RME Fireface UCX
9.5" 36-Channel FireWire/USB Audio Interface with RCQS Remote


RME's Fireface UCX is a highly integrated pro audio solution in an ultra-compact format for studio and live recordings.
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RME Fireface UCX
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RME's Fireface UCX is a highly integrated pro audio solution in an ultra-compact format for studio and live recordings.  It continues RME's long tradition of designing compact high-end interfaces, packing into a half-rack size unit what usually would be spread out over two or three 19" panels.

In doing this, the Fireface UCX marks a new packing record: 300 electronic components more than inside the already well-stocked Fireface UC.  RME once again packed all the latest technologies plus a bunch of newly developed ones, into a half 19" housing with full mobile usability.  The Fireface UCX is not just a smaller version of the UFX, with the HFX-core, the preamps and the complete effects engine.


  • Low Latency mastering grade converters with outstanding specifications.
  • 2 mic preamps with the premium technology from RME's high-end recordingbestsellers Micstasy and UFX, including the AutoSet overload protection.
  • A Hammerfall audio core, supporting USB and FireWire with the maximumperformance and ultra-low latency operation, combined with the legendary RMEdriver stability and maintenance, on both bus protocols.
  • TotalMix FX with the complete Fireface UFX DSP engine, including alleffects up to 192 kHz.
  • Monitoring Controller: combining the impressive flexibility of theTotalMix FX monitoring tool set and the included RME Remote Control.
  • RME's DIGICheck metering and analysis toolbox for Windows PC and Mac.
  • Plus support for RME's Advanced Remote Control, active jitter suppressiontechnology, professional reference level support, advanced stand-alonefunctionality, full 192 kHz operation, and 2 high-speed MIDI I/Os.
  • The Fireface UCX is the first professional audio interface with ClassCompliant mode to work with Apple's iPad, for perfect stereo up to 8-channelrecording and playback, and the addition of professional I/Os.


  • 18 Input/18 Output channels
  • 8x Analog I/O
  • 2x Mic/ Line Preamps, digitally controlled
  • 2x Line / Instrument inputs, digitally controlled
  • 1x SPDIF I/O coaxial
  • 1x ADAT I/O (or 1 x SPDIF I/O optical)
  • 1x Word Clock I/O
  • 2x MIDI I/O (via breakout cable)
  • 1x FireWire 400
  • 1x USB 2.0 (USB 3 compatible)
  • RME Basic Remote Control included (optional AdvancedRemote Control sold separately)
  • TotalMix FX (with UFX effects engine)

Inputs and Outputs:

The UCX provides 36 channels of audio - 18 I/Os.  All channels can be used at the same time.  Up to 8 analog and 10 digital channels can be recorded onto 18 separate tracks.  All outputs can be used for ASIO Direct Monitoring purposes.

Available I/O (channels) with different Sample Rates:
Sample Rate  Analog  SPDIF  ADAT  Total In/Out
44.1/48 kHz      8/8        2/2        8/8        18/18
88.2/96 kHz      8/8        2/2        4/4        14/14
176.4/192 kHz  8/8        2/2        2/2        12/12

Analog I/O:


  • Inputs 5-8 (TRS - balanced)
  • Output 1-6 (TRS - balanced)


  • Inputs: 1/2 (2 x XLR/TRS Combo - balanced)
  • Inputs: 3/4 (2 x TRS - balanced)
  • Outputs: 7/8 - Phones (TRS - Stereo)

Analog I/O

The UCX provides 8 analog I/O in a very flexible combination:

