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 ADI-8 PRO, issue May 2002

Under the headline 'Eight channels of exceptional A/D and D/A in a convenient package', Scott Dorsey reports about his experience with the ADI-8 PRO:

...I did a quick test, comparing the RME with three similarly priced converters and with the Prism AD-124 2-channel converter...With all of the converters there was a definite difference between the source signal and the output signal, but the RME was second in the lineup only to the AD-124. Running the system with peaks at -60 dB substantially increased the differences, although I was pleased to note that the overall tonality on the RME didn't change even when operated at low levels...The noise floor was fairly low and it was quite flat. The other similarly-priced devices all had some number of narrow spurs in the noise floor...Linearity, as measured by looking at the distortion on sine waves at low levels, was quite good...

Conclusion: On the whole, I was impressed with the performance of the ADI-8 PRO. It sounded good, it was convenient to use in the field, it was well constructed, and in six months of testing no unexpected problems crapped up...I liked it enough that I bought one.

DIGI96/8 PAD, issue 2/2002

When Martin Walker checked out the PAD he was not only surprised by its 'excellent analogue sound quality', but also had these final thoughts:

When I first received this soundcard for review, I expected it to be a good all-rounder for those who need to record, playback, and interface with a wide variety of digital and analogue gear. I was surprised at the number of unexpected features such as S/PDIF to ADAT conversion, intelligent AutoSync and the various ways to support multiple cards, and beyond all I was impressed by the attention to detail. No stone has been left unturned in the design and execution of this RME soundcard, and I repeatedly found myself wishing my own had features such as the informative Input and Output Status displays, and the Check Input safe mode.

Hammerfall DSP, issue 2/2002

Under the headline 'Changing Times' Thomas Sandmann reports on his experience with Digiface, Multiface and notebook. The conclusion says everything:

With the Hammerfall DSP system, RME has created a system for mobile recording, which is without competition for the time being. In daily practice, the system completely meets professional demands, operates perfectly, offers numerous functions and features, keeps on rising enthusiasm due to its practical possibilities and puts its entire power at one's disposal for both stationary and mobile use. 'With the ADI-8 DD format converter, there is a solution even for users of AES/EBU with the I/O boxes available at the moment', Sandmann explains when we ask about an additional device we discovered in a rack on a photo taken during one of his classical music recording sessions. Obviously RME have really thought about everything.

Hammerfall DSP, issue 2/02

...In the practical test, the Hammerfall DSP convinced right from the start with outstanding latencies down to the lowest value of 1.5 ms...Hammerfall DSP can stand up convincingly against its competitors. The technical features are excellent value for money, as well as the practical performance and the sound of the hardware. Driver and hardware work together in an exemplary way, thus the card is, like its predecessor, among the fastest cards available at all. In contrast to quite a few competitors, cross-platform compatibility is no issue for RME...MotU offers a well-introduced competitor with the 828, which can be compared to the Multiface. The Hammerfall solution is superior due to its performance, the programmable hardware, the TotalMix concept and the extremely low latencies.

Conclusion: The Hammerfall DSP is an outstanding multi-channel recording solution...The Hammerfall DSP convinces with numerous I/O ports, excellent sound and record-suspicious latencies at lowest CPU load. The well-thought-through, ultra-flexible routing concept and the versatile interfaces guarantee a seamless studio integration. At the same time the compact dimensions allow for a professional multi-channel solution also for mobile operation.

Hammerfall DSP, issue December 2001

In his fourth annual laptop digital audio workstation diary, Bill Stunt checked out 24-track systems - using a Mac Powerbook and CardBus:

...The sync capabilities of this system bears mention as it is one of the most complete and least confusing implementations I've encountered....The card also supports very sophisticated but easy to use software mixers that allow you to set up complex routings for both input and output....This is a slick system that was constructed with an incredible eye for detail. The Total Mix subprogram offers a lot more flexibility than the mixers built into most applications...I had equal success getting this system installed and running flawlessly on both my PC and Mac laptops...The Mac ASIO drivers are mature and work fine...It never seemed possible that it would be so easy to add this many I/Os to a laptop and have it all work so well.

