RME Audio Fireface 800 User`s guide

User's Guide
Fireface 800
The most powerful FireWire® audio interface ever!
™
TotalMix FX
24 Bit / 192 kHz 9
™
SyncAlign
ZLM
™
™
SyncCheck
™
SteadyClock
FireWire 800 / 400 Digital I/O System
10 + 16 + 2 Channels Analog / ADAT / SPDIF Interface
24 Bit / 192 kHz Digital Audio
56 x 28 Matrix Router
MIDI I/O
Stand-Alone Operation
MIDI Remote Control
Stand-Alone MIDI Controlled Operation
Important Safety Instructions ..................................5
General
1
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3
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5
Introduction ...............................................................8
Package Contents .....................................................8
System Requirements ..............................................8
Brief Description and Characteristics.....................8
First Usage - Quick Start
5.1 Connectors and Front Panel ...................................9
5.2 Quick Start ............................................................10
Installation and Operation - Windows
6
Hardware and Driver Installation
6.1 Hardware and Driver Installation............................12
6.2 De-installing the Drivers .........................................12
6.3 Firmware Update....................................................12
7
Configuring the Fireface
7.1 Settings Dialog – General ......................................13
7.2 Settings Dialog – Analog........................................16
7.3 Settings Dialog – Pitch ...........................................17
7.4 Clock Modes - Synchronization .............................18
7.5 Limit Bandwidth......................................................19
8
Operation and Usage
8.1 Playback.................................................................19
8.2 DVD Playback (AC-3 / DTS) ..................................20
8.3 Notes on WDM.......................................................21
8.4 Channel Count under WDM...................................22
8.5 Multi-client Operation .............................................22
8.6 Digital Recording....................................................23
8.7 Analog Recording...................................................23
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Operation under ASIO
9.1 General...................................................................24
9.2 Channel Count under ASIO ...................................24
9.3 Known Problems ....................................................25
10
Using more than one Fireface................................25
11
DIGICheck ................................................................26
12
Hotline – Troubleshooting......................................27
Installation and Operation - Mac OS X
13
14
Hardware Installation..............................................30
Driver
14.1 Driver Installation .................................................30
14.2 Driver Update .......................................................30
14.3 Firmware Update..................................................31
15
Configuring the Fireface
15.1 Settings Dialog .....................................................32
15.2 Clock Modes - Synchronization ...........................35
15.3 Limit Bandwidth....................................................36
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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Mac OS X FAQ
16.1 MIDI doesn't work ................................................ 37
16.2 Repairing Disk Permissions................................. 37
16.3 Supported Sample Rates..................................... 37
16.4 Channel Count under Core Audio ....................... 37
16.5 FireWire Compatibility.......................................... 38
16.6 Various Information.............................................. 38
17
Using more than one Fireface ............................... 38
18
DIGICheck Mac........................................................ 39
19
Hotline – Troubleshooting ..................................... 40
Stand-Alone Operation, Connections
20
Stand-alone Operation
20.1 10-channel AD/DA-Converter .............................. 42
20.2 2-channel Mic Preamp......................................... 42
20.3 Monitor Mixer ....................................................... 42
20.4 Digital Format Converter...................................... 42
20.5 Analog/digital Routing Matrix ............................... 42
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Analog Inputs
21.1 Line Rear ............................................................. 43
21.2 Microphone / Line Front....................................... 43
21.3 Instrument / Line Front......................................... 44
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Analog Outputs
22.1 Line ...................................................................... 45
22.2 Phones (7/8) ........................................................ 45
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Digital Connections
23.1 ADAT ................................................................... 46
23.2 SPDIF .................................................................. 46
23.3 MIDI ..................................................................... 47
24
Word Clock
24.1 Word Clock Input and Output .............................. 48
24.2 Technical Description and Background ............... 49
24.3 Cables and Termination....................................... 50
24.4 General Operation ............................................... 50
TotalMix FX
25
Routing and Monitoring
25.1 Overview .............................................................. 52
25.2 The User Interface ............................................... 54
25.3 The Channels....................................................... 55
Settings.............................................................. 57
25.4 Section Control Room.......................................... 58
25.5 The Control Strip.................................................. 59
25.5.1 View Options................................................ 60
25.5.2 Snapshots - Groups..................................... 61
25.5.3 Channel Layout – Layout Presets................ 61
25.5.4 Scroll Location Marker ................................. 63
25.6 Preferences.......................................................... 64
25.6.1 Store for Current or All Users (Windows) .... 65
25.7 Settings ................................................................ 65
25.7.1 Tab Mixer ..................................................... 65
25.7.2 Tab MIDI ...................................................... 66
25.7.3 Tab OSC ...................................................... 67
25.7.4 Aux Devices ................................................. 68
25.8 Hotkeys and Usage ............................................. 69
25.9 Menu Options....................................................... 70
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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26
The Matrix
26.1 Overview ..............................................................71
26.2 Elements of the Matrix View ................................71
26.3 Usage ...................................................................71
27
TotalMix Super-Features
27.1 ASIO Direct Monitoring (Windows only) ..............72
27.2 Copy a Submix.....................................................72
27.3 Delete a Submix...................................................72
27.4 Doubling the Output Signal ..................................72
27.5 Recording a Subgroup (Loopback)......................73
27.6 MS Processing .....................................................74
28
MIDI Remote Control
28.1 Overview ..............................................................75
28.2 Mapping ...............................................................75
28.3 Setup ....................................................................76
28.4 Operation .............................................................76
28.5 Standard MIDI Control .........................................77
28.6 Loopback Detection .............................................78
28.7 OSC (Open Sound Control) .................................78
28.8 Stand-Alone MIDI Control ....................................79
Technical Reference
29
Technical Specifications
29.1 Analog ..................................................................82
29.2 MIDI......................................................................83
29.3 Digital ...................................................................83
29.4 Digital Inputs ........................................................83
29.5 Digital Outputs......................................................84
29.6 General ................................................................84
30
Technical Background
30.1 Lock and SyncCheck ...........................................85
30.2 Latency and Monitoring........................................86
30.3 FireWire Audio .....................................................87
30.4 Number of Channels and Bus Load.....................88
30.5 DS – Double Speed .............................................89
30.6 QS – Quad Speed................................................89
30.7 AES/EBU – SPDIF ...............................................90
30.8 Noise Level in DS / QS Mode ..............................91
30.9 SteadyClock .........................................................91
31
Diagrams
31.1 Block Diagram Fireface........................................92
31.2 Connector Pinouts................................................93
Miscellaneous
32
33
34
35
4
Accessories .............................................................96
Warranty...................................................................96
Appendix ..................................................................97
Declaration of Conformity ......................................98
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
Important Safety Instructions
ATTENTION! Do not open chassis – risk of electric shock
The unit has non-isolated live parts inside. No user serviceable parts inside.
Refer service to qualified service personnel.
Mains
• The device must be earthed – never use it without proper grounding
• Do not use defective power cords
• Operation of the device is limited to the manual
• Use same type of fuse only
To reduce the risk of fire or electric shock do not expose this device to rain or
moisture. Prevent moisture and water from entering the device. Never leave
a pot with liquid on top of the device. Do not use this product near water, i. e.
swimming pool, bathtub or wet basement. Danger of condensation inside –
don't turn on before the device has reached room temperature.
Installation
Surface may become hot during operation – ensure sufficient ventilation.
Avoid direct sun light and do not place it near other sources of heat, like radiators or stoves. When mounting in a rack, leave some space between this
device and others for ventilation.
Unauthorized servicing/repair voids warranty. Only use accessories
specified by the manufacturer.
Read the manual completely. It includes all information necessary
to use and operate this device.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
User's Guide
Fireface 800
General
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
7
1. Introduction
Thank you for choosing the Fireface 800. This unique audio system is capable of transferring
analog and digital audio data directly to a computer from practically any device. The latest Plug
and Play technology guarantees a simple installation, even for the inexperienced user. The
numerous unique features and well thought-out configuration dialog puts the Fireface 800 at the
very top of the range of computer-based audio interfaces.
The package contains drivers for Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 and Mac OS X x86 (Intel).
Our high-performance philosophy guarantees maximum system performance by executing as
many functions as possible not in the driver (i.e. the CPU), but directly within the audio hardware.
2. Package Contents
Please check that your Fireface 800 package contains each of the following:
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Fireface 800
Cable IEEE1394a (FW400), 4 m (13 ft)
Power cord
Manual
RME Driver CD
1 optical cable (TOSLINK), 2 m (6.6 ft)
3. System Requirements
• Windows XP (SP2 or higher), Mac OS X Intel (10.6 or higher)
• 1 OHCI compatible FireWire Port 400 (1394a) or 800 (1394b)
• Pentium III 866 MHz or better, G4 Dual 867 or better
4. Brief Description and Characteristics
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Enhanced Mixed Mode: Analog, ADAT and SPDIF I/O simultaneously usable
8 buffer sizes/latencies available: 1.0 / 1.5 / 2.1 / 3 / 6 / 12 / 17 / 23 ms
All settings can be changed in real-time
8 channels 96 kHz/24 bit Record/Playback via ADAT optical (S/MUX)
Clock modes slave and master
Automatic and intelligent master/slave clock control
Unsurpassed Bitclock PLL (audio synchronization) in ADAT mode
Word clock input and output
TotalMix for latency-free submixes and perfect ASIO Direct Monitoring
TotalMix: 1568 channel mixer with 42 bit internal resolution
SyncAlign guarantees sample aligned and never swapping channels
SyncCheck tests and reports the synchronization status of input signals
1 x MIDI I/O, 16 channels high-speed MIDI
1 x Hi-power headphone output
DIGICheck DSP: Level meter in hardware, peak- and RMS calculation
Optional Time Code module (TCO) for external Video-/SMPTE synchronization
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
5. First Usage – Quick Start
5.1 Connectors and Front Panel
The front of the Fireface 800 features an instrument input, microphone inputs and line inputs
with gain pots, a stereo headphone output with volume pot, and several status LEDs.
MIDI/I indicates MIDI data received by the MIDI input.
MIDI/O indicates MIDI data sent to the MIDI output.
The Digital State LEDs (WC, SPDIF,
ADAT, TCO) indicate a valid input signal
separately
for
each
digital
input.
Additionally, RME's exclusive SyncCheck
indicates if one of these inputs is locked, but
not synchronous to the others, in which case
the LED will flash. See also chapter
11.4/19.3, Clock Modes - Synchronization.
The red HOST LED lights up when the Fireface 800 has been switched on, signalling the presence of operating voltage. At the same time it operates as error LED, in case the FireWire connection hasn't been initialised yet, or has been interrupted (error, cable not connected etc.).
Phones are low impedance line outputs of highest quality. They provide a sufficient and undistorted volume when used with headphones.
The rear panel of the Fireface 800 features eight analog inputs and outputs, the
power socket, and all digital
inputs and outputs:
ADAT1 I/O (TOSLINK)
ADAT2 I/O (TOSLINK): Can also be used as optical SPDIF input and output, if set up accordingly in the Settings dialog. The Settings dialog is started by clicking on the fire symbol in the
Task Bar's system tray.
SPDIF I/O coaxial (RCA): Fully AES/EBU compatible by transformer-coupling and level adjustment. The Fireface 800 accepts the commonly used digital audio formats, SPDIF as well as
AES/EBU.
Word Clock I/O (BNC): A push switch activates internal termination (75 Ohms). When termination is activate the yellow LED besides the switch lights up.
IEC receptacle for mains power connection. The specially developed, internal hi-performance
switch mode power supply makes the Fireface operate in the range of 100V to 240V AC. It is
short-circuit-proof, has an integrated line-filter, is fully regulated against voltage fluctuations,
and suppresses mains interference.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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5.2 Quick Start
After the driver installation (chapter 6 / 13) connect the TRS-jacks or the XLR connectors with
the analog signal source. The input sensitivity of the rear inputs can be changed in the Settings
dialog (Input Level), assuring the highest signal to noise ratio will be achieved. Try to achieve
an optimum input level by adjusting the source itself. Raise the source’s output level until the
peak level meters in TotalMix reach about –3 dB.
The analog line inputs of the Fireface 800 can be used with +4 dBu and -10 dBV signals. The
electronic input stage can handle balanced (XLR, TRS jacks) and unbalanced (TS jacks) input
signals correctly.
The front's inputs signal level can be optimized using the Fireface's gain pots. A Signal LED and
a Clip LED help to find the correct level adjustment.
The Fireface's digital outputs provide SPDIF (AES/EBU compatible) and ADAT optical signals
at the corresponding ports.
On the analog playback side (the DA side), a coarse adjustment of the analog output level at
the rear jacks is available in the Settings dialog (Output Level).
The output signal of channels 9/10 is available on the front. Their output level can be set using
the VOL pot. This output is a very low impedance type, which can also be used to connect
headphones.
The function Store in Flash Memory (Settings dialog) and Flash current mixer state (TotalMix)
allow to store the current settings into the Fireface 800. The unit then remembers all settings,
and loads these automatically when switched on. With this, the Fireface 800 can be used standalone after setting it up accordingly, replacing lots of dedicated devices (see chapter 20).
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
User's Guide
Fireface 800
Installation and Operation - Windows
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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6. Hardware and Driver Installation
6.1 Hardware and Driver Installation
To simplify installation it is recommended to first install the drivers before the unit is connected
to the computer. But it will also work the other way round.
Insert the RME Driver CD into your CD-ROM drive. The driver installer is located in the directory
\Fireface_FW. Start rmeinstaller.exe and follow the instructions of the installer. After installation
connect computer and Fireface 800 using the supplied FireWire cable. Windows detects the
new hardware as Fireface 800 and installs the drivers automatically.
After a reboot, the icons of TotalMix FX and Settings dialog appear in
the notification area. If not a click on the triangle leads to Configure and
the appearance settings of the icons.
Driver Updates do not require to remove the existing drivers. Simply install the new driver over
the existing one.
6.2 De-installing the Drivers
A de-installation of the Fireface's driver files is not necessary – and not supported by Windows
anyway. Thanks to full Plug & Play support, the driver files will not be loaded after the hardware
has been removed. If desired these files can then be deleted manually.
Unfortunately Windows Plug & Play methods do not cover the additional autorun entries of TotalMix, the Settings dialog, and the registration of the ASIO driver. These entries can be removed from the registry by a software de-installation request. This request can be found (like all
de-installation entries) in Control Panel, Software. Click on the entry 'RME Fireface'.
6.3 Firmware Update
The Flash Update Tool updates the firmware of the Fireface 800 to the latest version. It requires
an already installed driver.
Start the program fireface_fut.exe. The Flash Update Tool displays the current revision of the
Fireface firmware, and whether it needs an update or not. If so, then simply press the 'Update'
button. A progress bar will indicate when the flash process is finished (Verify Ok).
If more than one Fireface is installed, all units can be flashed by changing to the next tab and
repeating the process.
After the update the unit needs to be reset. This is done by powering down the Fireface for a
few seconds.
A reboot of the computer is not necessary.
When the update fails (status: failure), the unit's second BIOS will be used from the next cold
boot on (Secure BIOS Technology). Therefore the unit stays fully functional. The flash process
should then be tried again on a different computer.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
7. Configuring the Fireface
7.1 Settings Dialog - General
Configuration of the Fireface 800 is done via its own settings dialog. The panel 'Settings' can be
opened:
• by clicking on the fire symbol in the Task Bar's system tray
The mixer of the Fireface 800, TotalMix FX, can be opened:
• by clicking on the DSP symbol in the Task Bar's notification area
The hardware of the Fireface 800 offers a number of practical functions and options which affect how the card operates. The following is available in the 'Settings' dialog:
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Latency
Configuration of digital I/Os
WDM Device Configuration
Level of analog I/Os
Synchronization behaviour
State of input and output
Current sample rate
Input selection
Any changes made in the Settings
dialog are applied immediately confirmation (e.g. by clicking on OK
or exiting the dialog) is not required.
However, settings should not be
changed during playback or record
if it can be avoided, as this can
cause unwanted noises.
Also, please note that even in 'Stop'
mode, several programs keep the
recording and playback devices
open, which means that any new
settings might not be applied immediately.
The status display at the bottom of
the dialog box gives precise
information about the current status
of the system, and the status of all
digital input signals.
The tab About includes information about the current driver and firmware version plus two more
options:
Lock Registry
Default: off. Checking this option brings up a dialog to enter a password. Changes in the Settings dialog are no longer written to the registry. As the settings are always loaded from the
registry when starting the computer, this method provides an easy way to define an initial state
of the Fireface 800.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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Enable MMCSS for ASIO activates support with higher priority for the ASIO driver. Note: At this
time, activating this option seems to be useful only with the latest Cubase/Nuendo at higher
load. With other software this option can decrease performance. The change becomes active
after an ASIO reset. Therefore it is easy to quickly check which setting works better..
Settings of the main page
The setting Buffer Size determines the latency between incoming and outgoing ASIO and WDM
data, as well as affecting system stability (see chapter 9). While ASIO can use any offered
buffer size, WDM is limited to 256 (XP) or 512 samples (Win 7/8). The driver handles this automatically, higher settings are only applied to ASIO while WDM will stay at 256/512 internally.
Bandwidth
Allows to reduce the amount of bandwidth used on the FireWire bus. See chapter 7.6.
All channels (default) activates all 28 input and output channels.
Analog + SPDIF + ADAT1 disables channels 21–28 (ADAT2).
Analog + SPDIF activates all 10 analog channels plus SPDIF.
Analog 1-8 activates only the first eight analog channels.
The string Errors does not refer to buffer errors, but FireWire transmission errors. The display
will be reset on any start of a playback/record. More information can be found in chapter 30.3.
Output Format
Word
The word clock output signal usually equals the current sample rate. Selecting Single Speed
causes the output signal to always stay within the range of 32 kHz to 48 kHz. So at 96 kHz and
192 kHz sample rate, the output word clock is 48 kHz.
ADAT2
This optical TOSLINK output can operate as ADAT or SPDIF output.
SPDIF
The SPDIF output can have the Channel Status Consumer or Professional. For further details
please refer to chapter 23.2.
Options
SPDIF Input
Defines the input for the SPDIF signal. 'Coaxial' relates to the RCA socket, 'ADAT2' to the second optical TOSLINK input.
TMS
TMS activates the transmission of Channel Status data and Track Marker information from the
SPDIF input signal.
WDM Devices
Defines the number of WDM devices. A reduction accelerates the change of the sample rate,
reduces the time of continued CPU load, brings quicker behavior on plugging and unplugging
the unit, and reduces the boot time of Windows with connected interface. The best setting is 0,
means no WDM devices at all. Only ASIO and MIDI are active then. A typical setting is 1 device
(WDM for Media Player etc.), still causing a much quicker change than a full WDM channel
count.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
Clock Mode
Sample Rate
Sets the currently used sample rate. Offers a central and comfortable way of configuring the
sample rate of all WDM devices to the same value, as since Vista this is no longer supported to
be done by the audio program. However, an ASIO program can still set the sample rate by itself.
At ongoing record/playback the selection is greyed out, so no change is possible.
Clock Source
The unit can be configured to use
its own clock (Internal = Master), or
one of the input signals (Word,
ADAT, SPDIF, TCO). If the selected
source isn't available, the unit will
change to the next available one
(AutoSync). If none is available
then the internal clock is used. The
current clock source is displayed to
the right.
Pitch
More information on
available in chapter 7.3.
Pitch
is
Input Status
Indicates for each input (Word,
SPDIF, ADAT 1/2, TCO) whether
there is a valid signal (Lock, No
Lock), or if there is a valid and
synchronous signal (Sync). The
second row shows the SPDIF sample rate measured by the hardware.
In Clock Mode the clock reference
is shown (Current…). See also
chapter 30.1.
Store in Flash
A click on this button transmits all
current settings into the flash
memory of the Fireface. Those
settings then become active directly
after power-on, and also in standalone operation.
Read Flash
A click on this button causes all settings to change to the ones stored in the flash memory of the
Fireface.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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7.2 Settings Dialog – Analog
Inputs
Input selection for the channels 1, 7 and 8. Channel 1 can be the front instrument input, or the
rear TRS jack, or both simultaneously. Channel 7/8 can be the front microphone input, or the
rear TRS jack, or both simultaneously.
Level
Line In
Defines the reference level of the rear
analog inputs 1-8.
Line Out
Defines the reference level of the rear
analog outputs 1-8.
Phantom Power
Phantom power (48V) can be
selected for each microphone input
separately.
Instrument Options
Drive activates 25 dB additional gain
for maximum sustain and brute
distortion.
Limiter activates a soft-limiter with a
threshold of –10 dBFS. Note: The
Limiter can only be switched off with
input selection Front.
