RME Babyface Review – Real, Portable Sound Delivered

By | December 13, 2014

During fall 2014 I purchased a new audio interface because I thought it was time to upgrade the core of my studio’s sound. I had some problems with the interface I had earlier, such as blue screen crashes and static noise coming out of my speakers, as well as sudden cuts to silence in audio which all contributed to my decision to get a new interface.

After some research, I was confident that RME Babyface would become my new audio interface. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. This is my RME Babyface Review.

The Package

The Package

The Package

RME Babyface is supplied with a nice carrying bag, user guide, drivers and TotalMix software as well as a USB-cord and an breakout cable for I/O. I could imagine the breakout cable a problem for someone who doesn’t want a bunch of cords laying on their desk or the potential hassle, but for myself it isn’t a problem. There are inputs on the side of the Babyface for headphones and a line input for plugging in a guitar for example. Two XLR inputs for microphones are accessed by the breakout cable, as well as the outputs for main speakers.

RME Babyface

RME Babyface – guitar plugged in on the side

In total there are two analog preamp inputs which means you could plug in two microphones, or one microphone and instrument at the same time. In addition to the two analog inputs, there are digital ADAT and SPDIF connections available to expand on, providing a potential total of 10 analog input and 12 output channels.

For more information and tech specs, head over to RME’s website.

Quality, quality, quality…

Here I have listed the main reasons why I think the Babyface is a great product:

  1. Sound Quality

The sound quality on the Babyface is top notch. It is crystal clear, transparent, dynamic, and has such presence that it requires one to hear it for themselves. The separation between the high-, mid- and low-ranges is excellent, and there is no “mud” whatsoever to make it harder to pinpoint certain frequencies. To sum the sound quality of the Babyface in one word: pristine.

  1. Stability and Trust

I don’t know what to say. I haven’t had one crash, noise burst, or problem with the Babyface since I acquired it. In short, RME Babyface is an extremely stable and trustworthy device to have in the studio which makes its owner proud. The drivers are in a league of their own.

  1. Recording Quality

What you put through the Babyface’s preamps is what you get. The recordings are incredibly clean and clear and there is virtually no noise floor. Because of the quality of the recording, it leaves the user to process the recordings afterwards at their own will, with compressors, saturators and so on.

Features

Big Knob, Select, Recall and Dim

  1. Features

RME Babyface has some pro-level features without which my life would get much harder.

  • Dim

The dim function works by pressing the large volume knob on top of the interface and it “dims” the main volume by a user-set amount. I have mine set to -20dB. For example, if I need to answer my phone or do some talking, I can just hit the dim button and push it back again to return to the level of volume I had before. It is also useful to quickly reference whatever you are working on at a lower level and hear how the mix or instrument levels sound at a lower volume.

  • Recall

The Recall function becomes useful when you have found that perfect level to monitor your mix or production. How it works is, just find an appropriate volume that pleases you with the main volume knob, then press and hold down the Recall button for a few seconds, and it has now stored that volume setting in its memory. Now, whenever you click the Recall button the volume returns to the level you set it to remember. You can now, for example, quickly listen to your music at a loud level to see how hard it punches and push the Recall button to return to your main level of volume. I love this function.

  • Navigation
Navigation

Navigation and Meters

The navigation through the different functions is dead easy. You can navigate between the recording input levels, main output level and headphone level by clicking at the “Select” button and adjusting the levels with the main volume knob. While in “In” mode, pressing the main volume knob jumps between adjusting the input gain of inputs 1 and 2 individually, and both at the same time.

  1. Big Volume Knob

Probably my favorite feature of the Babyface is the giant volume knob. It’s so pleasant to use and I love the fact that it adjusts volume in little steps or ticks. So adjusting the volume is not stepless. The steps are around 3dB. I find this decision of design useful when browsing through different volume levels and effortlessly finding that spot you want. As said before, the volume knob also works as the Dim function by pressing it.

TotalMix FX

The Babyface is supplied with TotalMix FX software which basically acts as a software mixer and controller. Personally I don’t use it too much, except to enable Phantom Power for my microphones (I think it can only be enabled through the software) and using some of the DSP effects, such as the EQ to cut some unneeded low end on the recording inputs before they reach my DAW, so I don’t need to insert any EQs there.

You can also set up a monitoring reverb for recording an instrument from the software. The Dim function’s dB values are set here too.

I think TotalMix FX and its usability could split some opinions between users but for my personal needs using it has not been an issue. Not to confuse things, TotalMix FX is a very powerful mixer and offers deep routing capabilities. It just demands a bit of studying the manual to fully get the grip on it.

TotalMix FX

TotalMix FX

PROS

  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Extremely Stable
  • Clean, Quality Preamps
  • Hardware Features

CONS

  • The Breakout cable is a potential nuisance
  • TotalMix FX could get a bit frustrating
  • The price which floats around 500€ or $700Babyface_Score

To conclude, RME Babyface is an excellent piece of hardware with long-lasting audio performance for years to come. It is a product for audio professionals and those who are serious about audio and music production. I highly recommend you to keep the Babyface in mind if you are looking for a high level, portable audio interface. It is a pricy product, but the price is justified by its quality. In my studio, the Babyface has arrived to stay.

-JP

Get Babyface now on Amazon and take your sound to the professional level!

2 thoughts on “RME Babyface Review – Real, Portable Sound Delivered

    1. admin

      Hi. To clear things up, TotalMix FX is actually a great piece of software. It could just be a little intimidating because of the fact that it’s a mixer in addition to your DAW’s own mixer. Perhaps in situations where you would need to make monitor mixes for vocalists or configure talkback microphones, it would just demand carefully studying the manual before being able to do those tasks. The initial impression of the software can be a bit confusing. Also I would prefer a button on the actual audio interface to enable 48V phantom power, instead of opening TotalMix FX each time. Hope I answered your question with this.

      Reply

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