1 (edited by tzzsmk 2021-03-19 14:38:50)

Topic: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

Hi friends,

I've been using plenty various RME interfaces throughout years, and I think there's a potential for following device:

DISCLAIMER: following images and texts are just ideas, in no way consulted by RME company


RME Fireface UFX mini


https://i.imgur.com/zKfAIjG.png


RME Fireface UFX mini offers the best of RME's analog converters, rock-solid drivers and TotalMix FX,
all in half-rack unit form factor for maximum convenience on the go,

offering purely analog 8xIn/8xOut combo of:
4 mic/instrument pres with individually-switchable phantom power and digital gain control,
4 additional line level inputs,
6 line level outputs with either 5.1 support or up to 3 switchable monitor pairs,
1 extreme power stereo headphone output,
(WordClock I/O support)

full TotalMix FX capability including Dynamics thanks to redesigned power delivery design,

controllable through backlit knob and IPS display at front panel as well as TotalMix FX desktop app or TotalMix FX Remote iPad app, and IR remote control or ARC USB control (optional)

versatile USB 2.0 connectivity, with support of Class-Compliant usb mode,

external power supply required for operation (included)


MSRP: 1149€ incl. tax


any thoughts on this? I think it would be perfect compromise between old UCX and new UFX II, especially during the Home-Office Covid times when people are stuck with laptops away from studios

HDSPe AIO, ADI-2 DAC, Fireface UFX, Octamic D, Octamic II
Reaper, High Sierra

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

this is killer !
For me, kick out the BNC wordclock sockets, add adat I/O and a MADI - perfect.
Of course the front handles would still be useful to protect the dial knob.

M1-BigSur, Babyface (soundstudio-to-go), started with PST8, Multiface I, Multiface II, PCIeMadi

3 (edited by tzzsmk 2021-03-19 14:41:04)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

@waedi I was thinking about those you mentioned but here's my view:
1) WordClock is theoretically very cheap, and may prove useful for "video" folks maybe..? but I wrote it in brackets to indicate it being least important aspect...
2) any additional ADAT/MADI I/O means the unit no longer remains "portable" due to additional rack units connected, and also such unit should not compete with bigger brothers UFX II and UFX+ or even MadiFace XT, to keep costs low and portfolio diversity high, I'd say it's fair to leave UFX II and UFX+ relevant for such use case scenarios
3) I think handles weren't a bad idea back in the day (I still do use original UFX with Octamics which all have handles), but as you can see in the pic (I took RME's AVB Tool as reference for matching scale), there isn't really any space for handles....MAYBE there could be optional rack mounting kit with handles on the mounts?

I think biggest challenge for RME is to decide if combination of both backlit control knob, IR remote (as seen on ADI-2 DAC) and TotalMix FX and ARC USB is do-able and user-friendly to achieve

HDSPe AIO, ADI-2 DAC, Fireface UFX, Octamic D, Octamic II
Reaper, High Sierra

4 (edited by ramses 2021-03-19 14:49:38)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

With this box you will reach already a quite high price tag in the range of an UCX. With a device in such a price range you need to offer customers possibilities to expand or to connect other devices digitally.

IMHO word clock is here only useful for adding more than one unit. Would make more sense if this device would have digital ports.

Desperately missing:
- ADAT I/O, best 2x
   - to either support at least recording in double speed and
   - to support addition of an 8-port Mic Preamps AND to be able to connect smth like an ADI-2 Pro FS R BE
- AVB (MADI devices can be integrated by the bridging capabilities of newer AVB devices like 12Mic and M-1610 Pro

MADI I wouldn't implement (only through bridging through AVB), because AVB is the more modern way to transport audio and enable more channels compared to MADI though simply one network plug.

At least one, better the two ADAT ports switchable to support SPDIF.

DURec and Autoset are fantastic feature and should not be missing for an "UFX grade" device.

MIDI: by breakout cable (to save space) to still be able to
- remote control other RME devices through MIDI with MIDIremote
- control external devices / stage piano etc in higher quality compared to cheap USB based MIDI adapters

USB2 won't be sufficient to support AVB, better replace this by USB3 with the option to use USB2 if not using AVB.

And then I think an additional AES port would be fantastic, to free up the ADAT port for expansions at double speed ...

If you add all the (IMHO) missing ports, then it might be difficult to implement this in a 9,5" unit..

Maybe a port for a 2nd power supply to be somehow in par with the PS redundancy of the newer AVB devices.

