RME has announced the launch of the Fireface UCX II, the successor to their Fireface UCX audio interface. They say that, featuring 40 channels of I/O and full stand-alone operation and recording – as well as RME's next-generation SteadyClock FS digital clocking - the Fireface UCX II marks a new standard in the field of professional half-rack audio interfaces. With the company also celebrating its 25th anniversary, they describe the Fireface UCX II as a flexible and cutting-edge interface designed for high-precision studio and live recording, representing 25 years of RME's digital audio innovations. Here's more of what the company has to say...
Throughout its 25 year history, RME has been fully committed to a principle of flexibility - the more flexible a product, the more easily it can be adapted to new requirements. For company founder Matthias Carstens, this lies at the heart of RME's success. "The Fireface UCX II makes us proud and enthusiastic as it represents a natural evolution of our product range."
"Boasting up to 20 recording and 20 playback channels, SteadyClock FS, high-performance microphone inputs, built-in parametric EQ, direct recording to USB memory sticks and external hard drives (DURec), plus full stand-alone functionality, the brand-new Fireface UCX II truly represents the essence of freedom, flexibility, and passion. At present, no existing audio interface offers more connectivity and functionality in a half-rack package."
Features and I/O
The Fireface UCX II's front panel houses 2 x mic/line combo XLR preamps, 2 x digitally controlled line/instrument inputs and a headphone output (which can also double up as an unbalanced stereo output).
In parallel with the newly updated display, a large main volume encoder and set of buttons enable full control over the device, as well as level metering for all incoming and outgoing audio signals. The UCX II offers full stand-alone operation, with all functions controllable directly from the front of the unit - including EQ and Dynamics - as well as control over device states (clocking and sample rates) and DURec.
The rear panel features 10 x analogue balanced line inputs and outputs, MIDI I/O, ADAT I/O, AES/EBU and SPDIF I/O (via the included breakout cable), switchable word clock I/O on BNC, a mains power connection, plus a USB port for interfacing with a Mac, PC or Apple iPad.
A secondary USB connection (labelled 'DURec') allows for the connection of USB memory sticks and external hard drives, and can alternatively be used for direct connection of RME's optional ARC USB remote control.
All of the Fireface UCX II's line-level outputs are fully DC-coupled, allowing for the sending of control voltages (CV) or Gate information to modular synthesizers (such as the popular Eurorack and Moog/MOTM/Synthesizers.com formats) and other studio hardware.
DURec (Direct USB Recording)
Thanks to the Direct USB Recording functionality (aka DURec), any input or output of the Fireface UCX II can be recorded directly to a USB storage device via the integrated DSP, allowing for full stand-alone recording and playback without the need to connect to a computer.
Individual tracks can be named in advance via RME's TotalMix FX software mixer, with potential applications for DURec including the creation of simultaneous backup recordings in the studio; the recording of live performances and rehearsals; multi-track field recording; or the performing of virtual sound-checks at a live music venue (e.g. via playback of a previous night's show).
SteadyClock FS – FemtoSecond Clocking Technology
The Fireface UCX II also features RME's latest jitter rejection technology 'SteadyClock FS', which uses the same digital clock technology found on RME's award-winning ADI-2 Series.
SteadyClock FS allows for astonishingly high-quality AD and DA conversion, optimising both recording and playback quality, and replicating the soundstage to the fullest depth and clarity. With RME's highly efficient jitter-suppression and filtering technology, self-jitter has been reduced all the way down to the range of femtoseconds, hence the name SteadyClock 'FS'.
Included software: TotalMix FX, TotalMix Remote & DIGICheck
The Fireface UCX II comes with the TotalMix FX DSP mixer offering comprehensive level metering, routing and monitoring options. EQ and Dynamics are available on every input and output channel, as well as Reverb and Delay FX sends for enhanced latency-free monitor mixes.
A free companion app - TotalMix Remote - allows for full control of the hardware mixer and effects section of the Fireface UCX II via a network-connected PC, Mac or Apple iPad, including wirelessly over Wi-Fi. All settings are mirrored and updated in real-time - the entire mixing state, the complete routing, all FX settings and level meters.
In addition to TotalMix, RME's DIGICheck Analyzer is a free suite of audio analysis tools that provides Windows and Mac users with professional measurement and analysis of all digital data feeds in both directions, and with maximum precision.
The set of tools offered by DIGICheck includes comprehensive multi-channel level metering (peak and RMS); a 30-Band spectrum/frequency analyser, plus correlation meter and vectorscope; a loudness metering tool for checking against the IT 1770 / EBU R128 standards commonly found in broadcast; and a Surround Audio Scope, for surround sound level metering with extended correlation analysis, ITU weighting and ITU summing.
Pricing and Availability:
The RME Fireface UCX II is expected to begin shipping July 2021, with an RRP of £1149.00.