Speaker Emulation removes low
frequency noise and cuts off higher
frequencies.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
7.3 Settings Dialog - Pitch
Usually soundcards and audio interfaces generate their internal clock (master mode) by a
quartz. Therefore the internal clock can be set to 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, but not to a value in between. SteadyClock, RME's sensational Low Jitter Clock System, is based on a Direct Digital
Synthesizer (DDS). This superior circuitry can generate nearly any frequency with highest precision.
DDS has been implemented into the Fireface with regard to the needs of professional video
applications, as well as to maximum flexibility. The section Pitch includes both a list of typical
video frequencies (so called pull up/pull down at 0.1% and 4%) and a fader to freely change the
basic sample rate in steps of 1 Hz (!) over a range of +/- 5%.
The Pitch function requires the Fireface to be in clock mode Master! The frequency setting
will only be applied to this one specific Fireface!
Changing the sample rate during record/playback often results in a loss of audio, or brings
up warning messages of the audio software. Therefore the desired sample rate should be
set at least coarsely before starting the software.
Coarse
Coarse modification in steps of 50 Hz
is done by clicking with the mouse to
the left and right of the fader knob.
Fine
Fine modification in steps of 1 Hz is
done by using the left/right cursor
keys.
Reset
Ctrl key plus left mouse click.
Application examples
Pitch allows for a simultaneous change of speed and tune during record and playback. From
alignment to other sources up to creative effects – everything is possible.
Pitch enables you to intentionally de-tune the complete DAW. This way, the DAW can match
instruments which have a wrong or unchangeable tuning.
Pitch allows for the change of the sample rate of all WDM devices at the same time. Since Vista
this is no longer possible via the audio program, thus requires a manual reconfiguration of all
WDM devices. Changing the sample rate from the Settings dialog solves this problem. As the
change within the system requires some time, record/playback should not be started immediately, but not before 5 seconds after a change.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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7.4 Clock Modes - Synchronization
In the digital world, all devices must be either Master (clock source) or Slave (clock receiver).
Whenever several devices are linked within a system, there must always be a single master
clock.
A digital system can only have one master! If the Fireface’s clock mode is set to 'Master', all
other devices must be set to ‘Slave’.
The Fireface 800 utilizes a very user-friendly, intelligent clock control, called AutoSync. In
AutoSync mode, the system constantly scans the digital input for a valid signal. If any valid signal is found, the Fireface switches from the internal quartz (Clock Mode – Current Internal) to a
clock extracted from the input signal (Clock Mode – Current ADAT, SPDIF, TCO or Word). The
difference to a usual slave mode is that whenever the clock reference fails, the system will automatically use its internal clock and operate in clock mode Master.
AutoSync guarantees that record and record-while-play will always work correctly. In certain
cases however, e.g. when the inputs and outputs of a DAT machine are connected directly to
the UCX, AutoSync may cause feedback in the digital carrier, so synchronization breaks down.
To solve this problem switch the Fireface clock mode to Master (Clock Source – Internal).
The Fireface's ADAT optical and SPDIF input operate simultaneously. Because there is no input
selector however, the unit has to be told which one of the signals is the sync reference (a digital
device can only be clocked from a single source). By selecting a Clock Source a preferred input
is defined. As long as the unit sees a valid signal there, it will be used as the sync source.
In some situations changing the clock mode can not be avoided. Example: An ADAT recorder is
connected to the ADAT input (ADAT immediately becomes the AutoSync source) and a CD
player is connected to the SPDIF input. Try recording a few samples from the CD and you will
be disappointed - few CD players can be synchronized. The samples will inevitably be corrupted, because the signal from the CD player is read with the clock from the ADAT. In this
case the Clock Source should be temporarily set to SPDIF.
RME’s exclusive SyncCheck technology (first implemented in the Hammerfall) enables an easy
to use check and display of the current clock status. SyncCheck indicates whether there is a
valid signal (Lock, No Lock) for each input (Word Clock, ADAT, SPDIF, TCO), or if there is a
valid and synchronous signal (Sync). In the field Clock Mode the clock reference is shown. See
chapter 30.1.
Under WDM the Fireface will (has to)
set the sample rate. Therefore the
error shown to the right can occur. A
stable signal with a sample rate of 32
kHz is detected at the ADAT input
(Sync), but Windows audio had been
set to 44100 Hz before. The red color
of the text label signals the error
condition, and prompts the user to set
32000 Hz manually as sample rate.
Under ASIO the audio software sets
the sample rate, so that such an error
can not happen. If the input sample
rate is different then there will be no
Sync indication.
With RME’s AutoSync and SyncCheck, finally anyone can master this common source of error,
previously one of the most complex issues in the digital studio world.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
7.5 Bandwidth
This option allows to reduce the amount of bandwidth used on the FireWire bus. A typical example is the use of the Fireface with a laptop. Only in rare cases both ADAT ports are needed,
in many cases even both stay unused. The option Analog+SPDIF will reduce the amount of
constantly (!) transferred data from around 5 MByte (10 in both directions) to only 2 MByte (4 in
both directions). The FireWire connection will be more stable, reliable and robust, leaving additional bandwidth for other devices. At the same time the CPU and system load is reduced, as
less channels have to be processed and to be transferred. More details are found in chapter
30.4.
Available Settings
All channels (default) activates all 28 input and output channels
Analog + SPDIF + ADAT1 disables channels 21–28 (ADAT2)
Analog + SPDIF activates all 10 analog channels plus SPDIF
Analog 1-8 activates only the first eight analog channels
8. Operation and Usage
8.1 Playback
In the audio application being used, Fireface must be selected as output device. This can often
be found in the Options, Preferences or Settings menus under Playback Device, Audio Devices,
Audio etc.
We recommend switching all system sounds off (via >Control Panel /Sound<). Also Fireface
should not be the Preferred Device for playback, as this could cause loss of synchronization
and unwanted noises. If you feel you cannot do without system sounds, you should consider
using the on-board sound device or buying a cheap Blaster clone and select this as Preferred
Device in >Control Panel /Multimedia /Audio< or >Control Panel /Sound /Playback<.
The screenshot shows a
typical
configuration
dialog of a (stereo) wave
editor. Audio data is sent
to an analog or digital
(ADAT / SPDIF) port,
depending on which has
been
selected
as
playback device.
Increasing the number
and/or size of audio
buffers may prevent the
audio signal from breaking up, but also increases latency i.e.
output is delayed. For
synchronized playback
of audio and MIDI (or
similar), be sure to
activate the checkbox ‘Get position from audio driver’.
Note on Windows Vista/7/8:
Since Vista the audio application can no longer control the sample rate under WDM. Therefore
the driver of the Fireface 800 includes a workaround: the sample rate can be set globally for all
WDM devices within the Settings dialog, see chapter 7.1.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
19
8.2 DVD-Playback (AC-3/DTS)
AC-3 / DTS
When using popular DVD software players like WinDVD and PowerDVD, their audio data
stream can be sent to any AC-3/DTS capable receiver using the Fireface's SPDIF output. For
this to work, the WDM SPDIF device of the Fireface has to be selected in >Control Panel/
Sounds and Multimedia/ Audio< or >Control Panel/ Sound/Playback<. Also check 'use preferred
device only'.
The DVD software's audio properties now show the options 'SPDIF Out' or similar. When selecting it, the software will transfer the non-decoded digital multichannel data stream to the Fireface.
Note: This 'SPDIF' signal sounds like chopped noise at highest level. Try to avoid mixing and
routing the signal to your loudspeakers, as they might get damaged.
Multichannel
PowerDVD and WinDVD can also operate as software decoder, sending a DVD's multichannel
data stream directly to the analog outputs of the Fireface. All modes are supported, from 2 to 8
channels, at 16 bit resolution and up to 192 kHz sample rate. For this to work select the WDM
playback device ’Loudspeaker’ of the Fireface 800 in
XP: >Control Panel/ Sounds and Multimedia/ Audio<, and check 'Use only default devices'.
Additionally the loudspeaker setup, found under >Volume/ Speaker Settings/ Advanced< has to
be changed from Stereo to 5.1 Surround.
Vista/7/8: >Control Panel/ Sound/ Playback < as ‘Standard’. Additionally the loudspeaker setup,
found under >Configuration<, has to be changed from Stereo to 5.1 Surround.
PowerDVD's and WinDVD's audio properties now list several multichannel modes. If one of
these is selected, the software sends the decoded analog multichannel data to the Fireface.
TotalMix can then be used to play back via any desired output channels.
The typical channel assignment for surround playback is:
1 - Left
2 - Right
3 - Center
4 - LFE (Low Frequency Effects)
5 - SL (Surround Left)
6 - SR (Surround Right)
Note 1: Selecting the Fireface to be used as system playback device is against our recommendations, as professional interfaces should not be disturbed by system events. Make sure to reassign the selection after usage or to disable any system sounds (tab Sounds, scheme 'No
audio').
Note 2: The DVD player will be synced backwards from the Fireface. This means when using
AutoSync and/or word clock, the playback speed and pitch follows the incoming clock signal.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
8.3 Notes on WDM
The driver offers a WDM streaming device per stereo pair, like Fireface ADAT 1 (1+2). WDM
streaming is Microsoft's current driver and audio system, directly embedded into the operating
system. WDM streaming is hardly usable for professional music purposes, as all data is processed by the so called Kernel Mixer, causing a latency of at least 30 ms. Additionally, WDM can
perform sample rate conversions unnoticed, cause offsets between record and playback data,
block channels unintentionally and much more.
Several programs do not offer any direct device selection. Instead they use the playback device
selected in Windows under
XP: <Control Panel/ Sounds and Multimedia/ Audio>
Vista/7/8: <Control Panel/ Sound/ Playback>
The program Sonar from Cakewalk is unique in many ways. Sonar uses the so called WDM
Kernel Streaming, bypassing the WDM mixer, thus achieves a similar performance to ASIO.
Because of the driver's multichannel streaming ability (option Interleaved, see chapter 12.4),
Sonar not only finds the stereo device mentioned above, but also the 8-channel interleaved
devices, and adds the channel number at the end:
RayDAT ADAT (1+2) is the first stereo device
RayDAT ADAT (3+4) is the next stereo device
RayDAT ADAT (1+2) 3/4 are the channels 3/4 of the first 8-channel interleaved device.
It is not recommended to use these special interleaved devices. Also it is not possible to use
one stereo channel twice (the basic and the interleaved device).
Multi-Channel using WDM
The WDM Streaming device Loudspeaker (Analog 1+2) of the RME driver can operate as usual
stereo device, or as up to 8-channel device.
An 8-channel playback using the Windows Media Player requires the speaker setup 7.1 Surround. Configure as follows:
XP: >Control Panel /Sounds and Multimedia /Audio /Volume /Speaker Settings /Advanced <
Vista/7/8: >Control Panel /Sound /Playback /Loudspeaker /Configure <
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
21
8.4 Channel Count under WDM
The HDSP system’s ADAT optical interfaces allow to record sample rates of up to 96 kHz using
a standard ADAT recorder. For this to work single-channel data is spread to two ADAT channels using the Sample Multiplexing technique. This reduces the number of available ADAT
channels from 8 to 4 per ADAT port.
Whenever the Fireface changes into Double Speed (88.2/96 kHz) or Quad Speed mode
(176.4/192 kHz) all devices no longer available vanish automatically.
WDM Stereo device
Fireface Analog (1+2)
Fireface Analog (3+4)
Fireface Analog (5+6)
Fireface Analog (7+8)
Fireface Analog (9+10)
Fireface SPDIF
Fireface ADAT 1 (1+2)
Fireface ADAT 1 (3+4)
Fireface ADAT 1 (5+6)
Fireface ADAT 1 (7+8)
Fireface ADAT 2 (1+2)
Fireface ADAT 2 (3+4)
Fireface ADAT 2 (5+6)
Fireface ADAT 2 (7+8)
Double Speed
Fireface Analog (1+2)
Fireface Analog (3+4)
Fireface Analog (5+6)
Fireface Analog (7+8)
Fireface Analog (9+10)
Fireface SPDIF
Fireface ADAT 1 (1+2)
Fireface ADAT 1 (3+4)
Fireface ADAT 1 (5+6)
Fireface ADAT 1 (7+8)
Fireface ADAT 2 (1+2)
Fireface ADAT 2 (3+4)
Fireface ADAT 2 (5+6)
Fireface ADAT 2 (7+8)
Quad Speed
Fireface Analog (1+2)
Fireface Analog (3+4)
Fireface Analog (5+6)
Fireface Analog (7+8)
Fireface Analog (9+10)
Fireface SPDIF
Fireface ADAT 1 (1+2)
Fireface ADAT 1 (3+4)
Fireface ADAT 1 (5+6)
Fireface ADAT 1 (7+8)
Fireface ADAT 2 (1+2)
Fireface ADAT 2 (3+4)
Fireface ADAT 2 (5+6)
Fireface ADAT 2 (7+8)
Note: Under Vista/7/8 the analog outputs 1/2 show up as Loudspeaker.
8.5 Multi-client Operation
RME audio interfaces support multi-client operation. Several programs can be used at the same
time. The formats ASIO and WDM can even be used on the same playback channels simultaneously. As WDM uses a real-time sample rate conversion (ASIO does not), all active ASIO
software has to use the same sample rate.
However, a better overview is maintained by using the channels exclusively. This is no limitation
at all, because TotalMix FX allows for any output routing, and therefore a playback of multiple
software on the same hardware outputs.
Inputs can be used from an unlimited number of WDM and ASIO software at the same time, as
the driver simply sends the data to all applications simultaneously.
RME's sophisticated tool DIGICheck operates like an ASIO host, using a special technique to
access playback channels directly. Therefore DIGICheck is able to analyse and display playback data from any software, no matter which format it uses.
22
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
8.6 Digital Recording
Unlike analog soundcards which produce empty wave files (or noise) when no input signal is
present, digital interfaces always need a valid input signal to start recording.
Taking this into account, RME added two important features to the Fireface 800: a comprehensive I/O signal status display showing sample frequency, lock and sync status in the Settings
dialog, and status LEDs for each input.
The sample frequency shown in the Settings dialog (see chapter 7.1, screenshot Settings) is
useful as a quick display of the current configuration (the board itself and all connected external
equipment). If no sample frequency is recognized, it will read ‘No Lock’.
This way, configuring any suitable audio application for digital recording is simple. After selecting the required input, Fireface 800 displays the current sample frequency. This parameter can
then be changed in the application’s audio attributes (or similar) dialog.
8.7 Analog Recording
For recordings via the analog inputs the corresponding record device has to be chosen (Fireface Analog (x+x)).
The input sensitivity of the rear inputs can be changed via the Settings dialog (Gain/Level) in
three steps so that the recording is done with optimized levels. A further improvement is possible by slowly raising the source’s output level until the peak level meters in TotalMix reach
about –3 dB.
The input sensitivity of the frontside analog inputs can be adjusted using their gain pots to
match any external source perfectly, see chapter 21.2 and 21.3.
It often makes sense to monitor the input signal or send it directly to the output. This can be
done at zero latency using TotalMix (see chapter 25).
An automated control of real-time monitoring can be achieved by Steinberg’s ASIO protocol
with RME’s ASIO drivers and all ASIO 2.0 compatible programs. When 'ASIO Direct Monitoring'
has been switched on, the input signal is routed in real-time to the output whenever a recording
is started (punch-in).
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
23
9. Operation under ASIO
9.1 General
Start the ASIO software and select ASIO Fireface as the audio I/O device.
The Fireface 800 supports ASIO Direct Monitoring (ADM).
The Fireface 800 MIDI I/O can be used with both MME MIDI and DirectMusic MIDI.
9.2 Channel Count under ASIO
At a sample rate of 88.2 or 96 kHz, the ADAT optical input and outputs operate in S/MUX mode,
so the number of available channels per port is reduced from 8 to 4.
Note: When changing the sample rate range between Single, Double and Quad Speed the
number of channels presented from the ASIO driver will change too. This may require a reset of
the I/O list in the audio software.
Single Speed
Fireface Analog 1 bis 8
Fireface SPDIF L / R
Fireface ADAT 1 bis 8
Fireface ADAT 9 bis 16
Double Speed
Fireface Analog 1 bis 8
Fireface SPDIF L / R
Fireface ADAT 1 bis 8
Fireface ADAT 9 bis 16
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
Quad Speed
Fireface Analog 1 bis 8
Fireface SPDIF L / R
Fireface ADAT 1 bis 8
Fireface ADAT 9 bis 16
9.3 Known Problems
If a computer does not provide sufficient CPU-power and/or sufficient FireWire transfer rates,
then drop outs, crackling and noise will appear. Such effects can be avoided by using a higher
buffer setting/latency in the Settings dialog of the Fireface 800. Furthermore PlugIns should be
deactivated temporarily to make sure they do not cause these problems.
More information can be found in chapter 30.3.
Another common source of trouble is incorrect synchronization. ASIO does not support asynchronous operation, which means that the input and output signals not only have to use the
same sample frequency, but also have to be in sync. All devices connected to the Fireface 800
must be properly configured for Full Duplex operation. As long as SyncCheck (in the Settings
dialog) only displays Lock instead of Sync, the devices have not been set up properly!
The same applies when using more than one Fireface. They all have to be in sync. Else a periodically repeated noise will be heard.
RME supports ASIO Direct Monitoring (ADM). Please note that some programs do not fully
support ADM. The most often reported problem is the wrong behaviour of panorama in a stereo
channel.
In case of a drift between audio and MIDI, or in case of a fixed deviation (MIDI notes placed
close before or behind the correct position), the settings in Cubase/Nuendo have to be
changed. At the time of print the option 'Use System Timestamp' should be activated. The Fireface supports both MME MIDI and DirectMusic MIDI. It depends on the used application which
one will work better.
10. Using more than one Fireface 800
The current driver supports up to three Fireface 800. All units have to be in sync, i.e. have to
receive valid sync information (either via word clock or by using AutoSync and feeding synchronized signals).
•
If one of the Firefaces is set to clock mode Master, all others have to be set to clock mode
AutoSync, and have to be synced from the master, for example by feeding word clock. The
clock modes of all units have to be set up correctly in the Fireface Settings dialog.
•
If all units are fed with a synchronous clock, i.e. all units show Sync in their Settings dialog,
all channels can be used at once. This is especially easy to handle under ASIO, as the ASIO
driver presents all units as one.
When using all channels of more than one Fireface 800, a FireWire 800 interface is necessary.
FireWire 400 will usually not suffice for operating more than one Fireface. When using only one
Fireface 800, a FireWire 800 interface does not provide any performance advantages, especially
does not help to achieve lower latency. But when a hard drive is connected to the Fireface (hub
functionality), FireWire 800 will immediately increase performance and reliability.
•
The cabling of FireWire 800 units is critical. In real world operation, it is not unusual that all
Firefaces have to be connected directly to the 1394b ports of the computer, using cables of
similar length. A long cable from the computer to the first Fireface, and a short one from the
first to the second Fireface can cause problems.
More information about numbers of channels and bus load can be found in chapter 30.4.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
25
The driver takes care of the numbering of all Firefaces, so that it doesn't change. The unit with
the lowest serial number is always 'Fireface (1)'. Please note:
•
If the Fireface (1) is switched off, Fireface (2) logically turns to the first and only Fireface. If
Fireface (1) is switched on later, the numbering changes and the unit becomes Fireface (2)
immediately.
•
The driver has no control on the numbering of the WDM devices. Therefore it might happen
that the WDM devices (2) are mapped to unit (1), especially when switching on more Firefaces during a Windows session. A reboot with all Firefaces already operational should solve
this problem.
Note: TotalMix is part of the hardware of each Fireface. Up to three mixers are available, but
these are separated and can't interchange data. Therefore a global mixer for all units is not
possible.
15. DIGICheck Windows
The DIGICheck software is a unique utility developed for testing, measuring and analysing digital audio streams. Although this Windows software is fairly self-explanatory, it still includes a
comprehensive online help. DIGICheck 5.72 operates as multi-client ASIO host, therefore can
be used in parallel to any software, be it WDM or ASIO, with both inputs and outputs (!). The
following is a short summary of the currently available functions:
• Level Meter. High precision 24-bit resolution, 2/10/28 channels. Application examples: Peak
level measurement, RMS level measurement, over-detection, phase correlation measurement, dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratios, RMS to peak difference (loudness), long
term peak measurement, input check. Oversampling mode for levels higher than 0 dBFS.
Vertical and horizontal mode. Slow RMS and RLB weighting filter. Supports visualization according to the K-System.
• Hardware Level Meter for Input, Playback and Output. Reference Level Meter freely configurable, causing near zero CPU load, because calculated from the Fireface hardware.
