Whether you’re just starting a music career, thinking about making your own podcasts, or want to record some voiceovers for your vlogs, you’re going to need a reliable audio interface.
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD could be the unit for you. It’s known as one of the best affordable studio devices on the market, but is it as amazing as it claims to be?
You’ll find the answer in this review. We’ll go over the UMC202HD’s overall performance and its main features, so that you can decide if you want to go ahead with the purchase.
We’ll also offer a couple of alternatives for you to consider which are also good interface options.
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD – The Basics
Behringer’s UMC202HD is a USB audio interface that lets users record professional-level audio at an affordable price.
People that are looking for affordable audio interfaces may have come across popular options, like the Focusrite Scarlett range, Steinberg, or M-Audio’s M-Track Solo. Nevertheless, the UMC202HD upstages all of these options, which is a huge win for the Behringer brand.
This Behringer audio interface is equipped with several features and characteristics which we’ll cover in more detail below. These features give the user amazing sound, an instinctive interface, and a remarkable user experience.
Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD Specification
If you’re interested in the basics, here is an overview of the interface’s specifications.
- Total Preamps: Two
- A/D Res: 24-bit/192kHz
- Analog Outputs: Two ¼”, One ¼” (earphones)
- Analog Input(s): Two XLR/TRS Combo
- Phantom Power Control: Yes
Primary Features And Advantages
This user interface from Behringer is special, as you get access to amazing professional features at a budget price.
The USB interface’s exterior panels and inside mechanisms display the level of quality. The brand has focused on equipping beginner-friendly, budget audio interfaces with professional, high-quality characteristics.
If you are still deciding whether the UMC202HD is worth it, or are yet to learn more about it, its main features may convince you to go for it.
Durability And Compact Size
This audio equipment may be less expensive than other audio interfaces, but you won’t need to worry about it coming apart. It’s created from a high-impact metal frame, which may relieve any concerns about damaging the unit.
It’s also made to a compact size that makes it portable, allowing you to record on the move. It is the perfect size for transporting between recording studios, whether you’re editing or recording audio.
However, one drawback is that the interface’s switches and buttons are plastic, not metal. This is understandable when you factor in the price, but it’s not a huge issue as the controls are relatively robust.
Behringer claims that the interface’s two-channel USB jack is incredibly fast, so you can get started on your audio in a few minutes without any extra trouble.
This is also down to the numerous ports for connecting your electric guitar, keyboard, headphone output, or microphone.
This also makes the audio interface a versatile device. It can be used for several tasks, such as going over vocals with the interface, then configuring it to record various instruments.
As it is a USB device, the audio interface includes a USB port with all the necessary leads, as well as a port that simplifies connecting it to a PC or laptop.
Impressive Maximum Sampling Rate
The audio interface lets any audio engineer with professional-level 24-bit, as well as a maximum sampling rate of 192 kHz resolution. This lets you create studio quality audio that sounds amazing, improving your overall user experience.
Even if you are recording music at lower decibels, the sampling rate ensures that the sound will remain crisp and clear. Bear in mind that you are free to tinker with the settings and shift to 42kHz, 48kHz, or any other rate you wish.
Built With Midas Preamps
Another reason why this audio interface stands out from the rest is its Midas microphone preamps.
Music industry professionals understand that Midas preamps are some of the best options available on the market. These let you use incredible clear audio that has lots of clearance.
If this wasn’t enough, Behringer has also added a +48v phantom power knob to the preamps. This lets you use condenser microphones, which is ideal when recording spoken or sung vocals.
The interface also has a separate switch that lets you switch on or switch off phantom power. This is carried out with the XLR connections at the rear of the unit.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of The UMC202HD
Here are some pros and cons of the UMC202HD user interface.
- Great value: This affordable user interface combines good sound quality with an extensive user experience.
- Durable, robust build: Made with a strong chassis and a robust, aesthetically pleasing exterior.
