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From RME Fireface 800 to RME Fireface UFX

Hey gang !

I'm super exited to now own a brand new RME fireface UFX. Yes the one that is discontinued.
I found it at a fair price and since I was still running my Fireface 800 fine, I guessed the UFX would be a nice upgrade (with a the dsp and 2 extra input ports) Being discontinued doesn't worry me a bit because RME has been one of the best to make new drivers or firmwares when ever necessary, even for older units.

I've debated for a long time if I was going for another maker.. but I guess I wasn't ready to let go of Totalmix FX (the realtime mixer)

I'm sure you know me by now, I couldn't resist doing a video about it so here it is ;) :
Let me know what you think !

Comments

pcrecord Mon, 04/13/2020 - 07:52

Makzimia, post: 463900, member: 48344 wrote: So, Marco, are you on USB now, or still using firewire?.

I still have my firewire card, but I'm trying to run on USB.. RME is saying that it is suppose to be even more powerfull than Firerwire..
So far, latency and recording is working fine in USB...
The difference with RME (so they say) is that they make their own chips and are less prone to performance issues than others..
I still haven't recorded 20 tracks at the same time.. I'll come back to say how it went ;)

Tony Carpenter Mon, 04/13/2020 - 08:01

Antelope said the same thing about the Orion 32 back when Chris and I had them. Still preferred the RME HDSPe card :). Almost zero latency, rock solid. I do love my TB3 UAD Apollo now though. A X8p is on the shopping list along with my Mac Pro. I want the newer preamps and proper Unison support of the newer apollo. All up I'll have 4 (Apollo Quad)+ 4 (UAD2 Quad PCIe card)+ 6 (x8p)+ 8 (UAD2 Octo card)= 22 DSPs :D. Along with the new LUNA recording system, that is a hell of a lot of processing power. I'm holding off until the dust settles from the Corona virus though.

pcrecord Mon, 04/13/2020 - 08:51

Makzimia, post: 463903, member: 48344 wrote: Antelope said the same thing about the Orion 32 back when Chris and I had them. Still preferred the RME HDSPe card :). Almost zero latency, rock solid. I do love my TB3 UAD Apollo now though. A X8p is on the shopping list along with my Mac Pro. I want the newer preamps and proper Unison support of the newer apollo. All up I'll have 4 (Apollo Quad)+ 4 (UAD2 Quad PCIe card)+ 6 (x8p)+ 8 (UAD2 Octo card)= 22 DSPs :D. Along with the new LUNA recording system, that is a hell of a lot of processing power. I'm holding off until the dust settles from the Corona virus though.

I didn't care much about dsp before.. Having it now is kinda nice but I do intend to use it only for headphone mixes.
I prefer recording clean. Altought I do have EQ and comp on my LA-610 and can be driven to be not so clean.. ;)
I'm also planning for 1 external comp which I want to couple with one of my ISA preamp.. So I will have some tube signal path and at least 1 solid state path with comp..

I respect your approach but mine is a bit different with external highend preamps.
Might be less versatil but I prefer the real thing over emulation (regarding preamps).
And of course when you try to get customers, big preamps seems more impressive.. ;)

I saw Fab Dupont try Luna, he had good words about it.. Let us know how it works out for you..

audiokid Wed, 05/13/2020 - 09:55

Makzimia, post: 463903, member: 48344 wrote: Antelope said the same thing about the Orion 32 back when Chris and I had them. Still preferred the RME HDSPe card :). Almost zero latency, rock solid.

Wish I still had mine. Rock solid. To my experience, an independent card on its own buss is the most stable.

pcrecord Wed, 05/13/2020 - 10:13

Makzimia, post: 463900, member: 48344 wrote: So, Marco, are you on USB now, or still using firewire?.

Finaly I try to run it in USB.. On big projects, It seems to run fine with a buffer of 256 which is nice.. (Samp X5)
I decided to keep my FF800 and use it to drive headphone mixes.. So UFX in USB and 800 in firewire.

