RME Fireface UCX

18-channel Hybrid USB 2.0/USB 3/FireWire 400 Audio Interface with Onboard DSP
5/5 13 Write review Item ID: FirefaceUCX
RME Fireface UCX image 1
RME Fireface UCX image 1
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RME Fireface UCX
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This Hybrid Audio Interface Is Ready for Anything!

The super-versatile RME Fireface UCX hybrid interface gives you many of the hit features found in their Fireface UFX model, but in a more portable format. It comes loaded with redeveloped Hammerfall converters and a ton of I/O options, including a pair of phenomenal mic pres, ADAT optical, S/PDIF, and more. RME's TotalMix FX DSP engine lets you track with latency-free studio-grade processing and effects.

RME Fireface UCX Hybrid Interface at a Glance:
  • The quality sound and flexible IO you need
  • TotalMix FX DSP provides latency-free processing, monitoring, and effects
The quality sound and flexible IO you need

Throughout the industry, RME is known for their top-notch converters and amazing analog sound quality - and the Fireface UCX is no exception! Its updated Hammerfall converters are second to none, and you'll love tracking with its extremely clear microphone preamplifiers and extensive IO. But the Fireface UCX offers you a different kind of flexibility as well. This hybrid interface gives you both FireWire 400 and USB connections, including support for high-speed USB 3. What's more, you can even hook it up to your iPad 2 via the Camera Connection Kit - giving you the ultimate on-the-go pro-caliber recording rig!

TotalMix FX DSP provides latency-free processing, monitoring, and effects

The Fireface UCX comes loaded with a whole new version of RME's TotalMix FX engine. This dual-DSP system uses one DSP chip for monitor mixing, leaving the other free for latency-free effects and processing. The routing side of TotalMix FX gives you a fully flexible 18 x 18 monitor mixer with up to nine independent stereo submixes. Each of the Fireface UCX's channels feature dedicated EQ and dynamics, plus reverb and delay processing. That means you can track with the effects and processing you need, without ever having to worry about latency or your computer's processing power.

RME Fireface UCX Hybrid Interface Features:
  • Hybrid interface that gives you pro-quality sound and tons of flexible recording options
  • Sports redesigned Hammerfall converters and a pair of pro-quality microphone preamps
  • Integrated DSP monitor controller
  • TotalMix FX DSP provides latency-free processing, effects, and monitor mixing
  • FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and USB 3 connectivity for use with virtually any computer
  • Can connect to your iPad 2 via the Camera Connection Kit
For the flexibility and sound quality you demand, count on the RME Fireface UCX hybrid interface!

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Fireface UCX User Manual
Hands On Review: RME Fireface UCX
Dual Outputs with Fireface UCX?
Fireface UCX and Bus Power

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity FireWire 400/USB 2.0/USB 3.0
Form Factor Half
Simultaneous I/O 18 x 18
Number of Preamps 2
Phantom Power Yes
A/D Resolution 24-bit/192kHz
Built In DSP/FX Yes
Analog Inputs 2 x XLR Combo, 6 x TRS
Analog Outputs 6 x TRS, 1 x Headphones
Digital Inputs 1 x ADAT (8 Channels), 1 x S/PDIF (2 Channels)
Digital Outputs 1 x ADAT (8 Channels), 1 x S/PDIF (2 Channels)
Clock I/O Word Clock (In/Out)
Rack Spaces Half
Manufacturer Part Number UCX

Customer Reviews

Based on 13 reviews
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If you care about your studio, spend the money

