In today’s article, we are introducing a new product, suggested and written by our faculty JINU (Department of Sound Reinforcement), the content is purely for technicians and those are working in the field can better understand the same.
For those who are not well versed with the technical aspects of sound engineering, the content in this article might seem confusing.
About the Product
RME, a german company has recently introduced Fireface UFX+ audio interface – USB & Thunderbolt with DURec. (Direct USB Recording)
DURec, which is available on the front of the Fireface UFX+, now offers second generation hardware with improved USB functionality and compatibility, providing greater reliability even with slower or multi-partitioned USB thumb drives.
The Fireface UFX + is not a successor to the Fireface UFX, but a new extended version. At first glance, the UFX + looks very similar to the UFX, but the changes are more comprehensive than the first impression.
Concept and connections
Like the UFX, the UFX + is built as a 19 “unit with 1 U and has a depth of 210 mm (weight 3 kg). The universal power supply is also integrated as with the UFX.
Let’s take a look at the back of the interface. As with the UFX, the analog audio inputs and outputs are located in the rear right, in the same arrangement (see figure below). The inputs are all implemented via stereo jacks and can also be wired symmetrically. The same is also true for the outputs, with output 1 and 2 being designed as an XLR socket. But here, too, there is something new, because the A / D and D / A converters are based on newer chipsets and the input and output stages have also been reworked. This ensures a better noise margin and even less distortion.
The maximum number of recordable channels has been raised to 76, meaning all 12 analog inputs plus 64 MADI channels can be recorded simultaneously. An internal Realtime Clock (RTC) delivers time-stamped files, and playback now includes several advanced player functions which were previously unavailable.
On the right half of the back, there are also an AES / EBU, two ADAT inputs and outputs as well as a wordclock input and output. But now to the innovations opposite the UFX. The UFX + also offers the MADI format both electrically via the BNC sockets (ie, wordclock or MADI) as well as optically. It is also possible to use both MADI interfaces in parallel with 32 channels via a split mode. MIDI via MADI is also supported.
The “Advanced Remote Controller” can also be connected via a USB remote socket, which operates via the MIDI format and is automatically recognized by the TotalMix FX.
As with the UFX, MIDI I / O interfaces are located both on the rear side of the UFX and on the front of the device. The device front has also been slightly revised. So the small handles are dropped, the front plate now has aluminum color and the LEDs are slightly differently arranged. On the front are the four MIC / LINE inputs. It should be mentioned here that the inputs no longer have a pad / attenuator, since the dynamic gain has been increased and now a 75 dB amplification range is offered, with a maximum input level of + 18 dBu.
There are also two headphone outputs. The headphone amplifier has also been reworked. It now offers an output impedance of 2 Ohm and a maximum level of +19 dBu. Also, a USB port is provided for a storage medium on the front panel. Like the Fireface UFX, the UFX + can record audio even without connected DAW.
Now to the sound of the Fireface UFX +. First of all, you have to say that the Fireface UFX offers an excellent sound and sets standards. With the UFX + the analog I / O sections and the converters have improved again but you can not expect miracles. The difference is perceptible in the A / B comparison under certain conditions and I would describe it as having improved the neutrality as well as the noise margin (microphone input 118 dB A-rated). We speak here of nuances. Very nice is also the large dynamic range of the microphone inputs without pad with the UFX + and the headphone amplifier with the lower impedance, which comes with all headphone models very well.
MADI is already a very old standard but some years ago there was a proper renaissance of the audio interface. This is not surprising, as MADI is able to transport 64 channels on an electrical or optical cable and is very easy to use and can be used without any problems by the manufacturer. Therefore it has certainly been the right way to implement MADI in the RME-Top product, especially since RME with MADI and its implementation already has a lot of experience.
The new interface interfaces USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt enable a virtually latency-free operation even with the high channel number.
The price of the RME Fireface UFX + is little more and expensive than the Fireface UFX. But there are MADI interfaces, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectivity, improved converters as well as input and output stages and a revised headphone amplifier. Without question the sister model Fireface UFX offers a very high audio quality. If you want to get the last out and build on the new USB and Thunderbolt interfaces and use MADI, the UFX + is certainly the optimal product, especially since the additional price can be judged as absolutely appropriate.
Our equipment list is being regularly updated with new products and currently it is the best in the country in the field of audio engineering training. Innovative products like RME Fireface UFX + will be added to our equipment lineup in the near future solely for training purpose.
Key Features includes :
94 Input / 94 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 / MADI Coaxial, 1 x MADI optical I/O, 2 x MIDI I/O, 1 x Thunderbolt™ connectivity, 1 x USB 3.0