It's Here: Product Profile with RME Fireface UFX III

The RME Fireface UFX III is a premium grade USB 3.0 audio interface from RME that offers an extensive range of analogue and digital I.O. Alongside its 12 channels of high-quality analogue I.O., the UFX III offers versatile expansion options via ADAT, MADI and AES digital connectivity, as well as RME’s powerful proprietary features such as  SteadyClock FS, Advanced DURec, Autoset and MIDI over MADI, as well as extensive software control via TotalMixFX, TotalMix Remote and DigiCheck NG.

The RME Fireface UFX III front panel has four XLR and TRS combination inputs for recording microphones and line-level devices, as well as accepts inputs from guitars and other instruments when set to Hi-Z mode, with individually switchable phantom power and up to 75 dB of gain.

Two headphone outputs allow for user assignable monitoring of any combination of input, output, and software playback channels, whilst the first of two MIDI I.O. connections offer control for keyboards, electronic instruments, and other MIDI-controlled devices. A front panel USB port allows users to record up to 80 input channels straight to external hard drives or USB thumb drives via the Fireface UFX III's Advanced Durec feature. You can also connect RME’s optional ARC USB controller for enhanced control of your mixes to this port.

All the features of the Fireface UFX III are available directly from the front panel, with a full color TFT display showing signal levels for all inputs and outputs. A large rotary encoder provides control of the main volume, while the four buttons and two additional encoders help in navigating the menu system, as well as giving you control over headphone volume. The rear panel of the Fireface UFX III offers a flexible selection of analogue and digital I.O. for interfacing with a wide range of other Pro Audio devices, such as mixing consoles, AD/DA converters, microphone preamps and other studio hardware.

On the back of the UFXIII Eight balanced line-level inputs and eight balanced line-level outputs are provided on TRS connections along with a pair of main XLR outputs for connection to your studio monitors. All the UFX 3's outputs are also DC coupled, allowing you to send CV or gate signals to modular synthesizers and other hardware that accepts control voltages. For additional connectivity., two pairs of AD/DA IO ports offer an additional 16 inputs and 16 outputs, both of which can be used for SPDIF optical I.O. (ADAT) AES-EBU is provided on XLR connections for integration with AES 3 devices, including studio monitors that are equipped with AES inputs.

The full potential of the Fireface UFX III is unlocked with TotalMix FX, RME's powerful and highly flexible software controller. Powered by an onboard FPGA (field programmable gate array). TotalMixFX gives you full control over all the UFXIII's features, with Reverb, EQ and dynamics effects on every input and output.

At NAMM 2024, RME announced a major firmware update for select Fireface audio interfaces including the Fireface UFX III offering full immersive audio capabilities. There is no charge for the firmware update. Whether your workflow includes Dolby Atmos, Apple Spatial Sound, or iterations of 5.1, or whatever work you are doing, you now have the ability now to measure and do speaker calibrations inside the RME UFX III hardware, You can now also control output delay, and easily dial in very precise tuning of distance from your farthest and nearest speakers.

The new firmware update also allows you to have configurable delays on each channel as well, so you can time align all your speakers. The firmware update also includes a low frequency bass management solution.

Using the new 9-band parametric RoomEQ, you can take room measurements with Room EQ Wizard and integrate those settings into your mixes. RoomEQ is only available on the output channel because this is intended for monitoring purposes. Room EQ is also available on all channels, but you can use only twenty channels simultaneously. If you need to render your mixes in Atmos you can. The workflow is set up so that you can have your DAW which you can then use with your downloaded plug-ins with Dolby’s Audio Bridge and object panner.

The new firmware update also adds a binaural headphone mixing capability to TotalMix FX enabling cross feeds on any channels. Binaural audio is two-channel audio intended to play directly into the ears of the listener that allows you to experience sounds as externalized as they do in the natural world. Using Binaural Audio as your mix output, you can create an Atmos mix that translates accurately to speakers while monitoring on headphones.

When mixing in Atmos on headphones, all the settings within your DAW session can now be the same as if you were working on speakers. There is a premium quality headphone amplifier built into the UFX III or you can use the company’s flagship headphone preamp line, the ADI-2 DAC, or ADI-2 Pro.

So, what does all this mean for project and professional studio owners that do not have the physical room or budget to invest in a full immersive audio speaker setup? For home projects and professional studios Mixing immersive audio on headphones has come of age. There are now quite a few high quality and affordable open and close backed Headphones on the market that will allow you to effectively mix immersive audio without the need for a full immersive audio speaker setup. Not only that, most major DAW software platforms now allow you to set up and mix your sessions for immersive audio right from your DAW’s interface.

Getting back to the RME Fireface UFX III, after spending several weeks with it, I am really impressed with the quality and flexibility of the Audio interface. The RME Fireface UFXIII offers a vast range of connectivity and expansion options that makes it perfect for about any workflow scenario you can think of. In short, The RME UFX III is a super-premium audio interface.

It is not cheap, but I believe in the long run, you are getting your money’s worth. RME as a company is committed to superior customer service and has a policy of keeping their drivers up to date even for older RME interfaces. Bottom line, the RME Fireface UFX III may well be the last audio interface you will ever need.

The RME Fireface III is available now for MAP $3199.

Find out more at rme-usa.com/fireface-ufx-3.html