German hardware company RME is known for producing some of the best audio interfaces on the market, their Fireface line being one of their more distinct and well-known products. Recently, the company released their updated version of their compact desktop Babyface line, called the Babyface Pro. In today's review, we’ll be taking a look at what makes this a great option for producers of all levels.
What is it?
The Babyface Pro could be considered the entry-level interface, although its functionality allows it to go far beyond the beginner studio. The unit comes with 4x Analog Ins/Outs, 1x ADAT or 1x SPDIF In/Out (these are digital ins and outs), 1x MIDI in/out, combining for a total of 24 ins and outs. There are also two separate headphone outputs for low and high impedance headphones, ensuring you’re always getting the right sound coming to your ears.
How does it look?
The Babyface Pro is a rectangle shaped all metal box, that’s not all too much smaller than an iPad mini. It’s small enough to be held in one hand but big enough to not feel like a toy. The ideal size really. It has a blue LED lit monitoring section, with a total of 6 black function buttons and a single large dial. The in/out ports are all recessed, and there are no cables to plug into, save for the USB and optional MIDI. Overall it’s a very clean and straightforward presentation.
How does it work?
As stated earlier, the Babyface Pro can be used in a simple or more advanced setup. At its most basic, it’s as simple as connecting via a USB to your computer. It runs on the same drivers as their other products, which ensures cross-platform smoothness in all their products. It’s also class-compliant, which means that it can be used with OSX, iOS, Linux, and more, without having to jump through any hoops. On top of all this, it runs on RME’s TotalMix engine, which gives you the power of high-quality studio fx without hurting CPU.
What do I think?
At first glance, the first thing I thought of was my Duet2 from Apogee. They are both similar in size and form factor, and about the same price. They also both sound great, but that’s about all they have in common. In terms of expandability, the Babyface is pretty much untouchable. As my instrument collection grows, having the option to plug more gear into a single unit instead of either having to unplug or get a new interface or mixer is huge. In terms of overall sound, I did find them to be very similar. The physical buttons on the Babyface are great, as I prefer the tactile feel. Then there is the MIDI port. This is an awesome feature that I wish more interfaces had. Normally I would use my Beatstep Pro to connect any MIDI only devices, but the RME allows me to do the same in a less messy way. Everything on the unit is very user-friendly, and the only real confusion when using the Babyface would come from the TotalMix software, which may take a bit to learn, although it’s also quite intuitive.
Overall, the Babyface Pro is a powerful product in a small footprint. The sheer amount of in/out capabilities directly accessible from the unit itself is impressive alone. Add to that the great sound and intuitive design, all at a reasonable price point, and you’ve got a winner.
Pros: Powerful, small footprint, up to 24 channels
Cons: TotalMix may take a bit to learn
Final Score: 9/10