What I do is create 4 stereo headphone mixes that goes in ADAT from the UFX to the 800 Adat inputs and then they are redirected to the line-outs of the 800 to the headphone amps !! So my setup now has 8 headphone mixes (if I count the 2 headphone outputs of the UFX) !
Can't be more ready for a band ! ;)

pcrecord Wed, 05/13/2020 - 10:53

audiokid, post: 464208, member: 1 wrote: Can you individually control EQ and effects too?

Yes, in totalmix, you get an eq and comp on each channel.. Also you get an Aux send to drive a rev and an echo.. Sadly they are not independant.. but still for the headphone mixes.. it's pretty cool..

Here's a video where I explain a bit more about TotalMix FX

kmetal Wed, 05/13/2020 - 14:15

I would imagine that for basic tracking your computer itself would be powerful enough to run the cue mixes, along with some zero latency pluggins.

Its obviously a matter of choice, but i never liked the apogee cue mix, or even when i was using a digital console for cue effects and mixing itb. When mixing on the console it was ok.

My complaint is not hearing what the artist is hearing, or when overdubbing on a track that has itb effects on it, the efx get disabled due to realtime monitoring, so the volume changes when you record vs playback. Im also weary of compression just for monitoring because i feel compression is part of the performance, and the sound. It interacts dynamically. My preference is for compression on the way into the recording. Although it's kool to be able to track both the compressed and raw signal using itb/cue setups.

The uad method at least allows the same plugs for montoring and mix/playback, but seems clumsy to since its got a seperate cue mix console, and the daw has to run in zero latency mode, so no native effects for tracking. Not sure how vsti works in this regard.

Uad has solved this with their luna daw, but now your in a new proprietary daw...

Antelope has a bridge plug to solve this but its mac only, and its their dsp efx, not sure if you can combine native efx.

Apogee has the ability to use its plugs/dsp in the session on their new desktop interfaces, but again, im not sure if native efx are supported realtime or not.

If i did a ton of live tracking id just go pthdx, which is the most mature and well integrated tech of this type, but has its own downsides.

That said you never really hear what the artist is hearing, since headphones color the sound. I just hate jumping between screens and stuff.

I think native power can now compete with pthd, in latency and power. Samplitude allows you to restrict pluggins to certain cores, if i understand it properly. So between that, track freeze, and the ability to run vsti, i think modern native systems can pretty much track with acceptable latency at any point in a project. I will test this theory when my system is together.

audiokid Wed, 05/13/2020 - 15:54

Kurt Foster, post: 464218, member: 7836 wrote: i like to record into a mix. i need to hear the gates comps reverb and effects to know what i need to do to the track(s) being recorded. that's really hard to do without a console.

Indeed.

Uad Apollo solves this but the sound of the plugs were nothing compared to my hardware before but I suspect this will only get better with each new version of Apollo.

audiokid Wed, 05/13/2020 - 20:44

Kurt Foster, post: 464236, member: 7836 wrote: but they are obsolete proof. Made in America too.

They are all obsolete the day you buy them. But they all hold their value pretty well. They are the one thing that has remained stable in value. I've had a lot of converters over the last 20 + years. I'd likely buy Apollo now.

Kurt Foster Wed, 05/13/2020 - 20:48

i agree on all you said. those are the ones i would pick for various reasons. i read Antelope is having business trouble and might go out of business. i like the Apollo for the tracking plugs, RME for their drivers and just general quality. imo BURL is the top pick for me. i like that they use transformer balancing and mil spec construction. no surface mount. in 10 years if the caps start to drift they will be easy to change out. like i said, obsolete proof.

audiokid Wed, 05/13/2020 - 20:52

Kurt Foster, post: 464239, member: 7836 wrote: i read Antelope is having business trouble and might go out of business

Interesting you should say this. I was going to say, if you get antelope, buy a used Orion 16. They were good but after that model, they got bloated and made all sorts of ridiculous and redundant products.

audiokid Wed, 05/13/2020 - 20:55

Kurt Foster, post: 464239, member: 7836 wrote: i agree on all you said. those are the ones i would pick for various reasons. i read Antelope is having business trouble and might go out of business. i like the Apollo for the tracking plugs, RME for their drivers and just general quality. imo BURL is the top pick for me. i like that they use transformer balancing and mil spec construction. no surface mount. in 10 years if the caps start to drift they will be easy to change out. like i said, obsolete proof.

yup.

