Topic: Need help selecting a setup

I'm about to invest into my first high-end audio interface for a home studio where I'll be producing electronic music. The obvious choice would be to get a UFX II or UFX+, but I honestly don't need that many analog inputs. I will never own more than 1 synth, and 1 modular synth, so 2 analog stereo inputs maximum. With only two devices even unplugging one while using the other isn't the end of the world. Most of my music will be made with my DAW, a pair of monitors, and headphones.

The reason why I considered the flagships, is because I need to be able to send audio out from Cubase to the interface for summing, then back into Cubase for recording. I would like 14 Stereo (28 Mono) channels available for this use, at least.

My question is whether I can go with a more "modest" setup? I notice that I can buy the ADI-2 Pro FS BE, which would be slightly better conversion, along with something like the DigiFace. Would this function as a mini UFX ii/+, with the money more efficiently spent, rather than having a lot of inputs around that I won't use?

This is my first high-end interface purchase, so I appreciate advice. Perhaps there are some considerations that I have not made.

Thanks for the help.

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Couldn’t you get a Babyface Pro FS and use Cubase to sum using export audio and render in place?

3 (edited by MetalHeadKeys 2021-02-16 06:44:35)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Hello!

artisan wrote:

The reason why I considered the flagships, is because I need to be able to send audio out from Cubase to the interface for summing, then back into Cubase for recording. I would like 14 Stereo (28 Mono) channels available for this use, at least.

Do you mean external(analog) summing? 14 Stereo Outputs?

If not, and you mean 28 tracks inside a Cubase project, then you don't need a flagship just for that!
The number of tracks inside your project is independent of the interface's Outputs!
You can have 400 tracks if you want!

Unless you mean summing them using TotalMixFX! (Sending each stereo track to a separate Output, then all of them to an extra Stereo Output, using Software Playback Outputs, then Loopback to its respective Input, and record that Input to an extra track inside your DAW)
EDIT:: (I may have missed a step required, but if you'd require further assistance to set this up, I 'll check it out)

Can you be more specific, so we can assist you further?

RME Gear: Digiface USB, HDSP 9632

Re: Need help selecting a setup

from Cubase to the interface for summing, then back into Cubase for recording...!

So you think the Totalmix mixer is better for summing than Cubase ?
For live situation yes for sure a symphony orchestra or so. Livemonitoring !
You can do this routing from cubase into Totalmix and re-record it via Loopback.
But soon you will find out that this cost you time and mixdown export inside Cubase is superfast and the soundquality is not less.
I would look at the Madiface Pro, it has all you need.

M1-BigSur, Madiface Pro, Digiface USB, Babyface silver

5 (edited by artisan 2021-02-16 11:07:49)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Good morning

Thanks for the responses, I realise that I'm a little new to this. So, my mentor suggested that mixing on the interface has some advantages. I'm going to ask him about this so that I can be more specific. What I paraphrased in the OP is what he told me.

Either way, I need better converters, because when I started I got a Scarlett 2i2 and it's definitely begging to be replaced. However, from what I can tell, the ADI-2 Pro FS R BE only has one Stereo analog input, and I will eventually have a synth join my modular rig in the studio and would like to have a setup that can cater to that. I don't even know if this analog input is suitable for modular/synth... I may need a preamp (?). For the foreseeable future (5 years), I do not see myself using anything more than a synth and a modular rig, so I know I don't need many analog inputs.

I will respond with a more detailed post about why I would like to do the mixing on the interface. We didn't get too deep into it because we're not there yet with the track, but when I mentioned that I want to buy an interface and asked him if there were any considerations to make, he told me to make sure that I can mix at least 12 channels on the interface's mixer. He told me that I should have at least "12 Stereo Outs in Cubase". And something about, "I don't want the sounds to touch each other at all".

I've been bouncing/rendering in place and exporting mix downs for individual sounds, and the Scarlett has been enough for that. But in preparation for the final mix down, that's when more Stereo Outs in Cubase will become useful, and I'm buying towards that end.

Hopefully some of this makes a bit more sense. Now, of course, it could be that he is overgeeking it, or that I misunderstood something and am not able to explain it thoroughly enough in the post. I thought I understood it but after these responses I am second-guessing my understanding, because the responses seem to imply that there will be no difference in sound quality or quality of the mix down by mixing using the interface's summing...

If we entertain the idea that I do need this many digital channels, what would a future proof setup look like?

