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RME Babyface Pro FS Portable Interface Review

mike7877

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Was the 32 ohm measurement done with the 1/4" 11 ohm output impedance designed for high impedance headphones, instead of the 1/8" 0.1 ohm? The added edit makes me think it might've been. Probably not, but I'd like to know. 56mW seems pretty low - RME lists 90
 

dtaylo1066

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Could you run an unbalanced phono preamp's output into the Babyface?
 

mhardy6647

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Could you run an unbalanced phono preamp's output into the Babyface?
1707876306298.jpeg

"IN3" and "IN4" appear to be stereo 1/4" (?) phone jacks for line level (unbalanced) inputs. @amirm describes them as
two analog inputs
on the first post of this thread.

So, presumably, yes, you could.
You'd need the appropriate cable to adapt from your phono preamp to this gadget, of course.
 

Hausmeister

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Great that RME is answering questions directly here! As they seem to be following this thread I dare to post my wish list for this almost perfect device:
i) USB-C in combination with a beefier headphone amp when USB-C is connected on the host. As stated by RME earlier in this thread, amp power was limited because of limited USB power on a portable device, this should be no problem with a USB-C connection.
ii) maybe a wider housing (or a UCX like housing) with most I/O on the back/front, so the desk can be kept tidy.

I am saving money already ;)
 

jonwb

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Yes, USB-C could provide more robust headphone output. It's one of the reasons I'm holding off getting the Babyface FS right now.
 

Atanasi

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i) USB-C in combination with a beefier headphone amp when USB-C is connected on the host. As stated by RME earlier in this thread, amp power was limited because of limited USB power on a portable device, this should be no problem with a USB-C connection.
USB-C is not required to supply more power than traditional USB, and this is why most peripheral devices don't depend on it.
I tested one of my laptop ports, and it is able to supply 15 W, which is the maximum power without PD, so this much is probably not very rare. The peripheral device would have to adapt to the available power.
 

Blumlein 88

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USB-C is not required to supply more power than traditional USB, and this is why most peripheral devices don't depend on it.
I tested one of my laptop ports, and it is able to supply 15 W, which is the maximum power without PD, so this much is probably not very rare. The peripheral device would have to adapt to the available power.
Yes, a 1 watt headphone amp is a power house. So not being USB C is not the restriction. I have a Babyface and find the headphone out adequate, but just. So it would be nicer if it had more power.
 

Hausmeister

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I was not very precise about using "USB-C" in my post, I didn't want to sound too technical. USB-C is the conector type and what counts for power is the USB standard. Power limitations exist for the different standards of USB i.e. USB-1, USB-2 and USB-3. As far as I know, the babyface uses the USB-2 protocol which is limited to 5V/500mA = 2.5W which IS limiting having in mind that it needs to supply enough power for the 48V phantom power (you loose some power in the convertors scaling up 5V to 48V), for the headphone amp and for powering the rest of the device (you'll also want some headroom so the babyface does not stop to operate because of missing power during a power usage spike when it is powering two 48V active mics). USB-3 opens up higher power capabilities (up to 3A) and USB-C is the most common cable type for USB-3. Of course USB-3 can work over type A/B conectors too. USB-3 is not needed for data bandwidth for a low channel count interface, but it is great for incorporating better headphone amps!
 
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Grooved

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Indeed, USB power supply depends on standards.
... USB-3 is not needed for data bandwidth for a low channel count interface, but it is great for incorporating better headphone amps!
I don't know if they could do it with USB 2.0 but the Apollo Solo, as an example of a "low channel count interface", need at least a USB 3.0 connection to make it work, and it's not for power supply because you have to use it with a external power supply (and can't without it).
(it's a USB-C port but you can make it work with a USB-C to USB-A cable connected to a USB-A 3.0 port, if the cable if fully wired, and not all cables are...)
 

Blumlein 88

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I was not very precise about using "USB-C" in my post, I didn't want to sound too technical. USB-C is the conector type and what counts for power is the USB standard. Power limitations exist for the different standards of USB i.e. USB-1, USB-2 and USB-3. As far as I know, the babyface uses the USB-2 protocol which is limited to 5V/500mA = 2.5W which IS limiting having in mind that it needs to supply enough power for the 48V phantom power (you loose some power in the convertors scaling up 5V to 48V), for the headphone amp and for powering the rest of the device (you'll also want some headroom so the babyface does not stop to operate because of missing power during a power usage spike when it is powering two 48V active mics). USB-3 opens up higher power capabilities (up to 3A) and USB-C is the most common cable type for USB-3. Of course USB-3 can work over type A/B conectors too. USB-3 is not needed for data bandwidth for a low channel count interface, but it is great for incorporating better headphone amps!
The Babyface also has a DC input jack for using a separate power supply. It's not needed for power rather for stand alone operation without a PC. It also has no trouble with 48 volt phantom power.
 