From a certain price / feature point it would be more balanced to:
- update UCX
- offer an UFX+ variant supporting AVB
If you need the enhanced features for phones etc, integrate an ADI-2 Pro FS R BE.

But this is only my personal view..

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

Nice mockup smile
Remove the Wordclock, it really doesn't make sense without any digital audio I/O.
Instead add a USB Type A socket for the ARC USB and 2 XLR main outputs.
Another feature that would distinguish it from the Babyface line would be a second, independent headphones out for a dedicated monitor mix for the talent.

6 (edited by tzzsmk 2021-03-19 15:00:21)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

@ramses
hmm good point about the MIDI I/O, I completely forgot that!

MADI/ADAT is matter of AVB interface by RME, makes very little sense to equip such unit with it, without those USB 2.0 shall suffice...maybe Tunderbolt 3/4 could sound fancy, but that's unjustifiable added cost on the unit imo,
if nothing else, it would confuse potential buyers, I'd say AVB interfaces should keep AVB in name of the product

SPDIF, no matter if optical or electrical, eventually switchable to ADAT/AES is something most people don't really need, and as you wrote, that would take valuable space on the unit indeed,

Autoset/Autogain I meant automatically, as long as there's digitally-controlled preamps,
DURec usb recording/playback is nice, but honestly I don't use it much when there's reliable Mac running Reaper big_smile

power supply is good point, I was actually thinking about throwing regular 230V power socket into the mockup (as on UFX II), but from my own experience, external power supplies are easier to replace by end-user rather than sending whole unit on service for internal power supply replacement

HDSPe AIO, ADI-2 DAC, Fireface UFX, Octamic D, Octamic II
Reaper, High Sierra

7 (edited by tzzsmk 2021-03-19 15:04:02)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

@lightbox
good idea about USB port for ARC, no idea how I could miss that,
nice point on pair of XLR outs too, I'll try if those would fit,

second headphone out is what I thought about, couldn't decide between ADI-2 PRO implementation vs ADI-2 DAC implementation (two 6.3" jacks vs. 1x 6.3" + 1x 3.5" jack) but in my opinion most people nowadays work "alone" in lockdowns making second headphone output obsolete - BUT that's of course up to discussion, glad you mentioned that smile

I'll update/add mockup updates according to some ideas in this thread overtime, will see if the half-rack unit space would allow additions

HDSPe AIO, ADI-2 DAC, Fireface UFX, Octamic D, Octamic II
Reaper, High Sierra

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

tzzsmk wrote:

... in my opinion most people nowadays work "alone" in lockdowns making second headphone output obsolete ...

While you're probably right that currently in most places around the world we still need to distance ... it's not everywhere and not forever. And if we assume that "alone" is key here, what would you need 4 mic pres for while you're "alone"? wink

9 (edited by tzzsmk 2021-03-19 15:20:36)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

@lightbox

4 mic pres and 4 line ins sounds like decent compromise...

"a singer, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer walk into a restaurant - table for one please"

...imagination is the key, think big wink https://youtu.be/u9lAIvLosyg

PS: I'm a drummer and I need UFX+Octamic II just to mic my drums (for entire band, I need second Octamic D) big_smile

HDSPe AIO, ADI-2 DAC, Fireface UFX, Octamic D, Octamic II
Reaper, High Sierra

10 (edited by ramses 2021-03-19 15:41:47)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

lightbox wrote:

Nice mockup smile
Remove the Wordclock, it really doesn't make sense without any digital audio I/O.

My 1st thought .. but ... a customer might want to add two of such interfaces and then you need it for synchronization (as you have no ADAT or other digital port)

And IMHO you need at least one digital port to be able to do things like that: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

This is IMHO the minimum that you need to support so that this box is not less useful compared to a BBF Pro which has ADAT.

And if you tend to agree, that maybe a 2nd PS might be useful (under the assumption we connect towards AVB devices), then DURec is not far away in terms of resilience since it gives you a very useful backup recording just in case your PC hangs during an important recording.

So if you call it "UFX mini" people will have some expectations ...

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

11 (edited by mr.r 2021-03-19 22:40:21)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

A well made suggestion, but I don't see the appeal of it for 1149€, even not for 1000€, sorry tzzsmk!

RME last a long time and I don't see the value to save 200€€ to miss the flexibility of ADAT, SPDF and Midi and maybe have to cut corners at other places too. Even when you don't need it now, it's a pain to buy a new interface just two years later because you need ADAT for some sessions.

