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RME Fireface 400 FireWire Audio Interface

Manage and sync your digital inputs and outputs and achieve a new level of sonic precision and clarity with the RME Fireface 400. (30) Read 4 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
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RME Fireface 400 FireWire Interface

RMEs Fireface 800 revolutionized the world of FireWire audio interfaces. Now the revolution continues: The Fireface 400 is not just the little brother of the Fireface 800 -- it is a completely newly designed device. It is the only device in its class with active jitter suppression, stand-alone functionality, complete controllability from the front panel, highly flexible I/Os in professional quality, and an unsurpassed 648-channel matrix router -- at sample rates up to 192 kHz.

As usual, RME offer a host of sophisticated features and characteristics with the fastest Firewire technology.

Features:

- 2 digitally controlled Mic Preamps in high-end quality
- 2 balanced universal inputs for line and instrument signals
- SteadyClock for maximum jitter suppression and clock refresh
- Simple stand-alone operation with rotary encoder and front panel display
- 54 Level Meter Peak/RMS, hardware-calculated
- Full mobility by Bus Power support
- DIGICheck, RME's unique meter and analysis tool
- TotalMix: 648-channel mixer with 42-bit internal resolution

The DSP-based TotalMix mixer allows fully independent routing and mixing of all 18 input and output channels to all 18 physical outputs. Up to 9 totally independent stereo sub-mixes simply mean unrivalled monitoring facilities. Copy/paste of routings, ganging and group-based operation of faders, and the extraordinary Matrix window are just some of the mixer's unique features. The mixer can be completely MIDI controlled, even in stand-alone operation. Furthermore the DSP hardware calculates RMS and Peak levels for all 54 audio channels, without causing any significant CPU load.

A word clock input and output (BNC) plus two MIDI I/Os (breakout cable, 5-pin DIN) complete the analog/digital feature list and turn the Fireface 400 into a complete audio system of the highest quality.

The Fireface 400 excells as portable all-in-one solution when it comes to power supply. The included switching power supply accepts voltages from 100 to 240 V, thus can be operated all over the world. A rear panel switch enables Bus Powered operation, taking the power directly from the FireWire connector. To avoid potential problems, both the unit's internal power supply and the protective circuits at the FireWire port were specially designed and thoroughly tested.

Thanks to an internal flash memory, all settings including TotalMix are recalled during boot. The device can thus be configured and used as a stand-alone device, without being connected to a computer, e.g. as a submixer, A/D and D/A-converter, headphone mixer, format converter, instrument or microphone pre-amplifier, monitoring mixer and much more.

The Fireface 400 is equipped with SteadyClock(tm), RME's unique sync and clock technology. With this, the device becomes a sync reference for the whole studio. SteadyClock refreshes clock signals, removes jitter, and takes care of optimal AD/DA conversion quality, thus guarantees a sensational sound quality, completely independent from the reference clock's quality. SteadyClock allows the unit to control the sample rate freely on its own. The Settings dialog includes a direct choice of the video and audio world's most often used sample rates. Additionally, 2 faders can be used to set the sample rate freely and in real-time, within the range of +/- 4% and +/- 0.4%.

Of course the Fireface 400 offers a second FireWire port for hub functionality. Up to three devices can be connected to one FireWire interface and operated in parallel. The renowned Fireface 800 shares the same driver, allowing mixed setups.

zZounds is an authorized dealer of RME products.
- Input AD: 6 x 1/4 in. 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 in. TRS, servo-balanced, DC-coupled signal path. 1 x 1/4 in. 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 2000 SP4, Windows XP, Vista, Vista 64: Full ASIO multi-client operation of WDM, MME (not XP64), GSIF 2.0 and ASIO 2.0. WDM (DirectSound) with stereo and multi-channel support. Full hot-plugging. Up to 3 units operational. Mac OS X (10.3 or higher) PPC and Intel: Core Audio, Core MIDI. Full hot-plugging. Up to 3 units operational.