• Vector Audio Scope. World wide unique Goniometer showing the typical afterglow of a
oscilloscope-tube. Includes Correlation meter and level meter.
• Spectral Analyser. World wide unique 10-, 20- or 30-band display in analog bandpass-filter
technology. 192 kHz-capable!
• Totalyser. Spectral Analyser, Level Meter and Vector Audio Scope in a single window.
• Surround Audio Scope. Professional Surround Level Meter with extended correlation
analysis, ITU weighting and ITU summing meter.
• ITU1770/EBU R128 Meter. For standardized loudness measurements.
• Bit Statistics & Noise. Shows the true resolution of audio signals as well as errors and DC
offset. Includes Signal to Noise measurement in dB and dBA, plus DC measurement.
• Channel Status Display. Detailed analysis and display of SPDIF and AES/EBU Channel
Status data.
• Global Record. Long-term recording of all channels at lowest system load.
• Completely multi-client. Open as many measurement windows as you like, on any channels and inputs or outputs!
To install DIGICheck, go to the \DIGICheck directory on the RME Driver CD and run setup.exe.
Follow the instructions prompted on the screen.
DIGICheck is constantly updated. The latest version is always available on our website
www.rme-audio.com, section Downloads / DIGICheck.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
12. Hotline – Troubleshooting
The newest information can always be found on our website www.rme-audio.com, section FAQ,
Latest Additions.
The input signal cannot be monitored in real-time
• ASIO Direct Monitoring has not been enabled, and/or monitoring has been disabled globally.
The 8 ADAT channels don’t seem to work
• The optical output ADAT2 has been switched to SPDIF. As can be seen in the block diagram, all channels and their assignments still exist, but the optical transmitter has been disconnected from ADAT2 and is now fed from the SPDIF output (channels 11/12). The ADAT2
playback devices are still usable by routing and mixing them in TotalMix to other outputs.
Playback works, but record doesn’t
• Check that there is a valid signal at the input. If so, the current sample frequency is displayed in the Settings dialog.
• Check whether the Fireface 800 has been selected as recording device in the audio application.
• Check whether the sample frequency set in the audio application (‘Recording properties’ or
similar) matches the input signal.
• Check that cables/devices have not been connected in a closed loop. If so, set the system’s
clock mode to Master.
Crackle during record or playback
• Increase the number and size of buffers in the ‘Settings’ dialog or in the application.
• Try different cables (coaxial or optical) to rule out any defects here.
• Check that cables/devices have not been connected in a closed loop. If so, set the system’s
clock mode to ‘Master’.
• Increase the buffer size of the hard disk cache.
• Check the Settings dialog for displayed Errors.
Driver installation and Settings dialog/TotalMix work, but a playback or record is not possible
•
While recognition and control of the device are low bandwidth applications, playback/record
needs the full FireWire transmission performance. Therefore, defective FireWire cables with
limited transmission bandwidth can cause such an error scheme.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
27
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
User's Guide
Fireface 800
Mac OS X – Installation and Operation
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
29
13. Hardware Installation
Desktop Computer
• Use the power cord to connect the Fireface with any suitable power outlet.
• Connect computer and Fireface using the supplied 6-pin FireWire cable (IEEE1394a).
• Power on the computer, then switch on the Fireface.
14. Driver and Firmware
14.1 Driver Installation
After the Fireface has been connected (see 13. Hardware Installation), install the drivers from
the RME Driver CD. The driver files are located in the folder Fireface_FW. Installation works
automatically by a double-click on the file fireface.pkg.
RME recommends to download the latest driver version from the RME website. If done, the
procedure is as follows:
Double-click onto fireface_x86.zip to expand the archive file to fireface.pkg. Installation works
automatically by a double-click on this file.
During driver installation the programs Fireface Settings and Totalmix (TotalMix FX) are copied to the Applications folder. They will automatically start into the dock if a Fireface 800 is connected. A reboot of the computer is not required.
Driver Updates do not require to remove the existing drivers. Simply install the new driver over
the existing one.
Possible reasons why a Fireface is not found after driver installation:
• The FireWire port is not active in the system (drivers of the FireWire PCI or CardBus card
have not been installed)
• The FireWire cable is not, or not correctly inserted into the socket
• No power. After switching the Fireface on, at least the 7 segment display has to be lit.
14.2 Driver De-installation
In case of problems the driver files can be deleted manually by dragging them to the trash bin:
/Applications/Fireface Settings
/Applications/Totalmix
/System/Library/Extensions/FirefaceAudioDriver.kext
/Users/username/Library/Preferences/de.rme-audio.TotalmixFX.plist
/Users/username/Library/Preferences/de.rme-audio.FirefaceSettings.plist
/Library/LaunchAgents/de.rme-audio.firefaceAgent.plist
Under the latest Mac OS the User/Library folder is not visible in the Finder. To unhide it start
Finder, click on the menu item Go. Hold down the option (alt) key, then click on Library.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
14.3 Firmware Update
The Flash Update Tool updates the firmware of the Fireface 800 to the latest version. It requires
an already installed driver.
Start the program Fireface Flash. The Flash Update Tool displays the current revision of the
Fireface's firmware, and whether it needs an update or not. If so, simply press the 'Update' button. A progress bar will indicate when the flash process is finished (Verify Ok).
If more than one Fireface is installed, all units can be flashed by changing to the next tab and
repeating the process.
After the update the unit needs to be reset. This is done by powering down the Fireface for a
few seconds. A reboot of the computer is not necessary.
When the update fails (status: failure), the unit's second BIOS will be used from the next cold
boot on (Secure BIOS Technology). Therefore the unit stays fully functional. The flash process
should then be tried again on a different computer.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
31
15. Configuring the Fireface
15.1 Settings Dialog - General
Configuring the Fireface is done via its own settings dialog. Start the program Fireface Settings. The mixer of the Fireface (TotalMix FX) can be configured by starting the program Totalmix.
The Fireface’s hardware offers a number of helpful, well thought-of practical functions and options which affect how the card operates - it can be configured to suit many different requirements.
The following is available in the
'Settings' dialog:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Input selection
Level of analog I/Os
Configuration of digital I/Os
Synchronization behaviour
State of input and output
Current sample rate
Any changes performed in the
Settings
dialog
are
applied
immediately - confirmation (e.g. by
exiting the dialog) is not required.
However, settings should not be
changed during playback or record if
it can be avoided, as this can cause
unwanted noises.
The upper part of the dialog configures the analog inputs and outputs,
the lower part controls the digital
setup.
The status displays gives the user
precise information about the current
status of the system, and the status
of all digital signals.
Use the drop down menu Properties
For to select the unit to be
configured.
On the right of it the current firmware and driver version is shown.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
Inputs
Input selection for the channels 1, 7 and 8. Channel 1 can be the front instrument input, or the
rear TRS jack, or both simultaneously. Channel 7/8 can be the front microphone input, or the
rear TRS jack, or both simultaneously.
Level In
Defines the reference level for the rear analog inputs 1-8.
Level Out
Defines the reference level for the rear analog outputs 1-8.
Instrument Options
Drive activates 25 dB additional gain for maximum sustain and brute distortion.
Limiter activates a soft-limiter with a threshold of –10 dBFS. Note: The Limiter can only be
switched off with input selection Front.
Speaker Emulation removes low frequency noise and cuts off higher frequencies.
Phantom Power
Phantom power (48V) can be selected for each microphone input separately.
SPDIF In
Defines the input for the SPDIF signal. 'Coaxial' relates to the RCA socket, 'ADAT2' to the second optical TOSLINK input.
SPDIF Out
The SPDIF output signal is constantly available at the phono plug. After selecting 'ADAT2' it is
also routed to the second optical TOSLINK output. For further details about the settings ‘Professional’, ‘Emphasis’ and ‘Non-Audio’, please refer to chapter 27.2.
Clock Mode
The unit can be configured to use its internal clock source (Master), or the clock source predefined via Pref. Sync Ref (AutoSync).
AutoSync Ref.
Displays the current clock source and sample rate of the clock source.
Preferred Sync Ref / Input Status
Used to pre-select the desired clock source. If the selected source isn't available, the system
will change to the next available one. The current clock source and sample rate is displayed in
the AutoSync Ref display.
The automatic clock selection checks and changes between the clock sources Word Clock,
ADAT1, ADAT2, SPDIF and TCO (when using the optional TCO module).
Input Status indicates whether there is a valid signal (Lock, No Lock) for each input (Word
clock, ADAT1, ADAT2, SPDIF), or if there is a valid and synchronous signal (Sync). The AutoSync Ref display shows the input and frequency of the current sync source.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
33
Bandwidth Limit
Allows to reduce the amount of bandwidth used on the FireWire bus. See chapter 15.3.
All channels (default) activates all 28 input and output channels.
Analog + SPDIF + ADAT1 disables channels 21–28 (ADAT2).
Analog + SPDIF activates all 10 analog channels plus SPDIF.
Analog 1-8 activates only the first eight analog channels.
Sample Rate
This setting is a mirror of the system’s own control panel to change the sample rate. It has been
included for convenience.
System Clock
Shows the current clock state of the
Fireface 800. The unit is either
Master (using its own clock) or Slave
(AutoSync Ref).
Word Clock Out
The word clock output signal usually
equals the current sample rate.
Selecting Single Speed causes the
output signal to always stay within the
range of 32 kHz to 48 kHz. So at 96
kHz and 192 kHz sample rate, the
output word clock is 48 kHz.
Read (Flash Memory)
A click on this button causes all
settings to change to the ones stored
in the flash memory of the Fireface.
Store (in Flash Memory)
A click on this button transmits all
current settings into the flash memory
of the Fireface. Those settings then
become active directly after poweron, and also in stand-alone operation.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
15.2 Clock Modes - Synchronization
In the digital world, all devices must be either Master (clock source) or Slave (clock receiver).
Whenever several devices are linked there must always be a single master clock.
A digital system can only have one master! If the Fireface’s clock mode is set to 'Internal', all
other devices must be set to ‘Slave’.
The Fireface 800 utilizes a very user-friendly, intelligent clock control, called AutoSync. In
AutoSync mode, the system constantly scans all digital inputs for a valid signal. If any valid signal is found, the Fireface switches from the internal quartz (Clock Mode Master) to a clock extracted from the input signal (Clock Mode Slave/AutoSync). The difference to a usual slave
mode is that whenever the clock reference fails, the system will automatically use its internal
clock and operate in Master mode.
AutoSync guarantees that record and record-while-play will always work correctly. In certain
cases however, e.g. when the inputs and outputs of a DAT machine are connected directly to
the Fireface 800, AutoSync may cause feedback in the digital carrier, so synchronization breaks
down. Remedy: switch the Fireface clock mode over to Clock Mode Master.
The Fireface 800’s ADAT and SPDIF inputs operate simultaneously. Because there is no input
selector, the unit has to be told which one of the signals is the sync reference (a digital device
can only be clocked from a single source). The Clock Source selection is used to define a preferred input for the automatic clock system, which stays active as long as a valid signal is found.
To cope with some situations which may arise in studio practice, defining a sync reference is
essential. One example: An ADAT recorder is connected to the ADAT input (ADAT immediately
becomes the AutoSync source) and a CD player is connected to the SPDIF input. Try recording
a few samples from the CD and you will be disappointed - few CD players can be synchronized.
The samples will inevitably be corrupted, because the signal from the CD player is read with the
(wrong) clock from the ADAT i.e. out of sync. In this case, the Clock Source should be set temporarily to SPDIF.
RME’s exclusive SyncCheck technology (first implemented in the Hammerfall) enables an easy
to use check and display of the current clock status. Input Status indicates whether there is a
valid signal (Lock, No Lock) for each input (Word Clock, ADAT, SPDIF and LTC), or if there is a
valid and synchronous signal (Sync). In the field Clock Mode the clock reference is shown. See
chapter 30.1.
With SyncCheck, finally anyone can master this common source of error, previously one of the
most complex issues in the digital studio world.
15.3 Bandwidth Limit
This option allows to reduce the amount of bandwidth used on the FireWire bus. A typical example is the use of the Fireface with a laptop. Only in rare cases both ADAT ports are needed,
in many cases even both stay unused. The option Analog+SPDIF will reduce the amount of
constantly (!) transferred data from around 5 MByte (10 in both directions) to only 2 MByte (4 in
both directions). The FireWire connection will be more stable, reliable and robust, leaving additional bandwidth for other devices. At the same time the CPU and system load is reduced, as
less channels have to be processed and to be transferred. More details are found in chapter
30.4.
Available Settings
All channels (default) activates all 28 input and output channels
Analog + SPDIF + ADAT1 disables channels 21–28 (ADAT2)
Analog + SPDIF activates all 10 analog channels plus SPDIF
Analog 1-8 activates only the first eight analog channels
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35
16. Mac OS X FAQ
16.1 MIDI doesn't work
In some cases MIDI does not work after the installation of the Fireface driver. To be precise,
applications do not show an installed MIDI port. The reason for this is usually visible within the
Audio MIDI Setup. It displays no RME MIDI device, or the device is greyed out and therefore
inactive. Mostly, removing the greyed out device and searching for MIDI devices again will solve
the problem. If this does not help, we recommend manual removal of the MIDI driver and reinstallation of the complete driver. Otherwise repairing permissions may help.
The Fireface MIDI driver is a plugin. During installation it will be copied to >Library/ Audio/
MIDI Drivers<. Its name is Fireface MIDI.plugin. The file can be displayed in the Finder and
also be removed by simply dragging it to the trash bin.
16.2 Repairing Disk Permissions
Repairing permission can solve problems with the installation process - plus many others. To do
this, launch Disk Utility located in Utilities. Select your system drive in the drive/volume list to
the left. The First Aid tab to the right now allows you to check and repair disk permissions.
16.3 Supported Sample Rates
RME's Mac OS X driver supports all sampling frequencies provided by the hardware. This includes 32 kHz and 64 kHz, and even 128 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz.
But not any software will support all the hardware's sample rates. The hardware's capabilities
can easily be verified in the Audio MIDI Setup. Select Audio devices under Properties of:
and choose the Fireface. A click on Format will list the supported sample frequencies.
16.4 Channel Count under Core Audio
At a sample rate of 88.2 or 96 kHz, the ADAT optical input and outputs operate in S/MUX mode,
so the number of available channels per port is reduced from 8 to 4.
It is not possible to change the number of Core Audio devices without a reboot of the computer.
Therefore whenever the Fireface 800 changes into Double Speed (88.2/96 kHz) or Quad Speed
mode (176.4/192 kHz) all devices stay present, but become partly inactive.
Single Speed
Fireface Analog 1 bis 8
Fireface SPDIF L / R
Fireface ADAT 1 bis 8
Fireface ADAT 9 bis 16
Double Speed
Fireface Analog 1 bis 8
Fireface SPDIF L / R
Fireface ADAT 1 bis 8
Fireface ADAT 9 bis 16
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
Quad Speed
Fireface Analog 1 bis 8
Fireface SPDIF L / R
Fireface ADAT 1 bis 8
Fireface ADAT 9 bis 16
16.5 FireWire Compatibility
RME's Fireface 800 should be fully compatible to any FireWire port found on Apple Mac computers. Problems are known with FireWire controllers from LSI Agere Revision 6. Although we
tested compatibility with lots of models, total compatibility can not be guaranteed. In case of
trouble please contact RME.
16.6 Various Information
The current driver of the Fireface 800 requires 10.6 or higher.
Programs that don't support card or channel selection will use the device chosen as Input and
Output in the System Preferences – Sound panel.
Via Launchpad – Other – Audio MIDI Setup the MADIface XT can be configured for the system wide usage in more detail.
Programs that don't support channel selection will always use channels 1/2, the first stereo pair.
To access other inputs, use the following workaround with TotalMix: route the desired input
signal to output channels 1/2. In the channel settings of outputs 1/2 activate Loopback. Result:
the desired input signal is now available at input channel 1/2, without further delay/latency.
Use Configure Speakers to freely configure the stereo or multichannel playback to any available channels.
17. Using more than one Fireface
OS X supports the usage of more than one audio device within an audio software. This is done
via the Core Audio function Aggregate Devices, which combines several devices into one.
The current driver supports up to three Fireface 400 or 800. All units have to be in sync, i.e.
have to receive valid sync information (either via word clock or by using AutoSync and feeding
synchronized signals).
•
If one of the Firefaces is set to clock mode Master, all others have to be set to clock mode
Slave, and have to be synced from the master, for example by feeding word clock. The
clock modes of all units have to be set up correctly in the Fireface Settings dialog.
•
If all units are fed with a synchronous clock, i.e. all units show Sync in their Settings dialog,
all channels can be used at once.
When using more than one Fireface 400/800 the FireWire bus might get overloaded. To prevent
this connect all units to different busses.
Note: TotalMix is part of the hardware of each Fireface. Up to three mixers are available, but
these are separated and can't interchange data. Therefore a global mixer for all units is not
possible.
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18. DIGICheck Mac
The DIGICheck software is a unique utility developed for testing, measuring and analysing digital audio streams. Although this Windows software is fairly self-explanatory, it still includes a
comprehensive online help. DIGICheck 0.683 operates in parallel to any software, showing all
input data. The following is a short summary of the currently available functions:
• Level Meter. High precision 24-bit resolution, 2/10/28 channels. Application examples: Peak
level measurement, RMS level measurement, over-detection, phase correlation measurement, dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratios, RMS to peak difference (loudness), long
term peak measurement, input check. Oversampling mode for levels higher than 0 dBFS.
Vertical and horizontal display. . Slow RMS and RLB weighting filter. Supports visualization
according to the K-System.
• Hardware Level Meter for Input, Playback and Output. Reference Level Meter freely configurable, causing near zero CPU load, because calculated from the Fireface hardware.
• Spectral Analyser. World wide unique 10-, 20- or 30-band display in analog bandpass filter
technology. 192 kHz-capable!
• Vector Audio Scope. World wide unique Goniometer showing the typical afterglow of a
oscilloscope-tube. Includes Correlation meter and level meter.
• Surround Audio Scope. Professional Surround Level Meter with extended correlation
analysis, ITU weighting and ITU summing meter.
• Totalyser. Spectral Analyser, Level Meter and Vector Audio Scope in a single window.
• ITU1770/EBU R128 Meter. For standardized loudness measurements.
• Bit Statistics & Noise. Shows the true resolution of audio signals as well as errors and DC
offset. Includes Signal to Noise measurement in dB and dBA, plus DC measurement.
• Completely multi-client. Open as many measurement windows as you like, on any channels and inputs or outputs!
To install DIGICheck, go to the \DIGICheck directory on the RME Driver CD and run setup.exe.
Follow the instructions prompted on the screen.
DIGICheck is constantly updated. The latest version is always available on our website
www.rme-audio.com, section Downloads / DIGICheck.
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19. Hotline – Troubleshooting
The newest information can always be found on our website www.rme-audio.com, section Support, Macintosh OS. A report about incompatible FireWire 800 controllers is found in the Tech
Info FireWire 800 Hardware – Compatibility Problems.
The unit and drivers have been installed correctly, but playback does not work:
• Is Fireface 800 listed in the System Profiler? (Vendor ID 2613, 800 MB/s).
• Has Fireface been selected as current playback device in the audio application?
The 8 ADAT channels don’t seem to work
• The optical output ADAT2 has been switched to SPDIF. As can be seen in the block diagram, all channels and their assignments still exist, but the optical transmitter has been disconnected from ADAT2 and is now fed from the SPDIF output (channels 11/12). The ADAT2
playback devices are still usable by routing and mixing them in TotalMix to other outputs.
Playback works, but record doesn’t:
• Check that there is a valid signal at the input. If so, the current sample frequency is displayed in the Settings dialog.
• Check whether the Fireface 800 has been selected as recording device in the audio application.
• Check whether the sample frequency set in the audio application (‘Recording properties’ or
similar) matches the input signal.
• Check that cables/devices have not been connected in a closed loop. If so, set the system’s
clock mode to ‘Master’.
Crackle during record or playback:
• Increase the number and size of buffers in the application.
• Try different cables (coaxial or optical) to rule out any defects here.
• Check that cables/devices have not been connected in a closed loop. If so, set the system’s
clock mode to ‘Master’.
• Check the Settings dialog for displayed Errors.
Possible causes for a Fireface not working
•
•
The FireWire cable is not, or not correctly inserted into the socket
No power. After switching the Fireface on, at least the red Host error LED has to be lit.
Driver installation and Settings dialog/TotalMix work, but a playback or record is not possible
•
While recognition and control of the device are low bandwidth applications, playback/record
needs the full FireWire transmission performance. Therefore, defective FireWire cables with
limited transmission bandwidth can cause such an error scheme.
