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Musikmesse 2014: RME Fireface 802

60-Channel 192 kHz USB/FireWire audio interface

It's 10 years since RME released the Fireface 800 audio interface, and now they've taken their hugely popular design and revamped it for 2014. 

Like the original Fireface 800, the core of the Fireface 802 is its four analogue microphone preamps with manual gain setting. Quick hands-on control is the name of the game here, with RME deliberately avoiding digitally-controlled preamps. The four inputs on the front of the device use balanced XLR/TRS combo sockets that also accept Hi-Z inputs for direct recording of guitars, for instance.

It also keeps a total of 30 inputs and 30 outputs, an AES/EBU I/O, two ADAT I/Os, Wordclock in and out, as well as a MIDI input.

Where the Fireface 802 differs from its predecessor is in its connection protocols. Instead of carrying Firewire 800, it employs FireWire 400 and class-compliant USB2.

The Fireface 802 comes with two instead of only one headphone output on the front. Otherwise the overall design of all elements found on front and rear is very similar to the Fireface 800, except for its new, more rounded housing.

Like the original, the Fireface 802 uses RME’s trademarked SteadyClock technology for clock generation, but the rest of the internals have had an overhaul. The interface employs RME’s latest A-D/D-A converters with a better signal-to-noise ratio, per-channel reference level control, two more analogue channels in and out (for 12 in total), and support for the Advanced Remote Control, to name a few.

RME explain that the support for FireWire 800 has been dropped in favor of USB 2 because there has been no gain in performance compared to FireWire 400, which is still included. To ease connection to modern computers with FireWire the 802 has both a 6 pin and a 9 pin socket.

With the latest TotalMix FX the Fireface 802 not only enters the full mixing, monitoring and effects processing world of UCX and UFX, but also adds Class Compliant compatibility. The Fireface 802 can therefore be fully controlled from an iPad with RME’s TotalMix FX for iPad app.

The Fireface 802 combines 60-channel super-low-latency conversion with low-latency operation via USB or FireWire and RME’s legendary driver stability and maintenance. It includes active jitter suppression, professional reference level support and a complete stand-alone functionality with all core features.

Equipped with the latest A-D and D-A converter chips, all I/Os operate up to 192 kHz and reach 118 dBA dynamic range on playback - even both headphone outputs. Their high-power technology provides high volume no matter if high or low impedance phones are used.

TotalMix FX delivers a digital mixer and signal router, driven by two powerful DSPs, with integrated effects plus built-in monitoring control. The effects 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. The 802 offers all these effects even at 192 kHz operation.

TotalMix FX is also a monitor controller with integrated talkback function. The control room features are available in the software or via the optional Advanced Remote Control. Flexible routing lets you assign any physical output as Main or Phones output. Talkback, Listenback, Mono, Dim, Recall and External Input will then work automatically and as expected on the assigned outputs.

The Fireface 802 also comes with RME’s unique DIGICheck metering and analysis toolbox.

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