Recording - February 2018 - 32

RME

Babyface Pro
This portable audio/MIDI interface is
rock-solid in more ways than one
REVIEW BY MIKE METLAY

R

ME isn't a household name in the USA pro audio world,
but it should be. For decades, its interfaces have reigned
supreme in mission-critical reliability, and its innovations
have entered the market and become standards without most
folks ever knowing where they came from. (Zero latency direct
monitoring? Invented by RME.) Reviewing a new RME interface
is always a blast, and the desktop/portable Babyface Pro was
no exception.

Ins and outs

The Babyface Pro comes in a form-fitting plastic carrying
case that holds the interface, USB and MIDI cables, and has
space for an optional DC power supply (it usually operates
on bus power). The interface itself is machined from a solid
block of aluminum and is wonderfully solid; it's notable for its
complete lack of audio breakout cables despite its small size.
On the rear panel of the Babyface Pro's enclosure are four
XLR connectors, two mic inputs and two main outputs. The
right side of the case adds two unbalanced 1/4" TS connectors with 470 kΩ input impedance (suitable for line-level
devices as well as most electric guitars and basses), as well
as two headphone outputs, one 1/4" TRS and one minijack.
Note that these two outputs share the same output signal and
volume control, but have different output specs, the minijack
being more suited to in-ear monitors and low-impedance
headphones for portable use while the 1/4" handles higherimpedance headphones.
On the right side of the enclosure, digital connections are
provided: USB 2.0, Toslink optical in and out-operable as
stereo S/PDIF or 8-channel ADAT-and a 7-pin socket for a
provided MIDI In/Out cable pair. There's also a locking
connector for a proprietary DC power supply. The power
supply is optional; the Babyface Pro works on bus power for
Windows and macOS, but you'll need the DC supply to use
it as a standalone preamp/converter/headphone amp, or in
Class Compliant mode with an iOS device.

Controls and displays

The top panel of the Babyface Pro does a lot with a relatively
small number of controls. In and Out buttons let you cycle
32

RECORDING February 2018

through which input and output sources you're controlling with
the large encoder wheel; you can set gains and output volumes
easily, with source LEDs visible between the channels of the
two LED ladder meters. Two other buttons are marked A and
B; out of the box, they let you quickly choose sources for direct
monitoring output and recall a preset output level for the main
outs or headphones, but they can also be programmed for
user-defined hotkey functions.
The last two buttons are Select (used in conjunction with the
encoder and other buttons for secondary features like setting
output pan/balance), and a Dim function that lowers all output levels temporarily. Unlike some other interfaces, Dim on
the Babyface Pro works for the headphone outputs as well as
the mains (hooray!). The unit is designed so you can do most
of your minute-to-minute adjustments without ever having to
open software, but when you need to do more, the option's
there for you.

TotalMix FX

To get the most out of the Babyface Pro, you'll want to install
the custom drivers and associated software for macOS and
Windows. This gives you access to a very powerful and comprehensive software package called TotalMix FX, which turns
the Babyface Pro into a powerful digital console capable of
providing multiple prefader monitor mixes that can be instantly
stored and recalled with highly flexible routings.
As you can see from the screenshot on page 34, each hardware input, software playback return, and hardware output
appears in the mixer view, and has access to a hidden Settings
menu (via the wrench icon) where you can set phantom power,
gain, phase/polarity inversion, stereo linking, send amounts
to a pair of bus FX for confidence monitoring, and more. Each
channel has mixer features like panning, mute, Solo or Cue
bus routing, a Trim function that lets one fader simultaneously
control all places in the mixer architecture where a given input
appears, and numerical displays of settings and meter levels.
You can set up a talkback circuit, monitor in mono, route audio
to external hardware effects and back, and more.
This is where the ADAT optical connections come into their
own. Adding an 8-channel A/D and D/A turns the Babyface
Pro into a full-on 12-channel input system with up to six different
output mixes for recording and monitoring, while allowing it



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - February 2018

Contents
Recording - February 2018 - Intro
Recording - February 2018 - Cover1
Recording - February 2018 - Cover2
Recording - February 2018 - 1
Recording - February 2018 - 2
Recording - February 2018 - 3
Recording - February 2018 - 4
Recording - February 2018 - 5
Recording - February 2018 - 6
Recording - February 2018 - 7
Recording - February 2018 - Contents
Recording - February 2018 - 9
Recording - February 2018 - 10
Recording - February 2018 - 11
Recording - February 2018 - 12
Recording - February 2018 - 13
Recording - February 2018 - 14
Recording - February 2018 - 15
Recording - February 2018 - 16
Recording - February 2018 - 17
Recording - February 2018 - 18
Recording - February 2018 - 19
Recording - February 2018 - 20
Recording - February 2018 - 21
Recording - February 2018 - 22
Recording - February 2018 - 23
Recording - February 2018 - 24
Recording - February 2018 - 25
Recording - February 2018 - 26
Recording - February 2018 - 27
Recording - February 2018 - 28
Recording - February 2018 - 29
Recording - February 2018 - 30
Recording - February 2018 - 31
Recording - February 2018 - 32
Recording - February 2018 - 33
Recording - February 2018 - 34
Recording - February 2018 - 35
Recording - February 2018 - 36
Recording - February 2018 - 37
Recording - February 2018 - 38
Recording - February 2018 - 39
Recording - February 2018 - 40
Recording - February 2018 - 41
Recording - February 2018 - 42
Recording - February 2018 - 43
Recording - February 2018 - 44
Recording - February 2018 - 45
Recording - February 2018 - 46
Recording - February 2018 - 47
Recording - February 2018 - 48
Recording - February 2018 - 49
Recording - February 2018 - 50
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Recording - February 2018 - 80
Recording - February 2018 - Cover3
Recording - February 2018 - Cover4
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