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RME UCX vs Steinberg UR824 vs Focusrite Saffire interfaces?
Old 25th September 2012
  #1
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
RME UCX vs Steinberg UR824 vs Focusrite Saffire interfaces?

Hi,

I have been using a Focusrite Saffire Pro24 DSP over the past couple of years and have been extremely impressed with it.
Recently I upgraded my monitors to Neumann KH120's and these have been a significant step up from what I was using a year or so ago. As a result I would like to get my monitoring chain sounding as good as possible.
There are two interfaces under Β£1000 that I am particularly interested in and they are :-

RME UCX
Steinberg UR824

What I like about both of these is they have DSP mixers that include monitoring reverb and compression. I have found these features indispensable on my Saffire Pro 24 DSP.

What I would like from a new interface is :-

Noticeably better A/D and D/A conversion!
Better clean/transparent pres
Better headphone amps
DSP mixer with monitoring reverb and compression etc.

The Saffire already has excellent conversion, clean pres and nicer headphone amps than any budget headphone amp that I've tried so maybe I'll stick with the Saffire.
If there is a significant step up with the RME UCX or Steinberg UR 824 then I would consider buying one but only if these are noticeably better in all the areas I've mentioned?

Anyone have any experience with a Saffire interface and either the RME UCX or Steinberg UR824?
Old 25th September 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
 
yoshimodular's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
RME - Best driver performance. Good converters and pres. Very Stable.
Steinberg - Very good converters and pres. Good (now) driver performance. Stable.
Old 25th September 2012
  #3
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dxavier's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Although I use the Yamaha N12 and some of the guts of the N12 are probably in the new Steinberg interface (pres and POSSIBLY the conversion) as they were with the MR816 and I believed the conversion of the N12/MR816 to be superior to the RME 400/800 IMHO, I believe the UCX takes a different road and that it's conversion is based on it's top end ADI conversion range, plus it has an incredible feature set, unmatched by any similar sized interface, let alone any other similar sized interface at it's price point, plus, as said before, RME treat their drivers, like they are their own children and care for them lovingly.

If I had the money in my pocket and had to choose, it would be the UCX.

Ps, if you think the Saphire has excellent conversion, I don't know what words you will use when you hear what the RME or even the Steinberg does to your music. Children, cover your ears!!!

Pps, there are quite a few RME 800's knocking around on ebay these days at good prices too and again, the drivers are ROCK SOLID for that thing.
Old 25th September 2012
  #4
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the replies so far guys.

I've never experienced unstable drivers for any audio interface I've owned before (EMU 0404 USB, M-Audio Delta 1010, Echo Layla 3G and now the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP). Not sure why people have had so many problems in the past?

If the Steinberg UR824 has better performing converters and preamps than the RME UCX and Saffire then it sounds like a great option! Also, I use Cubase 6 so the integration will be a nice bonus!
My only concern with the UR824 is it being a USB interface? I've never used a USB interface on my main studio computer for serious recording? Would there be a drop in speed/performance using a USB 2.0 interface compared to a firewire interface? Also, would this cause more latency?

However, if the RME has better converters and pres then I would go for that instead as I am interested in the biggest step up in audio quality.
Old 25th September 2012
  #5
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dxavier's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
If Converters and Pre Amps are your only concern and space is not an issue, why not go for a used N8 or N12? Firewire too. Super tight intergration with Cubase.

If you insist on buying something new, I am sure USB performance won't be an issue. I personally don't here a great deal about it being an issue around here.
Old 25th September 2012
  #6
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yoshimodular's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I don't think that UCX are better than UR, but I don't like USB to much. Anyway, my UR824 works flawlessly.
Old 25th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxavier ➑️
If Converters and Pre Amps are your only concern and space is not an issue, why not go for a used N8 or N12? Firewire too. Super tight intergration with Cubase.