Hammerfall DSP, issue 11/2001

Summary: The Hammerfall DSP is simply the best digital interface card that I have tested so far. The PCMCIA version is without competition anyway, but also the PCI design of the desktop version is exemplary. The incompatibilities that came up during the test were solved quickly, and thus also the hardware concept proves what it is able to do. The Hammerfall DSP has the tiny bit more in every respect, which separates the upper from the middle class. It is always one latency step faster, always a little more flexible, always has another feature somewhere that one wouldn't desperately need, but is happy to take... It gives good value for money.

Pro: The Hammerfall DSP System is simply the best digital audio hardware on the market.
Contra: nothing serious.

ADI-8 DD, issue 5/2001 (November)

During the whole period of testing, we have not encountered a single dysfunction, didn't have a problem understanding the numerous operating modes despite it's high complexity, and were able to make any two devices talk to each other, even at 96 kHz and 24 bit.

The ADI-8 DD offers any function one could think of within the formats available, is easy to use and very clear. To call this good value for money is almost an understatement, because the few format converters being available on the market, in most cases do not offer the ADI-8 DD's functionality by far, and it rather brings up associations to devices like the Euphonix FC727, which costs a proud Eur 10.000.

Not only has RME probably hit a bull's eye here, one has to seriously wonder, why a device like this has not been available on the market up to now. We have a simple comment on the daring statements on the manufacturer's web site: They're true..

Hammerfall DSP, issue 10/2001

Under the headline 'Mobile Times' editor Dieter Kahlen writes about his experiences with the Digiface on both desktop and laptop, in detail on 6 pages! The only thing left for us is to quote the summary:

You will have noticed - we consider the Hammerfall DSP a complete success, which hardly brought up points for improvements, but was a lot fun on the other hand. A rich selection of features with a lot of sense for practical details, safe installation and drivers, low latencies at low CPU load, and last not least the availability of extensive documentation about audio on the PC, with innumerable real world tips, make the system hit a bull's eye - especially of course the CardBus variant for notebook application, which offers completely new perspectives to the user...Wanna have...

Hammerfall DSP, issue 52/2001 (Oktober)

Under the headline 'De kaart die klopt' the belgian magazine Interface concludes:

Hiermee voorziet men in een behoefte van veel laptopgebruikers, om hun computers ook voor pro-audio toepassingen in te kunnen zetten. Het Hammerfall DSP Totalmix systeem is een uitstekend concept en door de real-time opzet geschickt voor bijvoorbeeld het maken van submixes, combineren van meerdere signaalbronnen op 1 of meer uitgangen, ASIO direct monitoring, het gaat allemaal problemloos en snel.

Plus: Zeer lage latency, goede drivers, goede afhandeling digtale audio, installatie, mixersoftware heeft voorkeurinstellingen.
Minus: Geen opmerkingen

Hammerfall DSP, issue 38, October 2001

...Very impressive it is too: we were communicating with an O2R mixing desk and two ADATs and didn't suffer from any dropouts or crackling....There's no doubt that RME have excelled themselves, however, and although it's impossible for us to cover all its uses here, the addition of GSIF drivers, support for multiple sample rates and rock-solid timing make the Hammerfall DSP the perfect choice for interfacing between digital machines.

DIGI96/8 PST, issue 29, January 2001

...Because the on-card converters, both ADC and DAC, are truly stunning in operation, picking up no noise from all the internal electro-magnetic interference caused by your average PC, the card is also ideal as an analog to digital converter (or vice-versa.)..CM's trusty copy of 'The Guide to Good Ol' Dyed In The Wool Reviewer's Clichés' has had to be put to one side on this occasion, it's well thumbed pages not worthy of describing the crisp and clear sound reproduction and amazingly clean signal path of the DIGI96/8. When sound quality is this good, something more, well, reverential is called for. So I ask you all to stand with me and rejoice, for behold, the DIGI96/8 has come among us.

