RME Fireface UC

18-in/18-out 24-bit/192kHz USB Audio Interface with Two Digitally Controlled Microphone Preamps, TRS I/O, ADAT, S/PDIF, MIDI, and Word Clock - Mac/PC
RME Fireface UC image 1
RME Fireface UC image 1
$1,399.00
Sweetwater Savings: $200.00 MSRP: $1,599.00

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RME Fireface UC
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Another amazing interface from RME!

RME's Fireface UC continues the Fireface legacy, but this time trades in FireWire for USB. Using a newly developed RME Hammerfall core, the Fireface UC is capable of super-low latencies when running multi-channel audio. Two different firmware versions with different transfer methods are used, effectively removing the current restrictions of USB. I/O is plentiful, as the Fireface UC boasts two mic pres, ADAT, and S/PDIF, for a total of 18 input/output channels plus MIDI I/O. Latency is nearly non-existent on both Mac OS X and Windows Vista with the Fireface UC.

RME Fireface UC 24-bit/192kHz USB Audio Interface at a Glance:
  • 18-in/18-out interface
  • Cross-platform performance
  • Built on RME's stellar legacy
  • TotalMix integrated DSP mixer
  • Analog I/O
  • Preamps
  • Digital I/O
Cross-platform performance

The Fireface UC works on both the Windows and Mac operating systems. In fact, the compact Fireface UC has been uncompromisingly optimized for highest performance under either platform. Based on a newly developed RME Hammerfall core the Fireface UC provides revolutionary ultra-low latencies even with multiple channels. It uses two different firmware versions with different transfer methods to remove current restrictions of typical USB audio interfaces. The unit's operating mode Win or Mac can be changed directly at the unit at any time. Under Mac OS the Fireface's MIDI ports are class compliant, the operating system therefore automatically uses the included MIDI driver. Under both Operating Systems the available latencies are incredible. The smallest buffer offered under Windows Vista has 48 samples, under Mac OS X 14 samples. With this RME provides a performance comparable to PCI Express interfaces - under USB 2.0.

Built on RME's stellar legacy

The Fireface UC features all of the proven RME analog and digital circuitry. It is the only device in its class with active jitter suppression, enhanced stand-alone functionality and complete controllability from the front panel, highly flexible I/Os in professional quality, and an unsurpassed 648-channel matrix router - all at sample rates of up to 192kHz.

TotalMix integrated DSP mixer

All inputs and outputs can be freely mixed, routed, and distributed with RMEs TotalMix software. Up to 9 totally independent stereo submixes can be set up. Every output channel, and every submix channel can be recorded directly and without external cable loops. TotalMix can be completely MIDI remote controlled. The DSP-based hardware calculates RMS and Peak levels for all channels, without causing any significant CPU load.

Analog I/O

Eight analog inputs and outputs (all balanced, except outputs 7/8) with software controlled reference levels (-10 dBV, +4 dBu, Lo/HiGain), realized discretely in the analog domain, ensure high dynamic range and fidelity. Inputs 5 through 8 on the rear panel feature RME's proven level references, -10 dBV, +4 dBu and Lo Gain can be selected in the settings dialog, equivalent to +2 dBV, +13 dBu and +19 dBu for digital full scale. The same applies to the balanced rear analog outputs 1 to 6. The hi-power phones output offers high volumes even with low-impedance headphones.

Preamps

Preamps are arguably one of the most important links in the signal chain, and the Fireface UC boasts sensational pres. The Fireface UC features 2 balanced microphone inputs with a digitally controlled input stage, individually switchable 48V phantom power, and Neutrik Combo connectors for XLR and TRS. These can also be used as additional line inputs. A pre-amplification of up to 65dB (adjustable in 1dB-steps over a range of 55dB), exceptional EIN (Equivalent Input Noise) performance even at low pre amplification settings, and extremely low THD+N let these preamps surpass many reference devices. All level settings are 100% reproducible and can also be comfortably adjusted by software. Inputs 3 and 4 are flexible universal balanced inputs. They operate exactly like inputs 5 to 8 on the rear and can be adjusted to accept standard studio input levels (+4 dBu, LoGain). The input impedance can be switched from line (10 kOhm) to instrument (470 kOhm), and offers an additional analog input amplification of up to 18dB in steps of 0.5dB.

Digital I/O

The inclusion of ADAT I/O provides digital connection to mixers and converters. In combination with an ADI-8 DS/QS or OctaMic II, there are up to 16 analog inputs (respectively 12 @ 96kHz). The coaxial SPDIF I/O (up to 192kHz) is fully AES/EBU compatible. SPDIF can also be accessed through the optical I/O. A Word Clock input and output plus two MIDI I/Os (special breakout cable included) complete the list of features and turn the Fireface UC into an entire audio system of the highest quality.

