1 (edited by jicamas 2021-09-18 08:29:24)

Topic: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

I am in the market for a new audio interface and although I have been reading reviews and forums for a few days I am no wiser.
I am on an M1 iMac and need at least 4 line inputs for recording synthesizers with the best possible DAC. Other than that I need one mic input. MIDI would be nice but is no must. Which one of these boxes would you recommend and why?

Sorted by price low to high:

BBF Pro FS
5388A?
Dyn range 118 dBA
Freq resp 18 Hz – 20.8 kHz -0.1 dB
THD+N < -108 dB

Arturia Audiofuse Studio
AKM converters
Dyn. Range 119dBA
Freq resp 20 Hz - 20 kHz +/-0.07dB
THD+N –112 dB

UCX II
AK5558
Dyn range 115 dBA
Freq resp 5 Hz – 20.8 kHz -0,1 dB
THD+N < -104 dB

UAD Apollo X4
Chip?
Dyn range 122 dBA
Freq resp 20 Hz – 20 kHz ±0.05 dB
THD+N -114 dB (1 kHz @ -1 dBFS)

Apogee Ensemble
ESS Sabre32 DAC
Dyn. Range 119dBA
Freq resp 10 Hz -20Khz > +/-0.2dB
THD+N –110 dB


I am a bit confused that the BBF Pro FS seems to be better on paper than the UCX II.

I hope some of you can help me out.

Thanks!

2 (edited by ramses 2021-09-17 12:33:20)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

Don't let technical data drive you crazy. They are all on a very high level with today's DAC chips and in many cases also clearly above the perception threshold of the human ear.
Besides the actual selection for a certain DAC chip, a clean technical implementation is important, for example a good power supply or a well thought-out circuit board design.

But not only that, it's also important to have excellent drivers and RME offers here a very long driver support for devices, for some devices already since 20y. Very important for the RME success is, that they use FPGA (programmable CPUs) where everything can be updated by firmware updates. Even the communication with the PC (Fw, USB, Tb) is being performed by this FPGA chip. If there is an issue, then it can be fixed by firmware upgrades. Other manufacturers use 3rd party communication chips or can't even upgrade the firmware of their product at all.
RME also delivers a very powerful and (after 20y) mature and lag free Mixer Software, the same for all recording interfaces.
Then read about other RME core technologies like Steadyclock which takes out any clock jitter from any digital input signal with clock signals. Or DURec for standalone or backup recordings. There are so many things that I really suggest to gather some more informations and to consider RME. I do not know any other company who delivers such a quality in so many different areas, including very detailed product documentation.

Here RME has shaped an extraordinary high quality standard in the market and is a technological pioneer in many areas.
I can highly recommend the new UCX II.

Because of Corona, RME probably had to reschedule the chips between UCX II and BBF Pro FS, but because of a few dB SNR you really do not have to grow gray hair.

In your place, I would rather pay attention to the overall concept of a device and look closely at the features and the UCX II really has a lot to offer.

I have compiled the UCX II's features in an article here on RME forum:
https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=33222

You can also compare the interfaces with the Excel, which I have provided in this blog article for download:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … B-MADIfac/
Direct link to Excel: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … -04b-xlsx/

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

Thanks for the links. These are great resources!

ramses wrote:

Don't let technical data drive you crazy. They are all on a very high level with today's DAC chips and in many cases also clearly above the perception threshold of the human ear.

In that case the Audiofuse Studio seems to be the best deal.

4 (edited by ramses 2021-09-17 12:39:42)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

jicamas wrote:

Thanks for the links. These are great resources!

ramses wrote:

Don't let technical data drive you crazy. They are all on a very high level with today's DAC chips and in many cases also clearly above the perception threshold of the human ear.

In that case the Audiofuse Studio seems to be the best deal.

Then I fear that you didn't understand exactly what I meant and as I was still adding infos to the text, maybe you didn't read the whole text.

My message to you is, that the overall concept of a recording interface is more important compared to a very high SNR alone.
The SNR is already so high, that it is not audible anyway.
And there is also no direct correlation between SNR and sound. Whether you have 115 or 119dB SNR .. your ears can't hear this difference and it won't sound better because of this.

