Tag Archives: RME

RME Babyface Pro, More Than Just a Remaster

RME releases always peek our interest here at Scan when they happen as they constantly appear at the top of benchmarking tables, meaning RME drivers are quite often the ones to beat when we do group testing. The Babyface range itself  have been the entry level introduction to the range for a good few years now, with a feature set that that makes them perfect for the home or on the move recording artist.

So with the news reaching us that they’ve released an upgrade to this workhorse interface and the claims that it isn’t just a remaster, rather a whole reengineered beast, well of course we’re going to be intrigued.

RME babyface pro front rightThe first thing that leaps out at you is the physical redesign of the RME Babyface Pro over its early version. The overall shape has been refined althrough it does keep it’s light, yet strong, aluminum case design but overall no big suprise here.

However if we take a look around the back of the RME Babyface Pro we see a different story altogether.

RME Babyface Pro RearThe original design had those connectors now found on the side, at the rear and the XLR and a number of other connections, hanging off a breakout cable from the rear of the unit. This meant that if you wanted a 2 in / 2 out on the road you could carry just the main interface, but if you wanted a balanced solution or a bit more I/O, then the only way to do so, was carry the breakout cable. Having checked the early discussions on this new design, it appears that some people love the removal of the breakout cable, where others are not so sure on the design of having cables plugged into 3 sides of the unit. Personally we’re liking the fact that without the breakout cable, its one less thing to forget or lose out on the road and feel that it only adds to the portability of the unit itself.

For monitoring purposes the RME Babyface Pro has twin headphone jacks come in both TRS and mini-jack form factors both with their own driver stages in order to offer better matching with both low and high impedence headphones. For audio going into the unit the two digitally controlled preamps provide individually switchable 48V ‘phantom power. These brand new circuits feature gain of up to 70 dB, adjustable in steps of 3 dB, plus a relay-driven PAD, resulting in exceptional EIN (Equivalent Input Noise) performance as well as line overload protection, and enough gain for even the lowest level microphones.

Finishing off the I/O options the feature set continues with an optical TOSLINK I/O; use as either an ADAT port with SMUX support or SPDIF for sessions up to 192 kHz. In combination with an external ADAT converter, the Babyface Pro fully supports 12 analog inputs as well as 12 outputs, making it ideal for both live and studio multi-track applications. You can plug any instrument, line or high impedance, into Babyface Pro’s jack inputs 3 & 4. Record your guitar on the go, with no additional hardware required. MIDI I/O via an included breakout cable completes the package.

Software wise the RME Babyface Pro ships with the RME ever superb Totalmix and we’re infromed the has been a convertor upgrade as well meaning an even better signal path on this version over the previous generation.

Lastly but no doubt pretty important for those users with an interface on the road, the RME Babyface Pro design almost never requires an external power supply, designed to run stable on the higher current USB 3 buss power found on most modern laptops and even most modern USB 2 ports, with no degradation in any technical specification.

RME Babyface Pro Connectivity

  • 12 Input and 12 Output channels
  • 4 x Analog Inputs (Mic, Line, Instrument)
  • 4 x Analog Outputs (2 x XLR, 2 x Phones)
  • 1 x ADAT I/O or 1 x SPDIF I/O optical
  • 1 x MIDI I/O
  • 1 x USB 2.0 (USB 3 compatible)
  • Digital Gain control on all inputs
  • Separate outputs for high and low impedance headphones

The RME Babyface Homepage

RME Hardware @ Scan

 

 

 

 

RME Extended Warranties To 5 Years.

RME 5 Year Warranty Banner

RME has announced that as from today all products sold though official UK partners will come complete with 5 year warranties.

Here in Scan we’ve considered RME the benchmark in audio card performance that all others should meet for many years now. So whilst they certainly fall under the banner of “reassuringly expensive”, in every benchmark we’ve ever run them against they’ve proved that you really do get what you pay for.

So to go along with those rock solid drivers and great build quality, they’ve now upgraded the standard warranty to a total of 5 years… not that we suspect you’ll ever need it. It’s just more added value and a further great reason to invest in what is already one of the best all round packages on the market.

It’s also remembering that here at Scan we’re not only authorized RME dealers, but also RME Experts and approved system solution providers meaning that whatever your RME needs we have the knowledge and ability to tailor a package that’s right for you.

To claim your extended 5 year warranty on any new RME interface, simply head over to their support pages @ http://synthax.co.uk/support and fill in your details to register your hardware.