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40
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
User's Guide
Fireface 800
Stand-Alone Operation, Connections
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
41
20. Stand-alone Operation
The Fireface 800 has an internal memory to permanently store all configuration data. These
are:
Settings dialog
Sample rate, clock mode Master/Slave, configuration of the channels and the digital I/Os.
TotalMix
The complete mixer state.
The Fireface loads those settings directly after power-on. A simple, yet useful application is to
store the correct clock mode, avoiding wrong clocking and noise disturbances in a complex
setup, caused by wrong synchronization. Usually the unit will be configured by the Windows
driver, so for the time between power-on of the computer up to the loading of the Windows
driver its state might be wrong.
This total configuration feature in stand-alone operation - without any connected computer turns the Fireface into lots of dedicated devices. Furthermore TotalMix (and with this all the
following examples) can be MIDI-controlled even in stand-alone operation, see chapter 28.8,
Stand-Alone MIDI Control.
20.1 10-Channel AD/DA-Converter
When loading TotalMix' factory default 1 into the unit, the Fireface becomes a high quality 10channel AD/DA-converter, which also provides a monitoring of all 8 DA-channels via channels
9/10 (Preset 2: also monitoring all 10 inputs). A small modification allows for a monitoring of all
I/Os via the SPDIF I/O.
20.2 4-Channel Mic Preamp
Use TotalMix to route the four microphone inputs directly to the analog outputs. This turns the
Fireface 800 into a 4-channel microphone preamp. The AD- and DA-conversion will cause a
small delay of the signals of around 0.4 ms (at 192 kHz, see chapter 35.2). But this is not really
relevant, as it is the same delay that would be caused by changing the microphone's position by
about 14 centimeter (5.6 inches).
20.3 Monitor Mixer
TotalMix allows ANY configuration of all I/Os of the Fireface. For example, set up the device as
monitor mixer for 10 analog signals, 16 digital via ADAT and 2 via SPDIF. Additionally, TotalMix
lets you set up ANY submixes, so all existing outputs can be used for different and independent
monitorings of the input signals. The perfect headphone monitor mixer!
20.4 Digital Format Converter
As TotalMix allows for any routing of the input signals, the Fireface 800 can be used as ADAT
to SPDIF converter, ADAT to two ADAT splitter, and SPDIF to ADAT converter.
20.5 Analog/digital Routing Matrix
The Matrix in TotalMix enables you to route and link all inputs and outputs completely freely. All
the above functionalities are even available simultaneously, can be mixed and combined in
many ways. Simply said: the Fireface 800 is a perfect analog/digital routing matrix!
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
21. Analog Inputs
25.1 Line Rear
The Fireface has eight balanced Line inputs as 1/4" TRS jacks on the back of the unit. The electronic input stage is built in a servo balanced design which handles unbalanced (mono jacks)
and balanced (stereo jacks) correctly, automatically adjusting the level reference.
When using unbalanced cables with TRS jacks: be sure to connect the 'ring' contact of the
TRS jack to ground. Otherwise noise may occur, caused by the unconnected negative input
of the balanced input.
One of the main issues when working with an AD-converter is to maintain the full dynamic
range within the best operating level. Therefore the Fireface 800 internally uses hi-quality electronic switches, which allow for a perfect adaptation of all rear inputs to the three most often
used studio levels.
The 'standardized' studio levels do not result in a (often desired) full scale level, but take some
additional digital headroom into consideration. The amount of headroom is different in different
standards, and again differently implemented by different manufacturers. Because of this we
decided to define the levels of the Fireface in the most compatible way.
Reference
Lo Gain
+4 dBu
-10 dBV
0 dBFS @
+19 dBu
+13 dBu
+2 dBV
Headroom
15 dB
9 dB
12 dB
With +4 dBu selected, the according headroom meets the latest EBU recommendations for
Broadcast usage. At -10 dBV a headroom of 12 dB is common practice, each mixing desk operating at -10 dBV is able to send and receive much higher levels. Lo Gain is best suited for
professional users who prefer to work balanced and at highest levels. Lo Gain provides 15 dB
headroom at +4 dBu nominal level.
The above levels are also found in our ADI-8 series of AD/DA converters, the Multiface, and
even in our Mic-Preamps QuadMic and OctaMic. Therefore all RME devices are fully compatible to each other.
21.2 Microphone / Line Front
The balanced microphone inputs of the Fireface 800 offer an adjustable gain of 10 to 60 dB.
The soft switching, hi-current Phantom power (48 Volt) provides a professional handling of condensor mics. The mic preamp's discreet Class-A front end guarantees a superior sound quality.
With the balanced Line input, which can be used alternatively or at the same time as the microphone, the Fireface 800 becomes even more flexible. 10 kOhm input impedance, stereo TRS
jack and adjustable input sensitivity in a range of 50 dB – this all guarantees that the front-side
Line inputs can be used perfectly with keyboards, sampler, active guitars and much more.
The Line inputs handle levels from –28 dBu up to +22 dBu. Two LEDs display a present signal
(from –45 dBFS on) and warn against overload (-2 dBFS).
Channels 7/8 can be switched between Line rear, microphone, and Line/microphone simultaneously in the Settings dialog. The front Line input can be used simultaneously with the microphone input. This way, up to three different sound sources (Line rear, Line front, microphone)
may be recorded at the same time on one channel.
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21.3 Instrument
The instrument input of the Fireface 800 has been optimized especially for guitar and bass. A
soft clipping function limits the level from –10 dBFS on, and offers tube-like distortion at full
overload. The extra Drive stage adds even more distortion and also increased sustain. The
Speaker Emulator gently shapes the sound for an optimal recording experience.
LIM
The distortion caused by the clipping function of the instrument input is audible. Depending on
use and application the new harmonics can be nice or disturbing:
•
•
•
The guitar's volume pot can blend from clean up to full distortion
A rhythm guitar's sound is enhanced by a popular tube-like sound
All dynamic peaks of a slapped bass guitar are removed without audible artifacts
•
•
An accurately played clean acoustic guitar will sound crunchy
Steady tones sound distorted (guitar / keyboards / bass)
Therefore the Limiter can be switched off in the Settings dialog (Instrument Options Lim.). Technically this is done by applying a digital gain of 12 dB to the input signal. This way, the analog
limiter does no longer reach its threshold of –10 dBFS. But as this also changes the reference
level of the rear input, the Limiter can only be disabled with input channel Front selected.
The digital gain for the instrument input may sound unusual at first. But the AD-converters of the
Fireface 800 are much better than the dynamic ratio of any instrument recording, so when intentionally not recording at fullest level, nothing is lost. At higher gain (=distortion) of the input using
a guitar, switching off the Limiter causes digital distortion, which adds nicely to the analog distortion of the input. Just give it a try…
The Line inputs of the microphone channels can also be used as instrument inputs. Active instruments can be connected directly and be level-adjusted perfectly with the Gain pots. Passive
e-guitars require an additional impedance buffer. Most guitarists have one, but don't know that
they do. Modern floor effects devices are active even in bypass mode, and then operate as
impedance buffer.
Drive
Drive is an additional clipper, for 25 dB more gain (=sustain) plus substantially higher distortion.
It will simply blow you away. Also well suited for bass guitar.
Speaker Emulation
The basic idea of the Fireface 800 instrument input is not to alter the sound in a specific way,
but to pre-condition the sound so that it gets much easier recorded and processed within the
DAW application. This is accomplished by an optimization of the input/record signal via:
•
•
•
•
light pre-clipping (see above)
removing low frequency noise
removing high-frequency noise
a small bass and presence boost
All frequency corrections are part of the Speaker Emulation option. The name is originated by
the fact that guitar cabinets typically show a big level attenuation in the high frequency range,
making distortion sound less brilliant and harsh. After activating this option, a guitar completely
distorted by LIM and Drive will sound excellent even when played directly into a mixing desk.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
22. Analog Outputs
22.1 Line
The eight short circuit protected, low impedance line outputs are available as 1/4" TRS jacks on
the back of the unit. The electronic output stage is built in a servo balanced design which handles unbalanced (mono jacks) and balanced (stereo jacks) correctly.
To maintain an optimum level for devices connected to the analog outputs, the Fireface 800
internally uses hi-quality electronic switches, which allow for a perfect adaptation of all outputs
to the three most often used studio levels.
As with the analog inputs, the analog output levels are defined to maintain a problem-free operation with most other devices. The headroom of the Fireface 800 lies between 9 and 15 dB,
according to the chosen reference level:
Reference
Hi Gain
+4 dBu
-10 dBV
0 dBFS @
+19 dBu
+13 dBu
+2 dBV
Headroom
15 dB
9 dB
12 dB
With +4 dBu selected, the according headroom meets the latest EBU recommendations for
Broadcast usage. At -10 dBV a headroom of 12 dB is common practice, each mixing desk operating at -10 dBV is able to send and receive much higher levels. Lo Gain is best suited for
professional users who prefer to work balanced and at highest levels. Lo Gain provides 15 dB
headroom at +4 dBu nominal level.
The above levels are also found in our ADI-8 series of AD/DA converters, the Multiface, and
even in our Mic-Preamps QuadMic and OctaMic. Therefore all RME devices are fully compatible to each other.
22.2 Headphones
Channels 9/10 of the Fireface are available on the front via one 1/4" unbalanced TRS jack (stereo output). These channels use the same converters as the other Line outputs, therefore offer
the same technical data (119 dBA SNR!).
Instead of using internal electronic switches, their output level is changed step-less with the
VOL pot. These outputs are special low impedance types, ready to be used with headphones.
But they can also be used as high-quality (yet unbalanced) Line outputs.
Like all other outputs, channels 9/10 can also
be controlled by TotalMix regarding level and
monitoring of any input or playback channels
(submix, like factory presets 1 and 2).
In case the output should operate as line
output, an adapter TRS plug to RCA phono
plugs, or TRS plug to TS plugs is required.
The pin assignment follows international
standards. The left channel is connected to the
tip, the right channel to the ring of the TRS
jack/plug.
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23. Digital Connections
27.1 ADAT
The ADAT optical inputs of the Fireface 800 are fully compatible with all ADAT optical outputs.
RME's unsurpassed Bitclock PLL prevents clicks and drop outs even in extreme varipitch operation, and guarantees a fast and low jitter lock to the digital input signal. A usual TOSLINK
cable is sufficient for connection. More information on Double Speed (S/MUX) can be found in
chapter 37.5.
ADAT1 In
Interface for the first or only device sending an ADAT signal to the Fireface 800. Carries the
channels 1 to 8. When receiving a Double Speed signal, this input carries the channels 1 to 4.
ADAT2 In
Interface for the second device sending an ADAT signal to the Fireface 800. Carries the channels 9 to 16. When receiving a Double Speed signal, this input carries the channels 5 to 8. Can
also be used as SPDIF optical input.
ADAT1 Out
Interface for the first or only device receiving an ADAT signal from the Fireface 800. Transmits
channels 1 to 8. When sending a Double Speed signal, this port carries channels 1 to 4.
ADAT2 Out
Interface for the second device receiving an ADAT signal from the Fireface 800. Transmits
channels 9 to 16. When sending a Double Speed signal, this port carries channels 5 to 8. Can
also be used as SPDIF optical output.
23.2 SPDIF
The SPDIF input is configured in the Settings dialog, available by a click on the fire symbol in
the Task Bar's system tray. The Fireface 800 accepts all commonly used digital sources as well
as SPDIF and AES/EBU. Channel status and copy protection are ignored.
To receive signals in AES/EBU format, an
adapter cable is required. Pins 2 and 3 of
a female XLR plug are connected individually to the two pins of a phono plug.
The cable shielding is only connected to
pin 1 of the XLR - not to the phono plug.
The ground-free design, with transformers for coaxial digital inputs and outputs, offers a troublefree connection of all devices along with perfect hum rejection and full AES/EBU compatibility.
In SPDIF mode, identical signals are available at both the optical and the coaxial output. An
obvious use for this would be to connect two devices, i.e. using the Fireface 800 as a splitter
(distribution 1 on 2).
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
Special Characteristics of the SPDIF Output
Apart from the audio data itself, digital signals in SPDIF or AES/EBU format have a header containing channel status information. False channel status is a common cause of malfunction. The
Fireface 800 ignores the received header and creates a totally new one for the output signal.
Note that in record or monitor modes, set emphasis bits will disappear. Recordings originally done with emphasis should always be played back with the emphasis bit set!
This can be done by selecting the Emphasis switch in the Settings dialog (SPDIF Out). This
setting is updated immediately, even during playback.
Note: Recordings with (pre-) emphasis show a treble boost (50/15 µs), which has to be compensated at playback. Therefore, when selecting Emphasis all analog outputs will be processed
by a treble filter based on 50/15µs, which sounds like a high cut.
The Fireface’s new output header is optimized for largest compatibility with other digital devices:
• 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz depending on the current
sample rate
• Audio use, Non-Audio
• No Copyright, Copy Permitted
• Format Consumer or Professional
• Category General, Generation not indicated
• 2-channel, No Emphasis or 50/15 µs
• Aux bits Audio Use
Professional AES/EBU equipment can be connected to the Fireface 800 thanks to the transformer-balanced coaxial outputs, and the ‘Professional’ format option with doubled output voltage. Output cables should have the same pinout as those used for input (see above), but with a
male XLR plug instead of a female one.
Note that most consumer HiFi equipment (with optical or phono SPDIF inputs) will only accept signals in ‘Consumer’ format!
The audio bit in the header can be set to 'Non-Audio'. This is often necessary when Dolby AC-3
encoded data is sent to external decoders (surround-sound receivers, television sets etc. with
AC-3 digital inputs), as these decoders would otherwise not recognize the data as AC-3.
23.3 MIDI
Fireface 800 offers one MIDI I/O via two 5-pin DIN jacks. The MIDI ports are added to the system by the driver. Using MIDI capable software, these ports can be accessed under the name
Fireface Midi. Using more than one Fireface, the operating system adds a consecutive number
to the port name, like Fireface MIDI (2) etc.
The MIDI ports support multi-client operation. A MIDI input signal can be received from several
programs at the same time. Even the MIDI output can be used by multiple programs simultaneously. However, due to the limited bandwidth of MIDI, this kind of application will often show
various problems.
Note: The MIDI input LED displays any kind of MIDI activity, including MIDI Clock, MTC and
Active Sensing. The latter is sent by most keyboards every 0.3 seconds.
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24. Word Clock
24.1 Word Clock Input and Output
SteadyClock guarantees an excellent performance in all clock modes. Based on the highly efficient jitter suppression, the Fireface refreshes and cleans up any clock signal, and provides it
as reference clock at the BNC output (see section 30.9).
Input
The Fireface's transformer isolated word clock input is active when Pref. Sync Ref in the Settings dialog has been switched to Word Clock, the clock mode AutoSync has been activated,
and a valid word clock signal is present. The signal at the BNC input can be Single, Double or
Quad Speed, the Fireface 800 automatically adapts to it. As soon as a valid signal is detected,
the WC LED is lit, and the Settings dialog shows either Lock or Sync (see chapter 30.1).
Thanks to RME's Signal Adaptation Circuit, the word clock input still works correctly even with
heavily mis-shaped, dc-prone, too small or overshoot-prone signals. Thanks to automatic signal
centering, 300 mV (0.3V) input level are sufficient in principle. An additional hysteresis reduces
sensitivity to 1.0 V, so that over- and undershoots and high frequency disturbances don't cause
a wrong trigger.
The Fireface's word clock input is shipped as high impedance type (not terminated). A push switch allows to activate internal termination (75 Ohms). The switch is found
on the back beside the word clock input socket. Use a
small pencil or similar and carefully push the blue switch
so that it snaps into its lock position. The yellow LED will
be lit when termination is active. Another push will release
it again and de-activate the termination.
Output
The word clock output of the Fireface is constantly active, providing the current sample frequency as word clock signal. As a result, in Master mode the provided word clock is defined by
the currently used software. In Slave mode the provided frequency is identical to the one present at the currently chosen clock input. When the current clock signal fails, the Fireface 800
switches to Master mode and adjusts itself to the next, best matching frequency (44.1 kHz, 48
kHz etc.).
Selecting Single Speed in the Settings dialog causes the output signal to always stay within the
range of 32 kHz to 48 kHz. So at 96 kHz and 192 kHz sample rate, the output word clock is 48
kHz.
The received word clock signal can be distributed to other devices by using the word clock output. With this the usual T-adapter can be avoided, and the Fireface 800 operates as Signal
Refresher. This kind of operation is highly recommended, because
•
•
•
input and output are phase-locked and in phase (0°) to each other
SteadyClock removes nearly all jitter from the input signal
the exceptional input (1 Vpp sensitivity instead of the usual 2.5 Vpp, dc cut, Signal Adaptation Circuit) plus SteadyClock guarantee a secure function even with highly critical word
clock signals
Thanks to a low impedance, but short circuit proof output, the Fireface delivers 4 Vpp to 75
Ohms. For wrong termination with 2 x 75 Ohms (37.5 Ohms), there are still 3.3 Vpp at the output.
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24.2 Technical Description and Usage
In the analog domain one can connect any device to another device, a synchronization is not
necessary. Digital audio is different. It uses a clock, the sample frequency. The signal can only
be processed and transmitted when all participating devices share the same clock. If not, the
signal will suffer from wrong samples, distortion, crackle sounds and drop outs.
AES/EBU, SPDIF and ADAT are self-clocking, an additional word clock connection in principle
isn't necessary. But when using more than one device simultaneously problems are likely to
happen. For example any self-clocking will not work in a loop cabling, when there is no 'master'
(main clock) inside the loop. Additionally the clock of all participating devices has to be synchronous. This is often impossible with devices limited to playback, for example CD players, as
these have no SPDIF input, thus can't use the self clocking technique as clock reference.
In a digital studio synchronisation is maintained by connecting all devices to a central sync
source. For example the mixing desk works as master and sends a reference signal, the word
clock, to all other devices. Of course this will only work as long as all other devices are
equipped with a word clock or sync input, thus being able to work as slave (some professional
CD players indeed have a word clock input). Then all devices get the same clock and will work
in every possible combination with each other.
Remember that a digital system can only have one master! If the Fireface's clock mode is
set to 'Master', all other devices must be set to ‘Slave’.
But word clock is not only the 'great problem solver', it also has some disadvantages. The word
clock is based on a fraction of the really needed clock. For example SPDIF: 44.1 kHz word
clock (a simple square wave signal) has to be multiplied by 256 inside the device using a special PLL (to about 11.2 MHz). This signal then replaces the one from the quartz crystal. Big
disadvantage: because of the high multiplication factor the reconstructed clock will have great
deviations called jitter. The jitter of a word clock is typically 15 times higher as when using a
quartz based clock.
The end of these problems should have been the so called Superclock, which uses 256 times
the word clock frequency. This equals the internal quartz frequency, so no PLL for multiplying is
needed and the clock can be used directly. But reality was different, the Superclock proved to
be much more critical than word clock. A square wave signal of 11 MHz distributed to several
devices - this simply means to fight with high frequency technology. Reflections, cable quality,
capacitive loads - at 44.1 kHz these factors may be ignored, at 11 MHz they are the end of the
clock network. Additionally it was found that a PLL not only generates jitter, but also rejects
disturbances. The slow PLL works like a filter for induced and modulated frequencies above
several kHz. As the Superclock is used without any filtering such a kind of jitter and noise suppression is missing.
The actual end of these problems is offered by the SteadyClock technology of the Fireface
800. Combining the advantages of modern and fastest digital technology with analog filter techniques, re-gaining a low jitter clock signal of 22 MHz from a slow word clock of 44.1 kHz is no
problem anymore. Additionally, jitter on the input signal is highly rejected, so that even in real
world usage the re-gained clock signal is of highest quality.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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24.3 Cabling and Termination
Word clock signals are usually distributed in the form of a network, split with BNC T-adapters
and terminated with resistors. We recommend using off-the-shelf BNC cables to connect all
devices, as this type of cable is used for most computer networks. You will find all the necessary components (T-adapters, terminators, cables) in most electronics and/or computer stores.
The latter usually carries 50 Ohms components. The 75 Ohms components used for word clock
are part of video techology (RG59).
Ideally, the word clock signal is a 5 Volt square wave with the frequency of the sample rate, of
which the harmonics go up to far above 500 kHz. To avoid voltage loss and reflections, both the
cable itself and the terminating resistor at the end of the chain should have an impedance of 75
Ohm. If the voltage is too low, synchronization will fail. High frequency reflection effects can
cause both jitter and sync failure.
