RME Fireface 800
RME has announced the Fireface 800 ($1,799), an audio interface that uses the high-speed FireWire 800 protocol to communicate with a host computer. The 1U rackmount unit can record as many as 35 inputs to 28 channels simultaneously. All inputs and outputs can be freely mixed using the included TotalMix software (Mac/Win), which stores all settings in flash memory and allows a maximum 14 independent stereo submixes.
The Fireface 800 has eight balanced 1/4-inch line inputs with software-controlled reference-level switching (-10 dBV, +4 dBu, or high-gain); four discrete balanced mic inputs with Class A preamps, phantom power, and simultaneously available XLR and TRS jacks; a high-impedance instrument input; eight balanced TRS outputs; and a high-output 1/4-inch headphone jack that doubles as an assignable stereo output. The instrument input has a soft limiter that creates harmonic distortion and prevents A/D converter overloads, as well as a drive circuit and a speaker-emulation filter. In addition to a pair of coaxial AES/EBU or S/PDIF RCA jacks, two optical digital audio ports accommodate either 16 channels of ADAT Lightpipe or 8 channels of Lightpipe and stereo S/PDIF. The Fireface 800 has three FireWire ports: one for FireWire 800, one for FireWire 400, and one that supports either format. MIDI In and Out ports are also provided.
The A/D/A converters handle 24-bit audio at rates as high as 192 kHz. Drivers for Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Mac OS X 10.3 and up are available, with support for connecting as many as three units. A time-code option is expected to ship by the end of the year.