Project Hammerfall, issue 28, Winter 2000

...Coming from RME, it's not surprising to learn that on all the above points it excels, and if you have a computer with a fair amount of power (300MHz and above) then you can use buffer settings of around 6ms, which result in almost zero latency monitoring...After a while we began to wonder how we ever managed without one for so long...If you have 'suitable' equipment, are serious about your music production, need digital interfacing and want top quality results, then this could be right up your street. It's a serious card doing a serious job and should certainly be on many people's wish lists.

ADI-8 DS, issue 5/2000

Under the headline 'The Upstart versus the Grand Master' the German magazine PMA (Production Management) tested Apogee's AD-8000 (around 7.000 US$) against RME's ADI-8 DS (around 2.000 US$), and came up with the following conclusion:

A win on points
In as far as the devices can be compared at all - the meaningful limits of any such comparison having been discussed above - there is a winner and one that will surprise many people. The RME ADI-8 DS not only offers a wide range of useful features, convincing functionality and many and diverse possibilities, but also outstanding AD and DA conversion up to 96kHz. When you consider the low price tag, all you can say is that this represents outstanding value for money, making it the clear points winner.

Apogee's AD-8000 also offers a wealth of unique features, from the AMBus system to the universal sync and clock options and the UV22 technology, but the actual AD conversion provided by the Apogee is open to criticism. For a reference device, these values could be better and in view of the high price tag one can expect to see an adaptation of the hardware to current developments.

Note: the entire review can be downloaded as PDF document. Click here.

DIGI96/8 PRO, issue July/August 2000

Under the headline 'La belle Allemande' PlayRecord reports:

Réalisée dans les règles de l'art, la carte audionumérique de RME brille par sa richesse fonctionelle et sa compatibilité multiple...Mais elle séduit encore par sa couleur bleue et, surtout, par la qualité de sa réalisation, certains composants montrant clairement que RME connaît bien son affaire (entrées et sorties isolées par des transformateurs...C'est sûr, on joue bien dans la catégorie pro et la qualité de fabrication allemande n'est pas une légende...Lors de nos tests, l'installation de la Digi96/8 Pro ne nous à posé aucun probléme, sur Mac comme sur PC...Un mot encore pour signaler que la Digi96/8 Pro s'est remarquablement bien comportée dans toutes les applications où nous l'avons mise à l'épreuve (Cubase VST, Logic Audio, Samplitude, WaveLab...), sa richesse et sa souplesse s'exploitant évidemment au mieux dans les logiciels multipistes.

Au final, la Digi96/8 Pro apparaât comme un excellent produit qui tient toutes ses promesses. Certes, sa sophistication - notament au niveau des réglages - la rend un peu plus difficile à maîtriser que d'autres cartes - d'autant que le monde d'emploi exige de séneuses connaissances techniques...-, mais ses fonctionnalités impressionnantes, sa grande stabilité et sa haute qualité en font un outil de choix pour les professionnels exigeants. Une très bonne surprise.

DIGI9652, issue August 2000

Loren Alldrin wrote:

Installing the Hammerfall into my Micron Millennia 300 was painless...Its setup utility is simple to install and easy to use; it rounds out nicely the control functions your recording software offers over the card....In the case of the Hammerfall what really grabbed my attention is the speed and efficiency with which this card moves digital audio from point A to point B. I've never used a card of this type with lower latency, nor had a card installed that seemed so transparent to the CPU. As far as the computer is concerned, it's as if the Hammerfall isn't even there - the card's hardware ASIO and ultrafast PCI bus transfers make the computer's job very easy. The simple act of removing a different ASIO digital audio card and installing the Hammerfall instantly cut my system's latency to less than half of what it was. I then dropped the Hammerfall's buffer size back even further and found the Micron stable at roughly one-quarter the latency of the previous card. Faster computers should be able to cut latency effectively to nothing.

