The RME Fireface UCX is a highly integrated pro audio solution in an ultra-compact format for studio and live recordings. It continues RME's long tradition of designing compact high-end interfaces, packing into a half-rack size unit what usually would be spread out over two or three 19 inch panels.
In doing this the RME Fireface UCX marks a new packing record: 300 electronic components more than inside the already well-stocked Fireface UC! In a tremendous effort RME packed once again all the latest technologies, introduced with the award winning flagship UFX, plus a bunch of newly developed ones, into a half 19 inch housing with full mobile usability.
The result is an awesome combination of RME's most successful products: Fireface UFX, Firefaces UC/400 and Babyface. The Fireface UCX is not just a smaller version of the smash hit UFX, with the X-core, the preamps and the complete effects engine, the UCX continues the tradition of RME's tremendously successful compact interfaces. With the Fireface UCX RME reinvented an already perfect product, by improving existing features and characteristics plus adding sophisticated new ones
Inputs and Outputs :
The UCX provides 36 channels of audio - 18 I/Os. All channels can be used at the same time. Up to 8 analog and 10 digital channels can be recorded onto 18 separate tracks. All outputs can be used for ASIO Direct Monitoring purposes.
Analog I/O : The UCX provides 8 analog I/O in a very flexible combination:
8 Inputs. On the rear: 4 balanced TRS. On the front: 2 XLR inputs with Mic/Line preamps (65 dB Gain) and 2 Hi-Z capable TRS Line/Instrument inputs..
8 Outputs . On the rear: 6 balanced TRS outputs. On the front: One additional TRS stereo phones (playback channels 7/8). The high power phones output offers high volumes even with high-impedance headphones.
Sound Quality . Equipped with a new 2011 A/D and D/A high-performance converter design all I/Os operate at up to 192 kHz. The AD/DA conversion supersedes the outstanding technical specifications of the Fireface UC/400 with an impressive 114 dBA dynamic range on both record and playback. The advanced multi-bit converter architecture guarantees excellent S/N and THD specs across a wide analog level range. In the best RME tradition and product philosophy, the UCX converters and preamps have no characteristic "sound" of their own. They neither add nor remove anything, but capture the original signal just as it is.
Low Latency Converters : All analog I/Os use a low latency converter design with impressive 14 samples for the ADC, and 7 samples for the DAC, independent of the used sample rate. These values are about a quarter of the Fireface UC/400 (43/28), and even outperform much more expensive devices. A technical breakthrough that reduces the overall latency of timing critical applications, in live situations, and in computer-based recording studios. The converter latency is so low (0.4 ms at 48 kHz) that it can be ignored, turning analog digital monitoring into real analog-style monitoring!
Professional Level Support : A great converter needs to support the common studio levels for the perfect adaptation to other analog equipment without loosing headroom. Like all other RME devices the UCX supports the common professional studio levels: -10 dBV, +4 dBu, Lo / HiGain. The software-controlled reference levels, realized discretely in the analog domain, ensure highest dynamic range and fidelity.
- Inputs 3 to 8: -10 dBV, +4 dBu and Lo Gain (adjustable in two groups - channels 3/4 and 5 to 8).
- Outputs 1 to 8: -10 dBV, +4 dBu and Hi Gain (adjustable in two groups - channels 1 to 6 and 7/8).
Hammerfall-X-Core: USB & FireWire : RME is the only manufacturer that doesn’t use a third party USB or FireWire audio technology, but its own, self-developed Hammerfall Audio Core with an outstanding performance and uncompromised pro audio features. RME integrated the latest and most sophisticated version of RME's bus technology, the Hammerfall-X-Core - combining both, USB 2.0 and FireWire - within one half-rack sized interface.
USB 2.0. Like other RME USB 2.0* interfaces the Fireface UCX has been optimized for highest performance under Windows and Mac OS. It uses a special customized firmware for each operating system, and provides revolutionary ultra-low latencies even with multiple channels.
* The Fireface UCX is compatible to USB 3 chipsets.
FireWire : The completely redesigned FireWire technology of the HFX-Core provides the UCX with the same exceptional compatibility and performance as RME's USB solution. The UCX does not have any FireWire chip inside - the complete bus technology is programmed into the FPGA and remains under direct control. If ever necessary, it can be updated anytime by a simple firmware update.
Class Compliant Mode:
The Fireface UCX is the first fully professional audio interface with the option to be used as Class Compliant interface.
The Class Compliant mode is a standard that is natively supported by operating systems like Windows, Mac OSX and Linux distributions. No proprietary drivers are required, the device will be directly recognized when the CC mode is activated by the button on the front panel.
The Class Compliant mode allows for connecting the UCX to an Apple iPadTM or iPad2 !
The iPad is not only an attractive mobile music creation and recording platform, but a closed hard- and software system without common driver problems and interferences from 3rd party hardware, like graphic or network cards. It provides stability, a good realtime performance and an easy handling.
The UCX provides the iPad with the professional analog I/O connections it lacks. Superb microphone preamps with EQ, dynamics, even with the AutoSet feature, in addition to professional balanced line outputs, and a hi-power headphone output that also excels with high impedance headphones. Plus level adjustments, reverb, echo, zero latency monitoring, digitally via USB, without any limitation in quality, at up to 96 kHz and 24 bit.
The UCX adds another special feature: Instead of using the jitter-prone USB clock, it works with its own internal SteadyClock. Many USB audio devices extract clock for DA conversion from the USB data packets, running in slave mode (adaptive mode), with comparably high jitter values, especially since most won't offer active jitter suppression. The UCX works in clock mode master (asynchronous mode), both during recording and playback, thus achieving the exact same sound quality with an iPad as under Windows and Mac OSX.
Supported Inputs and Outputs . When connected to an iPad, the analog mic/line input 1 works with mono apps, inputs 1 and 2 with stereo apps (both dual mono and stereo), and all 8 analog inputs with 8-channel applications, like MultiTrack DAW and Music Studio.
Playback will use analog outputs 1 and 2 (there is no app supporting 8-channel playback at this time). The output signal 1/2 will be copied to outputs 7/8, SPDIF and ADAT, and can be processed independently (Volume/EQ/Dyn/FX Return).
Audio Routing and Processing . The UCX is also a very powerful tool in CC mode, and can even be pre-configured via TotalMix FX under Windows/Mac. Apart from the current configuration up to 6 previously saved configurations can be loaded from the setup memory, allowing for a quick reconfiguration without a connected host PC/Mac.
The input signal will pass through all activated functions of the TotalMix FX input channel, namely settings, EQ, and Dynamics, and is then sent to the iPad. Like under Windows and Mac, the input fader controls direct monitoring to any output. The FX send control for echo/reverb is also active. The iPad's output signal passes through all activated functions of the TotalMix FX hardware outputs, namely settings, EQ, and dynamics. The third row's fader sets the output level.
The RME UCX is their most complete portable solution to date, with outstanding best in class drivers and audio performance in a interface that will hook up to a wider multitude of hosts.If your looking for a high end, top quality solution you should check out the RME UCX today.
To read Tom's lowdown on this great new product see our blog entry here