Gear update: A game-changing device-the RME Fireface 802 

I've produced a lot of records. I've written a lot of songs and been fortunate to work with some tremendous artists. I've also used a great deal of recording gear in the last 25 years trying to get "that sound". Some are great, some less so (see my last blog post!) but no piece of gear has surpassed my expectations as much as the RME Fireface 802 recording interface. Here’s why: 

You'll see and read a lot online about this piece of gear and that and "what it can do for you" but the folks at RME have taken their task extremely seriously. The Fireface 802 is the most user-friendly piece of equipment I have ever used. First off, the sound of the unit is superb. The preamps are clear and accurate and the converters are among the best I've heard, especially at this price point but not exclusive to price. Listening to mixes I did on a similar competitor's interface right before buying the Fireface 802 I heard new detail and dimension I hadn't heard previously. Not hyped, not exaggerated but exactly what I thought I had recorded and worked so hard on to get right. Further, the I/O of this unit is spectacular. There are so many configurable options that it should serve just about any recording situation, whether at home, a project studio or larger facility. In fact, it's going on the road with me from now on no matter where I work. It's that great and easy to use. Which brings me to the most fabulous part of this machine: the TotalMix software. Obviously a great deal of thought and consideration went into the design of this software.  To my mind it puts to shame nearly everything else on the market.

As PC users like myself can attest, with the advent of Pro Tools 11 and onward you have to turn off the Windows sound capability to use and monitor Pro Tools properly which means you can no longer listen to iTunes, YouTube or anything else on your system unless you import it into Pro Tools. A real PITA. However, because the TotalMix becomes your monitoring system this is no longer an issue. Plus, it virtually eliminates latency by monitoring via TotalMix and not your Pro Tools session. The TotalMix defaults to 1024 samples in Pro Tools at start up and using the software allows you to never have a crash by overloading CPU at lower sample times and record at that rate with practically zero latency. Genius! You also can set up separate headphone mixes, talkback (!!!), more than one output monitor channel and on and on. When I first installed the unit and the software popped up (after installing the latest drivers from the RME site) I immediately groaned "Oh no, another learning curve..." but no! Even a child can do it. It took me all of ten minutes to install and get the Fireface 802 going with my computer and start working in a session. It's so simple really and dare I say, LOGICAL! Yes!!! Oh yeah, and they even have an app that can control the TotalMix. Amazing! And better yet the customer support is among the best I have experienced in my career. Truly. They even have extremely sensible YouTube tutorials for those that can't deal with manuals (But RTFM!!! ). Their UK distributor Synthax for instance is a well-known and respected outfit who take their customers seriously. This is a machine for PROFESSIONALS. Very, very impressive. If you're on the verge of buying an interface or wobbling on which unit to get please take a look at the RME line of products. You won't be disappointed. This device has solved all my problems. My job is much easier now. 

PS-It works great with Macs too! 

Ed Pettersen 

London, UK 

Feb. 13, 2017

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