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RME Fireface UC - USB Interface

 
 
The UC is essentially a USB version of the FireFace 400. It boasts impressive performance, outstripping even PCIe benchmarks with extremely low latency. Separate firmware is available for both MAC and PC, enabling the UC to be taylored to your system.
 
Product Name: RME Fireface UC - USB Interface
Product Code: RME-FIREFACE UC
Brand: RME
 
RME Fireface UC - USB Interface
 
RRP AUD $2,249.00
You Save AUD $359.84
Our Price AUD $1,889.16
 
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RME Fireface UC usb Interface

Overview

The compact Fireface UC has been uncompromisingly optimized for highest performance under Windows and Mac OS. Based on a newly developed RME Hammerfall core the Fireface UC provides revolutionary ultra-low latencies even with multiple channels. It uses two different firmware versions with different transfer methods to remove current restrictions of typical USB audio interfaces. The unit's operating mode Win or Mac can be changed directly at the unit at any time. Under Mac OS the Fireface's MIDI ports are class compliant, the operating system therefore automatically uses the included MIDI driver.

Under both Operating Systems the available latencies* are simply sensational. The smallest buffer offered under Windows has 48 samples, under Mac OS X 14 samples. With this RME provides a performance previously not available from USB audio interfaces.

Connectivity
  • 18 Input / 18 Output channels
  • 8 x Analog I/O
  • 1 x ADAT I/O or 1 x SPDIF I/O optical
  • 1 x SPDIF I/O coaxial
  • 2 x MIDI I/O
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Word Clock I/O
  • 2 x Mic Preamp with digitally controlled gain
  • TotalMix
Features

The new interface not only makes the leading-edge RME Fireface technology available for every PC and Mac computer, it also provides a unique low-latency concept and a high grade of performance and compatibility, making the dream of the perfect and future-proof mobile pro audio recording solution come true.

The Fireface UC features all of the proven RME analog and digital circuitry. It is the only device in its class with active jitter suppression, enhanced stand-alone functionality and complete controllability from the front panel, highly flexible I/Os in professional quality, and an unsurpassed 648-channel matrix router - at sample rates of up to 192 kHz.

Integrated DSP mixer . All inputs and outputs can be freely mixed, routed, and distributed with RMEĀ“s TotalMix software. Up to 9 totally independent stereo submixes can be set up. Every output channel, and every submix channel can be recorded directly and without external cable loops. TotalMix can be completely MIDI remote controlled. The DSP-based hardware calculates RMS and Peak levels for all channels, without causing any significant CPU load.

Analog I/O . Eight analog inputs and outputs (all balanced, except outputs 7/8) with software controlled reference levels (-10 dBV, +4 dBu, Lo/HiGain), realized discretely in the analog domain, ensure highest dynamic range and fidelity. Inputs 5 to 8 on the rear feature RME's proven level references, -10 dBV, +4 dBu and Lo Gain can be selected in the settings dialog, equivalent to +2 dBV, +13 dBu and +19 dBu for digital full scale. The same applies to the balanced rear analog outputs 1 to 6. The hi-power phones output offers high volumes even with low-impedance headphones.

Preamps . The Fireface UC features 2 balanced microphone inputs with a digitally controlled input stage, individually switchable 48V phantom power, and Neutrik Combo connectors for XLR and TRS. These can also be used as additional line inputs. A pre-amplification of up to 65 dB (adjustable in 1 dB-steps over a range of 55 dB), exceptional EIN (Equivalent Input Noise) performance even at low pre amplification settings, and extremely low THD+N let these preamps surpass many reference devices. All level settings are 100% reproducible and can also be comfortably adjusted by software. Inputs 3 and 4 are flexible universal balanced inputs. They operate exactly like inputs 5 to 8 on the rear and can be adjusted to accept standard studio input levels (+4 dBu, LoGain). The input impedance can be switched from line (10 kOhm) to instrument (470 kOhm), and offers an additional analog input amplification of up to 18 dB in steps of 0.5 dB.

Digital I/O . One ADAT I/O provides digital connection to mixers and converters. In combination with an ADI-8 DS/QS or OctaMic II, there are up to 16 analog inputs (respectively 12 @ 96 kHz). The coaxial SPDIF I/O (up to 192 kHz) is fully AES/EBU compatible. SPDIF can also be accessed through the optical I/O.

Word Clock and MIDI . A Word Clock input and output plus two MIDI I/Os (special breakout cable included) complete the list of features and turn the Fireface UC into an entire audio system of the highest quality.

More Features:
  • Sample rates up to 192 kHz on all I/Os (including 2 ADAT channels with SMUX4)
  • Two digitally controlled Mic Preamps in high-end quality
  • Two balanced universal inputs for line and instrument signals
  • SteadyClock for maximum jitter suppression and clock refresh
  • Enhanced stand-alone operation with rotary encoder and front panel display
  • TotalMix: 648-channel mixer with 42-bit internal resolution
  • 54 Level Meter Peak/RMS, hardware-calculated
* Minimal latencies are not guaranteed as they depend on the specific computer and application.


Tested Systems - Fireface UC System Compatibility:

General Information

The following pages present the results of compatibility tests carried out by a number of users of the Fireface UC prior to general sales start. In the interest of clarity, only the most important information is shown here, while details can be found in the RME Forum

The results of these tests can be summed up as follows:

Mac OS X

Exceptional performance on par with PCI. Buffer sizes down to 32 samples can be used in practice with CPU loads close to 100%. There are two reasons: Most Mac Intel hardware is up to date, and works quite well with USB on a hardware level. Furthermore, Apple did a good job with USB Audio, ensuring great performance and stability inside OSX and Core Audio. Microsoft could well take a page from Apple's book here...

