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.