Unfortunately there are still many devices on the market, even newer digital mixing consoles,
which are supplied with a word clock output that can only be called unsatisfactory. If the output
breaks down to 3 Volts when terminating with 75 Ohms, you have to take into account that a
device, of which the input only works from 2.8 Volts and above, does not function correctly already after 3 meter cable length. So it is not astonishing that because of the higher voltage,
word clock networks are in some cases more stable and reliable if cables are not terminated at
all.
Ideally all outputs of word clock delivering devices are designed as low impedance types, but all
word clock inputs as high impedance types, in order to not weaken the signal on the chain. But
there are also negative examples, when the 75 Ohms are built into the device and cannot be
switched off. In this case the network load is often 2 x 75 Ohms, and the user is forced to buy a
special word clock distributor. Note that such a device is generally recommended for bigger
studios.
The Fireface's word clock input can be high-impedance or terminated internally, ensuring maximum flexibility. If termination is necessary (e.g. because the Fireface is the last device in the
chain), push the switch at the back beside the BNC socket (see chapter 24.1).
In case the Fireface 800 resides within a chain of devices receiving word clock, plug a Tadapter into its BNC input jack, and the cable supplying the word clock signal to one end of the
adapter. Connect the free end to the next device in the chain via a further BNC cable. The last
device in the chain should be terminated using another T-adapter and a 75 Ohm resistor (available as short BNC plug). Of course devices with internal termination do not need T-adaptor and
terminator plug.
Due to the outstanding SteadyClock technology of the Fireface 800, we recommend not to
pass the input signal via T-adapter, but to use the Fireface's word clock output instead.
Thanks to SteadyClock, the input signal will both be freed from jitter and - in case of loss or
drop out – be reset to a valid frequency.
24.4 Operation
The green Lock LED on the front (DIGITAL STATE) will light up as soon as a word clock signal
is detected. To change to word clock as clock source, activate clock mode AutoSync and switch
Pref. Sync Ref to Word Clock within the Settings dialog. The status display AutoSync Ref
changes to Word as soon as a valid signal is present at the BNC jack. This message has the
same meaning as the green Lock LED, but appears on the monitor, i.e. the user can check
immediately whether a valid word clock signal is present and is currently being used.
AutoSync Ref also displays the frequency (Freq.) of the reference signal, here the frequency of
the current word clock signal, measured by the hardware.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
User's Guide
Fireface 800
TotalMix FX
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
51
25. TotalMix: Routing and Monitoring
25.1 Overview
The Fireface 800 includes a powerful digital real-time mixer, the Fireface mixer, based on
RME’s unique, sample-rate independent TotalMix technology. It allows for practically unlimited
mixing and routing operations, with all inputs and playback channels simultaneously, to any
hardware outputs.
Here are some typical applications for TotalMix:
• Setting up delay-free submixes (headphone mixes). The Fireface allows for up to 14 fully
independent stereo submixes. On an analog mixing desk, this would equal 28 Aux sends.
• Unlimited routing of inputs and outputs (free utilisation, patchbay functionality).
• Distributing signals to several outputs at a time. TotalMix offers state-of-the-art splitter and
distributor functions.
• Simultaneous playback of different programs via a single stereo output. The ASIO multiclient driver supports the usage of several programs at the same time. When done on different playback channels TotalMix provides the means to mix and monitor these on a single
stereo output.
• Mixing of the input signal to the playback signal (complete ASIO Direct Monitoring). RME not
only is the pioneer of ADM, but also offers the most complete implementation of the ADM
functions.
• Integration of external devices. Use TotalMix to insert external effects devices, be it in the
playback or in the record path. Depending on the current application, the functionality equals
insert or effects send and effects return, for example as used during real-time monitoring
when adding some reverb to the vocals.
Every single input channel, playback channel and hardware output features a Peak and RMS
level meter, calculated in hardware. These level displays are very useful to determine the presence and routing destinations of the audio signals.
For a better understanding of the TotalMix mixer you should know the following:
• As shown in the block diagram (next page), the record signal usually stays un-altered. TotalMix does not reside within the record path, and does not change the record level or the
audio data to be recorded (exception: loopback mode).
• The hardware input signal can be passed on as often as desired, even with different levels.
This is a big difference to conventional mixing desks, where the channel fader always controls the level for all routing destinations simultaneously.
• The level meter of inputs and playback channels are connected pre-fader, to be able to
visually monitor where a signal is currently present. The level meters of the hardware’s outputs are connected post-fader, thus displaying the actual output level.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
53
25.2 The User Interface
The visual design of the TotalMix mixer is a result of its capability to route hardware inputs and
software playback channels to any hardware output. The Fireface 800 provides 28 input channels, 28 software playback channels, and 28 hardware output channels:
TotalMix can be used in the above view (View Options 2 Row). However, the default is a vertical alignment in three rows as known from an Inline desk, so that the row Software Playback
equals the Tape Return of a real mixing desk:
• Top row: Hardware inputs. The level shown is that of the input signal, i. e. fader independent. Via fader and routing menu, any input channel can be routed and mixed to any hardware output (bottom row).
• Middle row: Playback channels (playback tracks of the audio software). Via fader and routing
menu, any playback channel can be routed and mixed to any hardware output (third row).
• Bottom row (third row): Hardware outputs. Here, the total level of the output can be adjusted.
This may be the level of connected loudspeakers, or the necessity to reduce the level of an
overloaded submix.
Usage in mode Submix View (Default): simply click on the hardware output channel where
you want to have an audio signal. This channel turns brighter, means it is selected as current
submix. Now move the faders up from all sources - input and playback channels - that you want
to hear at the submix output.
The following chapters explain step by step all functions of the user interface.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
25.3 The Channels
A single channel can be switched between mono and stereo mode. The mode is set in the
channel settings. Hardware Outputs are always stereo.
Channel name. The name field is the preferred place to select a channel by a mouse click. A
double click opens a dialog to assign a different name. The original name will be shown when
activating the option Names in the View Options.
Panorama. Routes the input signal freely to the left and right routing destination
(lower label, see below). The level reduction in center position is -3 dB.
Mute and Solo. Input channels and playback channels each have a mute and solo
button.
Numerical level display. Shows the current RMS or Peak level, updated twice per
second. OVR means overload. The setting Peak/RMS is changed in the View
Options.
Level meter. The meter shows both peak values (zero attack, 1 sample is enough
for a full scale display) by means of a yellow line, and mathematically correct RMS
values by means of a green bar. The RMS display has a relatively slow time constant, so that it shows the average loudness quite well. Overs are shown in red at
the top of the bar. In the Preferences dialog (F2) the Peak Hold time, the over
detection and the RMS reference can be set.
Fader. Determines the gain/level of the signal routed to the current routing destination (lower
label). Please note that this fader is not the fader of the channel, but only the fader of the current routing. Compared to a standard mixing desk TotalMix does not have a channel fader, but
only Aux Sends, as many as there are hardware outputs. Therefore TotalMix can create as
many different Submixes as there are hardware outputs. This concept is understood best in the
Submix View, but more on that later.
Below the fader the Gain is shown in a numerical display field, according to the current fader
position. The fader can be:
¾
dragged with the left mouse button pressed
¾
moved by the mouse wheel
¾
set to 0 dB and −∞ by a double click. The same
happens with a single click plus held down Ctrl key.
¾
adjusted in fine mode by mouse drag and mouse wheel
when holding the Shift key down
A Shift-click on a fader adds the fader to the temporary
fader group. All faders now marked yellow are ganged, and
move simultaneously in a relative way. The temporary fader
group is deleted by a click on the F symbol in the upper right
of the window.
The arrow symbol at the bottom minimizes the channel width to that of the level meters. Another click maximizes it again. A mouse click with held Ctrl key causes all channels to the right
to enlarge and minimize at once.
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55
The lowest field shows the current routing target. A mouse click
opens the routing window to select a routing target. The list shows
all activated routings of the current channel by arrows in front of the
listed entries, the current one is shown in bold letters.
An arrow is only shown with an activated routing. A routing is seen
as activated when audio data is sent. As long as the fader is set to
−∞ the current routing will be shown in bold letters, but not have an
arrow in the front.
Trim Gain. After a click on the T-button one channel’s faders are all synchronized. Instead of
changing only a single routing the fader affects all the channel’s active routings. For a better
overview the faders currently not visible are indicated by orange triangles beside the fader path.
When moving the fader the triangles also move to a new position, equalling the faders new
settings.
Note that the fader button is set to the highest routing gain of all routings so that best control is
offered. The gain (fader knob position) of the currently active routing (the submix selected in the
third row) is shown as white triangle.
Background: TotalMix has no fixed channel fader. In case of the Fireface 800
there are 14 stereo Aux sends, shown alternately as single fader within the
channel strip. The high number of Aux sends enables multiple and fully
independent routings.
In some cases it is necessary to synchronize the gain changes of these routings.
An example is the Post fader function, where a change of the singer’s volume
shall be performed identical to the volume change of the signal sent to the reverb
device, so that the reverb level keeps its relation to the original signal. Another
example is the signal of a guitar that is routed to different submixes, means
hardware outputs, which gets much too loud during the solo part, and therefore
needs to be reduced in volume on all outputs simultaneously. After a click on the
Trim button this can be done easily and with a perfect overview.
As all channel’s routings change simultaneously when Trim is active, this mode
basically causes the same behaviour as a trim pot within the input channel,
affecting the signal already before the mixer. That’s how this function got its name.
In the View Options - Show the function Trim Gains can be globally switched on and off for all
channels. The global Trim mode is recommended when using TotalMix FX as live mixing desk.
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A click on the tool symbol opens the channel’s Settings panel.
Stereo. Switches the channel to mono or stereo mode.
Width. Setting the stereo width. 1.00 equals full stereo, 0.00 mono, 1.00 swapped channels.
MS Proc. Activates M/S processing within the stereo channel. Monaural
information is sent to the left channel, stereo information to the right.
Phase L. Inverts the phase of the left channel by 180°.
Phase R. Inverts the phase of the right channel by 180°.
Note: the functions Width, MS Proc, Phase L and Phase R affect all
routings of the respective channel.
Besides Stereo/Mono, Phase L und Phase R the settings of the
Hardware Outputs have further options:
Talkback. Activates this channel as receiver and output of the Talkback
signal. This way Talkback can be sent to any outputs, not only the
Phones in the Control Room section. Another application could be to
send a certain signal to specific outputs by the push of a button.
No Trim. Sometimes channels need to have a fixed routing and level,
which should not be changed in any case. An example is the stereo
mixdown for recording of a live show. With No Trim active, the routing to
this output channel is excluded from the Trim Gains function, therefore is
not changed unintentionally.
Loopback. Sends the output data to the driver as record data. The corresponding submix can be recorded then. This channel’s hardware input
sends its data only to TotalMix, no longer to the recording software.
Another difference to the input and playback channels is the Cue button instead of Solo. A click
on Cue sends the respective Hardware Output’s audio to the Main Out, or any of the Phones
outputs (option Assign / Cue to in the Control Room section). With this any hardware output can
be controlled and listened to through the monitoring output very conveniently.
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57
25.4 Section Control Room
In the section Control Room the menu Assign is used to define the Main Out which is used for
listening in the studio. For this output the functions Dim, Recall, Mono and Talkback are automatically applied.
Additionally the channel will be shifted from the Hardware
Outputs into the Control Room section, and renamed Main.
The same happens when assigning Main Out B or the
Phones. The original name can be displayed by the function
Names in the View Options at any time.
Phones 1 to 4 will have dim (set in Settings) and a special
routing applied when Talkback is activated. Also putting them
beside the Main Out increases the overview within the output
section greatly.
Dim. The volume will be reduced by the amount set in the
Settings dialog (F3).
Recall. Sets the gain value defined in the Settings dialog.
Speaker B. Switches playback from Main Out to Main Out B.
The faders of the channels Main and Speaker B can be
ganged via Link.
Mono. Mixes left and right channel. Useful to check for mono compatibility and phase problems.
Talkback. A click on this button will dim all signals on the Phones outputs by an amount set up
in the Preferences dialog. At the same time the control room's microphone signal (source defined in Preferences) is sent to the Phones. The microphone level is adjusted with the channel's
input fader.
External Input. Switches Main monitoring from the mix bus to the stereo input defined in the
Settings dialog (F3). The relative volume of the stereo signal is adjusted there as well.
Assign. Allows to define the Main Out, Main
Out B (Speaker B), and up to four Phones
outputs.
The output for the Cue signal, which is
usually Main, can also be set to one of the
Phones outputs. The Cue/PFL monitoring is
also set up in this dialog.
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
25.5 The Control Strip
The Control Strip on the right side is a fixed element. It combines different
functions that are either required globally, or constantly used, and therefore
should not be hidden in a menu.
Device selection. Select the unit to be controlled in case more than one is
installed on the computer.
Undo / Redo. With the unlimited Undo and Redo changes of the mix can be
undone and redone, at any time. Undo/Redo does not cover graphical
changes (window size, position, channels wide/narrow etc.), and also no
changes to the Presets.
Undo/Redo also operates across Workspaces. Therefore a completely
differently set up mixer view can be loaded via Workspace, and with a single
click on Undo the previous internal mixer state is returned – but the new
mixer view stays.
Global Mute Solo Fader.
Mute. Global Mute operates in a pre fader style, muting all currently activated routings of the
channel. As soon as any Mute button is pressed, the Mute Master button lights up in the Control
Strip area. With this button all selected mutes can be switched off and on again. One can comfortably set up a mute group or activate and deactivate several mute buttons simultaneously.
Solo. As soon as any Solo button is pressed, the Solo Master button lights up in the Control
Strip area. With this button all selected Solos are switched off and on again. Solo operates as
Solo-in-Place, post fader style, as known from common mixing desks. A typical limitation for
mixing desks, Solo working only globally and only for the Main Out, does not exist in TotalMix.
Solo is always activated for the current submix only.
Fader. A Shift-click on a fader adds the fader to the temporary fader group. All faders now
marked yellow are ganged, and move simultaneously in a relative way. The temporary fader
group is deleted by a click on the F symbol.
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59
25.5.1 View Options
View Options - Show. This area combines different functions of routing, the level meters and
the mixer view.
Routing Mode
¾
Submix: The Submix view (default) is the preferred view and delivers the
quickest overview, operation and understanding of TotalMix. The click on
one of the Hardware Output channels selects the respective submix, all
other outputs are darkened. At the same time all routing fields are set to
this channel. With Submix view, it is very easy to generate a submix for
any output: select the output channel, adjust the fader and pans of first
and second row – finished.
¾
Free: The Free view is for advanced users. It is used to edit several
submixes simultaneously, without the need to change between them.
Here one works with the routings fields of the input and playback
channels only, which then show different routing destinations.
Level Meters
¾
Post FX. Not available for the Fireface 800.
¾
RMS Level. The numerical level display in the channels displays peak or RMS.
Show
¾
FX. Not available for the Fireface 800.
¾
Trim. Activates all Trim buttons on all channels. TotalMix thus behaves like a conventional,
simple mixing desk. Each fader affects all active routings of the channel simultaneously, as
if the fader were a trim-pot in the hardware input.
¾
2 Row. Switches the mixer view to 2 rows. Hardware Inputs and Software Playbacks are
placed side by side. This view saves a lot of space, especially in height.
¾
Names. Display of the original names of channels when they had been renamed by the
user.
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25.5.2 Snapshots - Groups
Snapshots. Snapshots include all mixer settings, but no graphical elements like window positions, window size, number of windows, visible settings, scroll states etc. Only the state
wide/narrow of the channels is registered. Moreover the Snapshot is only temporarily stored.
Loading a Workspace causes the loss of all stored Snapshots, when these all had not been
saved before in a Workspace, or separately via File / Save Snapshot as. Via File / Load Snapshot the mixer states can be loaded individually.
Eight different mixes can be stored under individual names in the Snapshot
section. A click on any of the eight buttons loads the corresponding
Snapshot. A double click on the name field opens the dialog Input Name to
edit the name. As soon as the mixer state is changed the button starts
flashing. A click on Store lets all buttons flash, whereby the last loaded one,
the base of the current state, flashes inversely. The storage finishes by
clicking the desired button (means storage place). The storage process is
exited by another click on the flashing Store button.
The area Snapshots can be minimized by a click on the arrow in the title bar.
Groups. The area Groups provides 4 storage places each for fader, mute
and solo groups. The groups are valid per Workspace, being active and
usable in all 8 Snapshots. But with this they are also lost when loading a new
workspace, in case they have not been saved before in a different
Workspace.
Note: The Undo function will help in case of an accidental overwrite or
deletion of the groups.
TotalMix uses flashing signals to guide you through the group setup. After a click on Edit and
click on the desired storage place all desired functions for this group have to be activated or
selected. The storage process is finished by another click on Edit.
When setting up a fader group, make sure to not add faders that are at the most top or most
lowest position, except all faders of that group have this position.
The Mute groups operate – other than the global mute – exclusively for the current routing. This
way you can not mute signals on all outputs unintentionally. Instead signals can be muted on
specific submixes by the push of a button.
A solo group operates exactly like the global solo, signals outside the current routing are not
affected.
25.5.3 Channel Layout - Layout Presets
To maintain overview within TotalMix FX channels can be hidden. Channels can also be excluded from being remoted. Under Options / Channel Layout a dialog lists all I/Os with their
current state. Selecting one or several channels enables the options to the right:
¾
¾
¾
Hide Channel in Mixer/Matrix. The selected channels are no longer shown in TotalMix FX,
nor are they available via MIDI or OSC remote control.
Hide Channel in MIDI Remote 1-4. The selected channels are hidden for MIDI remote (CC
and Mackie Protocol).
Hide Channel in OSC Remote 1-4. The selected channels are hidden for OSC remote
control.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
61
Hidden channels in Mixer/Matrix are still fully functional. An existing routing/mixing/FX processing stays active. But as the channel is no longer visible it can not be edited anymore. At the
same time the hidden channels are removed from the list of remote controllable channels, to
prevent them from being edited unnoticed.
Hidden channels in MIDI Remote x are removed from the list of remote controllable channels.
Within an 8-channel block of a Mackie compatible control they are skipped. The control therefore is no longer bound to consecutive orders. For example it will control channels 1, 2, and 6
to 11, when channels 3 to 5 are hidden.
The same can be
done for OSC.
With unnecessary
channels
made
invisible for the
OSC remote the
more
important
channels
are
available as one
block
on
the
remote.
The dialog can be
called
directly
from TotalMix by a
right mouse click
on any channel.
The
corresponding channel
will
then
be
preselected in the
dialog.
Rows Inputs, Playbacks and Outputs are set up individually by the tabs at the top. Active indicates currently available channels. At higher sample rates many ADAT channels are no longer
active. In Use shows which channels are currently used in the mixing process.
In the above example the SPDIF input channel has been made invisible. When SPDIF is not
used this is an easy way to remove it from the mixer completely. A more complex setup would
be to only show all channels of the drum section, the horn section or the violins.
After finishing those settings the whole state can be stored as Layout Preset.
A click on Store and the desired memory slot makes the current channel
layout recallable anytime. The button All makes all channels temporarily
visible again.
With a simple click on a button it will then be possible to easily switch views of
only the channels involved with the mixing of the drum section, the horn
section, the violins, or any other useful view. An optimized remote layout can
be activated here as well, with or without visible changes. Double-click the
default slot name to enter any other name.
Layout Presets are stored within the Workspace, so make sure to save the current state
before loading a different Workspace!
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The button Sub activates another useful special view. When in Submix view, Sub will cause all
channels to disappear that are not part of the currently selected Submix/Hardware Output. Sub
temporarily shows the mix based on all channels from Inputs and Playback row, independent
from the current Layout Preset. That makes it very easy to see and to verify which channels are
mixed/routed to the current output. Sub makes checking and verifying of mixes, but also the mix
editing itself, a lot easier, and maintains perfect overview even with lots of channels.
25.5.4 Scroll Location Markers
Another feature to improve overview and working with TotalMix FX are scroll location markers
(TotalMix view only). These are displayed automatically when the horizontal size of the TotalMix
FX window is smaller than the channel display requires. Shown on the right side of the scrollbar
of each row they have four elements:
¾
¾
¾
¾
Arrow to the left. A left mouse
click let the channels scroll to the
very first one, or most left.
1. Marker number 1. Scroll to the
desired position and perform a right
mouse click on 1. A dialog comes
up with precise information. Once
stored, a left mouse click will scroll
the channels to the stored position.
2. Marker number 2. See 1 for
details.
Arrow to the right. A left mouse
click let the channels scroll the last
one, or most right.
Location markers are stored in the
Workspace.
Application Examples
While originally added to improve navigation in the HDSPe MADI FX (having 196 channels that
never fit on any screen), the scroll location markers are also helpful with units having much less
channels:
•
•
When the TotalMix FX window is intentionally made small in width, so only a few channels
are shown.
