Hi there! In this review, we’ll be looking at, in my opinion, the best audio interface in its class, an RME Babyface PRO audio interface! Before we begin, I must tell you that I have been using RME brand since 2013 and have a profound trust in their brand. I’m not affiliated with the brand, but I have become a fan of their products and approach in their designs.
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Despite being a pretty young company, they weigh a lot in the pro audio industry. RME is a German company founded in 1996 and it didn’t take them too long to become a brand trusted by everyone. RME has been founded by innovative software and hardware developers that are also sound engineers or musicians. This strong team keeps in touch with other industry experts in order to exchange information and knowledge. This way they can create designs that have reasonable price tags and superior quality.
RME has a variety of products from PCI, PCI Express cards, Firewire and USB interfaces, MADI* AES & EBU, converters, microphone preamps as well as many other accessories.
*MADI is a technology made by RME! It’s used for transmission multiple audio channels. Unlike the problems with conservative multicore cables for audio transmission, with the help of MADI technology, a narrow cable can be used for up to 64 channels, up to the 2000m distance and lossless.
My first encounter with RME brand was with a Babyface audio interface back in 2013. I remember having watched every comparison video and read reviews before I decided to go for it finally. After I watched a comparison between Babyface and Apogee Duet II, I was totally in! I managed to have found some of the photos of my own Babyface!
I used my Babyface for over 3 years with an ASUS laptop from back in 2006 and I was able to get down to a total of 5.5 ms latency @ 64 samples. If you consider you are running on a laptop with Intel Core2Duo CPU and 3 GB RAM, it was a miracle for me! I was actively using this setup to practice and record via a shitty set of speakers. If you want to learn more about how I would configure and optimize my Win7 with this setup, please have a look at my Configuration and Optimization of Windows 7 for Audio Production article.
I also have a pair of review articles for testing out VST guitar plugins with this setup; for LePou plugins please go to my “LePou Plugins Review” article and for Emissary plugins please go to my “Ignite Amps Emissary VST Amp Review”.
And lastly, when I said actively, I mean it! If you want to see in which of my stuff here made with an RME Babyface, please have a look at the posts related to RME Babyface.
It was a great audio interface and very stable, never had a problem with it. However, it felt a bit cheap and the patch or breakout cable was ugly. Although it wasn’t an ancient USB audio interface, it got started to feel a bit outdated through all these years (RME Babyface release date 2011).
I believe RME decided to raise the bar for the upcoming 5-8 years period and released the new RME Babyface PRO version in late 2015. Don’t be fooled by a simple PRO addon to the name! RME has never been a company releasing so many products one after another. When they release a new product, there’s always more than a simple updated version.
What’s New With RME Babyface PRO?
RME Babyface PRO comes with many better features comparing to original Babyface. This time RME uses an aluminium block for its body and this definitely adds weight to the unit and this feels quite solid from the first interaction with the interface. Babyface PRO has been completely redesigned and upgraded both in terms of software and hardware.
Another cool thing about Babyface PRO is that we no longer need the patch or breakout cable! All inputs and outputs (except MIDI) are housed in the body of Babyface PRO. For MIDI connections, you will have a breakout cable included in the box, but it’s not a bulky cable, rather it’s a very compact design.
It comes with a hard plastic box. It looks and functions like a box rather than a carrying case because it doesn’t have any handles! 🙂 Also I must say opening this thing is not so effortless at all, however, it’s a quite nice box for keeping everything in place and this is handy especially when you travel with your Babyface PRO.
Apart from the MIDI breakout cable, you will also have a recessed right-angle USB connector which locks into the plug on the unite and keep it secure. This actually also keeps things tidier, but I would really like to have angled USB plugs at both ends.
All XLR inputs and outputs are housed at the rear of the interface and feel like they are all embedded into the body. On the left side of the body, you will have your MIDI I/O for MIDI breakout cable, your ADAT and 9V Adapter input. Babyface PRO doesn’t come with an adapter, but you can buy an RME NTCARDBUS-X separately.