Also feature wise the UCX II is indeed much better and has much more to offer compared to any other vendor on the market.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

5 (edited by ramses 2021-09-17 12:54:26)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

Some of my use cases documented here in my blog:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … -DURec-DE/

My setup in brief

This level of flexibility you can't reach with any other product:

https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.php/Attachment/2776-Current-RME-based-setup-v002-jpg/

UCX II has advanced features

And the new UCX II can do alreaedy a lot of things, that also the UFX+ is capable to do:
- TM FX routing, of course, same mixer software
- FX chip built-in
- DURec
- Autoset (very comfortably to use to find the proper gain or to auto adjust it)
- additional AES port, keeps ADAT free for other things and you can connect here e.g. devices like ADI-2 FS Pro, if you like

Option: later integration of ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

If you want to have later a very nice AD/DA converter for your monitoring section you can integrate it later very nicely through either ADAT or this additional AES port, see this blog article:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

Regarding my setup two additional overviews

Also shows that I use the PC in the recording corner as player for the HiFi .. with another ADI-2 Pro FS R BE in front of an High End HiFi..

https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.php/Attachment/2790-05-UFX-in-Current-Setup-jpg/

https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.php/Attachment/2777-MySetup-Cabling-jpg/

My message to you, RME devices can also be combined very nicely as some offer a lot of digital expansion ports like ADAT or in the case of the UCX II, UFX II (or also UFX+) AES.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

ramses wrote:

Then I fear that you didn't understand exactly what I meant and as I was still adding infos to the text, maybe you didn't read the whole text.

My message to you is, that the overall concept of a recording interface is more important compared to a very high SNR alone.

Sorry, I do read your whole post. It is just that I don't have a complex setup or need any other features than the best possible AD conversion for at least four line inputs smile

But I appreciate your efforts and think I will have to try the in a store UCX II and see if I can hear a difference to the mentioned interfaces.

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

Unfortunately, it seems like no store nearby caries RME or Apogee. Maybe someone with actual experience using the mentioned brands can chime in and share his or her experience on AD/DA conversion quality?

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

Hi

where you are, to recommend shops nearby (country?)

I just have seen THD+N of Arturia Audiofuse Studio is -92 to-112dB (not -129dB)

Arturia Audiofuse Studio
AKM converters
Dyn. Range 119dBA
Freq resp 20 Hz - 20 kHz +/-0.07dB
THD+N –129 dB

I have the RME UFX and UFX II. Audibly you can send the signal 2x DA-AD  (loop) an will not hear any difference (make sure same volume!).

I guess the UCX II has about the same quality of converters. Anyhow, if you have a chance to try yourself you will be convinced.

Peter

9 (edited by jicamas 2021-09-18 08:48:21)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

pschelbert wrote:

Hi

where you are, to recommend shops nearby (country?)

I just have seen THD+N of Arturia Audiofuse Studio is -92 to-112dB (not -129dB)

Arturia Audiofuse Studio
AKM converters
Dyn. Range 119dBA
Freq resp 20 Hz - 20 kHz +/-0.07dB
THD+N –129 dB

I have the RME UFX and UFX II. Audibly you can send the signal 2x DA-AD  (loop) and will not hear any difference (make sure same volume!).

I guess the UCX II has about the same quality of converters. Anyhow, if you have a chance to try yourself you will be convinced.

Peter

Hi Peter,

I am currently in Spain near Luz.
You are right about the Audiofuse THD. I corrected that.
Have you tried other vendors before RME and can compare the quality of the converters?

Maybe it’s just because RME does not say anything about the quality of their converters?

The competition writes statements like:
“Every connection features the best components on the market, giving you perfectly transparent analog-digital conversion” (Arturia)
“Elite Audio Conversion” (UAD)
“Music industry’s most respected AD/DA converters” (Apogee)
While RME writes “most powerful & portable” and argues about standalone functionally and powerful apps (which I both do not need), DC-coupled outs and class compliance (my 200€ Motu has those too).

10 (edited by ramses 2021-09-18 10:01:09)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

If I may give you a few further tips.

I would orient myself less on marketing statements. With RME you are dealing with professionally designed products, behind which the RME designers also stand 100%. Comparing these professional devices with consumer devices is like comparing apples with oranges.

The products are designed for high quality and a long product and driver life cycle, which is really exemplary for the industry and especially in today's times sustainability of products is becoming increasingly important in view of limited raw materials and climate change.

If you read the forum regularly, you would also know how valuable it is to be able to talk directly to RME designers and developers here. You get first class support and good product suggestions are, if technically feasible, gladly implemented, prime example is the further development of the product line of the reference converters ADI-2 DAC and Pro.