  • 8 Inputs. On the rear: 4 balanced TRS.  On thefront: 2 XLR inputs with Mic/Line preamps (65 dB Gain) and 2 Hi-Z capable TRSLine/Instrument inputs..
  • 8 Outputs.  On the rear: 6 balanced TRSoutputs.  On the front: One additional TRS stereo phones (playbackchannels 7/8).  The high-power phones output offers high volumes evenwith high-impedance headphones.
  • Sound Quality.  Equipped with a 2011 A/D and D/Ahigh-performance converter design, all I/Os operate at up to 192 kHz. The AD/DA conversion supersedes the outstanding technical specificationsof the Fireface UC/400 with an impressive 114 dBA dynamic range on both recordand playback.  The advanced multi-bit converter architecture guaranteesexcellent S/N and THD specs across a wide analog level range.  The UCXconverters and preamps have no characteristic "sound" of their own.  Theyneither add nor remove anything, but capture the original signal just as itis.
    Due to its efficient jitter reduction, RME's SteadyClock(TM) finalizesthe state-of-the-art AD/DA conversion, even when clocking to an externaldigital source.
  • Low-Latency Converters.  All analog I/Os use a lowlatency converter design with impressive 14 samples for the ADC, and 7 samplesfor the DAC, independent of the used sample rate.  These values are about1/4th of the Fireface UC/400 (43/28), and even outperform much more expensivedevices.  A technical breakthrough that reduces the overall latency oftiming critical applications, in live situations, and in computer-basedrecording studios.  The converter latency is so low (0.4 ms at 48 kHz)that it turns analog digital monitoring into real analog-style monitoring.
  • Professional Level Support.  A great converter needsto support the common studio levels for the perfect adaptation to other analogequipment without loosing headroom.  Like all other RME devices the UCXsupports the common professional studio levels: -10 dBV, +4 dBu, Lo /HiGain.  The software-controlled reference levels, realized discretely inthe analog domain, ensure highest dynamic range and fidelity.
    - Inputs 3 to8: -10 dBV, +4 dBu and Lo Gain (adjustable in two groups - channels 3/4 and 5to 8).
    - Outputs 1 to 8: -10 dBV, +4 dBu and Hi Gain (adjustable in twogroups - channels 1 to 6 and 7/8).

All outputs can be used for ASIO Direct Monitoring purposes.

Microphone/Instrument Preamps with AutoSet

The UCX provides two high-end mic and instrument preamps built right into the front.  Both preamps use the core technology of RME's Micstasy - a high-end preamp for sonic demands and critical applications like professional recordings of classical and acoustic music.  The outstanding preamp design boasts extremely low distortion, excellent signal-to-noise ratio and a perfectly flat frequency response.  A premium solution for transmitting and amplifying any audio source truly unchanged, be it high-level stage or typical studio signals, lower level and high-impedance instruments, or dynamic, condenser and ribbon microphones.

The digitally-controlled gain of up to 65 dB, adjustable in-steps of 1 dB over a range of 55 dB, is individually set for each preamp with the encoder knob on the front or in TotalMix FX on the host computer.  All level settings are 100% reproducible and can also be adjusted using a MIDI remote controller.

Each channel can be individually switched to 48V phantom power.  LEDs for signal, clip and activated phantom power give a complete overview on the unit's status.

The 2 TRS inputs on the front will alternatively operate as Hi-Z inputs.  Directly plug in up to 2 guitars or other instruments - no other hardware is required.

AutoSet.  The UCX offers a unique RME feature that was previously available only in the high-end microphone preamp Micstasy and the UFX.  Usually a limiter is used during the recording to prevent clipping of the A/D converter stage, but analog processing would not only spoil the technical specifications of the UCX mic preamps, but also alter the original sound.

Thanks to digitally-controlled gain, the UCX can reduce the gain automatically, thus providing perfect protection from overload with no degradation of the audio signal, which does not have to pass any additional electronic circuitry.  Additionally, AutoSet does not cause any of the control noises known from usual limiters.  SNR and THD stay completely unchanged.

Example: In a recording session, the recording engineer asks the vocalist or guitarist to sing or play a reference part and sets the UCX preamp gain to an unusual high level (e. g. 50 dB).  AutoSet will automatically reduce the gain when the level reaches -6 dBFS.  The reduction is done in a musical way, based on the intensity and duration of the input signal.  Manual gain adjustment becomes obsolete most of the time, but the gain can still be set manually.  AutoSet can be switched on for each of the 4 front panel mic and instrument preamp channels individually.

Digital I/O, Word Clock & MIDI

  • SPDIF: The UCX provides a coaxial SPDIF I/O working at upto 192 kHz.
  • ADAT: One 8-channel ADAT I/O expands the UCX by 8channels available simultaneously with the analog channels.  They can beused to connect an 8-channel AD/DA converter, a mixing console, or to insertan effect device.  The ADAT I/O supports sample rates with up to 192 kHz(S/MUX4).  Using an external converter like the ADI-8 QS, the UCX willprovide 16 analog inputs and outputs, 12 with a sample rate of 96 kHz, andstill 10 at 192 kHz.
  • SPDIF: The ADAT I/O can be used as optical SPDIF I/O,making the UCX connections even more flexible.
  • Word Clock & MIDI: A word clock input and output(BNC) with switchable termination plus two MIDI I/Os on a breakout cablecomplete the I/O list and turn the Fireface UCX into a professional audiosystem with universal usability.

TotalMix FX

The UCX provides the complete effects engine of the Fireface UFX - all effects are available at all sample rates.