When some or all settings panels are open. Then all relevant settings are always visible,
but require a lot of space horizontally.
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63
25.6 Preferences
The dialog Preferences can be opened via the Options menu or directly via F2.
Level Meters
¾ Full scale samples for OVR. Number
of consecutive samples to trigger an
over detection (1 to 10).
¾ Peak Hold Time. Hold time of the peak
value. Adjustable from 0.1 up to 9.9 s.
¾ RMS +3 dB. Shifts the RMS value by
+3 dB, so that full scale level is identical
for Peak and RMS at 0 dBFS.
Mixer Views
¾ FX Send follows highest Submix.
Not available for the Fireface 800.
¾ Center Balance/Pan when changing
Mono/Stereo. When switching a stereo
channel into two mono channels the
pan-pots are set fully left and right. This
option will set them to center instead.
¾ Disable double click fader action.
Prevents unintentional gain settings, for
example when using sensitive touchpads.
Dynamic Meters
Not available for the Fireface 800.
Snapshots
¾ Do not load Main volume/balance.
The values stored in the Snapshot are
not loaded for the Main Out, so the
current setting is not changed.
Device Handling
¾ Always init DSP devices with
TotalMix FX settings. Not available for
the Fireface 800. When connecting to a
computer TotalMix FX will immediately
load its settings into the unit, overwriting
the current ones in the unit.
¾ Count MADI Channels per port. Not
available for the Fireface 800.
¾ Disable ASIO Direct Monitoring. Disables ASIO Direct Monitoring (ADM) for the Fireface
800 within TotalMix FX.
Graphics
¾ Use D2D (Change requires restart). Default on. Can be deactivated to use a compatible
but CPU-taxing graphics mode, in case graphics problems show up.
Store Setting for (Windows only)
¾ All Users (Restart required). See next chapter.
Special Options
¾ Lock User Interface. Default off. Can be activated to freeze the current mix state. Faders,
buttons and knobs relating to the mix state can not be moved anymore.
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25.6.1 Store for Current or All Users (Windows)
TotalMix FX stores all settings, workspaces and snapshots for the current user in:
XP: C:\Documents and Settings\ Username\Local Settings\ Application Data\TotalMixFX
Vista/7/8: C.\Users\Username\AppData\Local\TotalMixFX
Current User ensures that when workstations are used by several people they all find their own
settings. In case the settings should be identical or given for any user, TotalMix FX can be
changed to use the All User directory. An admin could even write protect the file lastFireface8001.xml, which results in a complete reset to that file’s content whenever TotalMix FX is
restarted. The xml-file is updated on exit, so simply set up TotalMix as desired and exit it (right
mouse click on the symbol in the notification area).
25.7 Settings
The dialog Settings can be opened via the Options menu or directly via F3.
25.7.1 Mixer Page
On the mixer page some typical settings for the mixer operation are set, like Talkback source,
Dim amount when Talkback is active, the stored main volume or the input used for the External
Input function.
Talkback
¾ Input. Selects the input channel of the
Talkback signal (microphone in control
room). Default: None.
¾ Dim. Amount of attenuation of the
signals routed to the Phones in dB.
Listenback
¾ Input. Selects the input channel of the
Listenback signal (microphone in
recording room). Default: None.
¾ Dim. Amount of attenuation of the
signals routed to the Main Out in dB.
Main Out
¾ Recall. User defined listening volume,
activated by the Recall button at the
unit or in TotalMix.
¾ Dim. Amount of attenuation for the
Main Out in dB.
¾ External Input. Selects the stereo
input that replaces the mix signal on
the Main Out when activated. The
volume of the stereo signal is adjusted
by the slider Gain.
PFL Mode
¾ Live Mode, PFL replaces Solo. PFL means Pre Fader Listening. This feature is very useful when operating TotalMix in a live environment, as it allows to quickly listen/monitor any
of the inputs by hitting the Solo button. The monitoring happens on the output set for the
Cue signal via the Assign dialog.
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65
25.7.2 MIDI Page
The MIDI page has four independent settings for up to four MIDI remote controls, using CC
commands or the Mackie Control protocol.
Index
Select one of four settings pages and thus remote controls. Settings are remembered automatically. To activate or deactivate any of the four remote controls check or uncheck ‘In Use’.
MIDI Remote Control
¾ MIDI In. Input where TotalMix receives
MIDI Remote data.
¾ MIDI Out. Output where TotalMix
sends MIDI Remote data.
¾ Disable
MIDI
in
background.
Deactivates MIDI Remote Control as
soon as another application is in the
focus, or when TotalMix has been
minimized.
Mackie Control Options
¾ Enable Protocol Support. When
disabled TM FX will only react on the
Control Change commands of chapter
28.5.
¾ Map Stereo to 2 Mono Channels.
One fader controls one (mono)
channel. Should be disabled when
stereo channels are used.
¾ Submix Selection in Input/Playback
Row. Enables a selection of the
submix when in first row, without
having to change to the third row first.
However, when using both mono and
stereo channels first and third row
usually do not match anymore, so the
selection often becomes unclear this
way.
¾ Enable full LCD support. Activates full Mackie Control LCD support with eight channel
names and eight volume/pan values.
¾ Send User defined Names. Channel names defined by the user will be sent to the remote
device via MIDI and – if supported – shown in its display.
¾ Send Level Messages. Activates the transmission of the level meter data. Peak Hold activates the peak hold function as set up for the TotalMix level meters in the preferences.
Note: When MIDI Out is set to NONE then TotalMix FX can still be controlled by Mackie Control
MIDI commands, but the 8-channel block is not marked as remote target.
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25.7.3 OSC Page
The OSC page has four independent settings for up to four MIDI remote controls via Open
Sound Control (OSC). This is a network based remote protocol that can be used for example by
Apple’s iPad with the app TouchOSC or Lemur to wirelessly remote control TotalMix FX running
on a Mac or Windows computer.
Index
Select one of four settings pages and thus remote controls. Settings are remembered automatically. To activate or deactivate any of the four remote controls check or uncheck ‘In Use’.
TotalMix FX OSC Service
¾ IP. Shows the network address of the
computer running TotalMix FX (local
host). This address must be entered
on the remote side.
¾ Host Name. Local computer name.
¾ Port incoming. Must match the
remote entry ‘Port outgoing’. Typical
values are 7001 or 8000.
¾ Port outgoing. Must match the
remote entry ‘Port incoming’. Typical
values are 9001 or 9000.
Remote Control
¾ IP or Host name. Enter the IP or host
name of the remote control. Please
note that the IP number usually works
better than the host name.
Options
¾ Send Peak Level. Activates the
transmission of the peak level meter
data. Peak Hold activates the peak
hold function as set up for the TotalMix
level meters in the preferences.
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25.7.4 Aux Devices
The RME OctaMic XTC is a highly flexible hi-quality 8-channel microphone, line and instrument
preamp with integrated AD-conversion to ADAT, AES/EBU and MADI, plus 4 channels of DAconversion for monitoring. It can be used as universal front-end for the Fireface 800 and other
interfaces.
To simplify operation the most important
parameters of the XTC (gain, 48V, phase,
mute, AutoSet) can be controlled directly
from the TotalMix FX input channels. This
special remote control uses MIDI of any
format (DIN, USB, MIDI over MADI).
TotalMix FX version 0.99 or higher will
show the panel Aux Devices which has all
the settings to activate remote functionality.
Device Settings
¾ Digital Channels. Select where the
OctaMic XTC sends its 8 analog
channels to. With the Fireface 800 this
will be the ADAT channels 1-8 and 916.
¾ Device. At this time only the OctaMic
XTC is supported and can be chosen.
MIDI Settings
¾ MIDI In. Set the currently used MIDI
connection to OctaMic XTC.
¾ MIDI Out. Set the currently used MIDI
connection to OctaMic XTC.
¾ Device ID. Default 0. This setting
relates to the current choice in Digital
Channels.
The screenshot to the right shows what happens as
soon as the above settings have been confirmed
with OK. The ADAT channels show new elements
for phantom power, Inst/PAD, Gain and AutoSet.
Control operates bidirectional, so changing the gain
at the unit will be mirrored in the TotalMix channels.
Changing the gain in TotalMix FX will set the gain in
the unit, which is also shown on the unit’s display.
For the remote to work the XTC’s currently used
MIDI I/Os have to be set to Control. More details
are found in the manual of the OctaMic XTC.
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25.8 Hotkeys and Usage
TotalMix FX has many hotkeys and mouse/hotkey combinations to speed up and simplify the
usage.
The Shift key enables a fine-tuning of the gain with all faders and in the Matrix. On all knobs it
will speed up the setting.
A click on a fader with held down Shift key adds the fader to the temporary fader group.
A click in the fader path with held down Ctrl key will let the fader jump to 0 dB, at the next click
to −∞. Same function: Double click of the mouse.
Clicking on one of the Panorama or Gain knobs with held down Ctrl key lets the knob jump tp
center position. Same function: Double click of the mouse.
Clicking on the Panorama knob with held down Shift key lets the knob jump to fully left, with
Shift-Ctrl to fully right.
Clicking on one of the channel settings buttons (slim/normal, settings) with held down Shift key
lets all channels to the right change their state. For example all settings panels can be
opened/closed simultaneously.
A double click of the mouse on a knob or its numerical field opens the according Input Value
dialog. The desired value can then be set by keyboard.
Dragging the mouse from a parameter field increases (move up) or decreases (move down) the
value in the field.
Ctrl-N opens the dialog Function Select to open a new TotalMix window.
Ctrl-W opens the dialog File Open of the operating system to load a TotalMix Workspace file.
The key W starts the dialog Workspace Quick Select for a direct selection or storage of up to 30
Workspaces.
The key M switches the active window to Mixer view. The key X switches the active window to
Matrix view. Ctrl-M opens a new Mixer window, Ctrl-X opens a new Matrix window. Another
Ctrl-M or Ctrl-X closes the new window again.
F1 opens the online help. The Level Meter setup dialog can be opened with F2 (same as in
DIGICheck). The dialog Preferences is opened with F3.
Alt-F4 closes the current window.
Alt and number 1 to 8 (not on the numeric keypad!) will load the corresponding Snapshot.
The right mouse button selects a Hardware Output. At the same time a context menu is displayed having these options:
Clear Submix. Deletes the whole submix of the selected output. All inputs and playbacks of this
routing will be set to −∞.
Copy Submix. Copies the whole submix of the selected output into memory. All input and playback faders from that routing will be included.
Paste Submix. Writes the previously copied submix on to the now selected output.
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25.9 Menu Options
Deactivate Screensaver: When active (checked) any activated Windows screensaver will be
disabled temporarily.
Always on Top: When active (checked) the TotalMix window will always be on top of the Windows desktop.
Note: This function may result in problems with windows containing help text, as the TotalMix
window will even be on top of those windows, so the help text isn't readable.
Enable MIDI / OSC Control: Activates external MIDI control of the TotalMix mixer. In Mackie
Protocol mode the channels which are currently under MIDI control are indicated by a colour
change of the name field.
Submix linked to MIDI / OSC control (1-4). The 8-channel group follows the currently selected
submix, means Hardware Output, when a different submix is chosen on the remote as well as
when doing this in TotalMix. When using multiple windows it can be useful to deactivate this
feature for specific windows. The view will not change then.
Preferences: Opens a dialog box to configure several functions of the level meters and the
mixer. See chapter 25.6.
Settings. Opens a dialog box to configure several functions like Talkback, Listenback, Main Out
and the MIDI Remote Control. See chapter 25.7.
Channel Layout. Opens a dialog to hide channels visually and from remote. See chapter
25.5.3.
Key Commands. Opens a dialog box to configure the computer’s keyboard keys F4 to F8.
Reset Mix. Offers several options to reset the mixer state:
¾
Straight playback with all to Main Out. All Playback channels are routed 1:1 to the Hardware Outputs. Simultaneously all playbacks are mixed down to the Main Out. The faders in
the third row are not changed.
¾
Straight Playback. All Playback channels are routed 1:1 to the Hardware outputs. The
faders in the third row are not changed.
¾
Clear all submixes. Deletes all submixes.
¾
Clear channel effects. Not valid for the Fireface 800.
¾
Reset output volumes. All faders of the third row will be set to 0 dB, Main and Speaker B
to -10 dB.
¾
Reset channel names. Removes all names assigned by the user.
¾
Total Reset. Playback routing 1:1 with mixdown to Main Out. Switches off all other functions.
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26. The Matrix
26.1 Overview
The mixer window of TotalMix looks and operates similar to mixing desks, as it is based on a
conventional stereo design. The matrix display presents a different method of assigning and
routing channels, based on a single channel or monaural design. The matrix view of the Fireface 800 has the look and works like a conventional patchbay, adding functionality way beyond
comparable hardware and software solutions. While most patchbays will allow you to connect
inputs to outputs with just the original level (1:1, or 0 dB, as known from mechanical patchbays),
TotalMix allows you to use a freely definable gain value per crosspoint.
Matrix and TotalMix are different ways of displaying the same processes. Because of this both
views are always fully synchronized. Each change in one view is immediately reflected in the
other view as well.
26.2 Elements of the Matrix View
The visual design of the TotalMix Matrix is mainly determined by the architecture of the Fireface
800:
¾ Horizontal labels. All hardware outputs
¾ Vertical labels. All hardware inputs. Below
are all playback channels.
¾ Green 0.0 dB field. Standard 1:1 routing
¾ Dark grey field with number. Shows the
current gain value as dB
¾ Blue field. This routing is muted
¾ Red field. Phase 180° (inverted)
¾ Dark grey field. No routing.
To maintain overview when the window size has been reduced, the labels are floating. They
won't leave the visible area when scrolling.
26.3 Operation
Using the Matrix is a breeze. It is very easy to indentify the current crosspoint, because the
outer labels light up in orange according to the mouse position.
¾ If input 1 is to be routed to output 1, use the mouse and click one time on crosspoint In 1 /
AN 1 with held down Ctrl key. Two green 0.0 dB field pop in, another click removes them.
¾ To change the gain (equals the use of a different fader position, see simultaneous display of
the mixer view), drag the mouse up or down, starting from the gain field. The value within
the field changes accordingly. The corresponding fader in the mixer view is moving simultaneously, in case the currently modified routing is visible.
¾ On the right side is the Control Strip from the mixer window, adapted to the Matrix. The button for the temporary fader group is missing as well as all View options, as they don’t make
sense here. Instead the button Mono Mode lets you decide whether all the actions performed in the Matrix are valid for two channels or just one.
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71
The Matrix not always replaces the mixer view, but it significantly enhances the routing capabilities and - more important - is a brilliant way to get a fast overview of all active routings. It shows
you in a glance what's going on. And since the Matrix operates monaural, it is very easy to set
up specific routings with specific gains.
27. Tips and Tricks
27.1 ASIO Direct Monitoring (Windows)
Programs that support ADM (ASIO Direct Monitoring - Samplitude, Sequoia, Cubase, Nuendo
etc.) send control commands to TotalMix. This is directly shown by TotalMix. When a fader is
moved in the ASIO host the corresponding fader in TotalMix will move too. TotalMix reflects all
ADM gain and pan changes in real-time.
But: the faders only move when the currently activated routing (the selected submix) corresponds to the routing in the ASIO host. The Matrix on the other hand will show any change, as it
shows all possible routings in one view.
27.2 Copy a Submix
TotalMix allows you to copy complete submixes to other outputs. In case a complex submix is
need with only a few changes on a different output, the whole submix can be copied to that
output. Right click with the mouse on the original submix output, means Hardware Output. In
the context menu select Copy Submix. Then right click on the new submix output, choose Paste
Submix in the context menu. Now fine tune the submix.
27.3 Delete a Submix
The easiest and quickest way to delete complex routings is by selection of the according output
channel in the mixer view by a right mouse click, and selection of the menu entry Clear Submix.
As TotalMix FX includes an unlimited undo the delete process can be undone without any problem.
27.4 Doubling the Output Signal
If a mix should be sent out via two different hardware outputs, the most elegant way is to use a
permanently activated Cue. Set up the mixdown on the routing to the Main Out, use Copy Submix to copy the final mix to the other output, then activate Cue on this other output. The output
signal, and with this the complete mixdown, will then be played back from two stereo outputs
simultaneously – the Main Out and the other Hardware Output. Even better: the faders of both
outputs are still active, so the signal level can be adjusted individually.
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27.5 Recording a Subgroup (Loopback)
TotalMix includes an internal loopback function, from the Hardware Outputs to the recording
software. Instead of the signal at the hardware input, the signal at the hardware output is sent to
the record software. This way, submixes can be recorded without an external loopback cable.
Also the playback from a software can be recorded by another software.
The function is activated by the Loopback button in the Settings panel of the Hardware Outputs. In loopback mode, the signal at the hardware input of the corresponding channel is no
longer sent to the recording software, but still passed through to TotalMix. Therefore TotalMix
can be used to route this input signal to any hardware output. Using the subgroup recording, the
input can still be recorded on a different channel.
As each of the 14 stereo hardware outputs can be routed to the record software, and none of
these hardware inputs get lost, TotalMix offers an overall flexibility and performance not rivalled
by any other solution.
The risk of feedbacks, a basic problem of loopback methods, is low, because the feedback can
not happen within the mixer, only when the audio software is switched into monitoring mode.
The block diagram shows how the software's input signal is played back, and fed back from the
Hardware Output to the software input.
Recording a Software's playback
In real world application, recording a software's output with another software will show the following problem: The record software tries to open the same playback channel as the playback
software (already active), or the playback one has already opened the input channel which
should be used by the record software.
This problem can easily be solved. First make sure that all rules for proper multi-client operation
are met (not using the same record/playback channels in both programs). Then route the playback signal via TotalMix to a hardware output in the range of the record software, and activate it
via Loopback for recording.
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Mixing several input signals into one record channel
In some cases it is useful to record several sources in only one track. For example when using
two microphones when recording instruments and loudspeakers, TotalMix' Loopback mode
saves an external mixing desk. Simply route/mix the input signals to the same output (third row),
then re-define this output into a record channel via Loopback – that's it. This way any number of
input channels from different sources can be recorded into one single track.
27.6 MS Processing
The mid/side principle is a special positioning technique for microphones, which results in a mid
signal on one channel and a side signal on the other channel.
These information can be transformed back into a stereo signal
quite easily. The process sends the monaural mid channel to
left and right, the side channel too, but phase inverted (180°) to
the right channel. For a better understanding: the mid channel
represents the function L+R, while the side channel represents
L-R.
During record the monitoring needs to be done in 'conventional' stereo. Therefore TotalMix also
offers the functionality of a M/S-decoder. Activation is done in the Settings panel of the Hardware Input and Software Playback channels via the MS Proc button.
The M/S-Processing automatically operates as M/S encoder or decoder, depending on the
source signal format. When processing a usual stereo signal, all monaural information will be
shifted into the left channel, all stereo information into the right channel. Thus the stereo signal
is M/S encoded. This yields some interesting insights into the mono/stereo contents of modern
music productions. Additionally some very interesting methods of manipulating the stereo base
and generating stereo effects come up, as it is then very easy to process the side channel with
Low Cut, Expander, Compressor or Delay.
The most basic application is the manipulation of the stereo width: a change of the level of the
side channel allows to manipulate the stereo width from mono to stereo up to extended.
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28. MIDI Remote Control
28.1 Overview
TotalMix can be remote controlled via MIDI. It is compatible to the widely spread Mackie Control
protocol, so TotalMix can be controlled with all hardware controllers supporting this standard.
Examples are the Mackie Control, Tascam US-2400 or Behringer BCF 2000.
Additionally, the stereo output faders (lowest row) which are set up as Main Out in the Control
Room section can also be controlled by the standard Control Change Volume via MIDI channel 1. With this, the main volume of the Fireface 800 is controllable from nearly any MIDI
equipped hardware device.
MIDI Remote Control always operates in View Submix mode, even when the View Option Free
is currently selected in TotalMix FX.
28.2 Mapping
TotalMix supports the following Mackie Control surface elements*:
Element:
Meaning in TotalMix:
Channel faders 1 – 8
Master fader
SEL(1-8) + DYNAMICS
V-Pots 1 – 8
pressing V-Pot knobs
volume
Main Monitor channel's faders
Activate Trim mode
pan
pan = center
CHANNEL LEFT or REWIND
CHANNEL RIGHT or FAST FORWARD
BANK LEFT or ARROW LEFT
BANK RIGHT or ARROW RIGHT
ARROW UP or Assignable1/PAGE+
ARROW DOWN or Assignable2/PAGE-
move one channel left
move one channel right
move eight channels left
move eight channels right
move one row up
move one row down
EQ
PLUGINS/INSERT
STOP
PLAY
PAN
Master Mute
Master Solo
Dim Main Out
Talkback
Mono Main Out
FLIP
DYN
MUTE Ch. 1 – 8
SOLO Ch. 1 – 8
SELECT Ch. 1 – 8
REC Ch. 1 – 8
RECORD
Speaker B
TrimGains
Mute
Solo
Select
select output bus (Submix)
Recall
F1 - F8
F9
F10 - F12
load Snapshot 1 - 8
select Main Out
select Cue Phones 1 - 3
*Tested with Behringer BCF2000 Firmware v1.07 in Mackie Control emulation for Steinberg mode and with Mackie
Control under Mac OS X.