Summary: On all fronts - hardware, software and drivers - the Hammerfall appears to be an extremely well-engineered product. It was rock solid throughout the test period, never prompting any crashes or audio hiccups. Professional engineers, sound designers and musicians can trust their audio to this card, and many do.

ADI-96 PRO, issue 4/2000

This review can be read online on the Sound On Sound website.

Titled 'box clever' SOS reports:

This is a great deal more than just an A-D converter - it is, in effect, a complete recording chain in a single box...I made some initial comparisons between the RME A-D converter (with all of the signal processing disabled) and my reference Apogee unit, the PSX100... High-frequency detail and stereo imaging were both to a high standard, lending weight to the low jitter-claims for the RME, and the sound was always natural and open - a benefit of the CDS technology I presume. Switching between 16-, 20- and 24-bit resolutions gave progressively greater realism and depth to analogue source material, as one would expect, and seemed to match the resolution of the PSX100 closely.

As a converter alone, then, the ADI96 appears to more than justify its asking price - but that is without considering the added value of the signal processing and microphone inputs. I found all the DSP processes to work very well, allowing a wide range of effects to be applied from the extremely subtle to the positively heavy-handed. The unit can be used as a mastering processor for analogue sources very effectively indeed, or as a specialist recording preamp for solo instruments...The bottom line is that the RME ADI96 is a good quality A-D converter which also includes a wealth of signal-processing tools and enormous flexibility for an attractive price.

Summary: A very versatile 24/96-capable A-D converter-cum-processor, the ADI96 offers comprehensive digital signal processing combined with high-quality, high-resolution conversion, full PC remote control, and reconfigurable DSP core programming.

DIGI96/8 PAD and Hammerfall, volume2 issue 1

Guy Harrison goes hammer and tongs:

Installing the DIGI96/8 PAD was a dream...This is the only card I know of that handles synchronization in this way and it simplifies matters considerably...At 48k it sounded more detailed than my current 20-bit soundcard (with externally mounted A/D conversion. Switching to 96k, the sound was nothing but stunning, with the top end taking on a level of clarity and openness that until now I hadn't heard in any sound card. The DIGI96/8 PAD is a winner on all fronts. Highly recommended.

Hammer Time: I was able to achieve stable operation with a 186kB buffer, for 3ms latency on a PIII 400 MHz computer....For testing, I got busy flying some vocals off an ADAT XT into Cubase through the DIGI9652, then flew them back onto the ADAT, all in sample accurate sync...This all took place with a minimum of fuss, and a lock up time of no more than one or two seconds was achieved...Simply put, a pleasure to use. The DIGI9652 is a powerhouse card that delivers on its promises...Hallelujah!

ADI-1, issue 11/99

Verdict: The ADI-1 was very simple to set up and use, and proved to deliver quality A-D and D-A conversion. As such, it would improve the performance of any system using lesser-quality converters. There are many possibilities for this unit. One option would be to use it with budget soundcards where the converters were not up to scratch, or with soundcards that didn't offer any analogue outputs. It could be used to provide additional analogue inputs to digital desks, as well as extra outputs for sending signals back into the analogue world for monitoring or recording, and it could be used to improve the performance of DAT machines. A functional workhorse for a digital studio.

Project Hammerfall, issue 9/99

This review can be read online at the Sound On Sound website.