Tony Carpenter Thu, 05/14/2020 - 02:31

Antelope in trouble, never saw that coming... oh wait.., Aardvark.. lol. Damn if he does it again a$$hat he was last time.

In more related terms. I love how my Apollo works since I went TB3. FireWire definitely worked but was limited. Oh and the console of Apollo’s is like playing with an actual console. LUNA then also on top adds old school tape recording including flex times like real tape speeds up and down with no artefacts.

UAD live videos as they demo and develop at the same time in lock down have been very impressive. James Liddell in particular does amazing things with it.

pcrecord Thu, 05/14/2020 - 07:18

kmetal, post: 464216, member: 37533 wrote: My complaint is not hearing what the artist is hearing, or when overdubbing on a track that has itb effects on it

I get you, switching screens to do headphone mixes isn't for everybody.
To me, being a computer guy, I do [ALT+TAB] all the time, so it's not a problem. I had a 32ch mixer before and switched to highend preamps for the quality and saving space.
It's not true that you never hear what to musicians hear. Totalmix FX has a CUE button on every output and you can redirect the sound on your monitors or on a pair of headphones (preferably the same model as the performer)

Now with totalmix fx and the fireface UFX I usually do a master mix with my monitors and then copy it to every headphone mixes as a starting point. Then I boost the performer's own signal so they can hear themself a bit better, usually it's done. Unless they ask more this less that.. With 8 different headphone mixes.. it's not that harder to do it with Totalmix than on a mixer (specially if it's an analog mixer)

I had Antelope Zen studio in mind for a next interface but the deal breaker was that it has only 4 virtual mixes so RME was a better choice.. (altought the Zen have more preamps)

kmetal Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:34

Antelope lives on the cutting edge, and has the highest spec conversion among the big brands. In demos they sound very good. Very smooth. Sonically they seem better to me than the others based on many online listens. Antelope however seems to have constant driver issues, and questionable product support. They also fire out new products often making a 2 year old high price interface "old".

Its truly amazing to me how well low end focusrite interfaces hold up.

Kurt Foster, post: 464234, member: 7836 wrote: any thought on BURL converters?

Dan Zellman tech for Sear Sound, told me in 2016 they took 10 years to R&D those, and were his favorite sounding converter. He liked you could hit them hard like tape.

What's interesting as far as life span, is many mastering engineers are still using the the UA 192 converter, which is decades old, and designed by the people of burl.

In the high end i dont think old necessarily means not good with converters.

I think that improvements are going to be much more incremental than they have been in the previous years.

Burl seems great for AD, tho i am not sure they are #1 for DA. Im not sure who is for DA, since i can't demo it on YouTube :)

Makzimia, post: 464248, member: 48344 wrote: Apollo’s is like playing with an actual console.

Except when using vsti, or you have native plugs on the track your recording. This irks me.

Im still on the fence about DSP, since its hardware dependent. Its probably got the same longevity as a native pluggin but it is one more thing involved with maintaining legacy sessions.

Kurt Foster Thu, 05/14/2020 - 11:29

i am still in the hardware camp. computers, O/S systems DAW and plug in compatibility are my concern. i can buy a hardware compressor or a plug in. in 5 or 10 years i can still use the hardware but the plug in will probably not run on what ever system i have at the time. if plug ins all supported legacy i would feel different. i think that is not that easy to do. nature of the beast.

kmetal Thu, 05/14/2020 - 20:45

Kurt Foster, post: 464262, member: 7836 wrote: i am still in the hardware camp. computers, O/S systems DAW and plug in compatibility are my concern. i can buy a hardware compressor or a plug in. in 5 or 10 years i can still use the hardware but the plug in will probably not run on what ever system i have at the time. if plug ins all supported legacy i would feel different. i think that is not that easy to do. nature of the beast.