Especially digital i/o is important as more and more monitor speaks are digital.

I think the current UFX is already in the sweet spot. Too many different models are not always better, I prefer to have 2 or 3 good options than too many. It's easier for me to decide as a customer when I know that I'm prepared for most situations with this model instead of going back and forth about each individual advantage/disadvantage, but I expect also better support, a better product (R&D time is expensive) and actually a reduced price point when you manufacture just some good options instead of many.

Example. A big reason why I use a macbook is because I'm sure I will get a good model without endless hours of research and to have a well rounded standard. Looking at the endless different offerings from Lenovo or HP workstations give me headache. I could imagine to use Windows when there was a manufacture with this consistency in the product range. And with a similar consistent high quality.


Why not just technically updated the UFX? I like the USB powered idea as an option. I hope this will be possible by usb-c with higher power delivery. Or is it about the two additional mic preamps? When it's aimed mainly at mobile use a second headphone out could be a good idea.

12 (edited by torbenscharling 2021-03-20 01:29:27)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

Agree on the lack of need for wordclock, add ADAT & XLR/Combi (balanced/unbalanced on both)
I know I've advocated USB 2.0 but if we're talking for portability, USB-C would make sense as it would eliminate (?) the need to ditch DSP comp, as it could get enough power to run full TotalMix FX suite - though I'm not 100% certain on this, I would assume USB-C would not make it need an external PSU, and would not be running at such low power, that the DSP couldn't handle it.. I am all for a half rack unit with 4 dedicated combi jack pre's, actually even more for if all 8 inputs had dedicated gain - and bring back the tech that was in the FireFace 800 units for instrument inputs (put it as an option on all inputs)

13 (edited by ramses 2021-03-20 10:38:09)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

Some other points / discoveries:

The HiRes display that you took from the 12Mic is feasible for the 12Mic if you consider the whole operation concept of this AVB product and its mainly a mic preamp where you have in most cases only to adjust the Mic Gain at the device. You have remote control capabilities through Network/Webbrowser and later also by TM FX with Auxdevice support.

I think a recording interface is different and for operating and setup tasks at the display the display should definitively be easier to read so that you can configure and control settings easily from the usual working distance of ~60-80+cm.

I am also missing clear status LEDs. You can also reproduce all this in a display, but status LEDs are simply better visible over a certain distance, there are two types of Status LEDs missing:
- Sync State of I/O ports (WC, ADAT,..) and Status of MIDI port (both ADAT/MIDI missing)
- CLIP / SIG / 48V at each of the Mic inputs

If you look at UCX and UC, then you can see that RME has used every centimeter here and there, I think there is still a lot of unused space on the back.

Depending on what display / knob is being used in the front you might need to provide an on/off switch at the back of the unit.

Its an interesting discussion, as you can see how much work it is involved to design a product as tastes and expectations are so different and you also need to look at the end price and to whom in the market you compete with what features ;-)

And if you look at all RME products .. these are intelligent products which shall give the user a benefit over a long time.
It has been always more than "simply a few analog and Mic ports" so that the customer has options and can expand.
Of course this has also limits, but only a few analog ports is definitively too restricted in use according to the price.

I am still the opinion that it would be better
- to release another UFX+ with AVB (instead of MADI) to follow the logic of the changes in product line to support AVB
- to update other proven interface designs as it has been done in the past

A too simple product without possibilities for expansion would IMHO be a dead end street for the customer and only feasible for some special cases / wishes but not for a wider range of customers.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

@ramses here's my thoughts on few points:

1) ADAT/MADI/AES/MIDI etc.. are rather ancient standards, if someone needs just those, they can get whatever old RME interface already on the market, there would be negligible quality difference between old UFX and new UFX II for example,
and speaking of expansions, it's definitely cheaper to get Digiface USB, Madiface XT or Digiface Dante and expand by whatever I exactly need

2) AVB similarly as any other AoIP solution is not "plug&play" (compared to analog, ADAT, MADI or AES) contrary to what most manufacturers say, its advantages won't shine with basic connection between 2 devices, but in a more complex scale - where sadly AVB is running in "wrong" IP layer, requiring dedicated overpriced switches which realistically nobody uses in their generic networks (and also any network points add latency which is undesirable in essence), and although Apple supports AVB out of the box, Apple simultaneously fails to provide laptops with ethernet ports to make use of such advantage,
for home use AVB remains absolutely unsuitable, and almost comparable to MADI, which is already a total overkill..