Features/Differences to classic TotalMix:

  • New design and improved usability
  • Improved Control Room section for the main output (studio monitors) andphones. Cue for quick listening to other outputs. Separated monitor panel.
  • Four mute, solo and fader groups each.
  • Switchable mono and stereo channel view
  • New channel options: Stereo Width, MS Processing, Phase L/R
  • Trim Mode: Adjusts the volume for all routed signals of a channel. Thisoption allows to modify the volume of all sends of a channel simultaneously,equalling a hardware's trim functionality.
  • Unlimited Undo and Redo
  • FX Sends and Returns: One send bus for every input/playback channel withReverb/Echo
  • Expandable channel view for channel settings, EQ and Dynamics setup
  • Slim channel mode for selected or all channels, to save space or give ameter bridge view
  • 2-Row Mode: reduces the height of the mixer to two rows for smallerdisplays
  • Extended Matrix window with mono/stereo mode, Undo/Redo, display of phaseand mute

The DSP-based TotalMix mixer supports fully independent routing and mixing of all 18 input and playback channels to all 18 physical outputs.  Up to 9 totally independent stereo submixes plus a comprehensive Control Room section offer unrivalled monitoring capabilities and unsurpassed routing flexibility.

And there is more: TotalMix FX delivers hardware mixing/routing with lots of new features and a highly improved usability.

Every input and output channel comes with a luxury feature set, comparable to a full-scale digital console.  The effects per channel include 3-band parametric EQ, adjustable Low Cut, Auto Level, Compressor, Expander, MS Processing and phase reversal.  The Reverb and Echo effects unit is available for all channels by way of a stereo send and return bus.  The UCX easily surpasses the competition by offering all these effects even at 192 kHz operation.

Two DSPs ensure a superior performance even in extreme applications.  As usual with RME, TotalMix is available with all channels at all sample rates, completely unlimited.  The second dedicated DSP only renders effects, and therefore always has sufficient resources.  For example, at 48 kHz 36 EQs, 36 Low Cuts, 26 Compressors and Echo can be activated.  With activated Reverb and Echo still 36 EQs, 36 Low Cuts and 16 Compressors are available.

The FX-DSP uses automatic overload surveillance.  As soon as no effect can be added anymore the TotalMix surface will clearly signal this condition.  When changing to higher sample rates the UCX automatically deactivates all effects that exceed the DSP's performance - the DSP will never be overloaded.  This also prevents any possible damage to loudspeakers due to distortion.

The complete effects section not only adds a lot of flexibility to the recording chain, but makes latency burdened software dispensable.  TotalMix can easily replace any external mixer, e. g. to create different latency-free monitoring mixes with EQ and Reverb for the main studio monitors and the headphone of the vocalist(s) in the recording room.

Furthermore, the DSP hardware calculates RMS and Peak levels for all 54 level meters, so there is zero CPU load on the host.

The main functions of TotalMix can be remote controlled via MIDI with any Mackie Control compatible controller.

Included Remote Monitor Controller

Thanks to the multi-functional rotary encoder and the included Remote Control the UCX is more than just a great desktop level controller for the main monitors and phones.  The integrated TotalMix FX high-end mixer provides an impressive set of monitoring control features for modern Mix-In-the-Box studios or live mixing sessions.  Among them Dim, source selection, monitor switching, integrated Talkback, a flexible Cue setup, Mute and Mute FX, Mono, Speaker B switching and much more.

Contrary to 3rd party external monitoring controllers, the built-in UCX solution preserves the original sound, as its hardware outputs stay directly connected to the studio monitors, avoiding another device with a possible signal alteration in the signal path.

The flexibility of RME's DSP-driven TotalMix FX monitoring tool set is impressive: any physical output can be assigned to the directly knob-controlled monitor outputs (Main out, Speaker B, Phones 1, 2 ...) - any output can be used.  The functions Talkback, Listenback, Mono and Dim will work automatically for the assigned outputs in the expected way.  Cue mixes can be sent to a predefined output, an external input can be assigned and monitored with a simple click.  Convenience for any studio or live situation at its best.

The UCX provides an integrated connector on the back for RME's remote controls.

The included Basic Remote Control provides one big wheel dial, a button for level storage/recall, and a freely programmable button for nearly all TotalMix FX functions.  The optional (sold separately)Advanced Remote Control (ARC) adds 6 freely programmable buttons with LEDs to the feature set.  Just assign all frequently used TotalMix functions to these buttons.  Both remotes come with a flexible, 5 m (16 ft.) long cable.

