RME have ploughed all of their considerable interface-making know-how into the Fireface UFX+, and the results are impressive.
RME are enjoying well-deserved 20th birthday celebrations this year, and it’s not hard to identify the factors that have made their audio interfaces so successful. From their proprietary SteadyClock clock-regeneration circuitry, to the use of field-programmable gate arrays rather than off-the-shelf DSP and controller chips, to enabling multitrack recording on iPads, RME have repeatedly been first to market with products that exploit new technologies and connection protocols. At the same time, however, their continuing support for older products is second to none. Whereas other manufacturers have allowed themselves to become dependent on third-party driver code, sometimes with unfortunate consequences for latency and stability, RME have always focused on coding their own rock-solid and lightning-fast drivers. And, one might add, RME have always treated their customers as intelligent adults who need to get things done, not as consumers buying into a brand economy.
In short, RME products might not be as cool as some other audio interfaces, and they make no pretence of emulating vintage studio hardware or adding character to your music — but ask most people in the business what gear they’d trust in a life-or-career-death situation, and RME would be pretty high up the list.
The latest entry into their range is the Fireface UFX+ and, in many ways, it’s an appropriate product with which to celebrate RME’s birthday. As the new flagship of their range, it brings together many of the technologies they’ve created; and, as we’ll see, it also marks one or two firsts for the German manufacturers.
The UFX+ quite possibly sets some sort of record for a 1U audio interface by featuring an astonishing 94 possible inputs and outputs. No, that’s not a misprint: it really is possible to record and play back 94 channels of audio simultaneously, at least at base sample rates. In proportion, these are broken down as follows: Up to 64 digital inputs and outputs can be accommodated using the MADI protocol, which RME have been championing for quite a few years now. Both coaxial and optical MADI sockets are fitted, while two further pairs of optical sockets usher in and out up to 16 channels of...
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