Just buy it. If you don't have the money, have a car wash or a bake sale, or whatever to raise it. I'm a 56 year old radio announcer type who is trying to make money as a voice over artist. The people who make money in this industry are younger voices who are more conversational and less "announcery." So I need an edge that makes my studio sound better than the averages 26 year old's studio. I wasted 900 dollars on two interfaces that just didn't make it happen. Then, finally, after a year of time wasting, I did some research and landed on this beauty. How does it sound? The best way to communicate that is to say that It sounds exactly like my mic sounds after it leaves my preamp/mic processor. It doesn't sound any different. Why would I want it to...That's why there's a processor in the chain. If the sound comes out of your processor, the way you want it to, why would you want it to change after leaving the processor. However, If you're not happy with your processor, the UCX is capable of adding compression, bass, treble, whatever. You can make it sound the way you want it to sound. It's perfect in those ways. Now...on to the fun stuff...The Total Mix software. I've had software that had the ability to save settings, but this lets you retrieve settings lightening fast and that's what I really need. I have been in radio 29 years, I'm set in my ways. From the very beginning of attempting to set up a home studio with very little knowledge, I wanted to have the same uncomplicated use that I get out of an actual physical sitting on the table console. I couldn't find that simplicity until the UCX. The Total Effects software lets me switch from various settings in 3 to 4 keystrokes which is a couple of seconds. Because I also paid 229 dollars for the midi remote, it's even faster. If I want to record using my Bluebird headphones, it's two seconds. to listen to the recording on my Sennheiser 600s, two seconds. To go back and record while listening to my Audio Technica ATH-MSR7s, two seconds. You could have a setting with an electric guitar and another setting with an electric guitar WITH REVERB, and always be able to easily toggle back and forth. I highly recommend you use the manual, but I did not because there are all sorts of tutorials that explain it well and it's so intuitive that I was up and going with it pretty much the way I want it in a few hours. The Total Effects was just a bonus. If you buy this for the sound alone, you've made a wise investment. Negatives: One: It's rack mountable, yet the switch is on the back. I refuse to take off any points for that though, because that was easily solved by leaving in the on position and hooking it up, by itself to a surge protector with a switch and I turn that surge protector off when I'm through. Pay the money. Don't waste your time looking for something cheaper thinking it's good enough. Pay the money. You won't be disappointed. I can't tell you much about SPDIF or any of the outputs that aren't quarter inch because I don't understand them and I don't need them because it does everything I need without that stuff. I can't tell you much about the other incredible things this soft ware can do for you either, because I haven't gotten into them yet. But like I said, there are multiple tutorials that can probably lead you where you need to go. In summary, in regards to sound, you can't improve on perfect. Ease of use...RME engineers thought of everything you could throw at them. It's like I built it myself and It will be for you as well.
Music background: Radio commercials which required multi tracking music.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Everything I needed. I can't give it below 5 stars. First off, I can't believe there's only 11 reviews so far on this, so I felt the need to add my two cents. 1. Drivers are rock solid. Period. I just don't have interface-related issues. When I purchased a year ago I would get an occasional buzz sound caused by my internet browser if I had my DAW open (Win 7 and Win 8). Since then, they've tweaked their driver and the newest drivers solved this. RME seems to stay on top of issues that arises from OS updates. They're very very good. I'm impressed. I can record fairly large projects and keep the buffer size at 64 samples, that way I can play midi without really feeling the latency. (I use the hardware to monitor while I record). 2. Preamps. They are crystal clear and clean. They erased my desire to purchase a Grace M101. Why would I need to anymore? I will be grabbing additional colored preamps at a later date. The sound I get from these preamps make me feel like the voice is live. It doesn't sound like it was recorded. It's high in detail. 3. AD / DA. This is completely clean. I did a loopback test and when comparing the recorded file to the original the sound cancelled out. That's all I needed to know, I went no further. This means that I can run my outboard with complete confidence that the conversion is not altering the sound, only my outboard unit. Awesome. The headphone amp is more than adequate to power my Sennheiser HD 650s (my mixes translate great). When I was using monitors (I had a better room environment at the time) my mixes translated great then as well. 4. Connectivity. Oh my God. It's ridiculous how much I/O this gives you for the price, and all of it is super clean. Enough Line I/O for 2 outboard units connected to the back. 2 hi-z inputs on the front for guitars. 2 preamps.. I use them for the main mic and control room. ADAT... I will be adding a Ferrofish AE16 or similar for additional outboard. SPDIF so I can upgrade to highend AD/DA conversion and run some higher end colored preamps into it. I don't use the midi b/c my keyboards are USB, but having 2 Midi I/O is nice. 5. USB and Firewire have virtually equal performance. If there's a difference, I haven't noticed it yet. 6. TotalMix FX is difficult to learn. But once you do learn it, it's incredibly useful. I wouldn't want to run outboard without it. I don't like allowing the DAW to handle all of this. I'd rather have it setup pre-DAW. 7. Front knob is useful. I need to save some money and buy the ARC controller... that would be even better. Flaw... I wish the on/off switch was on the front. This interface works as advertised, and does it's job well. It's a clean way to record anything you need to, and has enough I/O to be a great foundation for a small/mid-sized project studio. I originally wanted the UFX but it was taking me a long time to save up the money for it. Luckily for me, they came out with this and it fit perfectly into my setup and fell within my budget. Oh.... and it's class compliant. I can use this to record with my cell phone (Samsung Galaxy S5). Cell phone DAWs kind of suck right now.. the market hasn't taken off.... but this hardware works as advertised. I can technically take this anywhere and get high quality recording done on site.
Music background: Producer / Engineer. HipHop - Spoken Word - R&B