Also, the world of buying an interface is incredibly complex. There's so much marketing around that makes it really difficult to tell what you need and what you don't need. Seriously, it's been such a difficult topic to research. That said, I really appreciate help and advice. Hopefully in a few years I can be the one helping and advising.

Re: Need help selecting a setup

What computer du you have ?
Operating system ?
Monitoring ?

So far to say, what you really need to have is a good headphone or a good pair of loudspeakers.
If your computer is a windows machine, then you should have a RME interface because of the driver.
Any of them is good.

For your modular synth you don't need a preamp normally. Just plug in to analog input and make the synth loud enough.

Your 12 Cubase stereo channels will not touch each other as long as you keep them digital.
This crossnoising between channels has been a problem in cheap analog mixers long ago.
Cubase is a very complex and professional music production fabric.
When you are a good composer.

M1-BigSur, Madiface Pro, Digiface USB, Babyface silver

7 (edited by artisan 2021-02-16 12:19:19)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

I have a 2016 13-inch Macbook Pro. My new computer will be the M1X iMac when they are released. I have saved for this already. I already have good headphones and decent monitors (Yamaha HS8 matched pair). The monitors will be upgraded to Genelecs within the next year. I have basic acoustic treatment too, not pro level but there is some. I also have Sonarworks Reference 4 to aid with my room too.

Still haven't spoken to my mentor, will speak to him later today.

I'm a software developer, so music production is a hobby. But I'm very serious about this hobby, so I do want to do the best I possibly can. I see these pieces of equipment as an investment, so I want to make sure I invest as wisely as possible.

8 (edited by ramses 2021-02-16 12:43:10)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Hi Artisan,

If you do not work with external effects you work mostly ITB (in the box).
After recording you usually inspect the single tracks, e.g. deessing of vocal tracks and the like.
Then the mixing phase begins where finally export the mix as stereo wave file best as 24 or 32 bit file.
This wave file you send to external mastering or you start mastering best in a separate DAW project file
or by using special mastering tools (e.g. Cubase Wavelab).
You would only send something for mixing or mastering back to the recording interface if you want to work with external devices (EQ, Compressor, ..).

All you need is a recording interface with a few analog channels to have a certain channel reserve.
So a Fireface UC or UCX would be very nice for you.

This blog article from me contains an Excel which contains useful information about the different USB, FW, TB interfaces.
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … B-MADIfac/
Direct link to Excel: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … 0-08-xlsx/

At a later point you can add e.g. an ADI-2 Pro to your environment, to have an extremely well preamp for the TotalMix FX Control room for connecting monitors and phones.
Not a must, but would offer you cool / unqique / useful features (PEQ, Dynamic Loudness, Autoreflevel, ...).
This blog article shows how to integrate this device into your setup nicely: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

An alternative is to use the flagship interface UFX II or UFX+ to simply get also the nice things like DURec, Autoset and more recent mic pre's and converters. Additionally you can use e.g. the ADAT ports for
- connecting ADI-2 Pro
- making a link to maybe another ADI-2 DAC in front of your HiFi corner if its near like it is the case for me
- connecting other external device in the future

ADI-2 Pro is also useful because it has a Sample Rate Converter built-in. Should you have an old DAT tape with fix setting of 48 kHz, then the SRC takes care to connect the DAT at 48 kHz while the rest of the devices / the DAW project runs at another samplerate that you usually use for your projects, e.g. 44.1 or 88.2 or whatever.

At any time you can add an ARC USB to your PC and to some of these recording devices, to make operation of TM FX even more comfortably.

I only tell you whats possible ... we didn't talk about budget yet .. you can do things in steps.
And like with all other things, there are always cheaper and more expensive solutions ..
My personal preference was comfort and flexibility.

The way that I work currently: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … Rec-EN-DE/
and a nice hook to HiFi, am using PC as player (some devices not up to date but showing the big picture)
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … her-EN-DE/

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: Need help selecting a setup

I must admit I don’t understand why you would mix in TotalMix if you are not breaking out to external effects. Cubase can do all you ask. Does your mentor know anything about Cubase? Everything is separate in Cubase until you bring it together. You can do that individually or as sub groups. Your not going to get any better quality or extra features except if you are goi g to use external processing.

10 (edited by ramses 2021-02-16 17:26:59)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

mkok wrote:

I must admit I don’t understand why you would mix in TotalMix if you are not breaking out to external effects. Cubase can do all you ask. Does your mentor know anything about Cubase? Everything is separate in Cubase until you bring it together. You can do that individually or as sub groups. Your not going to get any better quality or extra features except if you are goi g to use external processing.

