Today, we’ll be reviewing Behringer’s U-Phoria UMC202HD audio interface.
Despite its low price point, the unit is allegedly one of the better 2×2 interfaces on the market. Let’s take a gander.
Our verdict on the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD
While it isn’t the perfect interface, the U-Phoria UMC202HD is hard to beat for its price.
The unit boasts a solid performance, high-quality preamps, and a more than tempting price tag.
The only bad thing to say is that the knobs feel a bit cheap, but for $90 we can live with that.
I/O and controls
Starting on the left of the front panel are two XLR/TRS combo inputs. Each input has its own gain control, a switch to toggle between instrument and line level for TRS, as well as a pad which attenuates the inputs by 20 dB.
The unit features a direct monitor switch and a dial to blend your direct input and the signal coming in from your DAW. There is a 1/4″ headphone jack and a volume control on the right.
There are no leveling meters, although there are LEDs that indicate when you’re clipping, and to show whether phantom power is engaged.
Turning around to the rear panel, is a USB port, followed by a Kensington security lock, and an on/off switch to engage phantom power.
Lastly, the unit has two TRS outputs to send audio to your monitors.
The unit offers 24-bit depth and a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz.
Behringer has listed the UMC202HD as having a dynamic range of 110 dB (A-weighted), although it’s noted that this number may vary from one unit to the next.
Generally, upwards of 100 dB is adequate, especially for units within this price range.
The unit boasts a noble EIN level of roughly -129 dB, and provides gain of around 51 dBFS at 0 dBu.
The UMC202HD gives you two pure, world-class Midas preamps. Midas preamps are exceedingly popular, and are some of the most-used preamps in the recording industry.
They sound clean, clear, and God as our witness, crisp.
This is a fine interface for beginners recording at home. The unit takes up very little space, and can fit snugly in the corner of your desk.
Your only downside is its limited connectivity, and lack of MIDI I/O.
Still, considering the quality of its preamps, the unit drives a hard bargain even for the seasoned engineer.
The UMC202HD is fairly light and compact, making it an ideal candidate for recording on the go, whether that be tracking demos in a van or for last minute guitar tracking.
The unit is bus-powered, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting any externals. Again, the only limit is having just two inputs.
Wrapped in an all-metal chassis, the unit feels decently solid and durable. Only the knobs and buttons are plastic, and while the knobs are rather smooth, the buttons feel pretty cheap.
The inputs also seem to have some give to them which is a let down. However, given how cheap this interface is, we can understand why Behringer chose to go with some cost-cutting decisions.
You may think that giving Behringer’s software bundle a zero out of five for this section is rather cruel, perhaps even unfair, but we have to stick to our guns. There is no software bundle.
It’s devastating. We’re all devastated.
Compared to other audio interfaces
Here are a few alternatives to consider against the U-Phoria UMC202HD. You can also check out our picks for the best audio interfaces under $100.
UMC202HD vs. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Although the Scarlett is a fantastic interface, it’s nearly $100 more expensive than the UMC202HD. If you’re on a budget, the Behringer is the obvious choice.
UMC202HD vs. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96
If you need MIDI I/O, the AudioBox has Behringer beat. If you need better playback, however, the U-Phoria is superior.
UMC202HD vs. Focusrite Scarlett Solo
There honestly isn’t much to say here. The Behringer has two combo inputs, performs equally well, and is more affordable.
UMC202HD vs. M-Audio M-Track Solo
The M-Audio may be a better value for the money, but at what cost? A bit depth of 16-bit and 48 kHz doesn’t sound too appealing. Besides, you’re better off having the combo inputs in the long run.
Who is the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD best suited for?
The UMC202HD is best suited for beginners and folks on a budget. We’re sure a professional can find some benefit in the unit as well, especially for tracking demos.
- Good sound quality.
- Great preamps.
- Knobs/buttons feel a bit cheap.
- Inputs have some give.