RME Audio Fireface 800
RME Audio Fireface 800

Fireface 800, FireWire audio interface from RME Audio in the Fireface series.

timsha 07/08/2013

RME Audio Fireface 800 : timsha's user review

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I was looking for a pro or semi-pro interface to produce a CD and get into the sound processing. Musicians friends looking for a sound engineer without being too demanding. Passionate for many years by listening HiFi, I wanted a "universal" interface, can be used as DAC for listening 2.1, 5.1, 7.1, and making sound work. Having a limited budget, I tried almost 2 months the best quality / price for something that can get as close as possible to a pro quality, with at least 8 inputs 8 analog outputs, at least four preamp 'rights' and functional and a more stable and faster than FireWire connector usb at the time.

No budget for the console, or for preamps, it was necessary to simulate all that live in Logic. I fell in love with this interface after reading many reviews on the net and file Audiofanzine test.
A classic SM58 for voice, two AKG Perception 170 and Perception 120 battery (sold since ... hmmm ... 'cause bcp too far from a pro quality), guitar and bass output receptacles line amps.

Config MacBookPro FireWire 8goRam 750GoHD, LogicPro9 and Harrison Mixbus.
Listens Focal Focal Cube2 Solo6be + box (not very pro the box, but in my room of 12m2 treated crafted it does).

I use it for:

- Reference listening. With Audirvana and my listening, it buries many more costly audiophile chains, I sold mine with no regrets.
Attention management listening volume by the driver is 100% digital, without dithering and lose dynamics and details by using it, it better add a single knob type TC-VolumePilot or a real controller is monitoring .

- Recording, then there is a killer, it captures what goes with the character of microphones and game artists, it's a bit 'cold' some say, but I will rather precise details and the dynamics are there and coloring can be upstream or downstream. Never had bp gain knobs are linear (not everything is in the last millimeter). Routing capabilities of all to all (with ad-hoc branch cables there without headphones 5 bp each with a different mix). Expansion capabilities with two inputs 2 ADAT, SPDIF and WorldClock synchronization master or slave outputs. Everything is there.

- Sound: yes, I beeps in some concerts and I always ship, its latency is almost zero between inputs and outputs, making it a great DI with mass decoupling between the input / output (farewell buzz in many cases, excellent control level, asymmetric universal balanced inputs /, +4 dBu or line level, it's great) and I add 5 preamp quality my little Z10FX A & H (including 4 XLR with phantom power supplies independent).
Little more clear, there are many 8-track analog input, but you can connect up to 17 sources.
Input 1 is in front with high impedance, gain control, limiter and simulator HP detachable, but it is also present on the back, one can connect two jack that will be pre-mixed, the gain setting only affects the front entrance.
The entrance is 7 AND XLR jack on the front (with adjustable gain) and recovery in jack on the back, so there may have Premixer three sources.
Ditto for the 8.
Entries 9 and 10 are in front but they can also Premixer jack and XLR (gain setting applies to both simultaneously).
These features are explained bounce in the manual and not a hack, the driver enables or not the simultaneous intake front / rear).
All jacks are universal and accept the symmetric or asymmetric with auto detection of jack used.


Very stable in my driver (on OSX, not tested on Windows), never crash a few hundred (see thousands) of hours of use. Drivers updated regularly to adapt to system updates. The bomb.
The bad thing is, the two FW800 entries are fragile and tend to desoldering on intensive use. By dint of assembly / disassembly they are barred, I managed to reseal not without difficulty, but they are blocked again and I no longer use the FW400 waiting to put the hands dirty.


Everything went smoothly. Few hours to understand the flexibility of settings, especially in Matrix mode, the feedback mode where outputs can be returned to the inputs (internally and without wiring) and encoder / decoder M / S built. After that, it is a treat.
Difficult to find in French manual, I bought secondhand German with English manual /, and I finally found the French version in PDF.


I use it for 5 years, requiring compressors and low-latency DSP sound in my part, I'd go to the Fireface UFX, to keep the same flexibility / quality.
It is a bit expensive but I never had the impression of having been stolen by RME, quality is at the rendezvous.