If you insist on buying something new, I am sure USB performance won't be an issue. I personally don't here a great deal about it being an issue around here.
I'm not insisting on buying something new. I'm curious to know if I could achieve a significant improvement in the conversion and pres of my Saffire for not too much extra money?

My Saffire has been excellent and still is. I'm just curious to know how much it would cost to take my setup up another notch?
Old 25th September 2012
  #8
Gear Addict
 
mmahan40's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I actually ended up selling my time fireface uc for a ur824. I expected it would be a downgrade but I had a chance to compare them and they are really pretty close in quality. I'd definitely give the edge to rme though, superior drivers and definitely a bit higher quality sound.
Old 25th September 2012
  #9
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adrianww's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I don't know how the Saffire 24 stacks up against its bigger brothers, but I run a Liquid Saffire 56 alongside a Yamaha n12 and I'd say that the Focusrite actually pips the Yamaha to the post in terms of both its conversion and its preamps. It's a very close run thing though and both are good - in fact, I originally intended to sell off the n12 when I got the LS56, but I chose to keep it in the end since I still like it so much and enjoy working on it.

Now, as dxavier has already mentioned, the Steinberg MR series interfaces are basically stripped-down, rack-mountable versions of the technology in the n12. Looking at the specs, I suspect that the UR units are pretty much the same thing, but with USB support rather than Firewire. So, under the circumstances, I wouldn't expect the UR to be head and shoulders over the Saffire to be honest - and certainly not if the Saffire 24 uses the same converters and pres as its bigger brothers. However, that doesn't mean the UR will be no good - in fact, if it does use the same circuitry as the n12 then it will be a nice piece of kit and will be more than capable of producing good results.

Having said all of that, I would expect the RME to be a step up from any of them. It might not be a dramatic difference, but I would expect it to be somewhat better. And, as others have already said, RME's reputation in terms of driver stability and performance is ahead of pretty much all of the other mass-market manufacturers out there (and a lot of the high-end specialists too probably).
Old 26th September 2012
  #10
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mr jkn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Using the ur 824, very nice sound. Used to use the motu 828 mk3 before, and noticed a nice upgrade in overall sound - especially on the input side with the preamps.

My brother uses the fireface uc and is very happy with that. I think both interfaces sound very good. The drivers on the uc seem to be extremely good, with very low latency. The drivers on my ur824 are really solid to (not a hickup), but not with the low latency as with the uc.

I have not tried the ucx, but it looks the business.

DonΒ΄t forget to look up the tc konnekt48, btw!
Old 26th September 2012
  #11
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Just been looking at the various reviews and features of both the RME UCX and Steinberg and the both have some features that I would miss :-

RME UCX

Only one headphone output
Mains powered only

Steinberg MR816

Line inputs route through the pres. (I realize that this is the same on the Saffire but if I'm upgrading then I want to move away from this).
No midi I/O

Think I'll stick with the Saffire for the time being until I find something that offers all the features that I want + being a good step up in audio quality and performance!
I'm really hoping Focusrite release rackmountable versions of the Forte interface with the extra I/O I would like!
Old 28th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
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Retrospekta's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxavier ➑️
I believed the conversion of the N12/MR816 to be superior to the RME 400/800 IMHO
hm.. i wouldn't bet on that. actually, i would bet against this statement anytime. ANYTIME!
Old 28th September 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
MR816 here - love it, runs good on Windows 7 64bit - using Cubase. Great sound for the price. RME is cool too but you pay more for less. (unless you wanna believe the drivers horror stories about the steinberg stuff).

The MR816 consistenly 'won' against the RME 400/800 on sound quality in many third party and user tests/reviews. Total bargain.

I also love the quick connect feature in cubase - use it all the time.
Old 28th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dickiefunk ➑️
Steinberg MR816

Line inputs route through the pres. (I realize that this is the same on the Saffire but if I'm upgrading then I want to move away from this).
No midi I/O
This has been debated on here before - the pres are so good/clean - turn the gain down - don't think about it again. Non issue.
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