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Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

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Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby PianoPerson » Wed May 27, 2020 3:44 pm

Hi all,

My audio interface (RME Babyface) and laptop are a decade old and it's time for an update. The laptop really struggles with some recent software.

The RME Babyface Pro FS seems a great replacement for my old Babyface, with great drivers and long-term driver support. I’d like to use any new interface for at least a decade.

The one thing I’ve always disliked about the Babyface is its rotary encoder, so I’d want to pair the Babyface with the Drawmer CMC2. This would also give me two independent headphone outputs.

A few years ago, I also bought a second-hand Audient Mico. However, these days I really only record at most two microphones simultaneously, so if I were to buy the new Babyface, I’d sell the Mico.

As an alternative, I’m considering the Digiface USB, combined with the ADI-2 FS (so not the Pro version). I'd connect the analog outs of the Mico to the ADI-2. If I were ever to expand to four inputs, I could connect its digital output to the Digiface. The ADI-2 has a regular volume control that can be used both for the headphone output and the main output, while the Digiface USB also has a headphone output, so there'd be no need for a separate monitor controller.

Price-wise, the two options are comparable, but the new Babyface + CMC2 would work out cheaper since I could selll the Mico. It’s also a slightly simpler setup.

The ADI-2 has (slightly) better audio specs, but I doubt I’d hear the difference. Also, I would imagine the mic pres on the Babyface Pro FS to be comparable in quality to the Mico?

I have a sense, though, that the ADI-2 + Digiface USB might be a bit more future-proof. And I like the knobs on the Mico...

I’d really appreciate your advice.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby innerchord » Wed May 27, 2020 7:48 pm

I only have one thing to offer here. If you are looking for long-term driver support, I think the RME product would be a very good choice.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby PianoPerson » Wed May 27, 2020 7:53 pm

Thanks Innerchord.

Perhaps I should point out that they're all RME products, in fact, so the question is which of the two RME paths I should take: RME Babyface Pro FS or RME ADI-2 FS + RME Digiface USB.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby James Perrett » Wed May 27, 2020 9:28 pm

I can understand the reason for replacing the computer but why do you want to change the interface? 10 years isn't particularly old for an RME device.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby PianoPerson » Wed May 27, 2020 9:45 pm

Good point.

I was hoping for even lower latency with these more recent interfaces. I use Pianoteq all the time and I've found that the lower the latency, the better the playing experience. Slightly better audio quality, too; and, for the Babyface Pro FS, a wider gain range on the preamps. Oh, and the headphone amp on the original BF isn't great. Are you suggesting the improvements will be slight?

I have to confess 10 years also just seemed a long time, after owning a Mackie interface back in the day for which driver support ended after a mere two years, I believe.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby innerchord » Wed May 27, 2020 11:36 pm

Sorry, I saw the mention of Audient and then got confused by all the RME names!
I am also concerned about latency, but I still use old machines (PCI bus and FireWire) so I can't be of any further help. I'd love to know which would provide lower latency in case of future needs. Is modern USB-C or Thunderbolt better?
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby James Perrett » Wed May 27, 2020 11:39 pm

PianoPerson wrote: Are you suggesting the improvements will be slight?

I have to confess 10 years also just seemed a long time, after owning a Mackie interface back in the day for which driver support ended after a mere two years, I believe.

I've not used a Babyface so I can only go by the SOS reviews and my general audio experience but I'd say that the difference in sound quality will be very slight. The two extra inputs might come in handy and the headphone amp is supposedly greatly improved so, if these are important, it might be worth going for an upgrade. As far as I can see the round trip latency is reduced by 12 samples but for a playback only device like a virtual instrument the improvement halves to 6 samples which is the equivalent of moving 1.5 inches closer to the piano at a 48kHz sample rate.

Personally I'd probably keep what you have and use the Mico into the digital input of the Babyface for additional inputs and add the Drawmer monitor controller which will also give you better headphone outputs.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby James Perrett » Wed May 27, 2020 11:41 pm

innerchord wrote:I'd love to know which would provide lower latency in case of future needs. Is modern USB-C or Thunderbolt better?

With RME gear I don't think that there is a big difference.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu May 28, 2020 12:12 am

James Perrett wrote:10 years isn't particularly old for an RME device.

For no other reason than as a message to any manufacturers, or their representatives, who may read this RME will be a central player in my next serious audio interface purchase for the reason quoted by James above. Not just on the basis of that single quote, more taking into consideration dozens that agree with the sentiment that I've seen in these forums.

I have such a purchase coming up in the next few months. It'll be a fairly serious investment; 64 channels of ADC and all the trimmings that go with that.

Apogee ruled themselves out of consideration a while ago and I never forgave them for it. I'm not being facetious but these things matter. We're talking up to half the price of a decent 2nd hand family car here, and consumers are not to be taken for granted as cash-cows. Just saying.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby innerchord » Thu May 28, 2020 12:12 am

James Perrett wrote:
innerchord wrote:I'd love to know which would provide lower latency in case of future needs. Is modern USB-C or Thunderbolt better?

With RME gear I don't think that there is a big difference.

Thanks. I wasn't really worried about it. I'll continue in the same vein. :lol:
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby stammerman » Thu May 28, 2020 4:27 am

Yeah I agree with the Apogee thing man. Their driver support is terrible. Really leave their customers out to dry. I understand some of that is technically Apples fault kinda. But they really should find a way to support their legacy hardware.


Anyway Babyface Pro is great. I get about 4 ms at 44.1 software delay FWIW. I dont think you will get much benefit from "upgrading" from your babyface OG tho. Unless you want more inputs its probably a waste of time and money. One of the great things about RME is their dedicated support. But if you want to keep them solvent and in business by all means please order a new one.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby PianoPerson » Thu May 28, 2020 6:16 am

James Perrett wrote:As far as I can see the round trip latency is reduced by 12 samples but for a playback only device like a virtual instrument the improvement halves to 6 samples which is the equivalent of moving 1.5 inches closer to the piano at a 48kHz sample rate

Thanks, James. The 12-sample difference is between the BF Pro and the BF Pro FS. The difference in latency between the old BF (which I have) and the BF Pro FS is more significant -- around 1.4 ms in roundtrip latency at 44KHz sample rate and 48-sample buffer. So for virtual instruments, that would be 0.7 ms, so perhaps it's more noticeable with things like amp sims.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu May 28, 2020 10:36 am

I doubt you'd notice 0.7 ms latency, it's probably about ⅓ of the time the sound of the middle C hammer hitting the string takes to reach your ears when playing a grand with the lid open. I found 6ms was about the most I could tolerate singing with IEM's in but was fine with a fair bit more than 6ms delay when using wedges.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby PianoPerson » Thu May 28, 2020 10:50 am

Thanks, Sam; very useful. Perhaps the case for selling my old BF isn't hugely compelling, then.

Any views on the differences in audio quality between the BF Pro FS and the ADI-2 FS?
I have a feeling that the experienced, sensible people on this forum will tell me that these aren't noticeable in practice.
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Re: Urgent luxury problem: RME Babyface Pro FS or ADI-2 FS + Digiface USB

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu May 28, 2020 10:55 am

I haven't heard either so can't help. Sorry.
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