This quality in all areas up to very good documentation offers you no other company on the market "period".

That's why RME devices are also on the second-hand market high resale prices and even older RME devices are highly sought after. Because there are still firmware and driver upgrades and the latest version of TotalMix FX is still executable on all devices.

Not to mention the software extras that still come with it. TotalMix Remote and DIGICheck.

And last but not least. TotalMix FX is the best mixing software on PC ever. Mature after around 20y of excellent design and further development. There is nothing on the market that can compare in terms of quality, stability, features, performance (lag free).

All I can do - from own experience - is to give you the recommendation to try at least one RME device. If you have a little bit extra money, don't be shy and try the UCX II, it offers excellent features to a still affordable / justified price.

I had a closer look at the single products that you listed in post #1, it's very "unbalanced".

You compare devices in a very unequal price ranges between €698 (BBF Pro for mobility) and over €2000 (UAD X4) up to 2389 (Apogee Ensemble)

Then you should also take into consideration either RME UFX II or even UFX+.

Alternatively - as superier solution - a combination of e.g. RME UCX II and either ADI-2 Pro FS R BE (or ADI-2 DAC FS).
See here: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.php/Attachment/2805-RME-ADI-2-Pro-AE-DAC-Integration-into-your-setup-v6-jpg/

More information about the ADI-2 Pro product line in one compact blog article, that I wrote to give an overview:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … ses-EN-DE/

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

I would not call all Apogee and UAD devices consumer-grade and don't think this is an apples vs oranges comparison at all. Particularly since I am only interested in high-quality conversion and not complex routing or preamps. Moreover, even some cheap consumer interfaces have good converters today. But you totally had me with the sustainability argument and I would love to support a company that shares those values.

While TotalMix FX might be the best mixing software on PC, I am a Mac user and I have not had any stability issues with any interface in the past 20 years. TotalMix seems to be a powerful tool, but I have been reading about its steep learning curve and the UI looks very Windowsy to me (in a bad way).

I am comparing these devices since they all offer what I “need” and are within my budget. I listed them by price (low to high) since I am looking for the best quality/price ratio.

If RMEs converters are superior or on par with the ones in the other devices I am leaning towards the UCX II as it would offer more channels than the BBF Pro FS. But watching this review got me wondering why RME would use the superior clocking system of the ADA-2 in the BBF Pro FS but not in the newer UFX and UCX line?

https://youtu.be/xySFqxQSz7k

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

I have the Babyface Pro fs after doing a lot of research and am extremely happy with the sound quality in and out. This may not be the right place to ask as most on here will have researched or had past experience so stick with the brand they know works and will be supported for years. Therefore we are biased as we already use rme products. This is my first experience of them and I am not disappointed.

13 (edited by ramses 2021-09-18 11:22:51)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

jicamas wrote:

If RMEs converters are superior or on par with the ones in the other devices I am leaning towards the UCX II as it would offer more channels than the BBF Pro FS.

The BBF Pro is designed for being compact, to also support mobile applications. It's the only RME recording device which can be driven USB bus powered. But at the same time RME got it managed to give this interface still powerful enough phones outputs. An advantage is, that you can use an optional power supply, should the USB power infrastructure of your computer should be weak.
As the case is quite small you have cables at the back and left/right side, so it could be an advantage to use angled connectors, so that the cables on your desk do not consume much space.

The UCX II has a more pleasent form factor, the cables are straight in the front and in the back and on top the device offers a lot of I/O possibilities and features including a complete FX chip implementation, Autoset, Durec, ...

jicamas wrote:

But watching this review got me wondering why RME would use the superior clocking system of the ADA-2 in the BBF Pro FS but not in the newer UFX and UCX line?
https://youtu.be/xySFqxQSz7k

Sorry, no time to watch a 30min video at the moment. And I am not sure what you exactly refer to, to RME Steadyclock technology (which all RME interfaces have) or to Femto Second Clock Chip, I assume you meant the latter.

Regarding TM FX design.
It is highly optimized, your comparison with Windows is really so ... hmm .. inappropriate.
Sorry, but you should first deal with it to understand why it is the way it is and why it is so really good.
BTW .. if you know how the operating concept works, you can do things with it that others can only dream of.

