What’s ideal about this unit is that its basis is to control the TotalMix FX software that bridges any RME interface with the DAW. As it is designed to integrate with the software and not the hardware as such, you can use it with any RME audio interface that has been released in the last 16 years. You don’t have to keep using an inferior controller just because you prefer to stick with an older interface; the updated software platform allows you to use the ACR USB right away without a hardware upgrade, so long as you have a free USB port. There is no power required as it busses from the USB and it even offers additional footswitch control with the 6.5mm jack connection for an optional remote footswitch. When it comes to RME interfaces, this sleek little unit does it all. It’s a lot slimmer than the older model and doesn’t have any compatibility issues, plus it offers far more assignable buttons.
The design isn’t really anything to rave on about, but it is very simple and that is how you want a device like this to be. A range of options are included for easy access, like the talkback feature for laying notes to track, or getting through to the live room. There is a quick jump to monitoring from a second pair of speakers and a dim feature to pull the volume down for critical listening and tracking. Best of all, in the most critical position of all the buttons (at least for a right handed operator) is the mono button, allowing you to check the stereo spread with the tap of a fingertip. With eight additional programmable buttons and a series of labels included to make them easier to navigate, the ARC USB means there is a lot less need to handle the mouse when recording with an RME interface and almost brings it back to that feel of having a monitor section on a mixing console at your fingertips. Simple, compact and clever, this is one device that all RME owners should invest in to improve their workflow and creative process.