- Very low latency: If you are worried about monitoring latency, this unit shouldn’t concern you that much. Its output and input ports deliver very low latency.
- Multipurpose TRS inputs: The interface’s input connectors are compatible with both XLR and ¼” TRS, which sets it apart from other units
- Easy to integrate: Simple integration, just need to plug the unit in, then the outputs and inputs display straightaway. Mac OS X doesn’t need any drivers.
- After-sale service and three-year warranty: Behringer’s provides a lengthy warranty period, as well as an inclusive after-sale service.
- Switches and buttons are made from plastic: The unit’s input pad knob may be useful, but the plastic buttons are less expensive and feel cheap.
- Doesn’t have a level meter: The audio interface only includes clipping LEDs
- Doesn’t come with a manual: Behringer’s instructions are only available online, so you’ll need to visit their website to retrieve them. Fortunately, the controls and settings are simple to use and understand.
- Direct monitoring is only available in mono, not stereo.
Average Performance Evaluation
Now we’ll get into an overall performance review of the UMC202HD.
Behringer claims that the U-Phoria UMC202HD is ‘built like a tank’, and we have to agree!
The unit is built with a complete metal casing which is very robust and durable.
The casing isn’t impenetrable, but it delivers sufficient protection, particularly in comparison to others made from plastic.
The controls and switches also work effortlessly without a ‘clunky’ feel. Despite this, the controls are plastic, so they appear and feel cheap to the touch.
However, when you consider that the model was designed to be a budget option, it’s understandable that Behringer needed to skimp on a few features.
The plastic controls aren’t difficult to use and work smoothly, so their appearance isn’t a huge issue.
While a lot of affordable audio interfaces suffer with sound quality, the UMC202HD’s audio and recording abilities are of a high caliber.
It’s Midas microphone preamps, 192 kHz sample rate, and 24-bit bit depth, you’ll be able to record very clear audio at different noise levels.
You can even record as low as -18 decibels without picking up noise.
These features are commendable considering the audio interface is designed to be a budget option.
The UMC202HD is an amazing user interface, particularly for beginners getting started with creating music.
It comes with a software package that includes Waveform Pro, from Traktion. This is a DAW that is beginner friendly and compatible with the majority of operating systems.
A step clip editor is also included. This lets you work easily with several audio clips on the track.
There are also over a hundred different sound and instrument effect plugins that you can download.
You’ll have a wealth of choices to choose from, so it’s hard not to find an option that suits your project.
Other Compatible Software
The user interface is compatible with the majority of apps. Some popular choices include Steinberg Cubase, Ableton Live, and Avid Pro Tools.
Here are some other budget audio interface options that may suit your preferences.
M-Audio M-Track Solo
The M-Track Solo is a well-known affordable audio interface that delivers professional audio quality.
Both the UMC202HD and the M-Track Solo have equivalent rates of inputs, sampling, and phantom power for condenser mics, but the M-Track Solo has 2 DAWs included, allowing you to record directly from the unit.
The Solo also has 20 plugins that are ideal for mixing, but it is encased in plastic that feels and appears cheaper than the UNC202HD’s robust metal frame.
Here’s another option from the same brand. The UMC204HD is encased in the same metal framework as the UMC202HD.
Both units also have similar performance levels, though the UMC204HD has a few more benefits.
It has an additional pair of analog inputs, as well as two more genuine Midas microphone preamps, bringing the number to four in total.
This model also works with a lot of different editing apps and operating systems, like Ableton Live.
If you’re a beginner to music production but aren’t concerned about the overall value of an interface, the UMC204HD could be a decent choice.
The Bottom Line
Behringer’s U-Phoria UMC202HD is a great audio interface. The value-packed unit lets you record studio-quality audio without the need for professional gear.
Even though it is a budget option, its features, like the Midas preamps and high sampling rate make it a great contender.
This may not be an option for those looking for higher-end audio interfaces, but if you’re a beginner with audio production or looking for an interface at a great value, the UMC202HD will suit your needs just fine.