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RME Fireface UFX 60-Channel USB and FireWire Audio Interface

With 12 analog I/O and 4 mic/instrument preamps, the RME FireFace UFX is a truly professional 192 kHz FireWire/USB audio interface in a single rack space. Rate and review this product
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Product Description

Featuring 60 channels of audio, the RME Fireface UFX 60 has digitally controlled high-end preamps, reference class converters and full 192 kHz operation. In addition, the UFX has ultra-low latency operation with USB and FireWire, combined with the legendary RME driver stability and maintenance. Including active jitter suppression, professional reference level support, advanced stand-alone functionality, RME's unique DIGICheck metering and analysis toolbox, and nearly identical operation and features on Windows PC and Mac.

Interface Connectivity:

- 30 Input / 30 Output channels
- 12 x Analog I/O
- 4 x Mic/Instrument Preamp, digitally controlled
- 1 x AES/EBU I/O
- 2 x ADAT I/O (or 1 x ADAT I/O plus 1 x SPDIF I/O optical)
- 1 x Word Clock I/O
- 2 x MIDI I/O
- 1 x FireWire 400
- 1 x USB 2.0
- TotalMix FX

DURec: Direct USB Recording: The UFX provides a spectacular feature: an integrated digital recorder for all inputs and outputs directly to USB memory devices - USB thumb drives or hard drives with up to 2 TB capacity - via the front USB port. Independent from a connected PC or Mac.

On top of it: TotalMix FX, the digital high-end mixer and signal router, driven by two powerful DSP, with integrated EQ, Dynamics and Reverb/Echo effects up to 192 kHz plus a built-in monitoring control.

The full-blown feature set is backed up by extraordinary usability. At its heart is a bright multi-functional color display with full front panel metering for all 60 channels plus effect bus, and complete control of all key features - directly from the front of the UFX.

RME's Fireface flagship is a highly integrated pro audio solution, a full-blown studio packed in a 19" enclosure. An interface designed for users who don't want to make compromises in sound, stability and ultra-low latency operation, and who long for an unrivaled professional feature set. Once again a milestone interface from RME, including the best of the best - and even a bit more.

Inputs and Outputs. The UFX provides 60 channels of audio: 30 input and 30 output channels. All inputs and outputs can be used at the same time. Up to 12 analog and 18 digital channels can be recorded onto 30 separate tracks.

Analog I/O

The UFX provides 12 analog I/Os:

12 Inputs. 8 balanced TRS on the back and 4 XLR inputs with mic/instrument preamps on the front.

12 Outputs. On the rear: 6 balanced TRS and 2 balanced XLR - perfect for the direct connection of the main studio monitors. On the front: Two additional TRS stereo phones outputs providing high volumes even with hi-impedance headphones (playback channels 9/10 and 11/12).

Sound Quality. When it comes to sound quality and price to performance ratio RME plays in its own league. The Fireface UFX is no exception. Like any other RME product it combines excellent analog circuit design with high-grade AD/DA converter chips. Therefore all balanced TRS & XLR I/Os and both phones outputs guarantee outstanding low noise and distortion values. In best RME tradition and product philosophy converters and preamps don't produce "sound", they do not add or remove anything from the source signal, just capture it as it is.

Equipped with the A/D and D/A converter chips, all I/Os operate up to 192 kHz and reach 118 dBA dynamic range on playback - even both headphone outputs. Their high power technology delivers high volume no matter if high or low impedance phones are used. The balanced analog inputs are based on RME's low-latency converter design from the high-end converter ADI-8 QS. The DA section is based on RME's M-series. Both designs guarantee excellent S/N and THD specs across a wide analog level range.

Due to its efficient jitter reduction, RME's superior SteadyClock finalizes the state-of-the-art AD/DA conversion, even when clocking to an external digital source.

Every input and output is individually switchable to common professional studio levels: -10 dBV, +4 dBu, HiGain (equivalent to +2 dBV, +13 dBu and +19 dBu for digital full scale) - directly on the device or via TotalMix. The balanced XLR outputs even provide a level of up to +24 dBu.

All outputs can be used for ASIO Direct Monitoring purposes.

Microphone/Instrument Preamps with RME's Advanced Parallel Conversion technology

Preamps. The UFX has four high-transparency preamps backed up by four stereo converters with RME's parallel converter technology.

Microphone and instrument preamps of the UFX use the core technology from RME's Micstasy - a high-end preamp for supreme sonic demands and critical applications, like the professional recording of classical concerts. The fully symmetrical preamp design impresses with extremely low distortion, excellent signal to noise ratio and a perfect linear frequency response. A premium solution for transmitting and amplifying any audio input truly unchanged, be it high-level stage or typical studio signals, lower level and high-impedance instruments, or dynamic, condenser and ribbon microphones.

The digitally controlled gain of up to 65 dB, adjustable in steps of 1 dB over a range of 55 dB, is individually set for every preamp by the display-supported controls on the front of the UFX. All level settings are 100% reproducible and can also be adjusted comfortably within the TotalMix software on the host computer or by a MIDI remote controller.

