PRO AUDIO
Taylor

Taylor
June 25, 2013

RME Babyface Review


With laptop based production becoming the norm for a lot of music makers, it stands to reason that you will need a good quality interface that you can take with you wherever you go. There are certainly a lot to choose from but very few maintain a high level of quality, an element of portability, and the ability to expand when needed. The RME Babyface does all three of these things and keeps you paying a lot less when it comes to paying for the best quality.

While the RME Babyface does have some great features, there are a couple things worth taking note of before you plop down your hard earned money on a new interface. We will cover all the features you care to know about, and give our final word on whether or not the RME Babyface is the audio interface for you.

Features/Design

The RME Babyface is built to sit atop your desk. This may seem like a rather obvious point, but a lot of interfaces are built to be rack-mounted or are little boxes that look like they would be better served as a permanent install in a shelving unit. The Babyface instead has a nice ergonomic design that rests nicely on your desk. You have a large rotary knob on the top for controlling your levels whether that would be your recording levels or your monitor volume output levels. Additionally you have buttons for making selections and a recall button which we will cover below.

You have inputs on the interface itself which include 2 1/4″ inputs. One is for headphones and the other is for an instrument connection. On the back you have 1 x ADAT I/O or 1 x SPDIF I/O optical, your USB connection, a connection for a power source, and a 15 pin connection for the breakout cable. The breakout cable is what facilitates the I/O on the RME Babyface. You have 2 XLR outputs for monitors, 2 XLR inputs, another headphone output, and MIDI in and out.

The I/O for the breakout cable is limited but works very well when going mobile.

The I/O for the breakout cable is limited but works very well when going mobile.

One of the nice features on the RME Babyface is the ability to digitally recall settings on the RME Babyface. This is especially useful for setting a specific gain level and recalling that at a later date. This helps to ensure that your recordings can all have the same or similar gain structures when going mobile with the RME Babyface. For instance if you are recording the overheads for a drummer on multiple days and moving from location to location to track other things, you can use the recall feature to pull up the exact overhead microphone gain you had from the first take to help facilitate fluidity in your tracking. This is a great feature and should be available on more interfaces.

Technical Specifications

For all of you tech-savvy individuals who need the numbers, you can click the link below and go to RME’s website where they cover all you need to know.

RME Babyface

TotalMix FX

When I did my review of the RME Fireface UFX, I briefly touched on the TotalMix FX software which is also included with the RME Babyface. The actual GUI changes depending on which interface you have connected, mostly because of the amount of available inputs and outputs that are visible within the software. Initially I was convinced that this was only useful for the serious studio junkie or the more knowledgeable professional audio connoisseur. After spending some time with the TotalMix FX and the Babyface, I found it to be a more intuitive and useful software than I had previously noted. The smaller number of inputs and outputs on the Babyface eliminated the daunting look of more channels than I knew what to do with inside of TotalMix FX. I was able to see all the features that make TotalMix FX a very useful piece of software when using RME’s interfaces.

Review

When looking at this interface and how it compares to others in this price range and features, it’s closest competitor is the Apogee Duet. The Babyface has quite a few things that make it similar to the Apogee Duet including the features that most of us care about like low latency, low noise, and pristine audio fidelity. The biggest difference is that PC users now have a comparable and portable interface which the Duet does really well but is exclusively for Apple computers. If you are a PC user and you are in the market for a portable audio interface that you can also fit into your home studio, the RME Babyface is definitely worth picking up.

One of the more prevalent gripes about the RME Babyface is the low volume from the headphone monitoring outputs. This can certainly be a limitation for a band or musician who needs to hear the mix over their own playing. It’s a rather menial complaint in my opinion as this can be easily solved with a headphone preamp. However it is worth noting that if you are working with two sets of headphones, the total volume output will be lower than if you were just working with one set because the amplifier on the RME Babyface is having to work harder to power both sets of headphones. This is not a deal breaker at all but it is something you should be aware of before buying.

For me, the breakout cable is not really ideal. You will have to be cognizant of where you are placing the interface within your desktop, home studio in terms of how that cable connects to the interface, then your interface to your computer, and then how you are going to connect your instruments, studio monitors, headphones, etc. to the interface. Again this seems like a rather obvious point to make, but I felt like the breakout cable provided more obstacles than solutions to a tidy home studio setup. In terms of portability, the breakout cable is very useful and almost a necessity when getting everything connected. But if you are looking to leave the RME Babyface stationary in your home studio, the breakout cable is a little less impressive.

The features that really make the RME Babyface a solid interface are the low-latency and low noise signal path from the analog I/O to your computer as well as the portability for on the go or mobile recording scenarios. Its got a solid build while maintaining a pretty low price point for what it can do. If you want to learn more about the RME Babyface or purchase one for yourself, visit UniqueSquared.com.

Also if you have any questions that were not answered by the video and this blog, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and we will be sure to answer them.

SLAM!!

Transcript

The RME Babyface is a 10 input and 12 output audio interface It connects via USB to your Mac or PC for low latency audio recording and monitoring. The babyface is designed for the desktop and has some of the best preamps on the market.
On the back of the RME babyface you have a port for connecting a power source, a USB connection, an ADAT and SPIDF I/O and a port for connecting the included breakout cable. On the side of the interface, you have a headphone output and an instrument input for connecting things like a guitar. The included breakout cable comes with a typical collection of I/O for a desktop interface. You have 2 XLR line outputs, 2 XLR line inputs, a ¼ inch headphone input, and MIDI in and out. The RME babyface has a nice visual display with LED lights to show your line levels for your inputs and outputs.
The Babyface comes with the TotalMix FX software so you can have control over all of your channels with effects and level control. Using the large rotary knob, you can control levels for both input one and input two. You also have control over your main volume output. You have control over the output volume of your headphone monitor outputs as well.
The RME babyface comes with a handy carrying bag to suit your mobile recording needs.
To read more in-depth information including technical specifications on the RME babyface, be sure to visit the UniqueSquared blog linked in the description below the video. To pick up an RME babyface up for yourself, head on over to the UniqueSquared website. You’re Watching UniqueSquared.com