But I should mention that you don’t need the adapter to use this device, it’s a USB 2.0 device and USB 3.0 is also supported. Babyface PRO has been tested on both USB 3.0 bus power and USB 2.0 ports, with no degradation in any of its audio or functional quality.
On the right side of Babyface PRO, you will see your instrument inputs and headphones jacks! Yes, Babyface PRO features 2 headphones output with completely separate driver stages to match the impedance of your headphones.
So if you have a higher OHM needs for your headphones, you should go for the 10 Ohms 1/4″ (6.35mm) output.
If you need a lower impedance, you need to go for the 2 Ohms 1/8″ (3.5mm) output. Headphone preamps are vastly improved and most users can tell that it’s one of the biggest differences in terms of audio quality.
Regarding instruments inputs, you will have 2 TRS inputs with Babyface PRO and the input impedance is 1 megaOhm. With original Babyface, you would have only one instrument input and the impedance was 470 kOhm. This means you will experience less muddy signal and more clarity when you record with Babyface PRO!
As for more technical details, ADC dynamic range has been improved from 111dBA to 116dBA, THD+N has been dropped from 0.0012% to 0.00063%.
What About Latency?
Since I used my original Babyface both with my Asus (Core2Duo 3GBs RAM) laptop and with my Victor (i7 4710MQ 8 GB RAM), I have to mention that having a usable latency is very dependent on what system you are using your interface. So it was already a huge improvement for me to have a new laptop.
*By the way, when I say latency, I’m talking about a usable latency on a single track at a certain number of samples. With most PC and laptop configurations, you wouldn’t be able to have 30 channels loaded with dozens of IRs, VST amps, effects at 48 samples and still have no choking on the system.
So with my RME Babyface and my ancient laptop, I would have around 5ms latency @48 samples whereas with RME Babyface PRO and my i7 laptop I would get down to a total of 3.6ms @48 samples.
What that means is that imagine you are playing and recording your guitar via RME Babyface PRO and you already have set up a VST amp/effects in your DAW. When you play something, it takes 3.6ms for this signal to go through your laptop, get processed and send back to your ears! Isn’t it amazing? This almost feels like you are playing with a real guitar amp!
You might say that I have provided a bad example with you since there are two different laptops used with both versions of Babyface interfaces. So the latency difference won’t be that big? Please see the video below, starting from 5:30 and you will see that both interfaces are being tested on the same system with the same settings and the same project.
He got a total of 8.48ms @ 128 samples with the original Babyface and a total of 7.23ms @128 samples with Babyface PRO. This means there’s more than 1ms difference with the new version!
Later on, he also went down to 64 samples and got a total of 3.98ms which is pretty close, maybe almost the same latency that I had at 48 samples (3.6ms @48 samples).
Believe me, when you plug your guitar, had a good virtual amp setup you will be blown away by how close this is to the real thing!
RME Babyface PRO comes with a software mixer called TotalMix FX. With the new version, TotalMix FX has been also rewritten from scratch. It’s my opinion, but I think TotalMix FX is the only thing I may complain about. Because it scares me a bit, actually I am able to do most of the things I want to with the software, but it sometimes looks very complex. So I highly recommend you to watch the video below in order to understand the basic of TotalMix FX software.
As you can understand from my experience for about 6 years of using both versions, I have never had a single problem with both versions. Their support for their products is amazing and every time it works like charm when you upgrade your drivers or firmware!
If you ever ask me which pieces of equipment I would buy without thinking twice, that would be RME Babyface PRO! I mentioned about this feeling of how this is one of the best investments you can make for your audio related work. Please see my “The ONLY Tip For Getting The Best Guitar Tone on Your Computer!“.
Some people might think it’s an expensive interface but actually, it’s not! You are paying for the stability, support and hassle-free use and you are paying for these to last 5-8 years of time!
And when you consider how much a step-back model or brand would cost, you would probably just need to save some more money for a few months to get an RME Babyface PRO! I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a stable USB audio interface and who never wants to look back again! Hope this article has been helpful for you! Also, if you are interested, you can have a look at the stuff made with an RME Babyface PRO by clicking here!
*All the images belong to my own interface and all the things you read has been written by a long time user 🙂 Thanks!