If you’re putting together a home music production studio, an audio interface is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment to invest in.
The money you put into an audio interface will pay off in its quality.
In this article, I’ll be comparing the two audio interfaces: The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
It’s time to break down both rival products so you can decide which audio interface is best for you.
Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD
Behringer has been around since 1989. This brand was developed by a struggling musician who wanted to focus on affordability and quality.
The main selling point of the brand is to produce high-quality sound on a budget. The Behringer U-Phoria is also ideal for beginner or intermediate musicians.
It works with all DAW’s, from Ableton Live Lite to Audacity, so you can be sure the recording will be of high quality.
Additionally, it’s compatible with MIDI devices and mics and has four in/out channels.
The Behringer U-Phoria has a simple and sleek design, made up of a black metal chassis with a silver lining.
It’s also sturdy, and there is little chance of you damaging the knobs or buttons in regular use.
This audio interface model is also compact and lightweight, which is ideal for small studio spaces or music-making on the go.
The Behringer U-Phoria has many in/out channels that allow you to record multiple instruments and mics at once.
Additionally, each channel has the necessary controls to monitor and change audio levels.
The inputs also feature MIDAS-designed mic preamps, which are well known for their superior quality of sound. They give you a high level of control over the sound quality of your music.
As far as recording quality goes, you can achieve up to a 24-bit/192kHz resolution with this option. Behringer’s should be ideal for most musical projects.
- MIDAS-designed mic preamps
- 24-Bit/192kHz resolution
- 4 In/Outs
- Low latency
- Phantom power
- USB 2.0
- Professional audio quality
- Compatible with Mac and Windows
Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD Reviews
READ MORE: The Complete Behringer U-Phoria UMC404 Review for Beginners
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD has a lot of positive reviews online due to the high-quality design and professional audio quality despite its very affordable price. I’m also a fan!
The reviewers also praise the easy interface of the device. Both new and more experienced musicians have no problems setting up the U-Phoria.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Focusrite is another high-quality and affordable brand — created for musicians with intermediate to professional levels of experience.
One of the standout qualities of the Focusrite is that it has very low latency. And the ability to record loud guitar audio without distorting the sound.
As far as design goes, the Focusrite pops a bit more than the Behringer. Its chassis is bright red and it is sturdy and compact. The knobs on the Focusrite are also color-coded with LED lights.
Additionally, all the knobs and buttons are labeled. This design is both appealing and allows for clarity when operating.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 presents super-low latency as a major selling point. This means you can better expect how the music will sound once recorded.
This is very accurate to how it sounds in your ear, and there will be little distortion.
This model also uses Focusrite preamps to control the channel levels.
The preamps also include an Air circuit to protect the device from damaging power surges. This might be a good point to consider when thinking of longevity.
Like the Behringer, this Focusrite model allows for a resolution of 24-Bit/192kHz.
This model, however, contains only two in/out channels, meaning fewer sources can be recorded simultaneously on this device.
- Focusrite preamps with Air
- 24-Bit/192kHz resolution
- 2 In/Outs
- Very low latency
- Phantom power
- USB bus-powered
- Compatible with Windows 7 SP1 or later
- Compatible with macOS 10.12 or later
- Compatible with iPad Pro
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Reviews
READ MORE: The Complete Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Review for Beginners
This audio interface also has many glowing reviews. Reviewers most often cite the audio quality and price as the best features of this product.
They also mention that the product’s design is pleasing and easy to work with. Color me impressed!
A few reviews of this product complain about various software and compatibility problems.
These problems seem to cause poor audio quality. It’s important to weigh the lower price of this product with the potential compatibility issues.
Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD Vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2: Features Face-to-Face
Both of these products are similar in many ways. They have many of the same features and perks, but which one should you go with?
One of the first things you must consider is how much you are willing to spend on this piece of equipment.
You want it to be affordable because it’s not the only piece of equipment you’ll have to buy for your studio.
If the quality of each product is comparable, it might be wise to go with the cheaper option.
If you’re starting out and want the cheaper of the two options, Focusrite is the way to go price-wise.
RELATED: Best Budget Audio Interface | The Complete Buyers Guide
No matter what type of equipment you’re searching for, sturdiness is an important factor. You’re paying good money for a product and it to last as long as possible.