RME Products @ Scan

RME Octamic XTC, MADIFace USB

Rme have even more in store for us, with the new Octamic XTC preamp.
The bottom line is that is has eight remote controlled preamps to complement the existing four in the UFX, or two in the UCX.

Plugging this device in at the same time on USB as either the UFX or UCX should enable totalmix to identify these as extra channels, appearing as extra inputs in your DAW automatically alongside your interface.
It also gives you an additional pair of headphone outputs for monitor mixes.

The unit can be remote controlled from totalmix, or via Midi and also features MADI, AES and ADAT connectivity, at sample rates up to 192k / 24 Bit.

Detailed Specs, Price and Availability is still TBC

RME-OctaMic-XTC

Features:

• 8 x Mic/Line Preamps, digitally controlled (4 x PAD, 4 x Hi-Z switchable)

• 2 x Stereo Analogue Outputs

• 4 x AES/EBU I/O

• 1 x ADAT I/O (2 x out S/MUX)

• 1 x MADI I/O optical

• 1 x MIDI I/O DIN

• 2 x MIDI I/O USB

• 1 x MIDI over MADI

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index_musikmesse_2013.php

Also new from RME is the Madiface USB, a no frills way of connecting MADI to …. well… almost anything with USB 2.0 on it. Coax and Optical inputs, Totalmix mixer, Does what it says on the tin.

RME_MADIface_USB

RME Totalmix FX – iPad App

RME Toalmix FX app is just one of the pile of Musikmesse releases today, for use with any of it’s class compliant devices on the iPad (currently the UFX, UCX and Babyface).
Giving almost identical functionality to it’s computer based sibling, it enables users to store complete mixes, including adding dynamics and effects on both analogue and digital inputs, as well as controlling hardware settings, such as input switching, phantom power and sample rate.

totalmix_fx_app_bg

It has been designed to take advantage of the retina display, gesture controls and to work in both horizontal and vertical orientations. It supports glitchless background processing, enabling users to switch between DAW apps, such as Cubasis or Garageband and the Totalmix controls without any loss of audio.

Totalmix FX app will be available in the summer from the App Store

RME Madiface XT – Next Generation Audio Interface

The RME Madiface XT is a first, in fact, it’s not just a first but two firsts!

Just announced at MusikMesse 2013, Not only is it the first USB 3.0 audio interface that we’ve seen, but it also has an even-more-exciting ePCIe connector.

MADIface_XT_02

Now, i’m sure that over the next few months we will start to see a plethora of USB 3.0 interfaces, but RME have set the bar ridiculously high to start with. The reason behind this is that RME refuse to use 3rd party controller chips, instead opting for programming the controllers as software that runs on their own FPGA custom chip. Processes inside the chip run much faster than having them all individually on the circuit board, this method also means that they can streamline the code required to make the device run as efficiently as possible, with the bonus of extra stability of the device, as they are in 100% control of everything happening in the device. We predict that USB3.0 performance will be about halfway between USB2 and PCIE.

Think of ePCIe as somewhat similar to eSATA, essentally the same pins and connections, but put down a different cable. This means that with minimal processing (hence, not adding latency) you can have the same performance as a pci-e based solution (currently the best available), but with all the connectivity of an external “breakout” box.

Some people have questioned the lack of Thunderbolt, but as it is only found on certain mac models (excluding all Power Mac’s) and handful of pc motherboards it’s a small list of possible users. There is currently no way of adding TB to an existing system (apart from a handful of ASUS motherboards), it will be a few years until it becomes widespread, whereas any desktop machine (PC or MAC) can add USB3.0 or ePCIe cards to achive full functionality on those protocols.

What we love about RME MADIFace XT

It’s essentally MADI FX with analogue monitoring, separate, dedicated headphone monitor and two remote controlled analogue mic / instrument / line inputs.

TotalMix FX (if you need a monitor mixer, it pretty much gets no better. The FX section is perfect for the standard vocalist zero latency compression / reverb / delay that helps them perform better and makes your life as an engineer marginally happier!

USB3.0 connectivity to every current generation laptop, Ultra High Performance ePCIe connectivity.

USB2.0 compatible with reduced number of MADI channels.

There is absolutely no way that this won’t take the UCX’s crown as the world’s highest performance external audio interface!

What we don’t love about RME MADIFace XT
The wait until June to get our hands on one.

Not everyone needs MADI, can we please have a version without it that’s just the ultimate low latency production device!

