RME have always had possibly the best driver support of any range of audio cards I've ever come across, with regular updates and consistent reliability, and this extends to the Fireface. As it's a fairly new product, RME were continually posting new driver updates throughout the review period, including Mac OS X-compatible drivers towards the end.
Occasionally, newer drivers will require you to flash the Fireface's firmware as RME add new functionality such as Windows XP SP2 compatibility — see 'Firewire Compatibility' box , although this takes just a few moments with the software updates downloadable from RME web site. Like the HDSP , the Fireface features Secure BIOS technology, meaning that even if the firmware update fails, rebooting the Fireface will restore the old firmware so that you can continue to use the unit or try the updating procedure again.
GSIF 2. One of the new features of GSIF 2. The multi-client nature of the drivers allow ASIO, MME and GSIF applications to be used simultaneously it's even possible to run multiple ASIO applications at the same time so long as each application runs at the same sample rate and doesn't share the same audio channels with another application. This latter limitation can be overcome by RME's included Total Mix system described in the main text , which allows you to reroute or mix a playback channel to a different physical output.
A year ago, the software to configure Total Mix was Windows-only, but the full Total Mix feature set, in terms of the software configuration, is now available to both Windows and Mac OS X users. However, Digicheck is still a Windows-only utility. Now at version 4. You can learn more about this by visiting the relevant pages of Bob Katz's web site.
Total Mix presents the user with routing and volume controls for the audio inputs before the audio reaches the host application , the playback channels the audio output from the application , and the output channels the audio output leaving the physical outputs on the card. This allows you to create monitor mixes without affecting how audio is recorded in your host application, by routing inputs directly to outputs, for example, or routing playback channels to multiple output channels.
In the case of the Fireface, Total Mix is effectively a 1,channel mixer 28 input channels plus 28 playback channels x 28 output channels operating with bit precision. These are chips where the actual logic and behaviour of the processor can be specifically programmed by the developer, allowing RME to provide the most efficient way of implementing the exact DSP functionality they need. The other benefit of an FPGA is that it allows RME to update the design of the chip at any time by providing the user with new firmware, making it possible to add new features or make any other adjustments.
The level meters in Total Mix offer a comparable level of accuracy to RME's Digicheck software, making them pretty valuable when you need to monitor the signals leaving the card. In use, being able to see the signal in the actual card is a great diagnostic facility, ensuring that audio is actually being output from the host application correctly.
I've also been in situations where I've heard distortion even though the level meters in the host application looked fine; with further inspection in Total Mix, it became clear where the signals were peaking.
You can also use the separate HDSP Meter Bridge application, which reads the hardware-based RMS and peak values for the given channels, for this purpose if you're looking for a less resource-intensive but still accurate metering solution. When I last looked at Total Mix with the HDSP card, there was only the mixer-styled view for all operation, making it impossible to get an overview of the entire signal routing between all of the available channels.
To overcome this, RME have since implemented the Matrix window, which is basically presents Total Mix to the user as a patchbay, with the input and playback channels listed vertically and the output channels listed horizontally. A connection can be made between any horizontal and vertical channel on the Matrix by simply clicking in the appropriate intersect slot, and you alter the level of the signal by Control-dragging with the mouse.
The Matrix view is colour-coded so that 0dB connections are shown as green and connections greater or less than 0dB are black, while muted connections are orange. Unfortunately, though, there's no way to mute and unmute connections within the Matrix — this still needs to be done from the mixer view. The only small criticism I have of Total Mix, which is actually quite understandable from a technical perspective, arises when you use multiple Firefaces in the same system. Although Total Mix provides a way of addressing the different interfaces, there's no way to bridge connections between multiple Firefaces, meaning that you can't route the first playback channel from the first Fireface to the first output channel on the second Fireface.
Technically, the reason for this is that because Total Mix is a hardware-based feature, it has to work independently on each Fireface, and bussing the audio between Firefaces would make it impossible for Total Mix to achieve the near latency-free monitor mixing for which it was designed.
This handy block diagram, which is printed on the top surface of the Fireface, clearly illustrates the signal path of the unit and how the various elements interact with each other. One of the reasons I really like RME hardware is that it tends to offer the most rock-solid clocking of any device in its price range, and the company always seem to be actively developing new digital audio clocking technologies to further improve this functionality.
RME's Sync Check is of course implemented in the Fireface, providing status information on the incoming clock signals from the possible external sources.
One important note is that if multiple Firefaces are connected in the same system, each must be clocked individually so that additional Firefaces are slaved to one master Fireface, or all Firefaces are clocked to whatever your master studio clock signal might be. The DDS page in the Fireface Settings window allows you to recalibrate the sample rate clock, effectively tuning your digital audio workstation up or down.
This is most useful for those who need to work with pull-up or pull-down frame rates in video. Steady Clock was originally developed to overcome the reasonably high levels of jitter inherent in a clock signal distributed over MADI, although it also has great application in cleaning up clock signals generally, whether they're from an ADAT source, word clock, and so on.
Another added bonus is that if you're clocking any devices from the Fireface using word clock, any word clock input to the Fireface is automatically cleaned up by Steady Clock, giving you a much cleaner clock signal on the word clock output.
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This means that it's possible for the internal clock of the Fireface to operate at practically any required frequency, as opposed to only If you work in post-production, or any area of music where film is involved, you'll probably have come across the terms pull-up and pull-down, which, simply put, mean that the sample rate is deliberately changed in order to slow down or speed up audio to compensate for a change in the speed or frame rate of film.
This is usually necessary when transferring between different frame rates, such as when picture is converted between PAL and NTSC or film and video. As an example, 0. For those working with video, the DDS features of the Fireface would really enhance any computer system used for post-production, especially since these features aren't readily available in applications like Nuendo. How to catch a ghost? The new interface not only makes the leading-edge RME Fireface technology available for every PC and Mac computer, it also provides a unique low-latency concept and a high grade of performance and compatibility, making the dream of the perfect and future-proof mobile pro audio recording solution come true.
Up to 9 totally independent stereo submixes can be set up.
RME Fireface 800
Every output channel, and every submix channel can be recorded directly and without external cable loops. The same applies to the balanced rear analog outputs 1 to 6. The hi-power phones output offers high volumes even with low-impedance headphones. These can also be used as additional line inputs. Inputs 3 and 4 are flexible universal balanced inputs.
The input impedance can be switched from line 10 kOhm to instrument kOhm , and offers an additional analog input amplification of up to 18 dB in steps of 0. Compatible to Version 2. Last driver to support Also, every other software including reaktor 5 works fine thru fireface I can choose the fireface in the reaktor 6 audio-settings status running but like i said no sound. Reaktor 6. After some investigation I found out, reaktor 6 does not allow me to route the system sounds to my fireface via system sound panel out along with reaktor 6 routed via audio-settings.
If I route my system sounds to internal speakers, reaktor will be played thru fireface. If system sounds routed to fireface, reaktor 6 doesn't play via fireface.
Mac Book Pro/Problems with RME Fireface - Merging Technologies
For me it seems like a bug, because Reaktor 6 is the only software, which behave like this. And yes, i have the most recent RME drivers and flash updates installed firmware 2. Can anybody confirm this? Jonathan Tremblay , Nov 29, Messages: 1, ASIO should be best driver choice How ever, I did choose the exact driver name. And interestingly, I found out, it has nothing to do with RME. Little update: I figured out, it's user-account-dependent.