Does this also touches my recommendations ?
Again, only meant as a friendly reminder.  I would strongly recommend to have a recording interface with TM FX for situations, where you want to have a "near-zero" low latency routing.

If you perform everything in the DAW then you have always the full RTL (A/D, via USB to PC/DAW, DAW processing, from PC to recording interface via USB back, D/A).

When I am for example recording something to a backing track, then I want to hear the backing track in phones and as soon as possible (with near-zero latency) also the recorded audio signal from Mic (no matter whether I play guitar or sing).

In his situation similar. if he wants e.g. to record a solo from his synthy while listening to the backing track.

Sorry if I should have misunderstood your comment.

I simply wanted to underpin, that doing the whole rounting in the DAW is not enough for all recording situations.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: Need help selecting a setup

ramses wrote:
mkok wrote:

I must admit I don’t understand why you would mix in TotalMix if you are not breaking out to external effects. Cubase can do all you ask. Does your mentor know anything about Cubase? Everything is separate in Cubase until you bring it together. You can do that individually or as sub groups. Your not going to get any better quality or extra features except if you are goi g to use external processing.

Does this also touches my recommendations ?
Again, only meant as a friendly reminder.  I would strongly recommend to have a recording interface with TM FX for situations, where you want to have a "near-zero" low latency routing.

If you perform everything in the DAW then you have always the full RTL (A/D, via USB to PC/DAW, DAW processing, from PC to recording interface via USB back, D/A).

When I am for example recording something to a backing track, then I want to hear the backing track in phones and as soon as possible (with near-zero latency) also the recorded audio signal from Mic (no matter whether I play guitar or sing).

In his situation similar. if he wants e.g. to record a solo from his synthy while listening to the backing track.

Sorry if I should have misunderstood your comment.

I simply wanted to underpin, that doing the whole rounting in the DAW is not enough for all recording situations.

I mentioned it because the outputs were only required for summing and mixing so nothing new being recorded. That being the case I couldn’t see a need to step outside the DAW.

I need low latency myself as most of what I record is vst instruments, especially SD3 which I play from edrums.

Maybe we are all getting confused as to what is required and why :-)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

;-)

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

13 (edited by artisan 2021-02-16 18:50:48)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

I will speak to my mentor once he finishes work, but to be honest, I am agreeing with what you are saying. It makes no sense that mixing on the interface would have any advantages, unless you were recording something...

From what I understand here, my money would be better spent on high quality, future-proof converters. The ideal setup would be a UFX+ without all the inputs/preamps which I don't need. I will only ever have 2 instruments at most (synth, modular rig), which I wouldn't particularly mind manually plugging in and out when I need to use one or the other. The UFX+ etc seems overkill for me with all the analog I/O that I definitely won't be using.

That being said, until I speak to my mentor, I don't see the point of having anything other than the best converter (ADI-2 Pro FS) and then some minimal interface for my MacBook/iMac. I notice that even the DigiFace USB has ample digital channels, more than the 12 Stereo I require... So would it make sense to hook something like the DigiFace (would appreciate a more future-proof recommendation though) to a ADI-2-Pro FS and call it a day?

My budget for now is negotiable, because I care more for making a wise investment that I won't need to change for as long as possible. I'm not into the whole GAS thing, I want to buy the best setup that's available for me at present, and not look back until I am forced to due to bottlenecks. I want to buy and forget, then I move onto the next piece (better acoustic treatment, better monitors etc.). The problem is, that for someone new like me, it is a bit overwhelming and I'm paralysed atm and reluctant to commit to anything until I understand, but it feels like it would take weeks of study for me to even understand what I'm getting into, which is time I'd rather spend creating/composing. But these things are expensive, so I'm forced to do the research or ask for some advice from those who have walked the path before me and have the experience.

The comments thus far have helped a lot, thank you. I guess now it's just about nailing down the components I need, and buying them, and then learn by using, which is much better than researching online, where research is derailed quite quickly by some stranger on a forum or a salesman from an online retailer saying that Antelope Audio sounds better than RME, and opening up rabbit holes that I have no idea how to traverse, until I realise how much damn time I'm wasting reading about which converter chip is being used where.

I apologise for the rant, but it's been a harrowing 2 weeks of daily research. So much subjectivity, so much confirmation bias. Who the hell even knows. I ended up settling with RME because that's what my mentor uses, and the reputation is clearly the best.