In the area of ADI-2 Pro the common sense is, that FS clock delivers better measurable values (higher SNR, less jitter in combination with RME's phantastic Steadyclock technology). But these changes are not audible (lets take psychoacoustic aside), because our ears do not have that high sensivity / resolution that would be required to really recognize this.

RME was here so fair from the beginning, not to make a big marketing show out of FS clock and that customer with the older ADI-2 Pro could be relaxed to stay on their older devices without FS clock.

FS clocks at a certain point simply became available on the market to an affordable price and then it has been used for the manufacturing process. When an update is due for a certain RME product, well then they get now additionally FS clock in.

You really should watch this tech video about steadyclock
https://youtu.be/Ti0aHW-zYcs

and this video about the quality of RME conversion, what quality you get at a really affordable price:
https://youtu.be/doHG32aXBDY

I think you should also consider a combination of 
- UCX II and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE or
- UCX II and ADI-2 DAC FS

ADI-2 Pro/DAC (converter / USB DAC / Phone Preamps) offer to you even more advanced features.
This in combination with a RME recording interface with TM FX ... This is really exciting.

Just look at it, I can only make you offers from my own experience.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

mkok wrote:

I have the Babyface Pro fs after doing a lot of research and am extremely happy with the sound quality in and out. This may not be the right place to ask as most on here will have researched or had past experience so stick with the brand they know works and will be supported for years. Therefore we are biased as we already use rme products. This is my first experience of them and I am not disappointed.

Thanks for letting me know. I thought this forum was a good place to ask because I was hoping users who switched from other brands were around and could share their experiences with different converters…

15 (edited by jicamas 2021-09-18 12:48:41)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

ramses wrote:

The BBF Pro is designed for being compact, to also support mobile applications. It's the only RME recording device which can be driven USB bus powered. But at the same time RME got it managed to give this interface still powerful enough phones outputs. An advantage is, that you can use an optional power supply, should the USB power infrastructure of your computer should be weak.
As the case is quite small you have cables at the back and left/right side, so it could be an advantage to use angled connectors, so that the cables on your desk do not consume much space.

The UCX II has a more pleasent form factor, the cables are straight in the front and in the back and on top the device offers a lot of I/O possibilities and features including a complete FX chip implementation, Autoset, Durec, ...

Thanks for the info but this is not what I asked.

ramses wrote:

Sorry, no time to watch a 30min video at the moment. And I am not sure what you exactly refer to, to RME Steadyclock technology (which all RME interfaces have) or to Femto Second Clock Chip, I assume you meant the latter.

The link I posted sends you directly to the part where Steve Evans talks about the improved clocking system (SteadyClock FS) which reduces jitter and that the RME uses in the ADI-2 and the BBF Pro FS. I just noticed that the UCX II supports SteadyClock FS while the UFX II and UFX+ do not.

ramses wrote:

Regarding TM FX design.
It is highly optimized, your comparison with Windows is really so ... hmm .. inappropriate.
Sorry, but you should first deal with it to understand why it is the way it is and why it is so really good.
BTW .. if you know how the operating concept works, you can do things with it that others can only dream of.

Again, not what I asked. I confirmed your statement, that "TotalMix seems to be a powerful tool". As a former designer, I find the design choices RME made for the UI of TotalMix unfavorable. I am comparing it to Windows since on a Mac almost always everything is there where you expect it to be and (at least for me) the opposite holds true for Windows. My opinion from watching the RME tutorials and some reviews on YouTube is that the UI of TotalMix could be improved for a better UX which is what I have been reading all over the internet. I did not mean to offend you in any way.

ramses wrote:

In the area of ADI-2 Pro the common sense is, that FS clock delivers better measurable values (higher SNR, less jitter in combination with RME's phantastic Steadyclock technology). But these changes are not audible (lets take psychoacoustic aside), because our ears do not have that high sensivity / resolution that would be required to really recognize this.

I see your point but I bet Steve Evans and Marc Einstmann from the RME video would beg to differ smile

ramses wrote:

I think you should also consider a combination of 
- UCX II and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE or
- UCX II and ADI-2 DAC FS

ADI-2 Pro/DAC (converter / USB DAC / Phone Preamps) offer to you even more advanced features.
This in combination with a RME recording interface with TM FX ... This is really exciting.

Just look at it, I can only make you offers from my own experience.