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75
28.3 Setup
•
Open the Preferences dialog (menu Options or F3). Select the MIDI Input and MIDI Output
port where your controller is connected to.
•
When no feedback is needed (when using only standard MIDI commands instead of Mackie
Control protocol) select NONE as MIDI Output.
•
Check Enable MIDI Control in the Options menu.
28.4 Operation
The channels being under Mackie MIDI control are indicated by a colour change of the name
field, black turns to brown.
The 8-fader block can be moved horizontally and vertically, in steps of one or eight channels.
In Submix View mode, the current routing destination (output bus) can be selected via REC Ch.
1 – 8. This equals the selection of a different output channel in the lowest row by a mouse click
when in Submix View. In MIDI operation it is not necessary to jump to the lowest row to perform
this selection. This way even the routing can be easily changed via MIDI.
Full LC Display Support: This option in Preferences (F3) activates complete Mackie Control
LCD support with eight channel names and eight volume/pan values. When Full LC Display
Support is turned off, a brief information about the first fader of the block (channel and row) is
sent. This brief information is also available on the LED display of the Behringer BCF2000.
Disable MIDI in Background (menu Options, Settings) disables the MIDI control as soon as
another application is in the focus, or in case TotalMix has been minimized. This way the hardware controller will control the main DAW application only, except when TotalMix is in the foreground. Often the DAW application can be set to become inactive in background too, so that
MIDI control is switched between TotalMix and the application automatically when switching
between both applications.
TotalMix also supports the 9th fader of the Mackie Control. This fader (labelled Master) will control the stereo output fader (lowest row) which is set up as Main Out in the Control Room section.
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28.5 Standard MIDI Control
The hardware output which is set up as Main Out can be controlled by the standard Control
Change Volume via MIDI channel 1. With this, the main volume of the Fireface 800 is controllable from nearly any MIDI equipped hardware device.
Even if you don't want to control all faders and pans, some buttons are highly desired to be
available in 'hardware'. These are mainly the Talkback and the Dim button, and the monitoring
option Cue (listen to Phones submixes). Fortunately a Mackie Control compatible controller is
not required to control these buttons, as they are steered by simple Note On/Off commands on
MIDI channel 1.
The notes are (hex / decimal / keys):
Dim: 5D / 93 / A 6
Mono: 2A / 42 / #F 2
Talkback: 5E / 94 / #A 6
Recall: 5F / 95 / H 6
Speaker B: 32 / 50 / D3
Cue Main Out: 3E / 62 / D 4
Cue Phones 1: 3F / 63 / #D 4
Cue Phones 2: 40 / 64 / E 4
Cue Phones 3: 41 / 65 / F 4
Cue Phones 4: 42 / 66 / #F 4
Snapshot 1: 36 / 54 / #F 3
Snapshot 2: 37 / 55 / G 3
Snapshot 3: 38 / 56 / #G 3
Snapshot 4: 39 / 57 / A 3
Snapshot 5: 3A / 58 / #A 3
Snapshot 6: 3B / 59 / B 3
Snapshot 7: 3C / 60 / C 4
Snapshot 8: 3D / 61 / #C 4
Trim Gains: 2D / 45 / A 2
Master Mute: 2C / 44 / #G 2
Master Solo: 2B / 43 / G 2
Note: Switching off Mackie Protocol support in Settings / Mackie Control Options will also disable the above simple MIDI note commands, as they are part of the Mackie protocol.
Furthermore all faders of all three rows can be controlled via simple Control Change commands. The format for the Control Change commands is:
Bx yy zz
x = MIDI channel
yy = control number
zz = value
The first row in TotalMix is addressed by MIDI channels 1 up to 4, the middle row by channels 5
up to 8 and the bottom row by channels 9 up to 12.
16 Controller numbers are used: 102 up to 117 (= hex 66 to 75). With these 16 Controllers (=
faders) and 4 MIDI channels each per row, up to 64 faders can be controlled per row.
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Examples for sending MIDI strings:
- Set input 1 to 0 dB: B0 66 68
- Set input 17 to maximum attenuation: B1 66 0
- Set playback 1 to maximum: B4 66 7F
- Set Output 16 to 0 dB: B8 75 68
Note: Sending MIDI strings requires to use programmer's logic for the MIDI channel, starting
with 0 for channel 1 and ending with 15 for channel 16.
Further functions:
- Trim Gains On: BC 66 xx (BC = MIDI channel 13, xx = any value)
- Trim Gains Off: BC 66 xx or select a submix
Select submix (fader) in third row:
- channel 1/2: BC 68/69 xx
- channel 3/4: BC 6A/6B xx
etc.
Input Gain control is available via CC9, value range as the gain itself (up to 60). The MIDI
channel determines the controlled channel, from 1 to 16 (FF400: only 1/2). For this to work,
Enable MIDI Control in the Options menu has to be activated.
28.6 Loopback Detection
The Mackie Control protocol requires feedback of the received commands, back to the hardware controller. So usually TotalMix will be set up with both a MIDI input and MIDI output. Unfortunately any small error in wiring and setup will cause a MIDI feedback loop here, which then
completely blocks the computer (the CPU).
To prevent the computer from freezing, TotalMix sends a special MIDI note every 0.5 seconds
to its MIDI output. As soon as it detects this special note at the input, the MIDI functionality is
disabled. After fixing the loopback, check Enable MIDI Control under Options to reactivate the
TotalMix MIDI.
28.7. OSC (Open Sound Control)
Besides simple MIDI notes, the Mackie Protocol and Control Change commands, TotalMix FX
can also be controlled by the Open Sound Control, OSC. For details on setup and usage see
chapter 25.7.3.
An OSC implementation chart can be downloaded from the RME website:
http://www.rme-audio.de/download/osc_table_totalmix.zip
RME offers a free iPad template for the iOS app TouchOSC (by Hexler, available in the Apple
App-Store):
http://www.rme-audio.de/download/tosc_tm_ipad_template.zip
The RME forum hosts further information, more templates (iPhone…) and lots of useful user
feedback.
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28.8 Stand-Alone MIDI Control
When not connected to a computer, the Fireface 800 can be controlled directly via MIDI. To
unlock the special stand-alone MIDI control mode first activate MIDI control in TotalMix (Enable MIDI control), then transfer this state via Flash current mixer state into the unit. Turning this
mode off is done in the same way, but with MIDI control deactivated.
Note: When not needed the stand-alone MIDI operation should not be active, as the unit will
react on MIDI notes after power-on, and will also send MIDI notes.
Control is performed via both the Mackie Control protocol and some standard MIDI functions
(see below). In stand-alone mode not all functions known from TotalMix are available, because
some of them aren't hardware, but software routines. Functions like Talkback, DIM, Mono, Solo,
relative ganging of the faders, Monitor Main and Monitor Phones are realized by complex software code, therefore not available in stand-alone MIDI control operation.
Still many functions, and especially the most important functions to control the Fireface 800, are
implemented in hardware, thus available also in stand-alone mode:
•
•
•
•
•
All faders and pans of the first and third row
Mute of the input signal per channel
Ganging via 'Select'
Choice of the routing destination, i.e. the current submix
Sending of LED and display data to the MIDI controller
The second row (software playback) is skipped in stand-alone operation.
The Fireface 800 sends display data as brief information, enabling an easy navigation through
lines and rows. Other data like PAN and miscellaneous status LEDs are supported as well.
In stand-alone mode the unit always operates in View Submix mode. Only this way the routing
destination can be changed, and several mixdowns/submixes can be set up quickly and easily.
If the current TotalMix setup is transferred into the Fireface via 'Flash current mixer state', the
currently selected submix output is also pre-configured in the hardware for stand-alone MIDI
remote operation.
Mackie Control Protocol
The stand-alone operation supports the following Mackie Control surface elements*:
*Tested with Behringer BCF2000 Firmware v1.07 in Mackie Control emulation for Steinberg mode.
Element:
Meaning in Fireface:
Channel faders 1 – 8
SEL(1-8) + DYNAMICS
V-Pots 1 – 8
pressing V-Pot knobs
volume
reset fader to Unity Gain
pan
pan = center
CHANNEL LEFT or REWIND
CHANNEL RIGHT or FAST FORWARD
BANK LEFT or ARROW LEFT
BANK RIGHT or ARROW RIGHT
ARROW UP or Assignable1/PAGE+
ARROW DOWN or Assignable2/PAGE-
move one channel left
move one channel right
move eight channels left
move eight channels right
move one row up
move one row down
EQ
MUTE Ch. 1 – 8
SELECT Ch. 1 – 8
REC Ch. 1 – 8
Master Mute
Mute
Select
select output bus (current submix)
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In stand-alone MIDI mode, the Mackie Control protocol also gives access to some settings of
the Settings dialog:
Element:
Meaning in Fireface:
SOLO Ch. 1
SOLO Ch. 2
SOLO Ch. 3
SOLO Ch. 4
SOLO Ch. 5
SOLO Ch. 6
Input Level Lo Gain
Input Level +4 dBu
Input Level –10 dBV
Output Level Hi Gain
Output Level +4 dBu
Output Level –10 dBV
SOLO Ch. 7
SOLO Ch. 8
Clock Mode AutoSync
Clock Mode Master
F9
F10
F11
F12
Phantom Power Mic 7
Phantom Power Mic 8
Phantom Power Mic 9
Phantom Power Mic 10
F13
F14
F15
Instrument Options Drive
Instrument Options Limiter
Instrument Options Speaker Emulation
Simple MIDI Control
Several important faders can be controlled in stand-alone MIDI mode using the standard Control Change Volume (CC 07) and Control Change Pan (CC 10). With this, the most important
volume settings of the Fireface are controllable from nearly any MIDI equipped hardware device.
The faders are controlled via different MIDI channels:
Hardware Output (equals third row, volume only)
Analog Out 9+10 (Phones)
MIDI channel 1
Analog Out 1+2
MIDI channel 16
Hardware Input (equals first row, volume and pan)
Input channel 1
MIDI channel 2
Input channel 2
MIDI channel 3
Input channel 3
MIDI channel 4
Input channel 4
MIDI channel 5
Input channel 5
MIDI channel 6
Input channel 6
MIDI channel 7
Input channel 7
MIDI channel 8
Input channel 8
MIDI channel 9
Input channel 9
MIDI channel 10
Input channel 10
MIDI channel 11
Input channel 11
MIDI channel 12
Input channel 12
MIDI channel 13
Input channel 13
MIDI channel 14
Input channel 14
MIDI channel 15
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User's Guide
Fireface 800
Technical Reference
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
81
29. Technical Specifications
29.1 Analog
AD, Line In 1-8, rear
• Resolution AD: 24 bit
• Signal to Noise ratio (SNR): 110 dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA
• Frequency response @ 44.1 kHz, -0.1 dB: 5 Hz – 20.6 kHz
• Frequency response @ 96 kHz, -0.5 dB: 5 Hz – 45.3 kHz
• Frequency response @ 192 kHz, -1 dB: 5 Hz - 90 kHz
• THD: < -110 dB, < 0.00032 %
• THD+N: < -104 dB, < 0.00063 %
• Channel separation: > 110 dB
• Maximum input level: +19 dBu
• Input: 6.3 mm TRS jack, electronically balanced
• Input impedance: 10 kOhm
• 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
• Mute: 100 dB
Line In 7-10, Front
• as AD, but:
• Gain range (via pot): 50 dB
• Maximum input level, Gain 10 dB: +22 dBu
• Maximum input level, Gain 60 dB: -28 dBu
• CLIP LED: -2 dBFS
• SIG LED: -45 dBFS
• Mute: > 130 dB
Microphone
• as AD, but:
• Input: XLR, electronically balanced
• Input impedance: 2 kOhm
• Gain range (via pot): 50 dB
• Maximum input level, Gain 10 dB: +11 dBu
• Maximum input level, Gain 60 dB: -39 dBu
• CLIP LED: -2 dBFS
• SIG LED: -45 dBFS
• Mute: > 130 dB
Instrument
• as AD, but:
• Input: 6.3 mm TS jack, unbalanced
• Input impedance: 470 kOhm
• Signal to Noise ratio (SNR): 108 dB RMS unweighted, 111 dBA
• Gain range (via pot): 52 dB
• Drive Gain: 23 dB
• Maximum input level, Gain 1, -10 dBFS: +10 dBu
• Maximum input level, Gain 9, -10 dBFS: -42 dBu
• LIM LED: -10 dBFS
• SIG LED: -40 dBFS
• Mute: > 120 dB
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DA, Line Out 1-8, rear
• Resolution: 24 bit
• Dynamic range (DR): 116 dB, 119 dBA @ 44.1 kHz (unmuted)
• Frequency response @ 44.1 kHz, -0.1 dB: 1 Hz – 20.1 kHz
• Frequency response @ 96 kHz, -0.5 dB: 1 Hz – 43.5 kHz
• Frequency response @ 192 kHz, -1 dB: 1 Hz - 70 kHz
• THD: -103 dB, < 0.0007 %
• THD+N: -100 dB, < 0.001 %
• 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 - Stereo Monitor Output (Phones)
• as DA, but:
• Output: 6.3 mm TRS jack, unbalanced (stereo)
• Maximum output level at 0 dBFS: +17 dBu
• Output impedance: 30 Ohm
29.2 MIDI
•
•
•
•
1 x MIDI I/O via 5-pin DIN jacks
Galvanically isolated by optocoupled input
Hi-speed mode: Jitter and response time typically below 1 ms
Separate 128 byte FIFOs for input and output
29.3 Digital
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Clocks: Internal, ADAT In, SPDIF In, word clock in. Optional LTC/Video in
Low Jitter Design: < 1 ns in PLL mode, all inputs
Internal clock: 800 ps Jitter, Random Spread Spectrum
Jitter suppression of external clocks: > 30 dB (2.4 kHz)
Effective clock jitter influence on AD and DA conversion: near zero
PLL ensures zero dropout, even at more than 100 ns jitter
Digital Bitclock PLL for trouble-free varispeed ADAT operation
Supported sample rates: 28 kHz up to 200 kHz
29.4 Digital Inputs
AES/EBU - SPDIF
• 1 x RCA, transformer-balanced, galvanically isolated, according to AES3-1992
• High-sensitivity input stage (< 0.3 Vpp)
• SPDIF compatible (IEC 60958)
• Accepts Consumer and Professional format, copy protection will be ignored
• Lock Range: 27 kHz – 200 kHz
• Jitter when synced to input signal: < 1 ns
• Jitter suppression: > 30 dB (2.4 kHz)
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ADAT Optical
• 2 x TOSLINK
• Standard: 16 channels 24 bit, up to 48 kHz
• Sample Split (S/MUX): 2 x 8 channels 24 bit / 48 kHz, equalling 8 channels 24 bit 96 kHz
• Bitclock PLL ensures perfect synchronisation even in varispeed operation
• Lock Range: 31.5 kHz – 50 kHz
• Jitter when synced to input signal: < 1 ns
• Jitter suppression: > 30 dB (2.4 kHz)
Word Clock
• BNC, not terminated (10 kOhm)
• Switch for internal termination 75 Ohm
• Automatic Double/Quad Speed detection and internal conversion to Single Speed
• SteadyClock guarantees super low jitter synchronization even in varispeed operation
• Transformer coupled, galvanically isolated input
• Not affected by DC-offsets within the network
• Signal Adaptation Circuit: signal refresh through auto-center and hysteresis
• Overvoltage protection
• Level range: 1.0 Vpp – 5.6 Vpp
• Lock Range: 27 kHz – 200 kHz
• Jitter when synced to input signal: < 1 ns
• Jitter suppression: > 30 dB (2.4 kHz)
29.5 Digital Outputs
AES/EBU - SPDIF
• 1 x RCA, transformer-balanced, galvanically isolated, according to AES3-1992
• Output level Professional 2.6 Vpp, Consumer 1.2 Vpp
• Format Professional according to AES3-1992 Amendment 4
• Format Consumer (SPDIF) according to IEC 60958
• Single Wire mode, sample rate 28 kHz up to 200 kHz
ADAT
• 2 x TOSLINK
• Standard: 16 channels 24 bit, up to 48 kHz
• Sample Split (S/MUX): 2 x 8 channels 24 bit / 48 kHz, equalling 8 channels 24 bit 96 kHz
• In Quad Speed mode output of Single Speed sync frame
Word Clock
• BNC
• Max. output voltage: 5 Vpp
• Output voltage @ 75 Ohm termination: 4.0 Vpp
• Output impedance: 10 Ohm
• Frequency range: 27 kHz – 200 kHz
29.6 General
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Power supply: Internal switching PSU, 100 - 240 V AC, 30 Watt
Typical power consumption: 22 Watt
Dimensions including rack ears (WxHxD): 483 x 44 x 242 mm (19" x 1.73" x 9.5")
Dimensions without rack ears/handles (WxHxD): 436 x 44 x 235 mm (17.2" x 1.73" x 9.3")
Weight: 3 kg ( 6.6 lbs)
Temperature range: +5° up to +50° Celsius (41° F up to 122°F)
Relative humidity: < 75%, non condensing
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30. Technical Background
30.1 Lock and SyncCheck
Digital signals consist of a carrier and the data. If a digital signal is applied to an input, the receiver has to synchronize to the carrier clock in order to read the data correctly. To achieve this,
the receiver uses a PLL (Phase Locked Loop). As soon as the receiver meets the exact frequency of the incoming signal, it is locked. This Lock state remains even with small changes of
the frequency, because the PLL tracks the receiver's frequency.
If an ADAT or SPDIF signal is applied to the Fireface 800, the corresponding input LED starts
flashing. The unit indicates LOCK, i. e. a valid input signal (in case the signal is also in sync, the
LED is constantly lit, see below).
Unfortunately, LOCK does not necessarily mean that the received signal is correct with respect
to the clock which processes the read out of the embedded data. Example [1]: The Fireface is
set to 44.1 kHz internally (clock mode Master), and a mixing desk with ADAT output is connected to input ADAT1. The corresponding LED will show LOCK immediately, but usually the
mixing desk's sample rate is generated internally (also Master), and thus slightly higher or lower
than the Fireface's internal sample rate. Result: When reading out the data, there will frequently
be read errors that cause clicks and drop outs.
Also when using multiple inputs, a simple LOCK is not sufficient. The above described problem
can be solved elegantly by setting the Fireface from Master to AutoSync (its internal clock will
then be the clock delivered by the mixing desk). But in case another, un-synchronous device is
connected, there will again be a slight difference in the sample rate, and therefore clicks and
drop outs.
In order to display those problems optically at the device, the Fireface includes SyncCheck. It
checks all clocks used for synchronicity. If they are not synchronous to each other (i. e. absolutely identical), the SYNC LED of the asynchronous input flashes. In case they are completely
synchronous, all LEDs are constantly lit. In example 1 it would have been obvious that the LED
ADAT 1 kept on flashing after connecting the mixing desk.
In practice, SyncCheck allows for a quick overview of the correct configuration of all digital devices. So one of the most difficult and error-prone topics of the digital studio world finally becomes easy to handle.
The same information is presented in the Fireface's Settings dialog. In the status display SyncCheck the state of all clocks is decoded and shown as simple text (No Lock, Lock, Sync).
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30.2 Latency and Monitoring
The term Zero Latency Monitoring has been introduced by RME in 1998 for the DIGI96 series
of audio cards. It stands for the ability to pass-through the computer's input signal at the interface directly to the output. Since then, the idea behind has become one of the most important
features of modern hard disk recording. In the year 2000, RME published two ground-breaking
Tech Infos on the topics Low Latency Background, which are still up-to-date: Monitoring, ZLM
and ASIO, and Buffer and Latency Jitter, both found on the RME website.
How much Zero is Zero?
From a technical view there is no zero. Even the analog pass-through is subject to phase errors, equalling a delay between input and output. However, delays below certain values can
subjectively be claimed to be a zero-latency. This applies to analog routing and mixing, and in
our opinion also to RME's Zero Latency Monitoring. The term describes the digital path of the
audio data from the input of the interface to its output. The digital receiver of the Fireface 800
can't operate un-buffered, and together with TotalMix and the output via the transmitter, it
causes a typical delay of 3 samples. At 44.1 kHz this equals about 68 µs (0.000068 s), at 192
kHz only 15 µs. The delay is valid for ADAT and SPDIF in the same way.