However, he can't really help me because he's running 2 Fireface 800s, isn't up to date on the latest interface tech, and owns like 10 synths for whatever reason, which is not what I'm going for. I want a minimal setup, but that can produce the best possible mixes, with as much ITB as possible. I will then extend my modular rig, and get one synth. If I ever want another one, I'll sell the one I have.

The only reason I wanted all those Stereo Outs for summing on the interface, is because my mentor told me that you can produce better mixes that way. I didn't understand the reasoning at the time, and again, what's been discussed here makes sense - unless you're recording, why sum on the mixer on the interface? Cubase is using the interface anyway...

Once again, my apologies for the rant.

EDIT:

My mentor is a professional producer. He knows Cubase very well. I wouldn't have trusted him blindly if he didn't. Could you imagine? LOL

14 (edited by ramses 2021-02-16 18:59:00)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Then IMHO better RayDAT (PCIe) and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE.
RayDAT is a pure digital card and gives you more options due to many more (and types of) I/O ports that it supports:

4 x ADAT I/O
1 x AES/EBU I/O ----> ADI2 Pro FS
1 x SPDIF I/O
2 x MIDI I/O
TotalMix FX

Optional: WC card
Optional: ARC USB

As the RayDAT offers ADAT/SPDIF/AES I/O you have the flexibility of two choices in terms of switching between monitors and phones:

a)  On the ADI-2 Pro itself
     Advantage: slow ramp-up of volume while switching (using remap key feature)
    https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

b) through routing with the ARC USB, needs then two digital connections, e.g. ADAT and AES
    https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … ort-DE-EN/

Very nice flexibility of the setup.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

15 (edited by artisan 2021-02-16 19:04:44)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

I'm on 2016 13 inch MacBook Pro, and will upgrade later this year to the new M1 iMacs. Not sure if RayDAT would play along?

But I like the way you're thinking, having a modular interface setup with room for extension (thanks to utility I/O) in case I change my mind on any of these things. That would let me sleep better at night knowing that I haven't locked myself down with my choice of purchase.

I think that's the best I can do for now. Buy something that will allow my ADI-2 Pro FS R BE to interface with my computer, and offers enough utility to extend if I need something that I didn't expect I would. For example, extending with more inputs because I want to add hardware FX or whatever.

Does this make sense? Which interface would best suit this, if not the DigiFace?

16 (edited by ramses 2021-02-16 19:13:37)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Sorry I forgot about your systems requirements whether you have PCIe slots or not.
Does your Apple support thunderbolt ? Then you could use an external PCIe chassis.
https://www.sonnettech.com

I like the RayDAT and its flexibility .. also performance / price ratio.

I have meanwhile upgraded to a MADI setup, but I am still not selling this card, because its really good card.
Maybe I find a use case in the future again wink

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

17 (edited by artisan 2021-02-16 19:14:36)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

No need to apologise, I can see how it would have been lost in my wall of text.

My machine does support thunderbolt. Let me have a look at that RayDAT + external PCIe chassis setup.

Also, forgive my ignorance, but what do you mean by "switching between monitors and headphones"? Can you only have signal to one or the other at a given time?

18 (edited by ramses 2021-02-16 19:51:04)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

artisan wrote:

Also, forgive my ignorance, but what do you mean by "switching between monitors and headphones"? Can you only have signal to one or the other at a given time?

Lets start simple:

Usually you connect active speakers (aka "monitors") and phones to the main recording interface with TM FX mixer sw.
You open TotalMix FX and create your usual setup/routing:
1st configure TM FX control room, so that the control room features as "mono, dim, etc" become available for your main outputs:
1. assign Main Out to e.g. Analog Out 1/2
2. assign Phones1 to e.g. Analog Out x/y (depends on the interface)
Then you configure the routing for Monitors, save it to snapshot 1.
Then you configure the routing for Phones1, save it to snapshot 2.

If you want to hear music through monitors, open TM FX, recall snapshot 1.
If you want to hear music through phones, open TM FX, recall snapshot 2.
You can even configure TM FX to restore only the routing, but not the volume level (all nice and flexible).

But now imagine, you do not want to open TM FX all the time to control routing.
Therefore you buy e.g. the ARC USB. It can be used by all RME interfaces that support TM FX (as good as all back to ~2001, thanks RME ! Even for interfaces for which no remote was ever planned.)

Then you can select Snapshot 1 and 2 by pressing a key on the ARC USB ... so nice so far.