Hammerfall-X-Core: USB & FireWire

RME doesn't use a third-party USB or FireWire audio technology.  They use their own self-developed Hammerfall Audio Core with an outstanding performance and uncompromised pro audio features.  RME integrated the latest and most sophisticated version of RME's bus technology, the Hammerfall-X-Core - combining both, USB 2.0 and FireWire - within one half-rack sized interface.

USB 2.0.  Like other RME USB 2.0* interfaces, the Fireface UCX has been optimized for highest performance under Windows and Mac OS.  It uses a special customized firmware for each operating system, and provides ultra-low latencies, even with multiple channels.
*The Fireface UCX is compatible to USB 3 chipsets.

FireWire.  The redesigned FireWire technology of the HFX-Core provides the UCX with the same compatibility and performance as RME's USB solution.  The UCX does not have any FireWire chip inside - the complete bus technology is programmed into the FPGA and remains under direct control.  If ever necessary, it can be updated anytime by a simple firmware update.

Class Compliant Mode

The Fireface UCX is the first fully professional audio interface with the option to be used as a Class Compliant interface.  The Class Compliant mode is a standard that is natively supported by operating systems like Windows, Mac OSX and Linux distributions.  No proprietary drivers are required, the device will be directly recognized when the CC mode is activated by the button on the front panel.

The Class Compliant mode allows for connecting the UCX to an Apple iPad or iPad2.  The iPad is not only an attractive mobile music creation and recording platform, but a closed hardware and software system without common driver problems and interferences from 3rd party hardware, like graphic or network cards.  It provides stability, real-time performance, and an easy handling.

The UCX provides the iPad with the professional analog I/O connections it lacks.  Superb microphone preamps with EQ, dynamics, even with the AutoSet feature, in addition to professional balanced line outputs, and a high-power headphone output that also excels with high-impedance headphones.  Plus level adjustments, reverb, echo, zero latency monitoring, digitally via USB, without any limitation in quality, at up to 96 kHz and 24-bit.

Instead of using the jitter-prone USB clock, the UCX works with its own internal SteadyClock.  Many USB audio devices extract clock for DA conversion from the USB data packets, running in slave mode (adaptive mode), with comparably high jitter values, especially since most won't offer active jitter suppression.  The UCX works in clock mode master (asynchronous mode), both during recording and playback, thus achieving the exact same sound quality with an iPad as under Windows and Mac OSX.

Supported Inputs and Outputs.  When connected to an iPad, the analog mic/line input 1 works with mono apps, inputs 1 and 2 with stereo apps (both dual mono and stereo), and all 8 analog inputs with 8-channel applications, like MultiTrack DAW and Music Studio.

Playback will use analog outputs 1 and 2 (there is no app supporting 8-channel playback at this time).  The output signal 1/2 will be copied to outputs 7/8, SPDIF and ADAT, and can be processed independently (Volume/EQ/Dyn/FX Return).

Audio Routing and Processing.  The UCX is also a powerful tool in CC mode, and can be pre-configured via TotalMix FX under Windows/Mac.  Apart from the current configuration up to 6 previously-saved configurations can be loaded from the setup memory, allowing for a quick reconfiguration without a connected host PC/Mac.

The input signal will pass through all activated functions of the TotalMix FX input channel, namely settings, EQ, and Dynamics, and is then sent to the iPad.  Like under Windows and Mac, the input fader controls direct monitoring to any output.  The FX send control for echo/reverb is also active.  The iPad's output signal passes through all activated functions of the TotalMix FX hardware outputs, namely settings, EQ, and dynamics.  The third row's fader sets the output level.

Additional Features:

  • SteadyClock.  RME's jitter suppression technologyguarantees perfect sound quality throughout, making the device completelyindependent from the quality of external clock signals.  Due to thehighly efficient jitter reduction, the UCX converters operate independentlyfrom the quality of the external clock signal, as if they are working withinternal clock all the time - guaranteeing a prestine soundquality.
    SteadyClock allows the Fireface UCX to control the sample ratefreely on its own.  The settings dialog includes a direct choice of thevideo and audio world's most often used sample rates.
  • ICC.  Intelligent Clock Control not only displaysevery clock status, but will also retain the last valid input sample rate incase of failure of the external source.  Other RME technologies likeSyncCheck offer a quick detection of clock problems.
  • DIGICheck.  The UCX comes with RME's unique softwaretool box for metering, testing, measuring and analyzing digital audio streams. It provides a multi-track recorder, calculates the level meters peak andRMS in hardware and is able to analyze and display playback data from anysoftware, no matter which format the software uses.
  • Stand Alone Operation with Setup Recall. Additionally internal memory allows for the permanent storage of 6 differentstates of the unit.  Therefore the Fireface UCX is able to operate fullystand-alone, without any connected computer.  In stand-alone operation itcan transform into totally different devices by the simple click of a button. Furthermore, in this mode TotalMix FX can also be controlled viaMIDI.  Application examples include: 8-channel AD/DA converter, 4-channelmic preamp, monitor mixer, digital format converter, analog/digital routingmatrix.


