November 11, 2004
German manufacturer RME announced the world-wide availability of the Fireface 800, an audio interface equipped with FireWire 800 (1394b) ports. Additionally, drivers for Mac OS X have just been released via RME's website.
The Fireface 800 has been available for Windows users, and with the new released OS X driver, user of Macs with either the original FireWire or newer FireWire 800 ports can make use of the rackmount interface. A new 56-page manual for Mac users in PDF format is available for download, and a printed version will be included in future Fireface 800 shipments.
RME's Multiface was the basis for the development of the Fireface 800. The unit offers 8 balanced line I/Os with software controlled switching of the reference levels (-10 dBV, +4 dBu, HiGain), realized discretely in the analog domain. Apart from the levels of the microphone pre-amps and the headphone outputs, all device settings are software controlled. Equipped with the latest A/D and D/A converter chips, all I/Os operate up to 192 kHz and reach even 119 dBA dynamic range on playback.
On the front side, the Fireface 800 has 4 discrete balanced microphone inputs with class-A stage, 48 V phantom powering and separate jack and XLR inputs, which can also be used as additional line inputs. Two of the four mic inputs are permanently available as channels 9 and 10, the other two can be used together with or alternatively to the inputs 7 / 8 on the back.
The FireFace 800's Hi-Z instrument input for guitar and bass includes a soft-limiter, which has been tuned especially for musical instruments, providing overload protection of the A/D-converter. The limiter deliberately creates harmonic distortion and can be used as a distortion with tube-like sound according to RME. A 'fuzz' circuit, which can be activated in addition, delivers guitar distortion. A filter with several stages, which can also be switched on separately to remove low- and high-frequency noises.
Two ADAT I/Os allow connecting and inserting effect devices, mixing consoles or external converters. The SPDIF-I/O works up to 192 kHz, so that there are still 10 analog in- and outputs at the highest sample rate, plus two digitalones.
All inputs and outputs can be used at the same time. For example, the instrument input can be used either instead of the line input on the back, or together with it. Even the jack and the XLR sockets of the microphone inputs can be used simultaneously. In this way, up to 35 signal sources can be connected to the Fireface 800 and recorded onto 28 separate tracks.
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