But as I said, either the volume becomes restored as it had been saved or you configure in preferences not to restore volume, then it stays like it is. Whenever you switch, you usually directly restore the volume.

Now you connect an ADI-2 Pro to the system, e.g. through ADAT1 to have a digital/lossless connection.
Clock master = recording interface (setting clock source = internal, ADI-2 Pro: clock source SPDIF)
Monitors and Phones also move to the ADI-2 Pro.

Now you have only one connection to the ADI-2 Pro through one digital port.
Now you can use the remap-key feature of the ADI-2 Pro to switch between monitors and phones by e.g. making a short click to the I/O key. Like described in this article: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

The advantage here is, the ADI-2 pro FS has built-in relais, that perform a slow ramp-up of volume within approx 1sec.
This has been done so that nobody gets ear problems, because the extreme power outputs have so much power, that it could severely damage either phones or additionally also your ears.
And the handling is very nice, whenever you switch on the ADI-2 Pro, then you always have this nice ramp-up in volume.

This setup is currently my personal favourite. Switching on the ADI-2 Pro
And then on the recording interface (UFX+) routing to other systems, or for special recording use cases / purposes.

Another option which I highlighted 1st in this article https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … ort-DE-EN/
is how you can route audio with the ARC USB by connecting the ADI-2 Pro with two different digital links to the recording interface.
Then in the ADI-2 Pro's "AD/DA" Basic routing mode you can configure, that
- Main out gets audio from AES
- Phones 3/4 gets audio from ADAT ("SPDIF")
Then its even possible to route audio to either monitors or phones by routing with TM FX and also with the ARC.
Simply send audio to AES, then you hear it in monitors or to ADAT then you hear it through phones.
But then you have no ramp-up of volume because
- there is nothing being switched at the ADI-2 and
- also nothing that triggers the relais by plugging phones ...

So these are the different possibilities ...
And I like the RayDAT because it has it all .. many types of digital connections.
And even if you would use all 4 ADAT ports to connect even preamps or converts,
you would still have one SPDIF and one AES port free to be hooked up to the ADI, to be able to switch with TM FX / ARC.

And .. whenever you WOULD require it, you can also add a Word Clock module.
And if you want to play MIDI notes and render audio through your synth ... well this is also possible, because RayDAT also has MIDI ..

Well because of this flexibility I like the RayDAT more compared to Digiface USB.
But that doesn't mean that Digiface USB is bad ...

You only need to know whats "sufficient" for you.

The problem at the beginning for everybody is to exactly know "whats sufficient".

Therefore I am a big fan of pragmatic solutions ... UFX+ ... end of discussions .. you are in dreamland.
And you have USB3/2 and Thunderbolt
So also towards the PC or Apple you have lots of options.
And the best interface for standalone mode. Amen wink
A solid basement for everything and based on the latest analog designs of RME for recording interfaces.
In other words, the combination of UFX+ and ADI-2 Pro (now or later) is a no-brainer, you can do everything with it.
Very long investment protection. You do not need to worry about anything that you "might have forgotten".
Can use it also very flexible in a mobile recording environment. Record with DURec like with a tape deck or as backup recording.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

19 (edited by artisan 2021-02-16 20:31:47)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Thanks ramses. That doesn't sound very complex at all, granted I don't have the software open in front of me which would help me visualise it better. It will be useful when I finally get my setup.

Is there an economical solution that avoids the redundant* additional I/O, clock and converters of the UFX+, but retains the utility and extensibility of the UFX+, along with 24+ digital channels, in a "RME Interface + ADI-2 Pro FS R BE" setup? I think that would be what I'm looking for.

* I mean, in my situation.

Also, I must ask, how much better are the converters on the ADI-2 Pro FS R BE than on the UFX+?

20 (edited by hardyroede 2021-02-17 01:52:45)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

artisan wrote:

Is there an economical solution that avoids the redundant* additional I/O, clock and converters of the UFX+, but retains the utility and extensibility of the UFX+, along with 24+ digital channels, in a "RME Interface + ADI-2 Pro FS R BE" setup?

Speaking of economical, I would just for a moment bring the UFX+ as a single main device back into the game: it’s about 450€ more than the ADI 2 Pro FS R - but you won’t get a current RME interface on top of the ADI for that sum that fits your aims, as I understand it.

