RME interfaces have long been known for their feature-heavy design, rock-solid drivers, low latency, and pristine sound quality. With the Fireface UCX, RME has brought all of these qualities together into a compact, portable Mac-/PC-compatible interface that can connect via FireWire or either USB 2.0 or 3. And check this out: the Fireface UCX is class-compliant, so you can hook it up to your iPad using the Apple Camera Kit. How cool is that?
The half-rack Fireface UCX has eighteen inputs and outputs (eight analog, eight ADAT optical, and stereo S/PDIF). There are two mic preamps with phantom power, as well as word clock I/O. They even found a way to squeeze in MIDI input and outputs plus a connection for a remote control (you can add the RME Advanced Remote Control, which offers more features).
The Fireface UCX comes with RME’s TotalMix FX software for latency-free monitoring. In fact, there are two DSP chips built into the unit — one for eliminating monitor latency and one for providing DSP-driven effects. TotalMix also includes a complete control room monitor-control section for handling your speakers.
In use, the Fireface UCX is a joy, getting out of the way so that you can make music. The array of I/O covers all needs, and TotalMix FX drives the whole thing transparently with a user-friendly interface. With its compact size, the Fireface UCX is the ideal laptop companion for location recording. The mic preamps deliver the goods, and the overall sound quality is clean and clear. And the iPad connectivity (via the optional Camera Kit) is a bonus that shouldn’t be overlooked. I was able to get eight analog ins with my iPad 2, at resolution up to 96kHz/24 bits! I predict this will become increasingly important as the iPad comes into its own as a DAW host.
RME’s reputation for building quality audio interfaces and drivers is well deserved. That reputation is enhanced even further by the Fireface UCX — another great interface from a company that clearly “gets it” when it comes to understanding what recording musicians want and need.