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.