Thanks for the video links and suggestions. The SteadyClock guy seems to know what he is doing. What a great video! I was not aware that SteadyClock improves the noise floor that much. Impressive how the active jitter suppression of the Fireface UC improves the noise floor even compared to a AK4490!

I am not planning on having two boxes in my studio. The ADI-2 looks awesome, but I would be missing two additional line inputs and MIDI IO. Have you tried the UCX II next to the ADI-2 and can hear a noticeable difference in AD DA conversion?

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

jicamas wrote:

Thanks for the video links and suggestions. The SteadyClock guy seems to know what he is doing. What a great video! I was not aware that SteadyClock improves the noise floor that much. Impressive how the active jitter suppression of the Fireface UC improves the noise floor even compared to a AK4490!

I am not planning on having two boxes in my studio. The ADI-2 looks awesome, but I would be missing two additional line inputs and MIDI IO. Have you tried the UCX II next to the ADI-2 and can hear a noticeable difference in AD DA conversion?

2x 9,5" is not more than 1x19" (1 RU).
What counts more in this combination is, that you can combine the strength of a RME recording interface like the UCX II with TotalMix FX, FX chip, DURec, Mic Preamp with a reference converter like the ADI-2 Pro.

The ADI-2 DAC/Pro products really shine e.g. in the monitoring section for headphones and active monitors:
- dynamic loudness is very useful when turning down the volume
- four different reference levels make it possible to have optimium SNR / dynamic range for many use cases
- Auto Reflevel calculation even calculate the proper reference level settings when using B/T, PEQ, dynamic loudness
- Ear protecting mechanism like ramp-up of volume when plugging phones or switching between monitors / phones
- key remapping features which can be very useful, e.g. to turn on/off all EQ related settings
- use of different AD/DA filter of the underlying DAC to optimize for different use cases, if e.g. lower latencies are needed
- extreme power phones outputs
- can be used as USB dac
- automatic routing features, quite handy, based on the plugging (whether USB is plugged or not, etc)
- pro only: built-in sample rate converter (SRC)
- pro only: support for balanced phones if wanted
- and many more features

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

17 (edited by mkok 2021-09-18 21:22:35)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

mkok wrote:

I have the Babyface Pro fs after doing a lot of research and am extremely happy with the sound quality in and out. This may not be the right place to ask as most on here will have researched or had past experience so stick with the brand they know works and will be supported for years. Therefore we are biased as we already use rme products. This is my first experience of them and I am not disappointed.

Ah well I have used other brands. My main interface a couple of years ago was a Yamaha n12 fw desk. This had a really nice sound to it but I wanted something for live work and fw was getting old so after 10 tears service I sold it. I actually bought a zoom l-20 for recording to SD card which has 16 mic channels. I used this for recording live gigs. Although good the sound quality was not as good as the n12. This is why I got the bfp for home use. Definitely better sounding than the zoom and more accurate than the Yamaha. I also use an adat interface with the bfp to give me more outputs for separate headphone mixes. It also comes in handy if I do decide to record drums although it’s not happened yet.

Before those I had a Terratec ews88mt and before that an audiomedia ii pci card by the company now called Avid who do protools. So all way back to the 90s

18 (edited by pschelbert 2021-09-18 22:54:39)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

jicamas wrote:
pschelbert wrote:

Hi

where you are, to recommend shops nearby (country?)

I just have seen THD+N of Arturia Audiofuse Studio is -92 to-112dB (not -129dB)

Arturia Audiofuse Studio
AKM converters
Dyn. Range 119dBA
Freq resp 20 Hz - 20 kHz +/-0.07dB
THD+N –129 dB

I have the RME UFX and UFX II. Audibly you can send the signal 2x DA-AD  (loop) and will not hear any difference (make sure same volume!).

I guess the UCX II has about the same quality of converters. Anyhow, if you have a chance to try yourself you will be convinced.

Peter

Hi Peter,

I am currently in Spain near Luz.
You are right about the Audiofuse THD. I corrected that.
Have you tried other vendors before RME and can compare the quality of the converters?

Maybe it’s just because RME does not say anything about the quality of their converters?

The competition writes statements like:
“Every connection features the best components on the market, giving you perfectly transparent analog-digital conversion” (Arturia)
“Elite Audio Conversion” (UAD)
“Music industry’s most respected AD/DA converters” (Apogee)
While RME writes “most powerful & portable” and argues about standalone functionally and powerful apps (which I both do not need), DC-coupled outs and class compliance (my 200€ Motu has those too).