UFX+ in comparison to any „ADI & [smaller] RME Interface“ rig IMHO adds many capabilities that will be of use for you as a musician / producer. If you actually desire to mix said 28 channels on the device (and not in your DAW) at some point, TotalMix on UFX+ gives you a total of 94 outputs - 12 analog, 82 digital - that you can use for stuff like this: as summing buses, for FX routings, for loopback (=virtual routings of any output back to the inputs of your DAW), and of course plenty analog I/O to loop in outboard effects. UFX+ besides packs a lot of DSP power, so you can employ the effects and dynamics in TotalMix FX if it fits your workflow (some smaller devices like Digiface USB have Totalmix, but no Effects/Dynamics for lack of DSP power).
And, again economically speaking: if you change your setup later down the road, consider the resale value of a flagship device like UFX+ which will be high for years to come. You absolutely can believe ramses‘ praise for the thing. ,)

But, thinking even more „economical“ - if you come to the conclusion that you will work mostly within the DAW and _do not_ need 28 actual outputs / loopbacks on the interface itself (as it seems), and also need no high channel count for other funny summings, routings etc. in TM FX: then why not go with the Babyface Pro FS, as mkok has already suggested in post #2? This thing is outstanding, it costs about half of the ADI alone, it has just the small I/O count that you seem to wish (4 analog, 8 ADAT) is small, looks nice, is bus powered, runs effects (although no dynamics) in TotalMix, has the most stable clock RME offers today, has nice usability with its buttons and wheel ... and it will give you plenty of AD/DA conversion quality for the kind of musical production I understand you are doing.

If you actually need to do mixings / routings in 28 or more channels outside of your DAW, then I second waedi‘s suggestion of the Madiface Pro. Same thing as the original Babyface Pro, except with a total of 68 outputs (4 analog + 64 MADI) to mix / sum / loopback as you desire.

Best wishes!

MADIface(s) Pro, UFX+, MADI Router
Mac mini Intel, iPad Air 2020
ProTools, Hindenburg

21 (edited by ramses 2021-02-17 06:50:22)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

artisan wrote:

Also, I must ask, how much better are the converters on the ADI-2 Pro FS R BE than on the UFX+?

Opinions on this topic vary. For a good answer somebody would need to make the effort to perform really blind or even better double blind tests to be not fooled by psychoacoustic effects. You would also need to honor that all levels in A/B comparisons need to be really equal, because louder sounds better to our ears. Also our brain can not really remember sound for a longer period of time. Therefore quick A/B testing/switching is also a requirement.
Finally room treatment and monitors should also be of best quality, to get the resolution to be able to gather finest details. And of course your hearing capabilities need to be in a way to be able to hear all these differences or to be able to hear also subtle differences or e.g. when comparing differnt D/A filters.
If I were you I would simply try it out to get your own clue, but always being aware of, what psychoacoustic can cause and to be very careful not to fool yourself.

I would say that you can be very satisfied with both units UFX+ and ADI-2 Pro FS. Technical data is better for the ADI-2 Pro FS, but not everything that is measurable is also audible. Therefore I would more concentrate on a very solid exciting basement now and to refine later, to get a certain comfort of the ADI-2 Pro which is unique to that box.

The RME flagship interface like UFX II and UFX+ offer you a lot as I said, they have very unique features, that I personally would not like to miss them any way.

In contrast to the BBF Pro more options in a solid rack format, which you can easily rack and transport in a Thomann ECO rack which has only 23cm depth. Very compact powerful solution in one rack unit format. Tip: order 1 RU (Rack Unit) more, so that you have some air for the UFX+ on top and bottom so that heat does not accumulate.

If a friend visits you to make music and maybe wants to play through master keyboard / VSTi, well then you have directly a 2nd phones output of very good quality and everybody of you can create the perfect submix for phones as you like it .. lot of possibilities here. The smaller interfaces do not offer two phones outputs.

If you should have issues with USB3/2, then use Thunderbolt and vice versa. If you need the pitch function, use thunderbolt driver. Not only on the device but also on the connection towards the computer you have always a plan B.
In terms of cabling such a rack based unit can also be of an advantage, otherwise you might end up with a lot of cables on your desk, there I see another advantage of an UFX+.

The BBF Pro is an excellent product, but you should also honor, that its main use case is mobility and to be able to operate USB bus powered. If you want a product without compromises and a high sustainability after purchase, then I would go flagship interface if you can afford it.