I like both for different reasons. I spent a long time with the planning of the new system to be able to maintain running versions of the legacy systems either as "virtual machines" or slaves, depending on their role, and to be careful about archiving things. Even archiving the program installers can be useful.

On the hardware side, im not sure recall was so common? Did you ever have to pick up "where you left off" on a ten year old mix? I can envision gear having been sold or modded or repaired in that time. New console or tape machine ect. More to the point it just doesn't seem like people expected to return to a project in analog the way we expect to now. I curious about your thoughts on this.

Kurt Foster Thu, 05/14/2020 - 21:06

10 years is a long time. a lot of studios don't stay in business that long. at KFRS, we didn't get a lot of recalls. my console had VCA automation and if we thought it would be necessary we could take Polaroids of the eq and auxs and patch bays as well as documenting the patches and processing. that's the way it was done. i could do mix recalls by ear if we hadn't done the the documentation and photos. i usually could nail it. i have a lot of habits so i usually knew what i did on certain things (like the drums and bass). that's another good reason to get it right on the way in.

Tony Carpenter Thu, 05/14/2020 - 21:48

kmetal, post: 464257, member: 37533 wrote:

Except when using vsti, or you have native plugs on the track your recording. This irks me.

Im still on the fence about DSP, since its hardware dependent. Its probably got the same longevity as a native pluggin but it is one more thing involved with maintaining legacy sessions.

Enter LUNA :). Once you do gain staging and using whichever UNISON plugins (in console and then they show in LUNA), it's exactly like any other DAW uses native VSTis etc, except next to zero latency and no need to EVER fiddle with buffer settings :). Trust me it would blow you away.

Tony

kmetal Fri, 05/15/2020 - 09:16

Makzimia, post: 464266, member: 48344 wrote: Enter LUNA :). Once you do gain staging and using whichever UNISON plugins (in console and then they show in LUNA), it's exactly like any other DAW uses native VSTis etc, except next to zero latency and no need to EVER fiddle with buffer settings :). Trust me it would blow you away.

Tony

Yea Luna looks great. It seems really well thought out. I hope it shakes up DAW makers to be more willing to work with hardware makers for better integration. Its also cool that UA isn't charging for Luna. Its like PTHD all over again, hopefully UA learned from digidesign.

pcrecord Fri, 05/15/2020 - 11:55

kmetal, post: 464264, member: 37533 wrote: Did you ever have to pick up "where you left off" on a ten year old mix?

OMG.. I would be in trouble.. switched DAW versions and now to Samplitude..
This makes me think I should always export consolidated RAW tracks.. at least those could be imported in any DAW
Thanks.. this is a wake up call.. :)

kmetal Fri, 05/15/2020 - 13:17

pcrecord, post: 464285, member: 46460 wrote: OMG.. I would be in trouble.. switched DAW versions and now to Samplitude..
This makes me think I should always export consolidated RAW tracks.. at least those could be imported in any DAW
Thanks.. this is a wake up call.. :)

Totally man. I lost my first 7 years of mulitrack sessions. The others are scattered on Hdds in my basement, and over at the studious, and consist of 3 different daws! Argggh. I just hope the data is recoverable.

Exporting raw tracks is part of my new "protocol" for archviving stuff. So is printing busses. Also, exporting raw tracks, and the tracks with processing. A 3rd set could be at the mix level instead of mix.

I think mostly if its ten years later, its more likely ill want to start the mix from raw unprocessed tracks, because ill probably have new toys by then.

My other plan is to keep a server or computers, that can run each of my legacy systems via virual machines, or seperate os SSDs. So an windows xp machine, 32 bit OSX, W10, etc. This way in theory, i can open up old sessions exactly as they were.

Since vep allows me to mix and match OS and bit rates, my vsti and plugs should be nearly as "future proof" as a hardware synth or outboard rack digital processor. This is why im trying the master / slave configuration.

I was impressed that w10 opened audition 3.0, and ran a 12+ year old session no sweat. Fingers crossed.

Im guessing no issues running older SAM sessions in x5???