I had Echoaudio GINA and Motu 828mk3Hybrid.

Echoaudio was not really satisfying in any aspects.

Motu 828mk3Hybrid: The AD and DA was not fully transparent. Why this was, I do not know. It may not be the ADC, DAC chips but the electronics around it, the so called engineering.
The Motu had issues with drivers, hangs etc. Confusing  mixing software. No comparison to Totalmix. Totalmix is way better.

The chips are on thing, the right engineering and design to implement the chips with the surrounding electronics, layout decoupling etc. is key.

The UFX obviously used Crystal Semi  and Burr Brown chips, the UFX II if I am right uses AKM.

Sure the chips RME uses are top notch and the circuit around enables the performance ot the chips as specified to its best.
So the whole desig is key not just that this or that chip is used.
And remeber, usability and reliability especially for Pros's is very important.
I as hobbyist like it as well. No tweaking whatsoever with RME

19 (edited by jicamas 2021-09-19 08:33:52)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

ramses wrote:

2x 9,5" is not more than 1x19" (1 RU).
What counts more in this combination is, that you can combine the strength of a RME recording interface like the UCX II with TotalMix FX, FX chip, DURec, Mic Preamp with a reference converter like the ADI-2 Pro.

The ADI-2 DAC/Pro products shine e.g. in the monitoring section for headphones and active monitors:
- dynamic loudness is very useful when turning down the volume
- four different reference levels make it possible to have really optimium SNR / dynamic range for many use cases
- Auto Reflevel calculation even calculate the proper reference level settings when using B/T, PEQ, dynamic loudness
- Ear protecting mechanism like ramp-up of volume when plugging phones or switching between monitors / phones
- key remapping features which can be very useful, e.g. to turn on/off all EQ related settings
- use of different AD/DA filter of the underlying DAC to optimize for different use cases, if e.g. lower latencies are needed
- extreme power phones outputs
- can be used as USB dac
- automatic routing features, quite handy, based on the plugging (whether USB is plugged or not, etc)
- pro only: built-in sample rate converter (SRC)
- pro only: support for balanced phones if wanted
- and many more features

Are you some kind of salesman for RME? It feels like you are not hearing what I say and are replying by simply posting product features I have not asked for?

Since you stated

ramses wrote:

I can only make offers from my own experience

I was wondering if you could share that experience and asked

jicamas wrote:

Have you tried the UCX II next to the ADI-2 and can hear a noticeable difference in AD DA conversion?

- I am not concerned about the width but having two boxes to plug in. I would only consider this if benefits would outweigh the price and cables on my desk
- Again, I am not looking for the best possible DAC monitoring solution and I doubt that I could hear the difference between the UCX II and the ADI-2 DAC in an untreated room
- I am looking for the best AD conversion on at least 4 line levels. And I want to know if the BBF Pro FS is superior in this regard to the UCX II

Thanks mkok and pschelbert for sharing your experiences. Stories like yours and ramses sustainability argument are what convince me to join team RME smile

20 (edited by ramses 2021-09-20 06:35:00)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

I think there are some "misunderstandings" here. I advise here out of interest in such solutions and because the RME products have convinced me. For me it is also a form of relaxation, just to do some other things than in the job ;-)

When you are new to a manufacturer, you can't ask the right questions or make a good product selection because you don't know the products and the manufacturer specific features. I thought that as a new RME customer you would be interested in learning about the benefits of RME solutions.

That is the reason for me to offer more information to enable others to make a wise product decision and that worked very well for most people over the last few years. It also happens from time and time again that solutions are found together that fit the requirements even better and that people had not thought of before.

Quick note about the ADI-2 Pro FS: yes it can also be used as an USB DAC, but is not limited to that. It's a device with a very high density of functions. You might want to consider this device because of some very clever features. It can even serve as a monitor controller of sorts for your listening action (active monitors, phones). If that's not of interest to you, then let's just skip this point.

If the rest is clear to you and you just want a unit with 4 analog inputs, mic input and optional MIDI, then buy either BBF Pro FS or a UCX II.

Personally, I would go for the UCX II because it gives you more options that you may need later (-> post-purchase sustainability).

On the BBF Pro FS, the two Mic/Line inputs on the back are shared by the connectors, this can be a bit "annoying" if you have to keep reconnecting and experience shows that having a couple of free I/O ports (analog, AES) is an advantage.

