German audio interface manufacturer RME has announced an update to its Fireface UFX product. The name now has a subtle little plus symbol as a suffix, although RME are touting the changes as major rather than incremental. Both interfaces will be offered in parallel, their PR representatives informed us, with the UFX+ heralded as a “20th anniversary flagship edition”.
The most significant new feature is probably the addition of the latest connectivity standards in the form of Thunderbolt and USB 3 support, which increases data throughput substantially. Interestingly, RME state that Thunderbolt support is fully implemented for Windows, too, including the ability to ‘hot plug’ the unit. The increased bandwidth will come to good use, as the total number of channels has also risen sharply from 60 to 188. Most of these are due to the addition of a MADI interface and 64 channels of digital I/O. Other digital connections include one AES/EBU port, two ADAT ports, Wordclock and MIDI.
On the analogue side, the UFX+ offers 8 balanced ¼” TRS and 4 combo TRS/XLR inputs, with the latter equipped with digitally controlled preamps. 12 analogue outputs are also included in the following configuration: 2 x XLR, 6 x balanced TRS and 2 x stereo (each 2 x mono).
RME state that the A/D and D/A converters were updated for the UFX+, and that the signal-to-noise ratio and total harmonic distortion have also been improved. They haven’t made any data available on these changes, however. The original UFX has a feature called DURec, which allows you to plug in a USB drive or thumb drive; the interface writes audio data directly to the drive, independently of the Mac or PC to which it’s connected. RME have overhauled this feature for the UFX+, with more channels (76) and improved support for slower thumb drives.
But all this has its price. RME has always aimed to be one of the industry’s premium brands, and over the years features like TotalMix have found many die-hard advocates. Fireface is a widely recognised brand, at least in Europe, and this product continues that lineage. Priced at €2699 MSRP, this is aimed squarely at the professional market. Is it reasonable to expect something like audio over IP functionality at this price? Is the UFX+ good value for money? Let us know in the comments below. Availability is scheduled for 19th September, according to the Thomann product page.
For more details, head over to RME’s official UFX+ site.