Oversampling
While the delays of digital interfaces can be disregarded altogether, the analog inputs and outputs do cause a significant delay. Modern converter chips operate with 64 or 128 times oversampling plus digital filtering, in order to move the error-prone analog filters away from the audible frequency range as far as possible. This typically generates a delay of one millisecond. A
playback and re-record of the same signal via DA and AD (loopback) then causes an offset of
the newly recorded track of about 2 ms. The exact delays of the Fireface 800 are:
Sample frequency kHz
44.1
48
88.2 96
AD (43.2 x 1/fs) ms
0.98
0.9
0.49 0.45
AD (38.2 x 1/fs) ms
DA (28 x 1/fs) ms
0.63
176.4
192
0.22
0.2
0.58 0.32 0.29 0.16
0.15
Buffer Size (Latency)
Windows: This option found in the Settings dialog defines the size of the buffers for the audio
data used in ASIO and WDM (see chapter 13).
Mac OS X: The buffer size is defined within the application. Only some do not offer any setting.
For example iTunes is fixed to 512 samples.
General: A setting of 64 samples at 44.1 kHz causes a latency of 1.5 ms, for record and playback each. But when performing a digital loopback test no latency/offset can be detected. The
reason is that the software naturally knows the size of the buffers, therefore is able to position
the newly recorded data at a place equalling a latency-free system.
AD/DA Offset under ASIO and OS X: ASIO (Windows) and Core Audio (Mac OS X) allow for the
signalling of an offset value to correct buffer independent delays, like AD- and DA-conversion or
the Safety Buffer described below. An analog loopback test will then show no offset, because
the application shifts the recorded data accordingly. Because in real world operation analog
record and playback is unavoidable, the drivers include an offset value matching the Fireface's
converter delays.
Therefore, in a digital loopback test a negative offset of about 3 ms occurs. This is no real
problem, because this way of working is more than seldom, and usually the offset can be compensated manually within the application. Additionally, keep in mind that even when using the
digital I/Os usually at some place an AD- and DA-conversion is involved (no sound without...).
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Note: Cubase and Nuendo display the latency values signalled from the driver separately for
record and playback. While with our former cards these values equalled exactly the buffer size
(for example 3 ms at 128 samples), the Fireface displays an additional millisecond – the time
needed for the AD/DA-conversion. Playback even shows another millisecond added – see
Safety Buffer.
Safety Buffer
FireWire audio differs significantly from RME's previous DMA technology. DMA access is not
possible here. To be able to transmit audio reliably at lower latencies, FireWire requires a new
concept – the Safety Buffer. The Fireface 800 uses a fixed additional buffer of 64 samples on
the playback side only, which is added to the current buffer size. The main advantage is the
ability to use lowest latency at highest CPU loads. Furthermore, the fixed buffer does not add to
the latency jitter (see Tech Info), the subjective timing is extraordinary.
Core Audio's Safety Offset
Under OS X, every audio interface has to use a so called Safety Offset, otherwise Core Audio
won't operate click-free. The Fireface uses a safety offset of 64 samples. This offset is signalled
to the system, and the software can calculate and display the total latency of buffer size plus
AD/DA offset plus safety offset for the current sample rate.
30.3 FireWire Audio
FireWire audio is in several ways different from RME's earlier PCI audio interfaces. First of all,
our cards have a PCI interface which has been developed by RME and optimized for audio.
FireWire on the other hand, uses OHCI-compatible controllers that have not been optimized for
audio, no matter from which manufacturer they are. Our PCI data transmission is per channel,
while FireWire is working interleaved, i.e. it transmits all channels simultaneously. With the
Hammerfall, drop-outs thus occur only on the last channels, which is not always noticeable,
while a drop-out with FireWire always concerns all channels and is thus perceived much
clearer. Apart from this, RME's PCI audio cards establish a direct connection with the application under ASIO (Zero CPU load), which is principally not possible with FireWire, because
communication has to be established by the operating system's FireWire driver. Compared to
our PCI cards, the FireWire subsystem creates an additional CPU load at lower latencies.
One Fireface 800 can achieve a performance similar to a PCI card with an optimal PC. An 'optimal' PC has an undisturbed PCI bus. Intel's motherboard D875PBZ e.g., has network, PATA
and SATA connected directly to the chipset. No matter what you do with the computer, FireWire
audio is not being disturbed. The same holds true for the ASUS P4C800, as long as you leave
the additional SATA controller (PCI) unused.
Due to insufficient buffering within FireWire controllers, single peak
loads on the PCI bus can already cause loss of one or more data
packets. This is independent of the manufacturer and no RME
problem. The Fireface 800 features a unique data checking, detecting errors during transmission via PCI/FireWire and displaying them
in the Settings dialog. Additionally the Fireface provides a special
mechanism which allows to continue record and playback in spite
of drop-outs, and to correct the sample position in real-time.
Detailed information on this topic can be found in the Tech Info
FireWire Audio by RME – Technical Background on our website:
http://www.rme-audio.com/english/techinfo/fwaudio_rme.htm
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30.4 Number of Channels and Bus Load
As explained in chapter 35.3, FireWire Audio does not reach the same performance as PCI
audio. On a standard computer with modern single PCI bus, about 100 audio channels can be
transmitted per direction (record/playback). Exceeding this limit, any system activity - even outside the PCI bus - causes drop outs.
Transferring these experiences to FireWire and the Fireface 800 means that besides the number of channels the bus load has to be taken into account too. One channel at 96 kHz causes
the same load to the system as two channels at 48 kHz!
To use FireWire as efficiently as possible, the Fireface allows to reduce the number of transferred channels. Limit Bandwidth provides four options, limiting the transmission internally to 28,
20, 12 or 8 channels. This limitation is independent from the sample rate, which is why the option's descriptions are not fully correct at 96 kHz. As can be seen in the following table, in 96
kHz mode there is no difference between the setting All Channels and An.+SPDIF+ADAT1. For
a valid reduction of the bus load ADAT must be unselected completely. As the Fireface offers
only 12 channels in Quad Speed mode, the options All Channels (28 channels) down to Analog+SPDIF (12 channels) perform no change at all. Logically, as ADAT isn't available in this
mode anyway.
Limit Bandwidth
48 kHz (28)
96 kHz (20)
192 kHz (12)
All Channels
An.+SPDIF+ADAT
1
Analog+SPDIF
Analog 1-8
x
x
/
x
/
/
FWChannels
28
20
x
x
x
x
x
x
12
8
The bus load is doubled at 96 kHz and quadrupled at 192 kHz. Limit Bandwidth sets a constant
number of channels, but those channels cause a bigger load in DS and QS mode, because
more data have to be transferred. For example the 12 channels at 192 kHz equal a FireWire
and PCI bus load of 48 channels at 48 kHz! The following table shows the real bus load in all
modes.
Limit Bandwidth
All Channels
An.+SPDIF+ADAT
1
Analog+SPDIF
Analog 1-8
48 kHz (max 28)
28
20
DS (max. 20)
40
40
QS (max. 12)
48
48
12
8
24
16
48
32
The usage of multiple Firefaces in DS and QS operation can be problematic due to the increased bus load. Some examples:
• 2 Firefaces will most likely not run stable at 192 kHz at full track count. 2 x 12 channels 192
kHz equal 2 x 48 channels at 48 kHz = 96 channels per direction.
• 2 Firefaces at 96 kHz should operate reliable at full channel count. 2 x 20 equals 2 x 40 = 80
channels per direction.
• 3 Firefaces at 96 kHz can't operate at full channel count (3 x 20 equals 3 x 40 = 120 channels per direction). The Settings dialog will show Errors, audio will sound distorted.
• To not exceed a maximum of 80 channels with 3 Firefaces at 96 kHz, a setting like Analog+SPDIF is recommended to be used on all Firefaces. This equals 3 x 24 = 72 channels
per direction.
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30.5 DS - Double Speed
When activating the Double Speed mode the Fireface 800 operates at double sample rate. The
internal clock 44.1 kHz turns to 88.2 kHz, 48 kHz to 96 kHz. The internal resolution is still 24 bit.
Sample rates above 48 kHz were not always taken for granted, and are still not widely used
because of the CD format (44.1 kHz) dominating everything. Before 1998 there were no receiver/transmitter circuits available that could receive or transmit more than 48 kHz. Therefore a
work-around was used: instead of two channels, one AES line only carries one channel, whose
odd and even samples are being distributed to the former left and right channels. By this, you
get the double amount of data, i. e. also double sample rate. Of course in order to transmit a
stereo signal two AES/EBU ports are necessary then.
This transmission mode is called Double Wire in the professional studio world, and is also
known as S/MUX (Sample Multiplexing) in connection with the ADAT format.
Not before February 1998, Crystal shipped the first 'single wire' receiver/transmitters that could
also work with double sample rate. It was then possible to transmit two channels of 96 kHz data
via one AES/EBU port.
But Double Wire is still far from being dead. On one hand, there are still many devices which
can't handle more than 48 kHz, e. g. digital tape recorders. But also other common interfaces
like ADAT or TDIF are still using this technique.
Because the ADAT interface does not allow for sampling frequencies above 48 kHz (a limitation
of the interface hardware), the Fireface 800 automatically uses Sample Multiplexing in DS
mode. One channel's data is distributed to two channels according to the following table:
Analog In
DS Signal
Port
1
1/2
ADAT1
2
3/4
ADAT1
3
5/6
ADAT1
4
7/8
ADAT1
5
1/2
ADAT2
6
3/4
ADAT2
7
5/6
ADAT2
8
7/8
ADAT2
As the transmission of double rate signals is done at standard sample rate (Single Speed), the
ADAT outputs still deliver 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz.
30.6 QS – Quad Speed
Due to the small number of available devices that use sample rates up to 192 kHz, but even
more due to a missing real world application (CD...), Quad Speed has had no broad success so
far. An implementation of the ADAT format as double S/MUX results in only two channels per
optical output. There are few devices using this method.
The Fireface 800 can not provide ADAT at 192 kHz, because this would equal a channel count
of 64 (10+2+2+2 x 4, see chapter 35.4, Number of Channels and Bus load). The Fireface is
internally limited to 48 channels.
The SPDIF (AES) output of the Fireface 800 provides 192 kHz as Single Wire only.
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30.7 AES/EBU - SPDIF
The most important electrical properties of 'AES' and 'SPDIF' can be seen in the table below.
AES/EBU is the professional balanced connection using XLR plugs. The standard is being set
by the Audio Engineering Society based on the AES3-1992. For the 'home user', SONY and
Philips have omitted the balanced connection and use either Phono plugs or optical cables
(TOSLINK). The format called S/P-DIF (SONY/Philips Digital Interface) is described by IEC
60958.
Type
Connection
Mode
Impedance
Level
Clock accuracy
AES3-1992
XLR
Balanced
110 Ohm
0.2 V up to 5 Vss
not specified
Jitter
< 0.025 UI (4.4 ns @ 44.1 kHz)
IEC 60958
RCA / Optical
Un-balanced
75 Ohm
0.2 V up to 0.5 Vss
I: ± 50ppm
II: 0,1%
III: Variable Pitch
not specified
Besides the electrical differences, both formats also have a slightly different setup. The two
formats are compatible in principle, because the audio information is stored in the same place in
the data stream. However, there are blocks of additional information, which are different for both
standards. In the table, the meaning of the first byte (#0) is shown for both formats. The first bit
already determines whether the following bits should be read as Professional or Consumer
information.
Byte
0
0
Mode
Pro
Con
Bit 0
P/C
P/C
1
Audio?
Audio?
2
3
4
5
Emphasis
Locked
Copy
Emphasis
6
7
Sample Freq.
Mode
It becomes obvious that the meaning of the following bits differs quite substantially between the
two formats. If a device like a common DAT recorder only has an SPDIF input, it usually understands only this format. In most cases, it will switch off when being fed Professional-coded data.
The table shows that a Professional-coded signal would lead to malfunctions for copy prohibition and emphasis, if being read as Consumer-coded data.
Nowadays many devices with SPDIF input can handle Professional subcode. Devices with
AES3 input almost always accept Consumer SPDIF (passive cable adapter necessary).
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30.8 Noise level in DS / QS Mode
The outstanding signal to noise ratio of the Fireface's AD-converters can be verified even without expensive test equipment, by using record level meters of various software. But when activating the DS and QS mode, the displayed noise level will rise from -109 dB to -104 dB at 96
kHz, and –82 dB at 192 kHz. This is not a failure. The software measures the noise of the whole
frequency range, at 96 kHz from 0 Hz to 48 kHz (RMS unweighted), at 192 kHz from 0 Hz to 96
kHz.
When limiting the measurement range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (so called audio bandpass) the
value would be -109 dB again. This can be verified with RME's DIGICheck. The function Bit
Statistic & Noise measures the noise floor by Limited Bandwidth, ignoring DC and ultrasound.
The reason for this behaviour is the noise shaping technology of the analog to digital converters. They move all noise and distortion to the in-audible higher frequency range, above 24 kHz.
That’s how they achieve their outstanding performance and sonic clarity. Therefore the noise is
slightly increased in the ultrasound area. High-frequent noise has a high energy. Add the doubled (quadrupled) bandwidth, and a wideband measurement will show a significant drop in
SNR, while the human ear will notice absolutely no change in the audible noise floor.
30.9 SteadyClock
The SteadyClock technology of the Fireface 800 guarantees an excellent performance in all
clock modes. Thanks to a highly efficient jitter suppression, the AD- and DA-conversion always
operates on highest sonic level, being completely independent from the quality of the incoming
clock signal.
SteadyClock has been originally developed to gain a stable and clean clock
from the heavily jittery MADI data
signal (the embedded MADI clock suffers from about 80 ns jitter). Using the
Fireface's input signals SPDIF and
ADAT, you'll most probably never experience such high jitter values. But
SteadyClock is not only ready for
them, it would handle them just on the
fly.
Common interface jitter values in real
world applications are below 10 ns, a
very good value is less than 2 ns.
The screenshot shows an extremely jittery SPDIF signal of about 50 ns jitter (top graph, yellow).
SteadyClock turns this signal into a clock with less than 2 ns jitter (lower graph, blue). The signal processed by SteadyClock is of course not only used internally, but also used to clock the
digital outputs. Therefore the refreshed and jitter-cleaned signal can be used as reference clock
without hesitation.
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31. Diagrams
31.1 Block Diagram Fireface 800
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User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
31.2 Connector Pinouts
TRS jacks of analog input / output
The stereo 1/4" TRS jacks of the analog inputs and outputs are wired according to international
standards:
Tip = + (hot)
Ring = – (cold)
Sleeve = GND
The servo balanced input and output circuitry allows to use monaural TS jacks (unbalanced)
with no loss in level. This is the same as when using a TRS-jack with ring connected to ground.
XLR jacks of analog inputs
The XLR jacks are wired according to international standards:
1 = GND (shield)
2 = + (hot)
3 = - (cold)
TRS Phones jack
The analog monitor output on the
front is accessible through a
stereo ¼" TRS jack. This allows a
direct connection of headphones.
In case the output should operate
as Line output, an adapter TRS
plug to RCA phono plugs, or TRS
plug to TS plugs is required.
The pin assignment follows
international standards. The left
channel is connected to the tip,
the right channel to the ring of the
TRS jack/plug.
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User's Guide
Fireface 800
Miscellaneous
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95
32. Accessories
RME offers several optional components for the Fireface 800:
Part Number
Description
Standard FireWire 400 cable, both sides 6-pin male:
FWK660100BL
FWK660300BL
FWK660400BL
FireWire cable IEEE1394a 6M/6M, 1 m (3.3 ft)
FireWire cable IEEE1394a 6M/6M, 3 m (9.9 ft)
FireWire cable IEEE1394a 6M/6M, 4 m (13 ft)
FireWire 400 cable, 4-pin male to 6-pin male (4-pin sockets are found on most laptops):
FWK460100BL
FWK460300BL
FWK460400BL
FireWire cable IEEE1394a 4M/6M, 1 m (3.3 ft)
FireWire cable IEEE1394a 4M/6M, 3 m (9.9 ft)
FireWire cable IEEE1394a 4M/6M, 4 m (13 ft)
Note: Cable longer than 15 ft (4.5m) is not specified for FireWire.
Optical cable for SPDIF and ADAT operation:
OK0050
OK0100
OK0200
OK0300
OK0500
OK1000
Optical cable, TOSLINK, 0.5 m (1.6 ft)
Optical cable, TOSLINK, 1 m (3.3 ft)
Optical cable, TOSLINK, 2 m (6.6 ft)
Optical cable, TOSLINK, 3 m (9.9 ft)
Optical cable, TOSLINK, 5 m (16.4 ft)
Optical cable, TOSLINK, 10 m (33 ft)
Time Code Option to be inserted in the rear slot, adding LTC and Video synchronization inputs
to the Fireface.
TCOFF
Time Code Option Fireface
33. Warranty
Each individual Fireface 800 undergoes comprehensive quality control and a complete test at
IMM before shipping. The usage of high grade components should guarantee a long and trouble-free operation of the unit.
If you suspect that your product is faulty, please contact your local retailer.
Audio AG grants a limited manufacturer warranty of 6 months from the day of invoice showing
the date of sale. The length of the warranty period is different per country. Please contact your
local distributor for extended warranty information and service. Note that each country may
have regional specific warranty implications.
In any case warranty does not cover damage caused by improper installation or maltreatment replacement or repair in such cases can only be carried out at the owner's expense.
No warranty service is provided when the product is not returned to the local distributor in the
region where the product had been originally shipped.
Audio AG does not accept claims for damages of any kind, especially consequential damage.
Liability is limited to the value of the Fireface 800. The general terms of business drawn up by
Audio AG apply at all times.
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34. Appendix
RME news, driver updates and further product information are available on our website:
http://www.rme-audio.com
Distributor: Audio AG, Am Pfanderling 60, D-85778 Haimhausen, Tel.: (49) 08133 / 918170
Manufacturer:
IMM Elektronik GmbH, Leipziger Strasse 32, D-09648 Mittweida
Trademarks
All trademarks, registered or otherwise, are the property of their respective owners. RME,
DIGICheck and Hammerfall are registered trademarks of RME Intelligent Audio Solutions.
DIGI96, SyncAlign, ZLM, SyncCheck, TMS, TotalMix and Fireface are trademarks of RME Intelligent Audio Solutions. Alesis and ADAT are registered trademarks of Alesis Corp. ADAT optical
is a trademark of Alesis Corp. Microsoft, Windows, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows
Vista and Windows 7/8 are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. Steinberg,
Cubase and VST are registered trademarks of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. ASIO is a
trademark of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. FireWire, the FireWire symbol and the
FireWire logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.
Copyright © Matthias Carstens, 07/2014. Version 3.3
Current driver version: Windows: 3.095, Mac OS X: 3.22
Firmware 2.77
Although the contents of this User’s Guide have been thoroughly checked for errors, RME can
not guarantee that it is correct throughout. RME does not accept responsibility for any misleading or incorrect information within this guide. Lending or copying any part of the guide or the
RME Driver CD, or any commercial exploitation of these media without express written permission from RME Intelligent Audio Solutions is prohibited. RME reserves the right to change
specifications at any time without notice.
User's Guide Fireface 800 © RME
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35. CE / FCC Compliance
CE
This device has been tested and found to comply with the limits of the European Council Directive on the approximation of the laws of the member states relating to electromagnetic compatibility according to RL2004/108/EG, and European Low Voltage Directive RL2006/95/EG.
FCC
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device,
pursuant to Part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses,
and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the
instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no
guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does
cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning
the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or
more of the following measures:
- Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
- Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
- Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is
connected.
- Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
RoHS
This product has been soldered lead-free and fulfils the requirements of the RoHS directive.
ISO 9001
This product has been manufactured under ISO 9001 quality management. The manufacturer,
IMM Elektronik GmbH, is also certified for ISO 14001 (Environment) and ISO 13485 (medical
devices).
Note on Disposal
According to the guide line RL2002/96/EG (WEEE – Directive on Waste
Electrical and Electronic Equipment), valid for all european countries,
this product has to be recycled at the end of its lifetime.
In case a disposal of electronic waste is not possible, the recycling can
also be done by IMM Elektronik GmbH, the manufacturer of the Fireface
800.
For this the device has to be sent free to the door to:
IMM Elektronik GmbH
Leipziger Straße 32
D-09648 Mittweida
Germany
Shipments not prepaid will be rejected and returned on the original sender's costs.
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