As mentioned earlier, the BBF Pro FS basically takes up more desk space because the cables also plug into the left and right sides of the case. The UCX II allows for better placement on the workstation and better cable management. Therefore, I lean towards the UCX II unless you need the BBF Pro FS for portability or you don't want to spend that much money.

As for the microphone inputs: The UCX II has microphone inputs similar to the flagship interface UFX II / UFX+ with a gain range of 75 dB.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

21 (edited by jicamas 2021-09-19 19:14:35)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

ramses wrote:

I think there are some "misunderstandings" here. I advise here out of interest in such solutions and because the RME products have convinced me. For me it is also a form of relaxation, just to do some other things than in the job ;-)

That is very noble of you. Thank you! To me, it would be more helpful though if your answers were more related to my questions smile

ramses wrote:

Personally, I would go for the UCX II because it gives you more options that you may need later (-> post-purchase sustainability).

On the BBF Pro FS, the two Mic/Line inputs on the back are shared by the connectors, this can be a bit "annoying" if you have to keep reconnecting and experience shows that having a couple of free I/O ports (analog, AES) is an advantage.

As mentioned earlier, the BBF Pro FS basically takes up more desk space because the cables also plug into the left and right sides of the case. The UCX II allows for better placement on the workstation and better cable management. Therefore, I lean towards the UCX II unless you need the BBF Pro FS for portability or you don't want to spend that much money.

As for the microphone inputs: The UCX II has microphone inputs similar to the flagship interface UFX II / UFX+ with a gain range of 75 dB.

Do you have any idea whether the BBF Pro FS is superior in AD conversion to the UCX II?
If not I will go with the UFX II since it will be more flexible and therefore more future proof.

22

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

From your first post you will run into limitations sooner or later with the available I/Os of the Babyface Pro. IMHO the UCX II is the better solution for you. Differences in SNR or THD etc are irrelevant in real world usage, because good enough in any case.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

MC wrote:

From your first post you will run into limitations sooner or later with the available I/Os of the Babyface Pro. IMHO the UCX II is the better solution for you. Differences in SNR or THD etc are irrelevant in real world usage, because good enough in any case.

Thank you! That’s what I wanted to hear. For clarification and future readers, could you tell me if the converters in the BBF Pro FS are superior to the UCX II?

I just purchased a UCX II and will share my experience in the next weeks smile

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

jicamas wrote:
MC wrote:

From your first post you will run into limitations sooner or later with the available I/Os of the Babyface Pro. IMHO the UCX II is the better solution for you. Differences in SNR or THD etc are irrelevant in real world usage, because good enough in any case.

Thank you! That’s what I wanted to hear. For clarification and future readers, could you tell me if the converters in the BBF Pro FS are superior to the UCX II?

I just purchased a UCX II and will share my experience in the next weeks smile

Please do keep us posted!

25 (edited by ramses 2021-09-22 07:53:57)

Re: DAC: UCX II vs BBF Pro FS vs Apollo X4 vs Apogee Ensemble vs Audiofuse

jicamas wrote:
MC wrote:

From your first post you will run into limitations sooner or later with the available I/Os of the Babyface Pro. IMHO the UCX II is the better solution for you. Differences in SNR or THD etc are irrelevant in real world usage, because good enough in any case.

[...]
For clarification and future readers, could you tell me if the converters in the BBF Pro FS are superior to the UCX II?

You got already the answer.
"Differences in SNR or THD etc are irrelevant in real world usage, because good enough in any case"

SNR and THD are already on such a high level, that ears can not recognize any noise or any difference.

The design of all RME products is, to precisely capture and re-create (AD/DA) tone.
RME converters are known to work "transparent", not manipulating / colorizing the original tone.
Later in the DAW you can form the sound by EQing and what not during mixing and mastering.

jicamas wrote:

I just purchased a UCX II and will share my experience in the next weeks smile

Cool, congrads wink I think you will be very excited.
And if you have some money left, get an ARC USB on top for some extra comfort wink
You can plug it to the PC and use the rear USB port for DURec.

Regarding USB sticks in case you want to make use of the new DURec functionality for the UCX II.
It's nice to have a backup recording or to use the UCX II as "tape deck".
There were some recommendations last recenty in this thread: https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=11257

This one here (also the 256GB version) works very nicely: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01MU8 … &psc=1

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT