In The Studio: RME Fireface UFX+
Shaun Lowe has produced and engineered over 400 albums in his career; and his facility, Prism Studios, is one of the finest and most unique in the UK - housed in an old WWII bunker, it fuses the best of analogue and digital kit, and caters for a wide range of genres. Today, he’s trying out the RME Fireface UFX+ audio interface, to see if it cuts the mustard.
First impressions can be everything, and I have to say that the first thing I thought when unboxing this unit is how good it looks! I think it’s actually quite important when you’re sitting looking at equipment over many hours and days. Also, I immediately notice that the build quality is outstanding: very solid, nothing is loose and wobbly, which I’m afraid is quite common these days with new hardware units.
So, I’m going to try and get this unit up and running without referring to the manual to see how easy it is to do. First things first, I need to install the drivers - I’m pleased to say, no problems there; it takes all of 30 seconds! Now I’m going to connect the unit. After rebooting, the host light is shining straight away, which is a good sign that everything is connected and communicating.
I’m very encouraged to see a rather impressive looking on-screen mixer - RME Total Mix - appear once the unit has found its connection. It looks like there is everything you would need and more on this software mixer, and again, it’s good looking, too.
I load up a jazz track I’ve just mixed, so I can have a listen to the outputs first of all, and I’m glad to say that my ears are not wagging with disappointment; it sounds really great, and it stands up to my normal choice of interface without any problems. On stopping the track, I notice that the outputs are as clean as you could ever wish for - no noise detected here whatsoever.
So let’s try and record something. I’ve miked up my acoustic piano with some lovely old vintage valve mics, recording at 96kHz, 32-bit. I have to say it sounds superb; very detailed, very open, and very quiet mix pres. Obviously the important thing with an audio interface is the quality of the ins and the outs, and once again, the UFX+ doesn’t let me down.
I’m very impressed with this unit, and it also has a hell of a lot more going for it, like the built-in MIDI interface, and a crazy amount of different interface options, so on an audio level, I have to give it top marks.
Having only been using the Fireface UFX+ for a couple of hours, it just feels very solid, and it’s very simple to get to grips with. Absolutely love it.