Titled 'hammer of the gods?' SOS entered 'a world of sample-accurate sync and minimal latency':

...Installation proved to be quite simple in Windows 98...Clever stuff!...The 9652 Settings utility provides concise and easy access to the various options. The buffer size can even be adjusted while the card is in use...The Enhanced zero-latency monitoring provided by ASIO 2.0 and the RME drivers was a real treat: those who select 'Global Disable' in the Monitoring choices of Cubase and arrange your monitoring externally using a hardware mixer will be able to safely return to the Cubase options...With my Pentium II 300 MHz PC I managed to monitor my input signals with 6 ms latency, while listening to the input signal with added effects from Waves' Trueverb as a channel effect, plus a Waves REQ6 'analogue' EQ and RCL compressor running as inserts...having feasible latency values down to 3 ms also makes this an excellent choice for those interested in a multitrack soundcard that can run some of the latest breed of 'real-time' ReWire and VST instruments. This is a versatile and impressive product...

Project Hammerfall, issue 9/99

...Although not its main purpose the DIGI9652 allows multi-channel recording at a sample rate of 96 kHz. At 24 bit resolution the simultaneous record and playback of up to 14 tracks is possible - turning the Hammerfall into a HiEnd DVD multitrack machine...Using the ASIO driver, the ADAT Sync In communicates internally and directly with the recording software, which then follows the ADAT machine in sample accurate resolution. The exemplary synchronization capabilities as master, slave and AutoSync provide unusually flexible operation. The entry Pref. Sync Ref provides an elegant solution to the usual word clock chaos when using several unsynchronized sources...One might say RME Hammerfall's complete driver structure hits the nail on the head...The reduction in the demand on the system thanks to the ASIO-in-hardware concept of the Hammerfall was obvious... In conclusion: The Hammerfall is a killer!

ADI-1, issue 8/99

This review can be read online on the Sound On Sound website.

...The rear panel of the tiny RME box provides a wealth of flexibility, far beyond all expectations...The ADI-1 offers high-quality outboard conversion, at an affordable price. It is easy to use with virtually any digital system...In its intended role, linked optically to a digital soundcard (such as RME's own offerings) it was excellent and, once plugged up, effectively became transparent in the complete system. If you are looking to maximize the quality of an internal computer audio card, or have a card with only digital I/Os, this is a very attractive and pragmatic solution indeed.

ADI-96 PRO, issue 8/99

...The results achieved with the ADI-96 PRO are first class: The microphone preamps offer a very good signal to noise ratio, little distortion and are very neutral-sounding, the same is also true for the converters and the DSP processing. We were very impressed by the ALC-function in combination with the Non Linear Compressor, as the subtle distortion leads to a slight hint of analogue sound, which complements the sound of the ADI-96 PRO very well. To improve on its quality and functions you would have to look in much higher price brackets. Conclusion: The high points are the excellent sound quality, remote control capability using a Windows-PC, and the ability to load further functions by software upload.

In issue 5/99 the German PC magazine PC Welt says about the DIGI96:...highly recommended...

In the article 'Ihre Platten auf CD' (your LP's on CD) PC Welt explains that external AD-converters like the ADI-1 from RME are the better analog/digital interface, because they often have better AD-converter chips as even the best soundcards, and are not stressed by electromagnetic radiation found inside the PC.

DIGI96/8 PRO tested by the German magazine Keys, issue 5/99

...The driver support of the DIGI96/8 Pro is unique...All parameters of this card are set and presented clearly in only one settings dialog. An optional automatic mode checks the card's inputs on valid signals and configures the synchronization behavior - it can't be easier and more efficient...Conclusion: Professionals better choice is the Digi96/8 Pro, Mac users or fans of other Operating System don't have any other choice. The Digi96/8 Pro is also the best choice for all users of Cubase VST and software synthesizers, which will profit from the short latencies of the DirectSound and ASIO support found in the RME driver.

DIGI96/8 PRO tested by the German magazine Keyboards, issue 4/99

Conclusion:...All kinds of digital interfaces are implemented, except the Tascam TDIF format. Also this card offers a wide driver support. These drivers proved to be very fast and stable. The included software Digicheck is much more than only an additional software. After all we have to state: A completely professional product, and the recommended sales price of 990 DM makes it more than worth the money.

