RME Fireface 800 FireWire Audio Interface
The RME Fireface 800 arrives as the result of more than 2 years of development. The Fireface 800 is the world's most powerful FireWire audio interface ever with up to 56 channels record/playback, up to 192 kHz sample rate, and true FireWire 800. The Fireface 800 combines the latest and also proven technologies of previous RME products with the fastest FireWire technology. Analog technology of the ADI-8 converters, microphone technology of QuadMic and OctaMic, TotalMix technology of the Hammerfall DSP series, years of experience in programming of efficient and reliable drivers, up to complete support from DIGICheck - only the best of the best, and even a bit more. The Fireface 800 offers the best worked out instrument input that could ever be found in an audio interface, a high power headphone output and signal-to-noise ratios of 119 dBA - typically RME!
RME's world-wide successful Multiface was the basis for the development of the Fireface 800. Eight balanced line inputs and outputs with software controlled switching of the reference levels (-10 dBV, +4 dBu, HiGain), of course realized discretely in the analog domain, guarantee highest dynamic range and highest fidelity. Apart from the levels of the microphone pre-amps and the headphone outputs, all device settings are software controlled. Equipped with the latest A/D and D/A converter chips, all I/Os operate up to 192 kHz and reach 119 dBA dynamic range on playback - even the headphone output!
The front-sided headphone output in high power technology does not only deliver high volume with low-impedance headphones, but represents the playback channels 9/10. Therefore the headphone output can be used directly with ASIO Direct Monitoring.
On the front side, the Fireface 800 has 4 discrete balanced microphone inputs with class-A stage, seperate activation of 48 V phantom power and separate XLR/TRS inputs, where the latter can also be used as additional line inputs. Two of the four mic inputs are permanently available as channels 9 and 10, the other two can be used together with or alternatively to the inputs 7/8 on the back.
The FireFace 800's Hi-Z instrument input offers an unprecedented fidelity and flexibility for the use of guitar and bass. A soft-limiter, which has been tuned especially for musical instruments, efficiently prevents overloads of the A/D-converter. The limiter does not work without distortion, it intentionally creates harmonic distortion. Due to a soft transition and deliberate creation of harmonics, the input signal is compressed steplessly according to taste, or the limiter can be used as a distortion with tube sound. A Drive circuit, which can be activated in addition, delivers broad guitar distortion. The Speaker Emulation filter, which can also be switched on separately, takes low- and high-frequency disturbances away and guarantees an optimal basic sound even when recording directly into the computer, or when monitoring through a mixing console. Signals from guitar or bass are not being alienated in this case, but pre-conditioned for later processing in the DAW, so that the known amplifier plug-ins can make the most out of the sound.
Two ADAT optical I/Os allow for a connection and insertion of effect devices, mixing consoles or external converters. Of course, these 16 channels are available simultaneously with the analog channels. Using two additional ADI-8 DS, you'll get 26 analog inputs and outputs, which remain still 18 at 96 kHz. The coaxial SPDIF I/O works up to 192 kHz, so that there are still 10 analog in- and outputs at the highest sample rate, plus two digital ones. SPDIF optical, alternatively provided via the second ADAT port, also operates up to 192 kHz - another RME-only feature.
RME FIREFACE 800 FEATURES
All inputs and outputs can be used at the same time*!. E. g., the instrument input can be used either instead of the line input on the back, or together with it. Even the TRS jack and the XLR socket of the microphone inputs can be used simultaneously. In this way, up to 35 signal sources can be connected to the Fireface 800 and recorded onto 28 separate tracks!
Thanks to the DSP-based TotalMix mixer, known from the Hammerfall DSP series, all inputs and outputs can be freely mixed, distributed and routed. Up to 14 completely independent stereo submixes are possible. Each of the mixer's output channels, that is every single submix channel, can be recorded directly, without the need of external cable loops.
Thanks to an internal flash memory, all settings including TotalMix are recalled during boot. After making all desired settings, the device works stand-alone even without computer as a submixer, A/D and D/A-converter, headphone mixer, format converter, instrument or microphone pre-amplifier, monitoring mixer and much more.
The Fireface 800 is equipped with SteadyClock™, RME's unique sync and clock technology. With this, the device becomes a sync reference for the whole studio. SteadyClock refreshes clock signals, removes jitter, and takes permanent care of optimal conversion quality, thus guarantees a sensational sound quality, completely independent from the reference clock's quality.
SteadyClock allows the Fireface 800 to control the sample rate freely on its own. The Settings dialog includes a direct choice of the video and audio world's most often used sample rates. Additionally, two faders can be used to set the sample rate freely and in real-time, within the range of +/- 4% and +/- 0.4%.
Via an insert slot on the back, a Time Code Option (TCO) for synchronizing to LTC and video can be added. Thanks to SteadyClock, the Fireface 800 does not only extract absolute positions, but also a very clean low-jitter word clock.
Fireface 800 uses RME's own FireWire techology, heavily optimized for audio purposes. Lowest overhead, special hardware adaptations and a new low latency buffer concept enable a performance and compatibility which has been thought of as impossible until now - at latencies of only one millisecond.
The Fireface 800 has a second port for hub functionality, bi-lingual mode for full FireWire 400 compatibility, and an additional FireWire 400 port. Several Fireface 800 can be used in parallel and at the same time on one FireWire port without any problem.