Are you starting a career in music production? Do you want to do some voice-over work for video games? Planning on creating your own podcast?
The Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD, aka the best budget “studio in a box” for some, might be the audio interface you’ve been looking for.
But is it really all that it’s cracked up to be?
In this review, we will talk about all you need to know before buying one for yourself.
What Is the UMC202HD?
It is an audio interface that allows you to record like a pro at a budget-friendly price point.
When we talk about budget audio interfaces, products like the M-Audio M-Track Solo, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, or Steinberg often come to mind.
But the U-PHORIA UMC202HD steals the spotlight for Behringer.
It boasts numerous features and things (which we will discuss below) claimed to give the end-user a crisp sound quality, an intuitive user interface, and an extraordinary overall user experience.
Behringer UNC202HD Specs
- Number of Preamps: 2
- Phantom Power Switch: Yes
- A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
- Analog Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo
Analog Outputs: 2 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/4″ (Headphones)
Main Features and Benefits
This new Behringer XLR audio interface is unique because it gives you unparalleled pro features for such an affordable price.
From the exteriors to the interiors of this USB interface, you can tell that Behringer went all out to bring professional-grade quality into a budget, beginner-friendly product.
If you’re still on the fence, waiting for reasons to get the UMC202HD for yourself, the features below might be the push you need.
Compact and Built-Like-a-Tank
Just because this interface is cheaper than most doesn’t mean it’s fragile.
Made with an impact-resistant metal chassis, you wouldn’t have to worry so much about accidentally damaging the device.
Its compact construction makes for a portable option for making records on the go. It is likewise perfect for moving between studios for the entire process of recording to editing.
Know, however, that the buttons and knobs are made of plastic. It is not much of a concern in terms of build, though, since both buttons and knobs are considerably sturdy.
USB Audio Interface
The company boasts of UMC202HD’s “blazingly fast” 2-channel USB cable that will have you making your next hit within minutes without the hassle.
All thanks to the various ports available for the cables of your microphone, guitar, or keyboard, as well as your headphone jack.
This makes the model truly versatile. You can use it for multiple purposes, like recording vocals through the interface and setting it up to record different instruments.
Being a USB audio interface, the device also comes with a USB port and all the cables needed, and a port that makes connecting it to any laptop or PC easier.
192KHz Max Sampling Rate
Working with up to studio-quality 24-bit and a max rate of 192 kHz resolution allows you to have a more professional experience. With this, you can get higher-quality audio records.
This means that even when recording music at a very low decibel, you will still get that sharp and crisp sound you’ve always wanted.
NOTE: You can also play with the settings and switch to 48kHz or 42kHz or any rate you desire.
What sets this unit apart from other audio interfaces are the genuine Midas-designed mic preamps.
People in the music industry know that Midas preamps are one of the best mic pres out in the market. With this, you can take the ultra-clear sound with plenty of headroom.
But the company didn’t stop there in making this model top-notch.
These preamps include a +48V phantom power switch giving you the option to use condenser microphones.
The unit also has one dedicated switch for enabling or disabling phantom power through the XLR contacts found at the back part of the model.
- Affordable price point: The budget interface offers competitive audio quality and a dynamic user experience.
- Durable build quality: A strong, classy-looking exterior.
- Low latency: If monitoring latency is a concern, you wouldn’t have much trouble with this one. Both the input and output ports offer ultra-low latency.
- Versatile TRS Inputs: Unlike some other audio interfaces in the market, this one has input connectors that accept either XLR or 1/4” TRS.
- Seamless integration: All you need to do is plug your device in, and the inputs and outputs appear immediately—no drivers required for Mac OS X.
- 3-year warranty and after-sale services. Unlike most companies, Behringer offers a generous warranty period and all-around after-sale services.
- Plastic buttons and knobs: While the input pad switch may come in handy, know that the buttons are made of plastic that feels cheap to the touch.
- Direct monitoring only in mono.
- No level meter: The UMC202HD only comes with clipping LEDs.
- No manual provided: Behringer has all the instructions online, so you’ll have to get them from their website. Thankfully though, the controls are easy to use, and the settings are simple.
Overall Performance Review
Unlike other budget audio interfaces, the UMC202HD takes the spotlight in terms of sound quality.
With a bit depth of 24-bit and a sample rate of 192 kHz plus the genuine Midas mic preamps, you can record crystal clear vocals of various loudness – even as low as -18 decibels without getting other noise.
This is quite impressive for such a budget audio interface.
True to Behringer’s words, the UMC202HD is indeed “built-like-a-tank.”
The interface is made with a full metal case which isn’t indestructible but surely provides more than enough protection compared to ones made of plastic.
What is more, the knobs and controls work SMOOTHLY. However, they are made of plastic which looks and feels cheap.
But for the price, Behringer surely had to skimp on something, right? Besides, the plastic material doesn’t seem to be causing any problem with the controls.
Do you want to know one other reason why this interface is good for beginners in music production?
The software bundle comes with Traktion’s Waveform Pro, an immensely user-friendly DAW that works well with most operating systems.
It also comes with a step clip editor, which allows you to work efficiently with multiple sound clips on the track.
Aside from that, there are over 100 instrument and sound effect plugins available for you to download. With so many options, it’s impossible not to find one that works for you and your project.
What Other Software Does It Work With?
The Behringer UMC202HD is compatible with most applications. Some of the most common ones are Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Steinberg Cubase.
Be sure to read up on the following programs to avoid any difficulties and issues when setting up.
Still Skeptical? Here Are Some Alternatives.
The UMC204HD is another budget audio interface from the same brand.
There isn’t much to review about the hardware from the same manufacturer, as it is essentially made of the same metal chassis.
As to performance, this unit can give you everything that the U-Phoria UMC202HD can and much more, BUT it also costs more.
They differ in terms of the inputs. The UMC204HD has one extra pair of analog inputs. You also get 2 more (for a total of 4) real Midas mic preamps.
It’s compatible with various operating systems and editing applications, including Ableton Live.
So, if you’re still starting out and money isn’t quite a concern, this unit would be a good alternative.
M-Audio M-Track Solo
Budget audio interface reviews are never complete without M-Audio M-Track Solo – and for good reason.
This device is among the best affordable interfaces capable of providing premium sound quality.
While both interfaces are the same rate of sampling, inputs, and phantom power for condenser microphones, the M-Track unit comes with two DAWs so you can record straight from the box.
On top of that, this device comes with 20 plugins for mixing.
However, the M-Audio comes in a plastic case that looks and feels cheaper than the metal box casing of the UNC202HD.
The U-Phoria UMC202HD is indeed a value-packed studio-in-a-box perfect for music production and other audio recording activities!
While this audio interface is more budget-friendly than other high-end products, the features (like sampling and Midas mics) still hold their own.
Of course, this unit cannot compete with high-end interfaces, but if you’re new to sound production or are on a tight budget, the UMC202HD is surely a good value for your money.
So what are you waiting for?
Go ahead and buy that Behringer audio interface to kickstart that music, gaming, or podcasting career!
You can check how it fairs against Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 in this comparison guide!