RME Fireface UCX USB/Firewire/iPad Audio interface (No Remote)
The RME Fireface UCX is a highly integrated pro audio solution in an ultra-compact format for studio and live recordings. This unit offers 36 channels of audio I/O, firewire and USB2.0 connections, ultra low latency, DSP hardware effects and a Remote Control. Add this to RME's legendary high quality converters, the Fireface UCX is going to be a winner.
- Low Latency converters of mastering class with outstanding specifications
- Two mic preamps with the premium technology from RME's high-end Micstasy and UFX
- Newly developed Hammerfall audio core, supporting USB and FireWire
- TotalMix FX with the complete Fireface UFX DSP engine
- 18 Input / 18 Output channels
- Class compliant for use with Apple iPad
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Equipped with a new 2011 A/D and D/A high-performance converter design, all the I/Os operate at up to 192 kHz. The AD/DA conversion supersedes the outstanding technical specifications of the Fireface UC/400 with an impressive 115 dBA dynamic range on both record and playback.
The advanced multi-bit converter architecture guarantees excellent S/N and THD specs across a wide analogue level range. In the best RME tradition and product philosophy the UCX converters and preamps don't produce 'sound', they do not add or remove anything from the source signal, just capture it as it is.
Due to its efficient jitter reduction, RME's superior SteadyClock™ finalises the state-of-the-art AD/DA conversion, even when clocking to an external digital source.
Low Latency Converters
All analogue I/Os provide a low latency converter design with impressive 14 samples for the ADC, and 7 samples for the DAC, independent of the used sample rate.
These values are about a quarter of those from the Fireface UC/400 (43/28), and even out-perform much more expensive devices. A technical breakthrough that reduces the overall latency of timing critical applications, in live situations and in the computer-based recording studio. The converter latency is so low (0.4 ms at 48 kHz) that it can be ignored, turning analogue digital monitoring into real analogue-style monitoring!
Quality over quantity
The crown jewels of the UCX are the two high-end mic and instrument preamps, handily placed on the front panel for easy access.
Both preamps 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 outstanding preamp design impresses with extremely low distortion, excellent signal to noise ratio and a perfectly flat frequency response that lets these preamps surpass those of other devices costing several times the price of the UCX. A premium solution for transmitting and amplifying any audio source 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 each preamp with the encoder knob on the front or in TotalMix FX on the host computer. All level settings are 100% reproducible and can also be adjusted using a MIDI remote controller.
Each channel can be individually switched to 48V phantom power. LEDs for signal, clip and activated phantom power give a complete overview on the unit's status.
The two TRS inputs on the front can operate alternatively as Hi-Z inputs. Directly plug in up to two guitars or other instruments - no other hardware is required.
The UCX offers a unique RME feature which was previously available only in the high-end microphone preamp Mistasy and the UFX.
Usually a limiter is used during the recording to prevent clipping of the A/D converter stage. But analogue processing would not only spoil the excellent technical specifications of the UCX mic preamps but also alter the original sound.
Thanks to the completely digitally controlled gain, the UCX can reduce the gain automatically, thus providing perfect protection from overload with no degradation of the audio signal, which does not have to pass any additional electronic circuitry. Additionally AutoSet does not cause any of the control noises known from usual limiters. SNR and THD stay completely unchanged. The reduction is done in a musical way, based on the intensity and duration of the input signal. Manual gain adjustment becomes obsolete most of the time, but the gain can still be set manually. AutoSet can be switched on for each of the 4 front panel mic and instrument preamp channels individually.
Hammerfall X-Core - USB + FireWire Made by RME
RME is the only manufacturer not to use a third party USB or FireWire audio technology, but their own, self-developed Hammerfall Audio Core with an outstanding performance and uncompromised pro audio features.
RME have integrated the latest and most sophisticated version of RME's bus technology, the Hammerfall X-Core - combining both, USB 2.0 and FireWire - within one half-rack sized interface.
Like other RME USB 2.0 interfaces, the Fireface UCX has been optimised for highest performance under Windows and Mac OS. It uses a special customised firmware for each operating system, and provides revolutionary ultra-low latencies even with multiple channels.
The completely redesigned Hammerfall FireWire technology of the X-Core provides the UCX with the same exceptional compatibility and performance as RME's USB solution. The UCX does not have any FireWire chip inside – the complete bus technology is programmed into the FPGA and remains under direct control of the RME masterminds. If ever necessary, it can be updated anytime by a simple firmware update.
Class Compliant Mode
The Fireface UCX is the first professional audio interface with the option to be used as Class Compliant interface. It then works without a driver as an audio/MIDI interface on several operating systems and with Apple's iPad and iPad2 (Camera Connection Kit required). The UCX provides the iPad with the professional analogue I/O connections it lacks. Superb microphone preamps with EQ, dynamics, AutoSet, in addition to professional balanced line outputs, and a hi-power headphone output. Plus level adjustments, reverb, echo, zero latency monitoring. All of this digitally via USB - which means no limitation in quality.
TotalMix FX - Built-in high-end hardware mixer
The Fireface UCX provides the complete effects engine from the UFX - all effects are available at all sample rates.
The DSP-based TotalMix mixer allows fully independent routing and mixing of all 18 input and playback channels to all 18 physical outputs. Up to 9 totally independent stereo submixes plus a comprehensive Control Room section offer unrivalled monitoring capabilities and unsurpassed routing flexibility.
And there is more: The latest generation of TotalMix delivers hardware mixing/routing with lots of new features and a highly improved usability. For a seamless integration of the new 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 UCX easily surpasses the competition by offering all these effects even at 192 kHz operation.
Two DSPs ensure an impressive performance even in extreme applications. As usual with RME, TotalMix is available with all channels at all sample rates, completely unlimited. The second DSP calculates the effects only, therefore has sufficient resources. For example, at 48 kHz 36 EQs, 36 Low Cuts, 26 Compressors and Echo can be activated. With activated Reverb and Echo still 36 EQs, 36 Low Cuts and 16 Compressors 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 54 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.
Integrated Monitoring Controller - Optional Remote Control
Thanks to the multi-functional rotary encoder the UCX is not only a perfect desktop level controller for the main monitors and phones. The integrated TotalMix FX high-end mixer provides an impressive set of monitoring control features for modern Mix-In-the-Box studios or live mixing sessions. Among them Dim, source selection, monitor switching, integrated Talkback, a flexible CUE setup, Mute and Mute FX, Mono and much more.
In contrary to a 3rd party external monitoring controller the built-in UCX solution preserves the original sound, as its hardware outputs stay directly connected to the studio monitors, avoiding another device with a possible signal alteration in the signal path.
The flexibility of RME's DSP-driven TotalMix FX monitoring tool set is impressive: any physical output can be assigned to the directly knob-controlled monitor outputs (Main out, Speaker B, Phones 1, 2 ...). Just assign the SPDIF output as Speaker B 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. CUE mixes can be sent to a predefined output, an external input can be assigned and monitored with a simple click. Convenience for any studio or live situation at its best.
The UCX provides an integrated connector on the back for RME's optional remote controls. the BRC (Basic Remote Control) to ARC (Advanced Remote Control).
With the TotalMix App (available through the Apple App store), you can now also gain control over the mixer and effects of your Class Compliant RME Fireface UCX or UFX interface. The TotalMix FX App is compatible with any iPad running iOS version 5.0 and above. It includes all the features of the Mac/Windows TotalMix FX software, with the exception of MIDI/OSC remote control.