The four inputs on the front use balanced XLR/TRS combo sockets and operate alternatively as Hi-Z inputs. Directly plug in up to four guitars or other instruments - no other hardware required.

Each channel can be individually switched to 48V phantom power or instrument level. LEDs for signal, clip, TRS operation and activated phantom power give a complete overview on the unit's status.

Advanced Parallel Conversion . The four UFX preamps are feeding not only four, but eight AD converters. Every microphone channel uses a double, parallel AD conversion on two AD converters at the same time to reach exceptional signal-to-noise values and a performance not available with a classic converter design.

The UFX follows RME's tradition of providing flexible and expandable audio systems. Adding additional preamplifiers or more analog inputs is easily done via the dual ADAT optical I/Os on the rear

Digital I/O, Word Clock and MIDI

AES/EBU: The UFX provides a professional AES/EBU I/O working up to 192 kHz.

ADAT: Two 8-channel ADAT I/Os expand the UFX by 16 channels available simultaneously with the analog channels. They can be used to connect two 8-channel AD/DA converters, mixing consoles, or to insert effects devices. Both I/Os support sample rates with up to 192 kHz (S/MUX4). Using two external converters like the ADI-8 QS, the UFX will provide 28 analog inputs and outputs, 20 with a sample rate of 96 kHz, and still 16 at 192 kHz.

SPDIF: The second ADAT I/O can be used as optical SPDIF I/O, making the UFX connections even more flexible.

Word Clock & MIDI: A word clock input and output (BNC) with switchable termination plus two MIDI I/Os complete the I/O list and turn the Fireface UFX into a professional audio system with universal usability.

DURec - Direct USB Recording

The Fireface UFX provides a spectacular feature: an integrated digital recorder for all inputs and outputs directly to USB memory devices via the front USB port. The UFX records on USB thumb drives or hard drives with up to 2 TB capacity.

The recording functionality is provided by the internal DSP, and is therefore independent from a connected Windows or Mac computer.

The Direct USB Recording converts the Fireface UFX not only into a stand-alone field recorder, but also into a powerful multichannel live player for previous recordings, e. g. for virtual sound checks. Live concerts, band rehearsals or spontaneous jam sessions can be directly recorded and played back from the medium - even completely stand-alone without computer or software. All 60 input and output channels can be individually chosen for recording and playback.

The Fireface UFX records the pure input signals as well as the effect processed mixer outputs in any combination - at up to 192 kHz! The channels to be recorded can be selected directly at the unit or comfortably in TotalMix FX. Playback supports up to 30 channels, either into the UFX outputs or the TotalMix FX inputs, enabling a post-processing of the audio data with EQ, Dynamics and Echo/Reverb.

The UFX writes standard multichannel WAV files to the USB memory. Despite the fact that nearly all common audio programs (e. g. Pro Tools, Nuendo, Cubase, Sonar, Samplitude) can load these files directly into their projects, RME provides a free conversion tool for Windows and Mac -- the Multichannel WAV File Batch Processor - for splitting them into individual wav files.

The UFX USB recorder can be operated directly at the unit via the high resolution display. Additionally the Recorder is found in the TotalMix FX software user interface on both Mac and Windows PC. From the mixer software all Recorder settings and state displays are easily overviewed, files can be selected, and channels can be selected for record and playback function by simple mouse clicks. The whole configuration and setup can then be stored in a Workspace file.

TotalMix FX

The DSP-based TotalMix mixer allows fully independent routing and mixing of all 30 input and playback channels to all 30 physical outputs. Up to 15 totally independent stereo submixes plus a comprehensive Control Room section offer unrivalled monitoring capabilities and unsurpassed routing flexibility.

And there is more: The next generation of TotalMix delivers hardware mixing/routing with lots of features and a highly improved usability. For a seamless integration of the features TotalMix FX has been rewritten from the ground up.

Every input and output channel comes with a luxury feature set, comparable to a full-scale digital console. The effects per channel include 3-band parametric EQ, adjustable Low Cut, Auto Level, Compressor, Expander, MS Processing and phase reversal. The Reverb and Echo effects unit is available for all channels by a stereo send and return bus. The UFX easily surpasses the competition by offering all these effects even at 192 kHz operation.

Two DSPs ensure an impressive performance even in extrexme applications. As usual with RME, TotalMix is available with all channels (90) at all sample rates, completely unlimited. The second DSP calculates the effects only, therefore has sufficient resources. For example, at 48 kHz 60 EQs, 34 Low Cuts and Echo can be activated. With activated Reverb and Echo still 46 EQs and 32 Low Cuts are available.

The FX-DSP uses automatic overload surveillance. As soon as no effect can be added anymore the TotalMix surface will clearly signal this condition. When changing to higher sample rates the UFX automatically deactivates all effects that exceed the DSP's performance - the DSP will never be overloaded. This also prevents the user from destroyed loudspeakers.

The complete effects section not only adds a lot of flexibility to the recording chain, but makes latency burdened software dispensable. TotalMix can easily replace any external mixer, e.g. to create different latency-free monitoring mixes with EQ and Reverb for the main studio monitors and the headphone of the vocalist(s) in the recording room.