Features:

• 196 Input / 198 Output channels

• 2 x MADI I/O optical

• 1 x MADI I/O coaxial

• 2 x Analogue Mic / Line Preamp Input (XLR/Line TRS)

• 4 x Analogue Output (Main XLR + Phones)

• 1 x AES/EBU I/O via breakout cable

• 1 x MIDI I/O via breakout cable

• 3 x virtual MIDI I/O via the three MADI I/Os

The RME MADIface XT is the world’s first USB3 audio interface – and the world’s smallest portable interface that provides access to hundreds of audio channels in a highly portable package. For highest compatibility the XT also features a PCI Express port for connection to External PCI Express cards, providing the fastest interfacing technologies available for maximum channel count and lowest latency.

Three 64-channel MADI I/Os are accompanied by 4 MIDI I/Os, one stereo AES/EBU and a word clock I/O. To bring together the most complete I/O set for live or studio usage, two digitally controlled high-end mic/line preamps, two balanced line outputs and one stereo phones output, all fully 192kHz capable, were included. For perfect desktop operation RME’s (optional) Advanced Remote Control can be connected.

RME ADI-8 DS MkIII – Why this could be part of the world's best audio interface

The RME ADI-8 DS Mk III is announced today, with 8 analouge ins and outs, ADAT and AES-32 digital connections.

So what makes this so very special?

Well, it’s not the 120dBa dynamic range, even though that makes it sit in the absolute top 0.1% of interface specs.

Its not even RME’s Steadyclock that gives an unbelievably low jitter rate, meaning the waveforms are the shapes that they should be and not distorted due to timing errors.

It’s simply the fact the the unit has been re-designed with the latest generation of A/D converters.

Now before you all snooze off, i’ll explain why this is so important. The current generation of conversion (with the exception of the horrendously expensive ESS Sabre chips, which seem to have sacrificed latency in exchange for accuracy) have not made any leaps and bounds advances in dynamic range or harmonic distortion performance, the only thing they have really managed to do is to reduce the latency of the signals being converted.

How can I make the statement that this could be part of the world’s best audio interface?

Well, RME’s ADI-8QS, used in conjunction with thier HDSPe-AES pcie card was the best performing interface tested using the DAWbench software, with it being the benchmark that every other interface has been tested against by DAWbench’s creator Vin Curigliano. Vin (with a bit of help from ourselves on a compatible system) has tested most common interfaces, and if the major improvement is in conversion latency in the latest ADI-8 DS mkIII, then this must surely take the crown.  The RME UCX did the same thing compared to the UFX that it was based on, shaving a few ms off the conversion time, so i would completely expect this to do the same to the previous ADI-8 generation.

In RME’s own words…

The new RME ADI-8 DS Mk III is the latest addition to the ADI series. The ADI-8 DS Mk III is an 8-channel high-end AD/DA converter with a unique and incredibly versatile collection of very useful features. The RME ADI-8 DS Mk III combines excellent analogue circuit design with the very latest generation of outstanding low latency AD/DA converter chips.

What does “best performing” actually mean? 

It simply means that at the same latency, you will be able to run more plugins and have more notes of virtual instrument polyphony than with any other interface.

 

How much difference is there in performance? 

 

Here’s the results from another couple of interfaces, the UFX (apart from the UCX, the best preforming USB interface) and the now discontinued USB1 Saffire 6 from Focusrite

(In the intrests of nuetrality, The Saffire replacement (Scarlett 2i4) perfoms signifcantly better, and although doesn’t share the same buffer sizes, so cant be be directly compared, has an average LLP rating of about 5, which is respectable for USB 2.0)

The Buffer size shows how many samples big the buffer is, the RXC is how many RXC compressor plugins can be run before breaking up (to demonstrate DSP perfomance) and the CV and NCV fields show how many notes of polyphony can be run inside Kontakt before the audio starts to break up.  The I/O column is the latency times reported by the ASIO driver and the RTL is the Round trip latency (ms) of a signal coming in and going back out of the interface. The overall LLP rating is derived from a calculation of performance against latency time.

 

So, we wait with baited breath to see how the unit will perform when we actually can get our hands on one, as well as definitively finding out how well it can compete with competition from the likes of Lynx’s Hi-Lo and Lavry’s converter range, although as an 8 in / 8 out option it’s in a class of it’s own.

RME HDSPe MADI FX

RME come out swinging with a new highend digital card. The RME HDSPe MADI FX promises 390 channels of digital audio which we reckon puts it well into the realms of broadcast users or those recording live sound at some rather epic concerts.