* In Quad Speed mode (176.4 and 192 kHz), the ADAT I/O is deactivated

** Firewire is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
RME Warranty ´╗┐RME offers a warranty of 2 years from original date of purchase from the dealer with proof of purchase.
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 330-259-0308
Customer Reviews
4.5 out of 5 (30 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
"Great portable soundcard!"
Sound: Really good sound quality! Haven't used the preamps too much yet but they have done the job ok. If you are serious about vocal/instrument recording I'd get a dedicated preamp(this goes for any audio interface really, not just the fireface400.) On the AD DA side I couldn't hear any difference between this one and the fireface 800. I think the preamps are alittle bit better on the fireface 800, but not by much so it really doesn't matter. The only reason to get the ff800 must be the extra I/O etc. Feature: Its really portable. Everything is controlled through the software which I really don't mind. It is possible to link the left and right faders in the software, so that you can control the overall output/monitor volum through a rotary knob at the front of the device, and its possible to assign a midi controller to the faders for more hands on control. Ease of Use: Must say, I did have some problems installing the drivers. (In Vista mind you). Everytime I tried to install the newest drivers, my pc(Again, Duh!) would give me a nasty bluescreen. But then I tried a little older driver, from like 2 or 3 updates ago, and everything just worked! I can work with 64 or 48 samples without any problems. It works perfectly in Vista(At least for me), XP and on the mac. Quality: Really well built device. Looks professional and everything works perfectly. Value: Best thing you can get for a 1000 grand. Great converters, really good drivers for the pc and the mac. If your not looking for a portable device you should get the Fireface 800, which has more I/O's and more hands on control. Manufacturer Support: They answer emails quickly and they have a great forum where you can get help or answers quickly. Overall: Really satisfied with the ff400. As I said, can't hear any difference between the ff400 and the ff800. I only bought the ff400 because I needed a portable FireWire soundcard. I had already tried and used the fireface 800 in a studio and really liked the sound.
Style of Music: Electro-pop, Disco House, Drum&Bass
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"Clean sounding unit, but not for everyone"
Sound: Clean, Very Clean, Not coloured in any way so may be a bit sterile for some tastes. This is a great unit for monitoring, paired with some Dynaudios or Mackies as you can hear inside your tracks for artefacts, clicks, hums etc. Mic preamps work well and are also uncoloured - if you want warm tone for vocals or acoustic, I would stick an Avalon (or similar) preamp on the front end - the characteristics will go through this box unchanged. No issues for electric guitars plugged in direct. Feature: Does Everything you could want from a compact audio interface. This is no control surface for 3rd party software, but that is clearly not its job. The single rotary encoder on the front is the only control. With this you can: adjust input and output levels, link together output pairs for unified volume control (by pressing on the rotary encoder knob for a few seconds when in the channel mode). Other features like HiZ/Instrument vs Line level (Line 3 & 4 only), phantom power (line 1 & 2), pads (line 3&4), gain and clock speed are only controlled in the settings software using your computer. Once you set up your settings, they remain stored and are recalled when the FF400 is turned on, independent of your computer. So you can use without connecting to a computer (however you wont be able to change the above settings, only the levels). Although each analogue input is limited in function (eg only 1&2 have phantom power), the channels are independently selectable. There are 2 lights on the front of the unit that indicate phantom power is on for these channels. There is only 1 phones out (1/4") and this is also controlled by the same. rotary encoder. There really isn't any room for the extra buttons, so if you need them on hand, get a bigger interface (this will save you lugging your computer around (eg. if you dont know what mics you will be using). In the software (FF Matrix) you can configure the routing of every input to every output. No 3rd party DAW software comes with the unit. There is no on/off switch - I think this should be mandatory on firewire devices to reduce risk of you hot plugging. However I have had no problems and have disconected and connected the unit while switched on. Ease of Use: Figuring out the encoder took a while, but it is actually quite intuitive. The same goes for the matrix. Matrix and settings windows launch on connection/powerup. Quality: I give this 8 for 2 reasons. The power supply doesnt inspire confidence, and there is a definite leak of current to the unit casing and to my computer via the firewire cable - I am essentially earthing it while I type (I use a metal unibody mac), and get small electric shocks in my wrists. I took the unit back to the shop when I first got it to get this checked out and they gave it back saying there was nothing wrong. This stray current does make me a bit nervous for the safety of my hard drive, and chip set, but my computer hasn't died yet (3 years of use) and it isn't effecting the sound quality. If your monitors are on, you'll jump when you switch the unit on Value: I cant comment as I have had limited experience with other units. It is well featured for ins and outs including word clock, SPDIF, ADAT and MIDI. It has excellent sound quality. Manufacturer Support: I Emailed about some initial confusion with setup, and they replied within 2 days. The Wow Factor: It looks pretty serious Overall: I expect to keep this unit and build around it in the future. It makes a good compact hub for your home studio. If I was to replace/upgrade it wold be to the Apogee Ensemble (Macs only) (but this is not really a portable option and it is also dependent on the computer for setting up. I think you need to ask yourself: Do I want 3rd party software? Yes - dont buy this Do I want a control surface? Yes - dont buy this Do I want 2 headphone outputs? Yes - dont buy this Do I want more than 2 phantom powered XLR inputs? yes - dont buy this Do I need to switch on pad or phantom power when away from my comp? Yes - dont buy this Do I need, a compact unit that has SPDIF or ADAT (expansion) and Word Clock (syncing), and clear uncoloured sound, that is latency free? Yes - This is your unit. Alternatives: V-Studio 100 - for software and surface control - I probably would have bought this if it existed when I got the FF400. There are many other alternatives and choice will depend on system and software you like. eg Protools --> MBox.
Style of Music: Alternative/Trip Hop
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