Then save money for 1-2y and if you think you still want smth like an ADI-2 Pro, then get it later. Then benefit from the special features that are nice for phones, etc. The few dB difference in SNR do not make that large difference anymore, the converter chip all play on a high quality level and RME squezzes out all of their quality by excellent circuit design etc.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

22 (edited by artisan 2021-02-17 10:32:08)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Thanks for all of your help. Seriously. I think I'll just go with the UFX+.

Curious question, with the MADIface Pro, when I read the specs and it says 136 channels, does that mean that I will have access to those digital channels in TM FX with USB only? Would I be able to use those for submixes/summings etc? For example, would I be able to set up my routing to have, perhaps, 30 Stereo Outs (60 channels mono) in my Cubase?

If so, that's pretty damn cool for a small device like that...

23 (edited by ramses 2021-02-17 11:01:55)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

The focus is here to offer a small device in BBF format.
If you compare the technical data and the features, then there is a difference between those devices.
And you have few direct accessible analog channels.

In the UFX+ I see MADI as a future option for you as the price difference to the UFX II is very low.
But more important to me for proposing the UFX+ is, that you have really two (indeed 3) different options
to connect to the PC: USB3 (also USB2 without MADI as 30ch (IN/OUT) interface) and Thunderbolt.
The UFX II has only USB2.
Thunderbolt is external PCIe and offers currently the lowest RTL (round trip latency).

If you intend to get Madiface Pro, then you can also go BBF Pro FS ... and get by the BBF Pro FS some more benefits as  last recently the BBF Pro FS has been "enhanced".

> Would I be able to use those for submixes/summings etc?

This has been discussed already, that for summing you do not need to go through the interface
instead of this you export / render a project on the DAW to your disk.

If you should become a friend of external HW for maybe Mastering, then you can think about connecting external devices through analog ports and then you have an advantage, that UFX+ has already more analog ports directly available independend of sample rate being used.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

24 (edited by artisan 2021-02-24 14:16:10)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

For some reason the salesman from which I will buy the RME UFX+ keeps calling it "semi-pro" sound. If I'm spending 2k, this worries me a bit, because he mentions that other brands like Antelope audio have more "pro" sound.

What on earth is he referring to? Is this marketing? Am I only getting "semi-pro" sound with RME UFX+?

Hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

EDIT:

He sent me a link to a GS thread listing all interfaces' conversion quality using MATLAB code, and on that list, RME UFX+ is quite low down, and some other less expensive interfaces rank higher... If this isn't true, could someone explain in layman's terms why their data is inaccurate? Reading through the thread, it seems as though the list is being given credence...

Re: Need help selecting a setup

The salesman is referring to his profit.
Those so called pro stuff he offers, is just cheap to buy from the distributor and expensive to sell to the user.
UFX+ is top notch pro gear.
There is always something more expensive to find.
The best eqipment is that one that you are familiar with and let you work with everyday.
For me, my old Babyface is the best device because i know how to use it and I can take it always with me.
UFX+ is a killer machine with all onboard, ready for expansion.
Is a car dealer trustworthy ? Is a salesman expert in anything else than selling cheap stuff for expensive ?

M1-BigSur, Madiface Pro, Digiface USB, Babyface silver

26 (edited by ramses 2021-02-24 15:19:49)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

I think your salesman might be biased to offer to you more expensive solutions than RME if you told him that money is not a limiting factor. Then of course his vocabular will be biased as well and describe very good RME solutions as being "semi-pro".

Not sure whether you know .. RME is chosen by many professional customers for these main reasons.

excellent:
- stability incl. driver and support
- continuity by long term driver support up to approx 20 years for some cards now
- price / performance ratio
- price / feature ratio
- devices and solutions with unique selling points which other solutions do not deliver
- well designed leg free tools and functionalities (TotalMix FX, TotalMix Remote, DIGICheck, remote control features, etc)
And this all in combination !

And also semi-pros use it, because RME offers quality (without becoming esoteric in the selection of parts) to a still affordable price. RME simply squeezes out as much performance and quality by simply designing the solutions well.

Check this converter shootout video, then you see how small the differences are nowadays:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doHG32aXBDY
Please download the ZIP file with the original .wav files.

Now compare prices between all those units and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE. The specialized equipment costs around €8000 for only one purpose A/D ! In contrast to this you get a compareable ADI-2 Pro FS R BE for €17xx which is not worse, but which does A/D and D/A and offers a LOT of more useful features.