So what do RME have to say about this new interface?:

The RME HDSPe MADI FX Overview:

The RME HDSPe MADI FX features 390 audio channels! Three MADI I/Os – two optical and one coaxial – are accompanied by one AES/EBU I/O and one analog monitoring output. To complete the feature set, a Word Clock connection and four MIDI I/Os were added. The complete technology and connectivity are highly integrated into the smallest possible amount of space – typical for RME. Only one PCIe slot is required on the motherboard, plus one free slot opening on the case.

To guarantee RME’s unique low latency performance with such a huge amount of audio channels, the RME HDPSe MADI FX introduces a newly developed modular Hammerfall Pro Audio Core. The high-tech core will process three times as many channels as the channel count of the previous MADI flagship, while actually reducing the system load and enabling ultra-low latencies down to 32 samples on modern computers.

A sophisticated new efficiency technology will automatically deactivate currently unused channels, so that they require no processing power or bandwidth. A simple stereo playback will not require any more performance than from a standard stereo audio card – despite the use of a professional multi-channel system with almost 400 channels.

The new core technology is accompanied by a special version of TotalMix FX, which allows using the enormous channel count in an efficient and practical manner. The addition of numerous performance optimizations ensures that the 4096-channel mixer of the MADI FX responds just as smoothly as its 1800-channel counterpart in the Fireface UFX. A new and faster DSP allows for a greater number of EQs and compressors.

An innovative new layout of TotalMix enables ergonomic handling of the enormous number of channels. A special option makes it possible to visually hide unused channels. Complete “Hide setups” can be saved at any time, and switched with a simple mouse click, for example between the channel view of the drum mix and the full band setup.

The 192 kHz RME effects engine allows latency-free monitoring with numerous effects like EQs, Compressors, Reverb, and Echo rendered directly on the hardware of the card, independent from the DAW software in use.

The integrated TotalMix matrix conveniently allows the use of the card as powerful MADI router. Unlike most other router solutions, each channel can be routed individually – even with separate level settings for each routing. The unparalleled flexibility of TotalMix can turn the most exotic applications into practical reality.

RME’s unique Seamless Redundancy Operation uses the cards’ 3 MADI receivers to provide professional users with state-of-the-art fail safe operation. In SRO mode the card operates as single MADI input device, recording up to 64 channels. As soon as the current input fails the audio data received from one of the other two inputs is used. The audio data is not interrupted when switching to another input – and the card can use not only one, but two more sources for redundancy. No relocking and synchronization to a different clock source is required, and the interruption caused by the external failure is minimized to a few samples.

The card also features SteadyClock, RME’s active jitter suppression and the unique professional meter and analysis toolbox DIGICheck – including EBU R128 metering – as well as nearly identical operation of the card under Windows and Mac OS.

The RME HDSPe MADI FX
The RME HDSPe MADI FX

The RME HDSPe MADI FX Connectivity:

  • PCI Express Interface
  • 194 input- / 196 output channels = 390 channels
  • 3 x MADI I/O (2 x optical + 1 x coaxial)
  • AES/EBU I/O (via breakout cable)
  • 3 x virtual MIDI I/O over MADI
  • 1 x MIDI I/O via 5-pin DIN (breakout cable)
  • Stereo Analog Out
  • Word Clock I/O
  • TotalMix FX with 192 kHz effects engine

The RME HDSPe MADI FX Tech Specs:

1-Lane PCI Express Endpoint device (no PCI Express to PCI Bridge), revision 1.1.

2.5 Gbps line speed

Packet-based full-duplex communication (up to 500 MB/s transfer rate)

All settings changeable in real-time

Automatic and intelligent master/slave clock control

Sync sources: MADI coaxial, MADI optical, AES/EBU, word clock, internal

Varipitch: by input signal or word clock

Sample rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz, variable (Sync/word clock)

Sample rate range: MADI: 32 kHz – 96 kHz, word clock: 27 kHz – 200 kHz

Jitter: < 1 ns, internal and all inputs

Jitter sensitivity: PLL operates even at 100 ns Jitter without problems

Comes with DIGICheck: the ultimate measurement, analysis and test tool

Input word clock: Signal Adaptation Circuit (functional from 1.2 Vpp input signal), switchable termination

Output word clock: BNC, low-impedance driver stage, 4 Vpp into 75 Ohms, short-circuit-proof

MIDI input and output: via two 5-pin DIN jacks

Stereo Monitor Output (Phones):

  • Signal-to-Noise (DR): 110 dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA @ 44.1 kHz
  • Channel separation: > 100 dB
  • Output: 6.3 mm TRS
  • Output impedance: 75 Ohm
  • Output level at 0 dBFS: +13 dBu

More information available on the The RME HDSPe MADI FX product page.