  • Windows 7/Vista/XP SP2 (32-bit & 64-bit)
  • Apple Mac OS X 10.5 Intel or up (Core Audio)
  • Windows and Mac OS X drivers are completely identical in terms of featuresand functionality.

NOTE: Some features in DIGICheck are not available in the Mac version.

Technical Specifications:

AD, Line In 5-8, rear:

  • Signal to Noise ratio (SNR): 111 dB RMS unweighted, 114 dBA
    Frequencyresponse @ 44.1 kHz, -0.1 dB: 10 Hz - 20.6 kHz
  • Frequency response @ 96 kHz, -0.5 dB: 5 Hz - 45.3 kHz
  • Frequency response @ 192 kHz, -1 dB: -1 dB: 5 Hz - 90 kHz
  • THD: < -105 dB, < 0.0005 %
  • THD+N: < -98 dB, < 0.0012%
  • Maximum input level: +19 dBu
  • Channel separation: > 110 dB
  • Input: 6.3 mm TRS jack, electronically balanced
  • Input sensitivity switchable to Lo Gain, +4 dBu, -10 dBV
  • Input level for 0 dBFS @ Lo Gain: +19 dBu
  • Input level for 0 dBFS @ +4 dBu: +13 dBu
  • Input level for 0 dBFS @ -10 dBV: +2 dBV

Line In 3-4, front

As AD, but:

  • Additional Gain stage: 0 up to +12 dB
  • Maximum input level, Lo Gain, Gain 0 dB: Line +19 dBu, Inst +13 dBu
  • Maximum input level, -10 dBV, Gain 12 dB, Line: -7,5 dBu, Inst: -13,5 dBu
  • Input impedance Inst: 470 kOhm
  • Input Gain Inst: +6 dB
  • Input mode: Line balanced (TRS), Inst unbalanced (TS)
  • CLIP LED: 0 dBFS
  • SIG LED: -60 dBFS

Microphone/Line 1-2, front

as AD Line In 5-8, but:

  • Input: Neutrik XLR/TRS Combo jack, electronically balanced
  • Input impedance: XLR 2 kOhm, TRS 8 kOhm balanced
  • Signal to Noise ratio (SNR): 112 dB RMS unweighted, 115 dBA
  • Low Roll Off -0.5 dB: 18 Hz, -1 dB: 12 Hz
  • Gain range: 0 dB, +10 up to +65 dB
  • Maximum input level XLR, Gain 0 dB: +10 dBu
  • Maximum input level XLR, Gain 65 dB: -55 dBu
  • Maximum input level TRS, Gain +0 dB: +21 dBu
  • Maximum input level TRS, Gain +65 dB: -44 dBu
  • CLIP LED: 0 dBFS
  • SIG LED: -60 dBFS

DA, Line Out 1-6, rear

  • Dynamic range (DR): 111 dB, 114 dBA @ 44.1 kHz (unmuted)
  • Frequency response @ 44.1 kHz, -0.1 dB: 5 Hz - 20.4 kHz
  • Frequency response @ 96 kHz, -0.5 dB: 5 Hz - 45 kHz
  • Frequency response @ 192 kHz, -1 dB: 5 Hz - 90 kHz
  • THD: -100 dB, < 0.001 %
  • THD+N: -96 dB, < 0.0015 %
  • Channel separation: > 110 dB
  • Maximum output level: +19 dBu
  • Output: 6.3 mm TRS jack, servo-balanced
  • Output impedance: 75 Ohm
  • Output level switchable: Hi Gain, +4 dBu, -10 dBV
  • Output level at 0 dBFS @ Hi Gain: +19 dBu
  • Output level at 0 dBFS @ +4 dBu: +13 dBu
  • Output level at 0 dBFS @ -10 dBV: +2 dBV

DA - Phones, 7/8, front

As DA, but:

  • Output: 6.3 mm TRS jack, unbalanced
  • Output impedance: 30 Ohm

Word Clock: BNC, switch for internal termination 75 Ohm

System Requirements:

  • USB: Computer with at least Pentium Core 2 Duo CPU
  • FireWire: Computer with OHCI compatible FireWire Port 400 (1394a) orFireWire 800 port (via adapter cable)

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