BTW .. your mentor works with RME Fireface FF800 .. how old is this interface meanwhile ?! 2004 = 17 years !
If this is still enough for him and if he sees no reason to replace it (even if he might have connected later converters to it meanwhile) ... Why are you worried to buy now the meanwhile 3rd generation of Flagship interface many many years ago?

Look here what differences there are alone between UFX and UFX+/II (not to mention between 17y old FF800 and UFX+):
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/download/te … es_UFX.pdf

You can compare technical data at any time yourself by looking into the manuals:
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/fface800_d.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/fface800_e.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/fface_ufx_d.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/fface_ufx_e.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/fface_ufxplus_d.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/fface_ufxplus_e.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/adi2profsr_d.pdf
https://www.rme-audio.de/download/adi2profsr_e.pdf

Other real life example. I have a high end'ish HiFi. Connection between PC and HiFi via SPDIF (ADAT).
The HiFi amplifier offers a DAC with SPDIF port of its own as pluggable module (very expensive for this module alone).
Already with the 1st ADI-2 Pro the sound quality was on par with this D/A converter module solution of this quite expensive HiFi brand.
I think RME ADI-2 Pro even a little better, but really only a subtle change. Same with the ADI-2 DAC later.

So .. if an RME solution costs only €1000 (ADI-2 DAC) and is able to drive a very expensive HiFi solution in terms of D/A conversion. And the UFX+ is on a compareable level. Do you think there is anything wrong with it ???
Or that you would miss extra SNR of "ultra expensive" ("Pro") equipment (that your ears can not hear anyway) ?
Listen to the .wav files of the converter shootout. There are subtile differences between the converters.
You should be able to hear it with good components (here ADI-2 Pro FS R BE and Geithain RL906 monitors).

If you do not believe I think you should follow a few suggestions and try it out yourself and optionally invite your mentor.
Perform proper testing and remember how psychoacoustic works and how pure imagination influences the results.
So best perform blind or even double blind tests and take care of equal levels, because louder sounds better for our ears.

Get UFX+ and ADI-2 Pro FS R BE.
Use UFX+ alone.
Use ADI-2 Pro FS R BE alone.
Use UFX+ in combination with ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, then you have the finest equipment and are prepared for everything for a very long time.

How to integrate both devices, see here in my blog:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

And if you see the evolution of ADI-2 DAC/Pro .. this is the best example how RME listens to their customers, implements most wanted/useful new features and optimized the ADI-2 DAC/Pro to a point, that it is of this quality and so feature rich, as it is just right now: https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=32506

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

27 (edited by artisan 2021-02-24 16:39:45)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Thanks for the responses. The salesman knows my budget, and his suggestion was a similarly priced interface (Antelope Audio Orion Synergy Core). He said the Orion Synergy Core has unstable drivers on Windows, but since I use OSX, for which it has very stable drivers, he suggested I can get better "sound" for the money. He then sent me the link to the converter thread on GS and told me that Antelope Audio has better "clocking" and better converters. It "feels" like he's trying to be genuine.

However, I agree with what you have said, and still going UFX+, because of the same logic ramses applied (my mentor still uses FF800, so why wouldn't it be good enough for me).

appreciate the time guys, and for the help. Thank you very much

28 (edited by ramses 2021-02-24 21:32:28)

Re: Need help selecting a setup

One personal remark, I would be careful with Antelope. If you browse the internet then you also might find out that many customers are dissatisfied with: support, documentation, drivers, software.

Another thing which I also really dislike is the minor quality of documentation. Certain technical detail information are not so detailed like with RME and some high SNR values are limited only to the main ports.

But SNR is not everything, it doesn't mean better audible sound. Some things today are mainly only measurable, but not audible anymore. Antelope devices will definitively not have the proven quality and maturity in terms of drivers and software.

And in regards to clocking, look what RME has to offer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti0aHW-zYcs

And even if you want best clock etc .. well then get a combination of recording interface and the ADI-2 Pro FS R BE. There you have femtosecond clock and this is being used for all D/A conversion. But FS clock is again good mesurable but not necessarily audible. The "old clocks" did already very well. FS clock is simply available for the same price without making the equipment more expensive without reason.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: Need help selecting a setup

Before I got my Babyface pro fs I researched interfaces. I too found a lot of reports on Antelope. They seem to drop support quite early. On what I looked at they also dropped full support for PC. So anyone who already had one would be left high and dry. That is not a good company in my books. RME support lasts for years. Well beyond any other companies. When looking for an interface I wanted a professional one and RME came top every time. I’m afraid I don’t trust your salesperson