RME Advanced Remote Control (ARC)

The RME Advanced Remote Control (ARC) is a programable remote control designed to be used with either the RME Fireface UFX or the RME Fireface UCX.

Whilst the inital batches of UCX shipped with a cut down version of this unit, the are plans afoot for future units to ship minus a remote and at a lower price, with the option for the end user to upgrade functionality by purchasing the new remote unit should they require it.

So what does this remote offer? Over to RME for the answers:

RME Advanced Remote Control Overview:

The wired RME Advanced Remote Control (ARC) has been designed for direct access to the most frequently used actions and commands required in a studio’s daily work. Its extremely flexible configuration through TotalMix FX will simplify the workflow and greatly increase the usability of the RME interface in any real world situation.

* The RME Advanced Remote Control (ARC) can be used with all Fireface UCX. It can also be used with all Fireface UFX with a serial number 23241707 (built after June 2011) or higher. Upcoming interfaces that feature an Advanced Remote Control connector will also be compatible. Users that own a RME Fireface UFX with a serial number below 23241707 have to send their UFX to their distributor as it requires a hardware modification to be fully compatible to the Advanced Remote Control. This modification is not free of charge.

The ARC consists of a solid metal case with a main encoder dial, 2 push buttons and 6 LED-equipped buttons. The Remote Control connects to the main interface via a 5 m (16.4 ft.) cable and a special connector on the back of both units.

 

The RME Advanced Remote Control
The RME Advanced Remote Control

 

Supported Features

The top of the Advanced Remote Control features a rotary encoder with push switch function, 2 lower buttons, and 6 upper buttons with Status LED. The rotary encoder is used to change various parameters, like gain and volume. The left button Prog is programmable, and can perform several functions. The same is true for the upper 6 buttons, which also include a status LED to signal the current state.

The ARC provides default settings for the 7 programmable buttons, but can be freely configured via the Key Commands dialog of TotalMix FX. All buttons can be assigned to more than 36 different commands. The behaviour of each individual button can be changed between push, toggle, enable and disable, depending on the base function.

The Command Key Page
The Command Key Page

Available commands/actions (examples):

– Main Volume
– Global Mute
– Global Solo
– Mute Group 1 to 4
– Solo Group 1 to 4
– Fader Group 1 to 4
– Link Main AB
– Speaker B Select
– DIM (Main Out)
– Mute (Main Out)
– Mute FX (Main Out)
– Mono (Main Out)
– External Input
– Reverb
– Echo
– Cue Phones 1 to 4
– Snapshot 1 to 8
– Mic Gains
– Inst. Gains
– Volume Phones

Several functions can be activated at the same time. Example: Button A is set to Cue Phones 1. That means the phones submix is heard via the Main output (the studio monitors). Now to be able to also change the volume of the phones submix itself, set button B to Volume Phones 1. Activating both will allow you to listen to the phones submix via the main output, and also to change its volume (the fader in the third row) by turning the encoder knob.

In stand-alone mode of Fireface UCX and UFX there is no TotalMix FX on the host computer. Therefore the settings for the ARC are no longer available. Instead a fixed set of functions is activated:

– Turn Encoder: Main Out volume
– Push on Encoder: Dim for Main Out
– Recall button: Recall function for Main Out
– Prog: no function
– Buttons A to F: load Setup 1 to 6

The RME Advanced Remote Control Infomation Page

Scan Pro Audio Day, Bolton – 25th Febuary

Scan Audio DayYup, its that time agin to hold another audio day in our Bolton showroom. It’s on from 11am till 3pm and is, as always free to attend.

This time we’ve got a masterclass from Mashup king and Foreign Beggars & Beardyman producer Stereo:Type with loads of trade secrets, as well as your chance to get hands on with some of the latest kit and of course a prize draw, which at the last audio day in November ended up being a Native Instruments Traktor S2!

Please click here to sign up as places are limited.
Please click here to sign up as places are limited.

Full lineup as follows….

11.00am  Ableton Live
Simon Lyon aka The Ruthless Producer introduces Ableton Live. During this session, Simon will take you on a tour of Abletons features and show how easy it is to build tracks from scratch including live recording.
12.00pm  Soundcards & Audio Interfaces
Tom from “The Autobots” talks about soundcards. Which is the best for you? And How do we go about testing them? How do you know how good they are?
1.00pm  Guitar Rig 5 session
Steve Fairclough recreating ‘Classic’ guitar tones with Guitar Rig 5
2.00pm  Ableton Live Master class
Stereo: Type presents a Producers masterclass with Ableton Live.
3.00pm  Prize Draw !