RME surprises with an unconventional move, updating its two-year-old portable USB interface with two exciting new features: full USB Audio 2.0 Class Compliance for connections to the iPad™ and a stand-alone mode. The update is free of charge and can be done by the user with a simple firmware update via USB.
RME’s worldwide renowned mobile interface, the Babyface, excited users since its release with its 10 inputs and 12 outputs in a small and portable form factor, convincing with USB bus power operation, typical RME driver and converter quality and a wide range of additional features.
RME released a firmware update, which adds full stand-alone mode and full class compliant USB operation to the unit. From now on the small yet ‘pro’ interface becomes a real allrounder in both flexibility and features.
The Babyface now operates in three different modes: driver-based USB 2.0 (as before), stand-alone mode, and class compliant USB Audio 2.0 (CC) mode. The latter describes a standard that is natively supported by operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. No proprietary drivers are required; the device will be automatically detected. Although the functionality in this mode is limited, it is useful in case the user does not want to, or cannot install the original driver files which unlock additional features like TotalMix™, effects, and slightly lower latencies.
However, connecting the Babyface to an Apple iPad™ or iPad Mini™ reveals the true benefit of the class compliant hardware architecture. At an instance, all of its connections become available to audio apps: the Babyface’s superb microphone preamps, its professional balanced line level outputs, the hi-power headphone output, the SPDIF and 8-channel ADAT digital interface and even the MIDI connections.
The list of possibilities is endless. From sound creation with attached keyboards and synthesizer apps over lossless audio playbacks to multichannel recording in full 96kHz 24-bit quality – the reason for the RME development team to release this feature becomes very obvious.
In stand-alone mode, the Babyface is not connected via USB at all. It acts both as an A/D converter (for example, two phantom-powered microphone input signals to SPDIF Output), and as a D/A converter (CD player optical output to line level speakers and headphones). It can act as master or slave to digital appliances at sampling rates of up to 192kHz.
Both in class compliant and stand-alone mode, the user has access to input and output gain, phantom power and additional settings with the control elements of the unit.