A rock solid and stable little tank

Blown away is a good way to state my feelings about this little box. As a hobbyist, I was hesitant to drop this kind of cash for a piece of gear for my home studio. But after spending 12 years with an M-Audio Delta 44 that was rock-solid and stable every day of its life, I had no qualms about paying a premium for the reputation of stability that precedes the RME brand. Out of the box, the FireFace UCX installed properly the first try. Driver and Firmware updates were painless. Windows 7 x64 immediately shook hands and made friends with this little guy, and it has been running 24x7 in my studio for a couple of weeks now with nary a hiccup. TotalMix was relatively easy to set up for my direct monitoring purposes, thanks to the excellent hard-copy manual included in the box. I haven't scratched the surface of the capabilities of this routing software, but directly patching several inputs to several outputs for direct monitoring only took a few minutes once I figured out the layout. To support my 5-star "blown away" rating, the 2 places where this unit really shines: - with a 128 sample buffer, this little magic box is reporting a latency of 3ms in, 3.5ms out. This is remarkable for a USB device. Heck, that would be remarkable for a PCIe device! - the ADC and DAC conversion is pristine. Listening to mixes through the UCX has been a true pleasure so far. The only knock I can find so far is that the UCX does not like to be set as the default sound device in Windows. I'm used to having my interface be my sound card as well as my recording device. When set as the default device, other apps that try to use it concurrently with my DAW software would cause some horrible inter-dimensional rift kinds of sounds. So, in a rare suggestion for an audio interface manufacturer, RME recommends keeping your integrated sound card active and running that output separately for system sounds (Windows Media Player, in my case). Most audio interfaces threaten to self-destruct if used alongside an integrated sound card. RME not only handles this situation, they recommend it in the manual!
Music background: Hobbyist

Everything you need!

This little box is everything you could ever need if 2 mic pres fills your bill. This replaced my FF400 as I needed the USB connectivity and it is simply sold all the way around. The drivers are second to none, Total MixFX is something else - very powerful, and it really as all the connections I could ever need. Spend the extra cash and get something that will likely outlive you! RME support is great as well.
Music background: Pro Musician, Home Studio Operator

Unit as advertised. Solid. Transparent.

if you're a believer that the audio interface is the hub of your project studio and you've moved to the laptop world and lost your PCI slots (or never had PCI slots) - then i don't think you can do much better than this. only been a couple of weeks so far - but - not a hiccup. even down @ 128 samples where i've been running. the mic pre's are clean and big. the output to my monitors is powerful enough that i no longer need to stick a secondary mixer in the middle. tons of i/o and control. add in the totalmixFx with eq/dynamics and its mixing and monitoring flexibility... worth every penny.
Music background: musician / composer / engineer

Sweetwater Advice

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: FireWire Interfaces, RME, RME FireWire Audio Interfaces, RME USB Audio Interfaces