New Interface...which RME?

Hi all, yesterday my Audio Interface died.
It was an old Tascam US1800 and whilst I don’t think I ever used all 16 inputs at once it was very useful to not have to plug things in and out and I do often use 3 or 4 inputs at once.
In the short term I have an old Steinberg 2 channel device which will (have to) do until I’ve decided on what to go for next.

For a while I’ve been considering a new interface as I’d like something with lower latency for monitoring and now my hand is forced it would seem. Obviously I’d rather spend the money on another guitar as you can never have enough of those but it looks like it will have to be a new interface. Among the most highly regarded appear to be those from RME so I’d really like to know if anyone can think of a reason not to go that route!

Currently looking at either the various PCIxpress cards or the Fireface UCX

Thanks for any thoughts.

I don’t think you 'll find anyone who actually uses an RME interface that will tell you it was a bad idea! If you can afford it… the Fireface UFX+ seems cover the bases in the near future. I prefer the outboard cards, to the internal ones, because they are less dependent on which particular computer you are using, and with USB 3 ,and Thunderbolt connections… you should not have much of a difference in latency. And you can also use the outboard cards standalone without a computer!

But, for a grand cheaper… you could get the first generation UFX, which has the USB 2, and Firewire connections, which is still mainstream, but the Firewire support is quickly becoming less so.

Al

Thanks MoPro for responding.
I am definitely going RME, as you say no-one seems to ever say they’re a bad idea.

It will also be an external unit after realising I’d have to move too many other things around and get a new hd controller to fit a PCIe card inside my computer. I would love to be able to go for the UFX+ but my budget doesn’t stretch to that at the moment sadly. Still trying to choose which lower model to go for. My dead interface had 14 analog inputs and while I don’t think I ever used all at once it was really nice not having to constantly plug things in and out…this aspect alone is already driving me crazy win the interim while I used an old Steinberg stereo interface!

Thanks again for the comment.

Take a look at the Fireface 802 too. It’s just a little more than the UCX but gives you 4 great mic preamps instead of two (with analog gain knobs vs digital controlled gain). Plus additional 8 line ins plus 2 x 8 channels via ADAT.

Getting a second hand UFX (first generation) is an option as well. Those boxes are reliable (bought mine used in 2015 - not a single hiccup ever since). RMEs driver support is excellent in the long term. My Fireface 800 ran for about 10 years, just sold it because I wanted to get from Firewire to USB for easier use with current laptops (no Firewire found there anymore). I use the UFX via USB on my desktop as well with low buffers if needed.

There’s also a good chance to find a used UFX II for fairly cheap/similar to UFX.

I use the RayDAT and connect everything via ADAT and AES. That way the interface remains unchanged (and critically, the excellent RME drivers!) but I can mix and match analog front-ends, and the analog signals stay outside and well away from the computer. You have the cost of the extrac ADDA but it’s a very flexible system, assuming you’re not limited by the ADAT spec.

It might be cost effective to buy fewer RME channels - using those high-end channels where absolute sound quality is important (vocals etc) and use the ADAT interface to plug something like a Behringer ADA8200 (or two - they’re so cheap!) in to add extra 8 or 16 channels for general stuff. These sound absolutely fine - gear snobs will scoff, but there’s nothing wrong with these interfaces sound wise. I know two people using an ADA8200 (well one is it’s older cousin) to mic up drum kits in their small studios rather than waste “good” channels and then finding they actually preferred the sound of the ADA8200 for that application. Apparently Behringer preamps really shine with drums unless you overload the channel, then the break up isn’t very sweet! (terrible in fact) but the same can be said for many pre-amps. You’ll be using the pro RME clock and superb rock solid drivers with lots of perfectly good utility channels for very little additional cost. I’m sure the stones will start flying in - yet there’s lots of rubbish Behringer stuff but their good stuff is just that and unbeatable value. I actually use a little Behringer desk for small pub gigs and think it’s excellent - it has the same issue with not like being overloaded - but that’s its only “fault” (user error?) - other than that, it has served me very well with no problems and was the only mixer at the time which gave me independent compressors on four channels plus reverb AND delay for vocals - I think it was well under £200!

Thanks marQs, MrSoundman and PeppaPig, all useful information.

I don’t need top notch mic pres as I already have two old analogue mic pres that I’m more than happy with for my most important inputs.

Thus, I’m currently thinking of getting an RME Digiface and the Behringer ADA8200 which gets me into RME territory in the cheapest way I can see…

Replaced an ADA8000 this year with an Audient (just because I could). Indeed that Behringer device worked absolutely fine for 10 years via ADAT on Fireface 800/UFX, can’t say anything bad about it!
For small gigs I often use their XR18 which is incredible in its possibilites given the low price and really sounds good too. Guess it uses the same preamps with the ‘midas touch’ as the ADA8200 does.

So, if anyone wants to throw stones, share them between PeppaPig and me :laughing:

Interesting Vid - not that the audio resolution on YouTube is going to be that transparent - still interesting though! Hearing a kit though the cheapo Behringer and the high-end RME. Let’s fact it - all modern gear has much less noise and more headroom than anything in a million dollar studio 15 years ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSw0E9BtNUc

Interesting…thanks!

Thanks for the link. Nowadays low budget isn’t an excuse for bad sound - has it ever been like this before? :laughing:

We are incredibly lucky, you could build a studio of nothing but budget gear and it will sound as good as multimillion pound professional studios from the past. Even budget microphones are 99% as good as the best, only “super ears” can really tell the difference, same for pre-amps plus almost any “flavour” can be emulated. Most listeners just don’t care anyway.

I engineered and produced an album for an artist at the end of 2018 and we thought a track we worked on decades ago would fit the album. We were about to re-record it but then I found a copy of the original VST32 project on an old hard-drive, converted it to SX format then opened it in CB9. Back then I had a gaming sound blaster and a AKG CS1000S - that was it. Listening individually, the vocal and acoustic guitar tracks were incredibly noisy, mains hum plus bleed into the card from the PC internals and the CS1000S wasn’t very flat. By the time I eq’d everything and mixed the vocal in with the rest of the 20 year old 16 bit 44.1 track, it sounded fine. Back then, I was migrating from a knackered Tascam 4 track with hiss from hell, so having 32 (noisy!) 16 bit tracks were a revelation to me! Only 1 in 10,000 people will notice sound quality beyond a certain point of acceptability - and modern budget gear is well, well beyond that point. Don’t get me wrong - I love gear and would have all top-end gear if I had a spare 100K, but you really are spending well past the point of diminishing returns. Obviously with RME you’re buying rock solid drivers and support - which is worth more than sound quality alone.