to sound good, or to "hang" with all the others mentioned.

And BLA does mod Apogee, and I think they also mod Lynx. They just don't advertise it. Give them an email, and they will mod just about anything you send their way. It's nothing to do with something being "professional level". One of BLA's claims to fame was the FM192 convertor based of the Digidesign 192 I/O (already one of the most widely used professional convertors on the planet). If those guys pop the top on an interface and can hit it with a soldering iron, they will mod it. Whether or not it's worth it to you is your choice. If it were me I'd put the money in another preamp or a mic. But I'm fine with any convertor around the $2K-4K area anyways.
Old 26th November 2011
  #27
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DR Music's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avening View Post
The UFX does not need modification at all. Some will choose to do it, and all the power to them, but it doesn't require modification to sound good, or to "hang" with all the others mentioned.

And BLA does mod Apogee, and I think they also mod Lynx. They just don't advertise it. Give them an email, and they will mod just about anything you send their way. It's nothing to do with something being "professional level". One of BLA's claims to fame was the FM192 convertor based of the Digidesign 192 I/O (already one of the most widely used professional convertors on the planet). If those guys pop the top on an interface and can hit it with a soldering iron, they will mod it. Whether or not it's worth it to you is your choice. If it were me I'd put the money in another preamp or a mic. But I'm fine with any convertor around the $2K-4K area anyways.
Black Lion Audio's
Sparrow A/D are the BEST! Hands down. They also have a unbelievable flexible Compressor and EQ that competes with anything in anyone's rack!! There 2ch Autuer Pre is no slacker. The PM8 summing mixer is also VERY competitive! I'd listen to them over you ANY day!
If they don't think something makes a very very good improvement they don't bother.. Their is about 550 audio interfaces out there they only bother with about 15-20.
So if they have a mod it WILL sound better!!
Peace
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #28
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5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DR Music View Post
Give them an email, and they will mod just about anything
well yeah do you think they would turn down a chance to make money?
they drolly would mod a carburetor if you asked them too
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #29
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Avening's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DR Music View Post
I'd listen to them over you ANY day!
I was just saying that the UFX is already a good sounding interface. If a BLA mod tickles your fancy, than by all means. I just don't have any experience with BLA modded gear, so I'd be talking out my a$$ if I commented on how they change the sound
Old 26th November 2011 | Show parent
  #30
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Audio Hombre's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
The UFX is a different beast. Better pres, AD and DA all the way around.
dude, the ufx uses the same IC chip as all of the fireface stuff as well as many all in one boxes. just regular Ti pga2500's .. gotta always beware hyperbole on the interdweebs
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