Canadian Musician - November/December 2017 - Page 23

ROAD TEST RME Fireface UFX+ Audio Interface & ARC USB Remote Control By Adam Gallant The Fireface UFX+ is RME Audio’s new flag- ship interface, launched to commemorate the company’s 20 th year in business. The unit boasts unprecedented connectivity as well as RME’s famous low latency hardware and driver designs. Notable upgrades from other interfaces in the UFX line include the addition of Thunderbolt and MADI connec- tions. The total number of ins and outs on the UFX+ is an amazing 188 channels – 128 channels more than the Fireface UFX. Other improvements include a more powerful DSP, redesigned AD/DA converters, USB 3.0 out, and a redesigned optional remote control, the ARC USB. Inputs & Outputs With 94 inputs and 94 outputs, the UFX+ is a true workhorse. The I/O consists of the following: 12 analog inputs with four front- panel, digitally-controlled XLR mic/instru- ment preamps and eight rear-panel line level TRS inputs. For digital connectivity, we have two ADAT ins and two ADAT outs, AES/ EBU, SPDIF optical, MADI coaxial, and MADI optical. Include the front and rear panel MIDI ins and outs and we have a very impressive amount of I/O for a single rack unit. These interfaces are right at home as the centre of a very dependable and expandable location recording rig. For playback, the unit houses two XLR outputs for studio monitors controlled via a volume pot on the front panel. The front panel also holds two separate headphone outputs via analog 9/10 and 11/12. The headphone out- put volume is controlled by dedicated knobs as well as the optional ARC USB remote (more on that shortly). All hardware knobs are detented, superb quality, and void of noise. With the UFX+’s added I/O comes greater bandwidth demands and, thus, expanded computer connectivity. The addition of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt outputs coupled with RME’s dedication to the stability of its drivers means this unit will work reliably and serve users for many years to come. W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M TotalMix FX+ RME bundles all of its drivers with a single, scalable control utility called TotalMix FX; here, we have To To- talMix FX+. It is a simple control panel with both a traditional mixer view and a matrix view for managing signal path routing. Our studio PC was successful in connecting and controlling two UFX interfaces simultaneous- ly, with one unit set up as an A/D converter by routing XLR ins 9 through 12 to ADAT outputs. This was done quickly and easily in the matrix view and output volume via ADAT was controllable in this window as well. The TotalMix control panel allows users to easily EQ, compress, add reverb, route, label, build headphone mixes, as well as save and recall snapshots. What’s more, many of the soft- ware functions can be mapped to the ARC USB remote for optimized workflows. Direct USB Recording The front panel of the UFX+ contains a USB port designed for direct-to-USB-hard drive recording (DURec), a useful feature for tracking without the need of a computer or as a redundant backup in the studio. The maximum number of channels recordable via USB is 76, meaning all 12 analog inputs plus 64 MADI channels can be recorded simultaneously even to slower or partitioned USB flash drives. The files are time-stamped WAVs and easily transferable to any DAW. ARC USB Remote Control Along with the release of the UFX+ comes a newly designed, very rugged USB remote control. This wired remote is customizable to access the most frequently used com- mands of TotalMix FX+, such as gain for the four microphone preamps, headphone out- puts, monitor output volume, dim, talkback, and more. The ARC USB is a USB MIDI remote control that is compatible with all RME audio interfaces Fireface UFX+ ARC U SB supported by the TotalMix FX software. The remote can be connected to the computer or directly to the UFX+ and the UFX II. Con- necting directly to the UFX makes stand-alone operation ergonomic and efficient, as navigat- ing the front panel menu is not always ideal. Additional Features RME has recently announced a class-compli- ant option, allowing 22 channels in and out of an iPad with full control over the hardware mixer. The company has also been updating its YouTube channel with a series of video tutorials on various products as well as an in-depth look at the TotalMix FX software, which would be very helpful to new users. RME’s Fireface UFX+ is as future-proof as an audio interface can be in today’s mar WG6RFRFfW'6R6V7FfGw6FR$^( 2FVFЦ6FF7F&RWFFW2W2F2W&fV7@fW7FVBf"&fW76W6W'2FvB2v&VBf6WG2bFvFVF&GV7Fg&W6266FF6FB7BVFf"FVWf6@f*R7W'&VFǒv2BW&FW2FR6VB7GVF6&GFWFvR2BR22( "#0