3) there's a certain balance between provided I/O connectivity and support for later I/O expansion, RME has always been great at balancing those, but honestly I don't quite see a major upgrade path advantages going from original UFX to UFX II or original Babyface to Babyface Pro (thanks to rock-solid driver support backwards and forwards) - that said, I don't think it makes sense to "resurrect" original UC/UCX as the new model with same I/O wouldn't prove meaningful upgrade (hence why I made this thread, attempting different I/O and feature set, with different name)

4) recent ADI-2 DAC has quickly become my absolute favourite RME product, and I've been learning how little I actually need (I can't seriously work without remote, and backlit main knob is really handy in dark-lit workplace) - years back I had 802, then UFX, then AIO, now AIO with ADI-2 DAC for my mixing workstation (I may ditch AIO later this year completely though..) and I just don't need all the additional fancy I/O because I do have completely separate recording rig with UFX, Octamic II and Octamic D - potential in RME's product portfolio lies in finding blind spots within current lineup, not refreshing old models, that's what I think smile

HDSPe AIO, ADI-2 DAC, Fireface UFX, Octamic D, Octamic II
Reaper, High Sierra

15 (edited by ramses 2021-03-21 17:10:06)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

Well, I had actually only replied to your very concrete interface design proposal and now you suddenly go very very far.

Maybe summarized again ... What I don't like about the interface design is that
1. no one will spend so much money for a product that does not offer any extension possibilities at all
2. if you do not provide digital interface ports for expansion or to be able to add another needed product,
    then the whole device / investment can quickly become obsolet/useless
3. it is misleading to call such a limited product "UFX" mini, when this product name was reserved for flagship interfaces
    with maximum features (features + IO) so far
4. this form factor is most likely too small for such an interface with 4 mic preamps and corresponding features.

My conclusion was, as mentioned in the last post, that it might be better to update the existing interfaces (e.g. UC, UCX) as well as the other interfaces (BBF Pro FS, AIO Pro), because in my opinion they contain a solid mix of I/O ports that most customers can use.

Just because you personally could do without certain ports doesn't mean that it makes for a successful product for the general public that others would buy.

BTW, this is neither a struggle or a competition for me ... at the end of the day RME will know best, what direction they need or want to go. I regard this simply as an interesting discussion what new product the market might need.

My view of the market or older and newer RME products is not quite the same as yours (your last posting #14), but I don't have the time to answer right now, maybe later.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

16 (edited by mr.r 2021-03-24 13:11:01)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

tzzsmk wrote:

@ramses here's my thoughts on few points:

1) ADAT/MADI/AES/MIDI etc.. are rather ancient standards, if someone needs just those, they can get whatever old RME interface already on the market, there would be negligible quality difference between old UFX and new UFX II for example,
and speaking of expansions, it's definitely cheaper to get Digiface USB, Madiface XT or Digiface Dante and expand by whatever I exactly need

I get what you're saying, but I do not agree, sorry! :-)

Especially a digital out is very important nowadays, because more and more monitor speakers are digital, have a look at the higher end Genelec range for example and I think also Neumann. I'd like to avoid a needless DA/AD conversion when using them analog.

When I need 8 more i/o connecting an ADAT converter is so easy. Why should I get a different interface were I need 16 ins via Adat in addition to get the same as with my UFX + a single Adat converter?

17 (edited by ramses 2021-03-24 13:36:28)

Re: RME Fireface UFX mini (mockup/idea)

mr.r wrote:
tzzsmk wrote:

@ramses here's my thoughts on few points:

1) ADAT/MADI/AES/MIDI etc.. are rather ancient standards, if someone needs just those, they can get whatever old RME interface already on the market, there would be negligible quality difference between old UFX and new UFX II for example,
and speaking of expansions, it's definitely cheaper to get Digiface USB, Madiface XT or Digiface Dante and expand by whatever I exactly need

I get what you're saying, but I do not agree, sorry! :-)

Especially a digital out is very important nowadays, because more and more monitor speakers are digital, have a look at the higher end Genelec range for example and I think also Neumann. I'd like to avoid a needless DA/AD conversion when using them analog.

When I need 8 more i/o connecting an ADAT converter is so easy. Why should I get a different interface were I need 16 ins via Adat in addition to get the same as with my UFX + a single Adat converter?

+1

Nobody wants to buy an additional interface for that reason and ... if you would add more RME interfaces then you also would have limitations in TM FX routing .. you can only route inside of one recording interface. Makes no sense.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE