Anyone familiar with RME FireFace 800s?

I currently have a 2nd gen 18i20. Looking for an interface upgrade.
I know these FireFaces are a little older, but I’m able to get one for 400 bucks. I think that’s a screaming deal. But are these interfaces a little outdated? I know they were regarded as top of the line at the time (like 2005) or so.
But anyways, if I were to get the RME, I would use that as my main interface and I would use the 18i20 for Adat expansion.

Does this sound logical or am I wasting money on an old interface?
Shed some light!

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I have one and love it. going strong for a decade now, and was used when I bought it. super solid drivers. lots of expansion options. sounds incredible.

when I bought it, I had been using Apogee interfaces, which I loved the sound of over MOTU and similarly priced interfaces. the FF800 sounded just as good as the Apogee, but was far more stable.

I can’t, however, comment on which currently available interfaces can match its sound quality/IO/stability/features. likely there are some, but I’m not sure if they’d beat $400.


My FF800 has been rock solid ever since I bought it way back when. Sounds clean and always works with no fuss. It doesn’t sound quite as nice as my newer Burl converters, but I have it out in our jam space (garage loft) as our workhorse. It’s survived many freezing winters and hot summers out there. I’d buy another one for $400 for sure.

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So it sounds like I won’t regret picking one up for 400…

It’s crazy cus I have access to other interfaces like a steinberg ur824 for 400 also, but I don’t think would be as wise of an investment as an RME

I might just get that RME!

Experiences listed here reflect my own. As long as the drivers are up to date, rock it. RME stuff is awesome.

i mean, if you can handle being its final owner, i say go for it. it’s going to be far superior to that 18i20, but it is obsolete. that’s not to say you can’t or shouldn’t use it, to the contrary. i only bring this up because, for me, that would really be the only con

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I totally get that
It definitely is obsolete, but as long as its an upgrade to that 18i20, I dont mind it filling in for the time being.

The way Im looking is that if Im gonna eventually upgrade that 18i20, I might as well get something like FF800 to hold me off for the time being, until Im finally able to get something like a RME UFX. And I won’t be picking one of these up for a while, even though it is on my list

Haha like I said, as long as it’s an upgrade it’s gonna be a filler piece until I can get an end-all-be-all interface!

I have used babyface and fireface UFX. All of them were relieable. I think RMEs are really steady and firm

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Ive been using Fireface 400 (with Mac) for almost 10! years now, which is from the same family as the FF800. Super reliable and stable.
Please make sure though, that you are happy with FireWire interface for the next few years so it’ll worth the investment.
Also, as I’m with Mac I’m currently working with os 10.11/ El Capitan and the FF is stable as always.
And for the negative side, as this is an old soundcard, there’s always a risk of having some problems if you’re unlucky.
Hope that helps!

You can also use the FF as the ADAT expansion and clock source for your newer but inferior interface. In this role it should never become outdated.

That’s what I am running and it’s the bomb!

My only concern here would be that I have a 2015 iMac running the latest version of Mojave.
Would the interface have a hard time with the more modern OS systems?
My computer doesn’t have a firewire port but I do have a firewire to Thunderbolt adapter. I don’t think it’ll be that big of an issue.

I think Im gonna do it guys. Lots of good rec’s guys, thanks for coming through!

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This is an interesting point!
So you think by having the RME be an ADAT slave, it wont matter that its an older unit?
Genius, this might be a cool way to go. Realistically, which would be a more optimal set up, having the 18i20 be master interface or the RME as the master interface?

Either way tho, I’m excited for the upgrade.
One step closer before I really invest in a RME UFX II or something haha

this way you are not stuck with firewire and don’t have to worry about drivers not being updated. The sound quality is determined by the converters, not the driver. It will continue to work in the same way when you upgrade to ufx.

I bought mine second hand 10 years ago. Never had an issue and it still sounds great even compared to newer interfaces that have come (and gone).
RME keeps drivers up to date too.
One of the best purchases I’ve ever made!

We run a 2017 MacBook Pro with the latest OS (and a thunderbolt adapter) and we don’t have any issues other than occasionally forgetting to hit record.

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So I ended up getting the RME… its crazy how an interface from 2005 is up to speed, if not better than a 2nd gen 18i20. I can hear, and feel the difference in the converters. Solid buy for 400 bucks, thanks for the insight y’all!


I’m glad to hear it worked out for you!

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Cool, man!

RME use the same core drivers for all their Fireface stuff. which is still around. and I think they’re well aware that people love their stuff and keeping it working. so I don’t see this changing any time soon.

in fact, it was cool to see a couple years ago that I could use my iPad to control a 15 year old device remotely. think about that… iPad and even the iPhone (or any touch screen smart phones) weren’t even around when the thing was released!