Windows

USB 2.0 can be found on Wintel machines since 2002, but the first generations of USB controllers did not work quite as well as required for realtime audio. Although PCs from around 2003 (e.g. Intel 875 with P4 CPU) work well with the Fireface UC in principle, a simple stereo playback already causes a CPU load around 30%. Latencies below 256 samples are not always click-free even with small applications. Close examination revealed that this CPU load is in fact a hidden DPC latency. Apparently, the interface chip works inefficiently, and causes wait states for the CPU.

This behaviour occurs regardless of the driver and operating system. Intel seem to have identified the problem with the ICH7. Modern PCs with ICH8, 9, and 10 exhibit an excellent USB performance in principle, and mostly feature Core 2 Duo CPUs, assuring ample processing power. Current Netbooks usually feature ICH7 controllers, ensuring general compatibility, but the slow Atom CPU causes a fairly high load even with simple stereo playback, which is often also the case with the internal sound chip. Older AMD and ATI based PCs frequently have disastrous USB interfaces, which prove to be totally incompatible with the Fireface UC.

Based on the above findings, and to avoid any disappointment for our customers, the system requirements for full operation of the Fireface UC have been strictly set to at least a Core 2 Duo CPU, which is mostly accompanied by recent USB controllers. Older PCs may work, as shown in our list, but with certain restrictions. Whether or not these are acceptable is something each customer can only decide for himself.

In short: The Fireface UC is a brand-new product of the year 2009, i.e. with latest technology, and works best with current computers.

All Windows versions from XP SP2 will work, since SP2 featured improved USB support. On the Mac, Mac OS X 10.5 is required, since the Fireface UC uses certain OS functionalities which did not exist in earlier versions.

But even the latest computer may fail if it is ill-configured. This applies to notebooks mostly, whose default configuration is often insufficient, which can not be significantly improved without special driver or BIOS updates. This not only affects the Fireface UC, but any audio interface.

Comments on the compatibility statements

Achievable performance (and the subsequent degree of compatibility) is classified in three categories.
  • Compatible (everything works, occasional clicks require further computer optimization)
  • Compatible with limited performance (older computers with increased CPU load)
  • Not compatible

    Users were asked to specify the lowest usable latency in practice. Since various users' applications are different, there may be varying statements for similar computer hardware. Large projects with high CPU load require higher latencies. On the other hand, a statement of 256 samples does not mean that smaller projects might not work well with lower latencies.

    Many of the notebooks listed only reach good performance after massive system tuning (true for any audio interface). Details can be found on the RME Forum.

    For a comprehensive list of compatible notebooks and desktops (both MAC and PC), please click on the following links:

  • PC Laptops
  • PC Desktops
  • MAC Laptops
  • MAC Desktops

  • RME Fireface UC usb Interface

    Specifications:


    Input AD: 6 x 1/4" TRS (4 x Line, 2 x Line/Instrument), 2 x XLR/TRS Combo connector (2 x Mic/Line), all servo-balanced.

    Output DA: 6 x 1/4" TRS, servo-balanced, DC-coupled signal path. 1 x 1/4" TRS unbalanced

    Input Digital: 1 x ADAT optical or SPDIF optical, SPDIF coaxial (AES/EBU compatible)

    Output Digital: 1 x ADAT optical or SPDIF optical, SPDIF coaxial (AES/EBU compatible)

    MIDI: 2 x MIDI I/O via breakout cable (4 x 5-pin DIN jacks), for 32 channels low jitter hi-speed MIDI

    Dynamic range AD: 110 dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA

    THD AD: < -100 dB (< 0.001 %)

    THD+N AD: < -98 dB (< 0.0012 %)

    Crosstalk AD: > 110 dB

    Dynamic range DA: 110 dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA (unmuted)

    THD DA: -100 dB (0.001 %)

    THD+N DA: -96 dB (0.0015 %)

    Crosstalk DA: > 110 dB

    Input/Output level for 0 dBFS @ Hi Gain: +19 dBu

    Input/Output level for 0 dBFS @ +4 dBu: +13 dBu

    Input/Output level for 0 dBFS @ -10 dBV: +2 dBV

    Sample rate internally: 32, 44.1, 48, 64, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 128, 176.4, 192 kHz

    Sample rate externally: 28 kHz - 200 kHz

    Frequency response AD/DA, -0.1 dB: 5 Hz - 20.4 kHz (sf 44.1 kHz)

    Frequency response AD/DA, -0.5 dB: 1 Hz - 43.3 kHz (sf 96 kHz)

    Frequency response AD/DA, -1 dB: 1 Hz - 80 kHz (sf 192 kHz)



    Driver support

    Windows XP (from SP2), Vista, Vista 64, 7: Full ASIO multi-client operation of WDM and ASIO 2.0. WDM (DirectSound) with stereo and multi-Channel support. Mac OS X (10.5 or higher) Intel: Core Audio, Core MIDI.



    Accessories

    19" Rackmounts:
      Rackmount RM-19
      Rackmount adaptor to mount half 19" RME units into a 19" rack: RME Fireface 400, Multiface 2, ADI-2. Just remove the factory-mounts and replace them with the RM19.

      Unirack 19 II
      19"/1U Universal Rackmount Unit for non 19" units like e. g.: RME Multiface, Multiface II, Quadmic, ADI-2, Fireface 400, ADI-4 DD and many other units. We updated some of the drill-hole's positions, reduced weight, removed rear "teeth". The sheet material is much leaner than at the MK-I version. The oplong slits on the back are designed to be used as strain-relief by using cable-straps, the ones before can be used to mount e. g. AC-adaptors on the UNIRACK 19/II.