Hausmeister

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I know the babyface has a DC input jack, but it is a device that is designed to work with a USB-2 connection only. This limits the total available power, and this is why they can't include a powerful headphone amp. With USB-3 they could include a more powerful amp. I think the Audient id24 resolves this problem in a clever way. When a USB-3 connection is available they make more power available to the headphone amp, when only USB-2 is available this power is reduced. Julian Krause makes a remark about this in his video about the iD24.
 

Atanasi

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I know the babyface has a DC input jack, but it is a device that is designed to work with a USB-2 connection only. This limits the total available power, and this is why they can't include a powerful headphone amp.
Babyface consumes more power than the standard strictly allows:
  • Idle power consumption: 2.8 Watts
  • Typical power consumption: 3.7 Watts
  • Max. power consumption: 5.4 Watts
  • Current at 5 V bus power operation: 700 mA (3.7 Watts)
Even the idle consumption is more than the maximum power of USB 2 (2.5 W). The maximum consumption is more than allowed by USB 3. Apparently RME has tested their device and concluded that typical computer hosts can supply this amount of power – Babyface takes advantage of the de facto standard. Only iPad hosts are required to use an external power supply.
 

Blumlein 88

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Babyface consumes more power than the standard strictly allows:

Even the idle consumption is more than the maximum power of USB 2 (2.5 W). The maximum consumption is more than allowed by USB 3. Apparently RME has tested their device and concluded that typical computer hosts can supply this amount of power – Babyface takes advantage of the de facto standard. Only iPad hosts are required to use an external power supply.
Now that I think of it I believe I've always had mine on USB 3.0 ports. Those have 4.5 watt output or 900 milliamps at 5 v. I suppose the 5.4 watt level must not last very long.

My Antelope Audio Zen Tour interface using a wall wart requires 25 watts. No USB power for it.
 

jonwb

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I know the babyface has a DC input jack, but it is a device that is designed to work with a USB-2 connection only. This limits the total available power, and this is why they can't include a powerful headphone amp. With USB-3 they could include a more powerful amp. I think the Audient id24 resolves this problem in a clever way. When a USB-3 connection is available they make more power available to the headphone amp, when only USB-2 is available this power is reduced. Julian Krause makes a remark about this in his video about the iD24.
I recently got the Audient ID14 Mk2, which uses my computer's USB Type-C connection for power and data. No PS needed. I can attest that the headphone amplifier output is remarkably more robust than the iD22's HP output it's replaced. Better dynamic range too (125 db(a). I had hoped that the iD14 latency would improve, but the RTL at 48kHz/128 is 10.1 ms, just a little faster than the iD22.

RME Babyface FS still has the latency advantage of about 4ms running similar settings.
 

Hausmeister

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There a really many standards with USB. A USB 3 (type A) is required to support 900mA but most modern ports supply BC whch gives 1.5A. A USB C will give 3A at least (when using a C to C connection), but most ports supply 60W, which is obtained by negotiating higher voltages. It gets trickier with USB-A to C cables, here the upstream A port is the limiting factor. On the other side a USB-2 port can strictly _limit_ current to 500mA, such a port would probably require the use of the external PSU with the babyface at full power. These ports are not common any more, especially on modern audio PCs. RME specifies the babyface with 600mA, which is slightly above the USB-2 standard but will work in most situations without the PSU. This is a conservative design approach which will get you running with 99% of audio PCs, but by limiting the power consumption (and thus the headphone amp power). I personally would prefer a higher power consumption of the device with more power available for the headphone amp, and be required to use at least a USB port that can supply 7.5W or 15W. I'd guess eventually RME will adapt to the changes in host hardware to stay competitive. Their conservative approach has its positive sides too (stability and compatibility)!
 

tlkmx

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Yes, USB-C could provide more robust headphone output. It's one of the reasons I'm holding off getting the Babyface FS right now.
same waiting for them to update the babyface to usb3 and also to make a black version.. The blueish is kinda ugly ngl
 
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