Furthermore the DSP hardware calculates RMS and Peak levels for all 90 level meters, so there is zero CPU load on the host.

The main functions of TotalMix can be remote controlled via MIDI with any Mackie Control compatible controller.

Monitor Controller

The UFX is not only a perfect desktop level controller, but a monitor switcher and source selector with integrated talkback function for modern Mix-In-the-Box studios. As the UFX includes the usually externally added monitoring controller, it also preserves the original sound, as its hardware output stays directly connected to the studio monitors.

Level Control. The big rotary encoder on the front of the UFX maintains precisely controls the three dedicated stereo monitor outputs Main Out, Phones 1 and Phones 2. Start turning the volume encoder and the display shows the current gain value in big numbers. The small encoder buttons provide direct access to pan and reverb for the selected output. Pushing the volume knob switches between the outputs.

Monitor Management. The above gain (volume) settings at the unit work hand in hand with the Control Room section of TotalMix FX. Any physical output can be assigned to the three, directly knob-controlled monitor outputs. E.g. just assign the AES/EBU output as Main Out, or as Phones Out - any output can be used. The functions Talkback, Listenback, Mono and Dim will work automatically for the assigned outputs in the expected way. Convenience at its best.

USB and FireWire

With the release of the Fireface 800 in 2004 RME stirred up the FireWire audio market, setting the benchmarks and providing a superior solution with a unique feature set. It is no surprise many customers and testers respect RME as the reference and technology leader for FireWire audio interfaces. In 2009 RME released the Fireface UC, a USB solution which again provided an exceptional performance, previously not available from USB audio interfaces, once more becoming the technology leader.

The secret of success: RME is the only manufacturer not to use a third party USB or FireWire audio technology, but an own, self-developed Hammerfall Audio Core with an outstanding performance and uncompromised pro audio features.

The Fireface UFX now combines USB and FireWire, Made by RME, within one interface.

USB 2.0. The Fireface UFX has been uncompromisingly optimized for highest performance under Windows and Mac OS. It uses a special customized firmware for every operating system. Like other RME USB 2.0* interfaces, the UFX provides revolutionary ultra-low latencies even with multiple channels.

* The Fireface UFX is compatible to USB 3 chipsets.

FireWire. The completely redesigned FireWire core provides the UFX with the same exceptional compatibility and performance as RME's USB solution. For the first time the UFX does not have any FireWire chip inside at all - it's completely programmed into the FPGA, under direct control of the RME masterminds, and updated by a simple firmware update - if ever necessary. This technology is even compatible to Agere's infamous rev. 6 chip - that says it all.

Usability

Display. In search of an exceptional usability experience for the huge feature set, RME integrates a high-resolution color display into the front panel. In combination with three rotary encoders all important features of the UFX can be manually controlled directly on the UFX itself. TotalMix, connected PC or Mac, is synced to the interface controls and follows all changes automatically.

Smart control. The four keys, the two encoders 1 and 2, the high-resolution and clear color display, and a well thought-out menu structure enable the user to quickly change and configure all the device's settings even without a computer. Help notes and clear markers in the display guide the user through all functions.

Additional Features

SteadyClock. RME's unique jitter suppression technology guarantees perfect sound quality throughout, making the device completely independent from the quality of external clock signals. Due to the highly efficient jitter reduction, the UFX converters operate independently from the quality of the external clock signal, as if they are working with internal clock all the time - guaranteeing a pristine sound quality!

SteadyClock allows the Fireface UFX 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.

ICC . Intelligent Clock Control not only displays every clock status, but will also retain the last valid input sample rate in case of failure of the external source. Other renowned RME technologies like SyncCheck offer a quick detection of clock problems.

DIGICheck. The UFX comes with RME's unique software tool box for metering, testing, measuring and analyzing digital audio streams. It provides a multi-track recorder, calculates the level meters peak and RMS in hardware and is able to analyze and display playback data from any software, no matter which format the software uses.*

Power supply. The specially developed, internal hi-performance switch mode power supply lets the UFX operate in the range of 100V to 240V AC, thus it can be operated all over the world. It is short-circuit-proof, has an integrated line-filter, is fully regulated against voltage fluctuations, and suppresses mains interference.

Stand Alone Operation with Setup Recall. Using the three rotary encoders and the clear color display the Fireface UFX can be configured and set up completely at the device. Additionally internal memory allows for the permanent storage of six different states of the unit. Therefore the Fireface UFX is able to operate fully stand-alone, without any connected computer. In stand-alone operation it can transform into totally different devices by the simple click of a button. Furthermore, in this mode TotalMix FX can also be controlled via MIDI. Application examples include: 12-channel AD/DA converter, 4-channel mic preamp, monitor mixer, digital format converter, analog/digital routing matrix.

zZounds is an authorized dealer of RME products.
Drivers:
- Windows 7 / Vista / XP SP2 (32 & 64 bit)
- Apple Mac OS X 10.5 Intel or up (Core Audio)

Windows and Mac OS X drivers are completely identical in terms of features and functionality. *Some features in DIGICheck are not yet available in the Mac version.
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
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