RME Fireface UC 24-bit/192kHz USB Audio Interface Features:
  • 18-in/18-out audio interface
  • Sample rates up to 192kHz on all I/Os (including 2 ADAT channels with SMUX4)
  • Input AD: 6 x 1/4" TRS (4 x Line, 2 x Line/Instrument), 2 x XLR/TRS Combo (2 x Mic/Line), all servo-balanced
  • Output DA: 6 x 1/4" TRS, servo-balanced, DC-coupled signal path. 1 x 1/4" TRS unbalanced
  • Input Digital: 1 x ADAT optical or SPDIF optical, SPDIF coaxial (AES/EBU compatible)
  • Output Digital: 1 x ADAT optical or SPDIF optical, SPDIF coaxial (AES/EBU compatible)
  • MIDI: 2 x MIDI I/O via breakout cable (4 x 5-pin DIN jacks), for 32 channels low-jitter high-speed MIDI
  • Word clock
  • Dynamic range AD: 110dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA
  • THD AD: < -100dB (< 0.001 %)
  • THD+N AD: < -98dB (< 0.0012 %)
  • Crosstalk AD: > 110dB
  • Dynamic range DA: 110dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA (unmuted)
  • THD DA: -100dB (0.001 %)
  • THD+N DA: -96dB (0.0015 %)
  • Crosstalk DA: > 110dB
  • Input/Output level for 0 dBFS @ Hi Gain: +19 dBu
  • Input/Output level for 0 dBFS @ +4 dBu: +13 dBu
  • Input/Output level for 0 dBFS @ -10 dBV: +2 dBV
  • Sample rate internally: 32, 44.1, 48, 64, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 128, 176.4, 192kHz
  • Sample rate externally: 28kHz - 200kHz
  • Frequency response AD/DA, -0.1dB: 5Hz - 20.4kHz (sf 44.1kHz)
  • Frequency response AD/DA, -0.5dB: 1Hz - 43.3kHz (sf 96kHz)
  • Frequency response AD/DA, -1dB: 1Hz - 80kHz (sf 192kHz)
  • SteadyClock for maximum jitter suppression and clock refresh
  • TotalMix: 648-channel mixer with 42-bit internal resolution
  • Driver support, Windows: Windows XP (from SP2), Vista, Vista 64, 7: Full ASIO multi-client operation of WDM and ASIO 2.0. WDM (DirectSound) with stereo and multi-Channel support
  • Driver Support, Mac: Mac OS X (10.5 or higher) Intel: Core Audio, Core MIDI
Compact desktop horsepower with RME's Fireface UC!

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Fireface UC User Manual
Hands On Review: RME Fireface UCX

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity USB 2.0
Form Factor Desktop
Simultaneous I/O 18 x 18
A/D Resolution 24-bit/192kHz
Built In DSP/FX Yes
Analog Inputs 2 x Combo (Mic/Line), 2 x 1/4" (Hi-Z/Line), 4 x TRS
Analog Outputs 6 x TRS, 1 x TRS (Headphones)
Digital Inputs 1 x ADAT (Optical, 8 Channels), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Digital Outputs 1 x ADAT (Optical, 8 Channels), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Number of Preamps 2
Phantom Power Yes
MIDI I/O In/Out
Clock I/O 1 x Word Clock (In/Out via BNC)
Depth 6.1"
Width 10.5"
Height 1.73"
Weight 3.3 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number FFUC

Customer Reviews

5/5
Based on 4 reviews
Write your review
5/5

Excellent interface

I've had my Fireface UC for about three months now, and am very pleased. I had an issue initially with it playing back sound FASTER than it should, but this turned out to be an issue with Windows 7 Audio Enhancements being turned on, and caused similar problems with other non-RME interfaces. Sweetwater's tech support and my Sweeterwater sales rep were excellent in helping me with the issue. There's a noticeable improvement in sound quality over the PreSonus Firepod interface I was using prior. Input signals have a lot more gain then I used to have, and the inputs sound great. I'm very pleased. Would have been nicer if it wasn't so expensive, though!
Music background: Video producer
5/5

Finally, an interface that just works

I have been using firewire interfaces for years, but they don't function predictably on modern windows laptops. This unit is fully functional on every computer I hook it to. Win 7, Vista 64, XP, various laptop manufacturers. The preamps sound awesome and the amount of in/out options is incredible like the instrument ins can be switched to line level ins. The software is very intuitive and simple to use, and the latency is very low (2ms or 48 samples) if you want to play with soft synths/drum samplers. You also have the option of routing the input directly to the phones for zero latency.
Music background: Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician
4.5/5

Excellent interface

Sounds great; very low noise floor; plenty of I/O options. Low latency performance is very good for a USB system. The supporting software is reliable and has a nice polished UI. Overall a very professional package. 4.5 stars only due to the premium pricing.
Music background: Recording Engineer
4.5/5

Amazing USB Interface

I just upgraded from an Apogee Duet2 to the Fireface UC. Wow, what a difference, especially when using spidf into the Fireface. The physical build is solid (German engineering gets a 10 out of 10 here) and the sound is excellent. Converters seem to be at least as good as Apogee's, if not better. The new TotalMix FX software is very good, but takes longer to learn than the Apogee software (the manual isn't updated for the latest FX version which caused me to lose a few hours). But the software is also 100x more powerful. There are so many inputs and outputs that can be connected in any configuration. You can mix any inputs to any outputs. All in a compact 1/2 rack box. Firmware upgrade and driver install were EASY on a Mac Pro! I rated this 4.5 and not 5.0, only because RME needs to do a better job writing their manual and making the software a more intuitive. You will not be disappointed with this interface!
Music background: Hobbyist

Sweetwater Advice

Mark Thompson

Absolutely superb! I have one of the first RME Fireface UC interfaces that arrived in the US and have not looked at anything else since. It continues to perform flawlessly in every capacity. The kicker, it's only a half rack space.

Mitch Gallagher

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.
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See also: USB Interfaces, RME, RME USB Audio Interfaces