RME Advanced Remote Control ARC USB Review

RME is now shipping its ARC USB Advanced Remote Control – bringing hands-on functionality to its stunning interfaces. With control over features like volume, speaker selection, talkback and mixer configuration, Marc JB says this is a studio winner…

advanced remote control arc usb


Manufacturer RME
Price £113
Contact 01727 821 870
Web www.synthax.co.uk
System requirements Requires RME interface/TotalMix FX

If you’re lucky enough to have an RME UFX+, UFX II or a TotalMix FX device (via your computer), then this Advanced Remote Control is a cost-effective addition that’ll save you time, improve your workflow and give you instant access to the most-used actions and commands of RME’s proprietary mix software, TotalMix FX.

To recap: TotalMix FX is a powerful software mixer that runs on your computer, giving you direct access to the powerful features of the latest RME interfaces. With control over features like mono/stereo channels, built-in gain, reverb, delay, dynamics, phantom power, flexible talkback for all outputs, control-room section, multiple cue mixes for your performers, mute and solo groups and channel-layout presets, this is a very comprehensive and easy-to-use studio tool.

The ARC USB Advanced Remote Control is a USB 1.1-wired remote connecting directly into RME interfaces (from 2001 onwards), or into your Windows/Mac OS X computer. As soon as it’s plugged in, TotalMix FX will automatically link to the ARC. It can work with up to 20metres of USB lead; when connected directly to the USB on the UFX+ and UFX II, the ARC USB works in standalone mode, so the interfaces can be used without a computer. The ARC USB is bus powered, so no need for any extra power leads.


The ARC USB feels robust. With its solid weight and four rubber feet, it stays put on the studio desk as you use it. The controller comes set up with the most commonly used commands, but is completely configurable – and has stickers included – via the computer-based TotalMix FX options menu.

The rotary encoder is defaulted to the main volume for the main stereo mix: I love this. The wheel feels smooth, with small clicks as you adjust. Volume adjustment is perfect and soon becomes second nature.

Box of choice

RME is a German manufacturer of high-end studio interfaces with impeccable quality and fidelity. You will find RME products in pro studios the world over, so they’re perfect for bringing that pro sound to your project studio.  As the UFX+ and UFX II work in standalone mode and have inbuilt USB recording, they are ideal to use in live setups; the UFX+ has 188 channels of I/O!

Here’s an idea of the ARC USB’s benefits in the studio, beginning with the three lower keys – which default to the following…

Talkback: Just assign a talkback channel within TotalMix FX, connect a mic and when pressed, the main volume is dimmed and your performers can hear your lovely producer voice.

Speaker B: Activate those nasty little speakers to check your mix still sounds great on the tinny swines.

DIM: Dim the volume, to check if you heard the doorbell – or if it was in fact a ringing resonance in the snare.

Rows 1 and 2 activate Snapshots 1 to 8, used for setting up all your most-used mixer configurations. For example, on my system, I have it set up like this:

Snapshot 1:
All inputs muted

Snapshot 2:
Main keyboard output active

Snapshot 3:
Main U 47 and Mercury mics active

This makes life so easy, as I can instantly mute specific channels or set up snapshots to record different sources with different gains, dynamics, EQ and reverb sends on the inputs.  All this without disturbing the workflow.

Row 3: Mono, Volume ’Phones 1, Volume ’Phones 2, External Input.

All buttons have a lovely amber backlight and can be set to toggle, push or rotary encoder. Other programmable functions are:  Mute/Solo/Fader groups, mute FX, Reverb, Echo, Cue Phones 1 to 4, Volume Phones 1 to 4 and Mic/Inst gain. Connect a footswitch to activate another command.


As the ARC USB is specifically for RME’s own interfaces and is now the only current remote RME has, there are no real alternatives. But if you were looking for a volume control for your studio, these are decent options: TC Electronics Level pilot (£81); ART SCC (£129); SPL  Volume8 (£459); New Old Sound McOne (£249); and the Fostex PC1EX (£22).

ARC USB key features

  • USB MIDI remote control for RME’s TotalMix FX software
  • Direct access to most-used features and commands
  • Fully configurable