RME BABYFACE

RME BABYFACE

RME’s Baby­face is the lit­tle USB2-connected brother of the Fireface. Where the Fireface is an impos­ing rack-mounted unit with all sorts of ins and outs, the Baby­face is very min­i­mal. In fact, it doesn’t really look like it does much at all. But looks can be deceiving.

GUESS WHO’S HAVINGBABY

The Babyface’s hard­ware inter­face is incred­i­bly sim­ple: two but­tons and a jog wheel (which also dou­bles as a but­ton), plus two LED-driven level dis­plays. On the side you’ll find head­phone out and high-impedance gui­tar input jacks, while a unique cus­tom break­out cable — which looks like an audiophile’s cat o’nine tails — pro­vides another head­phone out, left and right XLR line ins, XLR line outs and MIDI in and out 5-pin DIN con­nec­tors. It’s a clever lit­tle solu­tion to the prob­lem of need­ing to some­thing get all that audio into that tiny lit­tle box, and RME even includes an exten­sion cable in case you need the cords to be a lit­tle fur­ther away from the unit for what­ever rea­son. The break­out cable links to the Baby­face through a 25-pin D-Dub con­nec­tor. The unit is equipped with the lat­est 192 kHz AD and DA con­vert­ers, along with two ref­er­ence class micro­phone pre­amps. It’s USB 2.0, but is also USB 3 com­pat­i­ble, and it is opti­mised for high­est per­for­mance under Win­dows and Mac OS.

The jog wheel allows you to con­trol the gain of both ana­log inputs simul­ta­ne­ously or sep­a­rately, as well as the vol­ume of the main line out­puts and the head­phones out­put level. You select between these three by using the but­tons. The jog wheel itself selects left, right or both ana­log chan­nels in input mode, or a tem­po­rary vol­ume reduc­tion func­tion while in out or phone mode. There’s also a LED to show the sync sta­tus of the dig­i­tal clock, the source of which can be inter­nal or exter­nal via ADAT and S/PDIF.

The Baby­face is an extremely pow­er­ful unit but if you’re after a plug-and-play box — which the Baby­face can be — you’re gonna have to work a lit­tle bit for it in the early stages. This is def­i­nitely one of those ‘read the man­ual’ units. It took me a good 20 min­utes of dig­ging around, search­ing the man­ual and try­ing var­i­ous things before I fig­ured out how to get a sig­nal into the gui­tar input (let me save you some time and tell you, you have to open up the Set­tings dia­log for that track and select the Inst. set­ting beneath the Stereo but­ton). This but­ton seemed just a lit­tle too tucked away for such a cru­cial func­tion, and a lot of other inter­faces make this sort of thing a lot eas­ier by not locat­ing it in a sub win­dow. But as I said, although the learn­ing curve can be a bit hairy, this is a very pow­er­ful box and once you’ve fig­ured it out once you prob­a­bly won’t for­get it.

HELLO BABY

The included TotalMix soft­ware con­trols 22 chan­nels of audio as well as 3-band EQ, a low-cut fil­ter, reverb and echo, although com­pared to RME’s Fireface inter­face you miss out on the dynamic mod­ule with compressor/expander and auto level. TotalMix offers tem­po­rary mute, solo and fader groups as well as four stored mute, solo and fader groups.

One of my favourite fea­tures on the Baby­face, being a gui­tarist, is the high imped­ance gui­tar input. Com­bined with the extremely high sam­ple rate, this prompted an unprece­dented level of real­ism from Ampli­Tube 3, Gui­tar Rig 4 and POD Farm 2. I’ve exper­i­mented with — and adored — exter­nal imped­ance con­vert­ers to achieve this, but obvi­ously with­out the high res­o­lu­tion offered by the Baby­face, there’s only so far one can go with this. With the Baby­face my amp mod­els responded much more like a real amp than plug­ging straight into a line-level input, and the sound was so clear and detailed that it was kinda demor­al­is­ing to go back to my old record­ing rig.

FACE IT

The Baby­face may look sim­ple but it’s very pow­er­ful and, once you’ve mas­tered its intri­ca­cies via thor­ough read­ing of the man­ual, it works its magic by get­ting out of your way and sim­ply allow­ing you to make music. The built-in effects are a great touch, espe­cially for acoustic instru­ments, and the high imped­ance gui­tar input is a great idea.

Price: RRP $995.00

Dis­trib­u­tor: Inno­v­a­tive Music

Phone: (03)9540 0658

Web­site www.innovativemusic.com.au

By Peter Hodgson

This entry was posted in recording interfaces, road test, studio and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Kevin
    Posted 23.07.2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    First time I’ve ever saw the term “impos­ing” to describe rack­mount­ing in pro audio. To me that’s the biggest draw­back to the baby­face. The porta­bil­ity is nice but the break­out cable is weak and there really should be at least some kind of more sta­ble rack­mount capa­bil­ity for this unit.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>