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RME Fireface UC - 36 Channel USB Audio/MIDI Interface (Mac & Windows)

You Pay: $1,349.00
Product Highlights
  • Out Performs FireWire 400 Interfaces
  • Future-Proof Mobile Pro Audio Solution
  • Proven RME Analog and Digital Circuitry
  • Active Jitter Suppression, Wordclock I/O
  • Powerful Stand-Alone Functionality
  • Includes TotalMix, a 648 Channel Mixer
  • Made in Germany

The Fireface UC from RME is a compact USB 2.0 audio and MIDI interface for Mac and Windows computers. It offers the highest number of inputs and outputs (18 x 18) of any compact USB audio interface, and its low latency capabilities out perform the most advanced FireWire 400 interfaces available. It features on-board DSP and deep integration with the included TotalMix software, which gives you massive power for signal routing and an incredibly flexible stand-alone operational mode.

RME Hammerfall developed a unique dual transfer core for the Fireface UC that enables it to take USB connectivity to a new level of performance for audio interfaces. Two separate firmwares are loaded into the UC (switchable from the front panel between MAC mode and WIN mode) which allows it to exploit each platform's specific needs to provide the best low latency performance ever seen in a USB device. The result is an ultra-compact workhorse that offers an uncommon promise of future-proof usage. There's a lot of uncertainty that FireWire will remain as a commonly produced and supported platform, while USB remains a proven standard on nearly every computer manufactured. If you're looking for the best sound-quality and long-term life expectancy in your computer audio investment, the Fireface UC is clearly the best option.

It features two superior microphone preamps, with two XLR/TRS combo inputs on the front panel. There are 4 balanced TRS inputs and 6 balanced TRS outputs on the rear panel. You wouldn't normally expect an interface to have 2 MIDI inputs and outputs, but the Fireface UC does (utilizing the included breakout cable). The ADAT I/O can be used at higher sampling frequencies with S/MUX technology, and switched to optical S/PDIF. The coaxial S/PDIF I/O can be switched to accept AES/EBU. The Wordclock I/O will keep all of your other equipment in sync with RME's notoriously tight clock.

It's not uncommon for computer audio hardware to feature a lot of analog and digital inputs and outputs. You see all of these connectors and wonder if they can all be routed any way you please. There are usually strict limitations to what can be done, but with the Fireface UC and its TotalMix functionality, you can accomplish anything you can imagine. TotalMix is a hardware DSP based system. The advantage of this is that it gives you massive mixing and signal routing capabilities, without taxing your computer's processors. It also means that the Fireface UC is equipped with awesome power when in stand-alone mode.

Whether connected to a computer or not, the Fireface UC can be used as ADAT to S/PDIF converter, and S/PDIF to ADAT converter. It can be set up to be a stand-alone dual mic preamp with analog outputs. You can create up to 9 separate stereo mixes and route them all to separate outputs. You can configure the Fireface UC to be the ultimate custom-routed multiple headphone mixer. You can even piece together different combinations of this functionality and create custom configurations to accomplish any audio task that needs to be done.

Integrated DSP Mixer
All inputs and outputs can be freely mixed, routed, and distributed with RME'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.
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.
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.
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 S/PDIF I/O (up to 192 kHz) is fully AES/EBU compatible. S/PDIF can also be accessed through the optical I/O.
Word Clock & 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 S/MUX4)
  • 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
Inputs Analog:
6 x 1/4" TRS (4 x Line, 2 x Line/Instrument)
2 x XLR/TRS Combo Connectors (2 x Mic/Line)
All servo-balanced

Digital:
1 x ADAT optical or S/PDIF optical
1 x S/PDIF coaxial (AES/EBU compatible)

Outputs Analog:
6 x 1/4" TRS, servo-balanced, DC-coupled signal path
1 x 1/4" TRS Unbalanced (Headphones)

Digital:
1 x ADAT optical or S/PDIF optical
1 x S/PDIF 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
Connectivity USB 2.0 (Compatible with standard USB)
Drivers 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

Dynamic Range Analog:
110 dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA

Digital:
110 dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA (unmuted)

Audio THD Analog:
< -100 dB (< 0.001 %)

Digital:
-100 dB (0.001 %)

Audio THD + Noise Analog:
< -98 dB (< 0.0012 %)

Digital:
-96 dB (0.0015 %)

Crosstalk > 110 dB
Sample Rate Internally:
32, 44.1, 48, 64, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 128, 176.4, 192 kHz

Externally:
28 kHz - 200 kHz

Frequency Response AD/DA: -0.1 dB: 5 Hz - 20.4 kHz (sf 44.1 kHz)
AD/DA: -0.5 dB: 1 Hz - 43.3 kHz (sf 96 kHz)
AD/DA: -1 dB: 1 Hz - 80 kHz (sf 192 kHz)
Power Supply External power supply (included)
Internal switching PSU, 100 - 240 V AC, 2 A, 24 Watts

Cannot be powered by USB port (no bus power)

Current at 12 Volt operating voltage: 910 mA (11 Watts)

Power Consumption 13 Watts (typical)
Dimensions With included rack ears:
10.5 x 1.73 x 6.5" (265 x 44 x 165mm)

Without rack ears/handles:
8.6 x 1.73 x 6.1" (218 x 44 x 155mm)

Weight 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
RME Fireface UC - 36 Channel USB Audio/MIDI Interface (Mac & Windows)
  • 2 In, 4 Out MIDI Breakout Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Power Supply
  • TotalMix Software (Windows & Mac)
  • 2 Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    RMEFireface UC - 36 Channel USB Audio/MIDI Interface (Mac & Windows)
     
    5.0

    (based on 2 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 4 Stars

       

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    Reviewed by 2 customers

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    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Perfect functionality, peace of mind

    By MacGuyver

    from Maryland

    About Me Experienced

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Compact
    • Durable
    • Easy To Use
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio

      Comments about RME Fireface UC - 36 Channel USB Audio/MIDI Interface (Mac & Windows):

      I'm running a fairly simple set up as a electronic composer, DJ, and listner (DAW, midi controller, soft synths, mics, monitors, and sub). I've had various DACs and interfaces over the years only to "outgrow" them and/or find the quality at some point could not keep up with my ears. I read and debated about numerous options out there but after confirmation with my brother who has an older RME I decided to fork it over and go for the best. I won't be concerned about outgrowing its I/O in my lifetime. The interface is solidly built, logical, and easily, and very precisely controlled/controllable (via the mixer software interface as well). Great product. At least as far as musical gear and software goes I can see why Germany is running a nice trade surplus with the rest of the world...

      Share this review

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Good sound Quality and fast

      By Ordjen

      from Brazil

      About Me Professional Musician

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Clear Sound
      • Easy To Use

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Home Studio

        Comments about RME Fireface UC - 36 Channel USB Audio/MIDI Interface (Mac & Windows):

        Very good pre amps and AD DA converters.

        Work stand alone too.

        Share this review

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