Digi32/8 tested by Keyboard, issue 9/98

The American magazine Keyboard tested several lightpipe interface cards in issue 9/98, among them the SEK'D Prodif Gold (that's a DIGI32/8.) It seems American magazines need a long preparation time until the article is published, as the negative points of the Gold (problems with Soundmanager driver, no ASIO for Mac and Windows) were all solved when the article finally was published.

The conclusion of the tester: The SEK'D Gold performed well in our roundup. Unless your audio productions require only two hardware inputs and outputs, it's not the card we'd choose for the Mac. But for the PC, we give it a strong "thumps up". There is no dedicated ASIO driver for Cubase, but it functioned as expected under the ASIO Multimedia driver. With the other software packages, it performed flawlessly.

Digi32/8 tested by the German magazine Keys, issue 8/98

The tester writes: ...is the DIGI 32/8 probably one of the most versatile digital audio cards for PCs...at eight channel Adat processing 5-10% less CPU load compared to other Adat cards were measured...in daily use no problems at all showed up regarding the synchronization, when used in combination with two Adat's, Alesis BRC, two Digi 32/8 and a Yamaha O2R equipped with four Adat interfaces...Immediately after applying an ADAT signal to the input the settings dialog showed Adat PLL locked, and locked it stayed during our two week test session...when using a second card...16 in/out channels were available, that could be chosen separately in Logic's Audio Mixer. Samplitude 2496 also did not show any problems in daily use...Conclusion: Both Digi 32/8 presented themselves as real Dream Team when digitally interfacing a PC to Adat recorders, digital mixing desk and PC - error free, fast and flexible.

DIGI32 PRO tested by the German magazine Stereo, issue 7/98

As part of the article 'Der Weg als Ziel' Stereo presents the DIGI32 PRO: a fantastic interface card...is therefore very easy to install...the card needs only a minimal part of the computing power of the CPU...The features included show the professional concept: Minimal jitter, perfect Windows adaption. This card has proved its reference qualities for months at Stereo!

DIGI32 PRO presented in the German magazine Computer Bild, issue 13/98

Computer Bild introduces the RME DIGI32 PRO in the news corner: There's music in it! Using the "DIGI32 PRO" allows a problem-free transfer of digital music recordings to your PC, and in the same easy manner they can be played back. Unfortunately CB forgot to mention, that DIGI32 PRO and DAM-1 are used in the Test Lab of Computer Bild for long, and that DIGI32 was already used as digital playback reference in a comparison of professional sound editor programs (issue 18/97.)

DAM-1 tested by the German magazine Production Partner, issue 9/97

The tester states: ...the DAM-1 really includes a great number of useful and professional functions for the audio engineer...and the product has a very good price to feature ratio.

DAM-1 tested by the German magazine Keys, issue 8/97

...Starting the RMS Level Meter, a high class level display appears on the screen...The multitrack recorder for digital errors is highly elaborated...The Channel Status Modifier is a powerful tool...Conclusion: the detailed high resolution level meters are already worth the price, the Channel Status manipulations are unique in relation to the price, but there's also the Error recorder, and much more. The young German company RME succeeded with the DAM-1 in realizing a digital hit.

DIGI32 tested by the German magazine Keys, issue 7/97

Presented under the headline Highspeed for everyone the magazine states: ...very low CPU and system load ...tested with Samplitude 4.0 fabulous 28 stereo tracks were played back from a usual 3,2 GB IBM harddisc, without influencing the system performance. These are peak values...driver version 2.0, that worked from scratch without any problems...found it a positive aspect that the programmers recognized the feedback problem when working with digital cards in a digital environment...Intermediate conclusion: exemplary ...Conclusion:... a product to be recommended...The resource saving concept of this card allows even slow or occupied processors high quality hard disk recording.

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