RME FireFace UCX Review
A small yet powerful package from RME featuring a decent number of Digital and Analog I/Os with two Microphone Preamps. Yes, it is the Fireface UCX.
I have been using this audio interface ever since its release in early 2013. It is my priced possession and the heart of my Project Studio.
Well, RME have been known for their rock-solid AD/DA conversion and extremely stable clock, and for the UCX, they have gone a step ahead further improving on this territory.
I have never faced any digital clock or driver issues till date. Once the unit has been setup with a Mac or PC system, its completely a smooth and stable workflow.
I have hooked up a Neumann TLM-103 and an AKG C414 XLS on the UCX on two occasions for recording vocals and flute. I was quite impressed by the performance of the Digitally controlled Microphone Preamps. Lots of gain, excellent clarity and more or less noise-free. For better microphones like a Neumann U87 or similar, I would recommend hooking up a dedicated external Microphone Preamp of a superior quality.
The Instrument Inputs are impressive. Extremely low noise and fabulous performance.
Being a Mastering Engineer, I haven’t done much recording on the UCX, but whatever has been done so far, has been quite acceptable quality wise and there are no complaints whatsoever from the clients too 🙂
For Mastering work, an extremely accurate playback system is a necessity. The Fireface UCX fits in very well for a small budget mastering room, thanks to its performance, stability and sound quality. I haven’t come across any unnecessary artifacts being introduced into the audio output. Even while transfer from Tape, yes I love Tape… hooked up a Studer Revox B77 Half Track 1/4 inch tape machine to digitize audio for Mastering and Digital Release for CD and Online on an umpteen number of Releases. I have so far not faced any issues of dropouts or any unwanted, un-called-for events.
The Headphone output is very good and capable of driving higher impedance headphones without feeling tired. On several occasions, when I travel to other cities for delivering lectures in Audio Engineering, I depend on my trusted headphones with the life saving Sonarworks Headphone Plugin for Digital Mastering. Thanks to the portability of the RME Fireface UCX, the unit will fit into a backpack with ones Mac or PC Laptop very easily.
Though at this pricepoint, I would have been happier if the UCX came with two headphone outputs, but I am not complaining at all. RME has not compromised on the quality of the headphone output they have provided on this model.
The Digital I/Os both S/PDIF and ADAT are very useful for expansion and the wordclock I/O is a boon for locking external devices like a Microphone Preamp, etc. I have hooked up the digital out of a Marantz CD Player to the S/PDIF input of the UCX. The CD player works as a transport, very useful for checking CD Masters and comparing commercially released CDs.
Finally, as a product the RME Fireface UCX is a great value for money package for the build and sound quality, stability and performance. There are competitors products offering more I/Os, etc at the same price point, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for 🙂
To know more technical specs about this product, visit here…