Both of these models are of excellent build quality. They each have a metal chassis to protect them from occasional drops.
They also have sturdy knobs and buttons that won’t be in danger of breaking from a drop or frequent use.
Neither product outshines the other in this category. Both interfaces are well-built.
Though not the most crucial element, a nice design is good if you want to have a neat and professional workspace.
Design can also affect the clarity and ease of use of the product.
Though each of these models’ designs is sleek and compact, the Focusrite is definitely more eye-catching. Its red chassis and color-coded knobs give it a clean and organized appearance.
If you want your audio interface to be stylish and easy to read, the Focusrite is the one to pick.
Size might be a factor to consider if you have a small studio space with lots of other equipment. It’s also important to consider if you need this piece of equipment to be portable.
Both audio interfaces are compact and won’t take up too much space in a studio. They are small enough to pack up and are portable, and both are described as lightweight.
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD model is larger lengthwise, since it has a 4 x 4 in/out setup, while the Focusrite is a 2 x 2.
That said, the size difference is not too dramatic.
Although if you have to pack up a lot of equipment to get the job done, the Focusrite might have the edge over the Behringer.
Bit Depth/Sample Rate
The most important thing to consider when choosing an audio interface is the quality of the audio.
You don’t want to spend money on something with less-than-acceptable audio quality, so which of the two is better?
Both of these products are able to perform at a resolution of 24-Bit/192kHz. Both audio interfaces offer a high level of audio quality.
Additionally, each comes with high-quality mic preamps. Behringer uses MIDAS-designed preamps. The Scarlett 2i2 comes with the Focusrite preamps.
Behringer and Focusrite both have comparable sound quality. Neither seems to have the edge over the other in this category.
Though you might want to consider what the different preamps have to offer.
It’s important to know how many in/out channels you need when picking which product to choose.
If you plan on recording on up to four different channels at once, Behringer is the way to go.
The Focusrite model has only two in/out channels, so you would be limited to how much you could record at once.
This might be a good option for small at-home projects if you know you will not need more than two channels.
But, Behringer definitely shines in this category. The U-Phoria gives you the option to use more channels and more versatility.
Your new piece of equipment is of no use unless you have the right connection for it. Both Behringer and Focusrite use USB 2.0 for computer connectivity.
As long as your computer or device of choice supports this USB type, either brand should suffice.
Phantom power is very beneficial when you need to work with several mics or headphones. It helps keep your workspace from becoming cluttered with wires.
Both audio interfaces include phantom power. This means that your headphones, microphones, etc., do not need an external power source.
This will make your workspace much neater, with fewer wires to deal with.
You might be in trouble if you get your device and realize you can’t plug it in.
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD uses a DC In power input, while Focusrite is USB bus-powered. If there is one that better suits your studio setup, you might consider going with that one.
Again, which device is better in this situation depends on your setup.
Before settling on a device, you need to know whether it is compatible with your choice of computer.
Both audio interfaces are compatible with both Mac and Windows PCs. Focusrite is also compatible with the iPad Pro. But it is not compatible with some older versions of Mac and Windows.
Focusrite is compatible with more current operating systems. It is important to know what computer software you are working with before making your decision.
- Behringer has four in/out channels while Focusrite has only two
- Focusrite is more affordable and has a more appealing design
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 are each high-quality, affordable options. They are so similar that you might be having a difficult time choosing which one to go with.
These two audio interfaces have high ratings, and their price, sound, and build quality aren’t much different from each other. The problems reported in the reviews are minimal or rare. Each product should serve you well for a few years or so.
If you’re not quite convinced yet, you can check my full review on the Behringer U-Phoria UM202HD as an alternative.
The one that accommodates your needs when producing music the best is the one to go with. Consider this list of benefits before making your final decision.
Use Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD If…
- You need multiple audio channels for many instruments/microphones
- You prefer the MIDAS-designed mic preamps
- A DC In power supply is most compatible with your setup
Use Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 If…
- You want to go with the cheapest option
- You want the most portable option
- You want a more appealing design
- You want a lower latency
OTHER CHOICES: Top Sound Cards for Music Production