Reviews

UMC204HD

(31 Reviews)

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Jason

UMC204HD

First time interface user here. For the price point this unit is exceptional. Steel outer shell, high quality knobs and a nice heavy weight to the product make it feel extremely well built. I have no previous experience with recording but the unit drivers and adjustments make for easy setup. I was able to use a few different DAW applications with no tweaking aside from assigning the input and outputs. Latency is no problem and makes recording easy. Great product for first timers and dedicated songwriters alike! Customer service is quick to respond to inquiries as well. Would buy again!

arsereg

but it turns out to be excelent. I'm going to tell you my personal experience ...

I've been using this for a short time, but it turns out to be excelent. I'm going to tell you my personal experience with this interface. First, it was really easy to set it up. Just Plug-in, download drivers (In windows, in my mac it went perfect just by plugging). The two channels with phantom let me plug and power my Blue Yeti Pro using the 2 XLR to 5 pin XLR that the Blue Yeti Pro comes with. Sound was just amazing. So I went straight to testing my Line 6 Variax 700 guitar. It sounded really good, but then something started happening. Just as the other reviews on this product says, I started to hear some noise, and clicking, and it was getting harder and more frequent, at the point of loudness and frequency which made literally impossible to listen to anything. I really though my interface was broken, or I had to request for a change. Then something came to my head: What about if the problem is software related, and not hardware related. (It turns out I was wrong, it was Hardware related, but came with a really easy solution, just keep reading). I wanted to test if the interface was actually broken or something, so I plugged it into a 2010 Macbook Pro. The problem was completely gone. That actually relieved me. My interface was just right, but something was wrong with my computer. I started to find information on Forums and Internet Help, but got nothing. Then I drew a scheme of the conection I was having. And then it got clear for me. What I was doing was using the interface for introducing audio into the computer to the DAW, and then listening using the regular speakers I had already installed USING THE INTEGRATED AUDIO CARD. That was my mistake. I'm using Genius SW-G2.1 speakers (Thinking into buying some professional monitors). This speakers had come with a RCA to 1/8 cable, which I used to connect the UMC204HD into the Aux of the Genius SW-G2.1, then went to Sound properties and told Windows to use the Interface as Main audio out. all the audio problems were completely gone after that. Then, for recording I Used ASIO4ALL driver, and looked the combination of samples and buffer size to lower my latency as low as possible. Every computer is different, so you should test it by yourself in your own computer. At the end the problem was that the Internal Clock of the UMC204HD was running at different times as the Realtek Integrated Chip in my computer, so they were un-sync. Discarding the Realtek Integrated Chip and using the UMC204HD as the unique sound device was the solve of the problem. Although I had all these problems, I still put 5 stars since the product does what it says, have an incredible building quality (Metal, nothing has cheap plastic), and the overall sound has gone up. It has even improved my whole sound. EDIT Now, I'm using directly the Behringer Drivers instead of the ASIO4ALL driver. I first tried the ASIO4ALL driver in the purpose of lowering my latency, but turns out you can do this with the official driver from Behringer. This has helped me a lot, because when you use ASIO4ALL, your DAW gets "exclusive" use of your UMC204HD, if you tell your DAW to use the ASIO4ALL driver. If you just use the original driver you can lower your latency, as well as have a "shared" UMC204HD.

Fernand Ray

Rotsa fun!

This device was intended for my office desk, next to i7s running OsX Yosemite and Windows 10. I've edited the review as I gained more experience. I agonize over wanting to give a useful overview. Bottom line? I have some better and costlier gear but I'm keeping it. The box is metal, all the jacks and knobs feel solid too. As @arsereg noticed, right off the “bat”, there's a potential conflict with other audio devices. This i7 motherboard chipset had always worked OK, but when I plugged in the 204HD I started getting a once-per-second click/drop in the 204HD's audio that prevented any useful recording, as it wasn't just in the playback. I had to completely disable the on-board Realtek audio. On a different i7 box running Windows 7 64 bit, with a PCI interface, a Firewire interface with moving faders and a Behringer FCA1616 running in USB mode, all of them active, there were no conflicts. Go figure. Under OsX no driver is needed. It has 2 of those nice dual use XLR + 1/4” inputs, with a 1/4” TRS insert loop for each on the back. And it's got 2 sets of outputs on RCAs, of which 1 pair is doubled on 1/4”. Of course it sounds fine, with the quality of the converter chips available these days you'd have to be an orangutang to design something that sounds like a 1960 transistor radio. The preamps sounded decent with studio mics, namely Sennheiser 421, Beyerdynamik MC740, Oktava MKL2500. I believe gain is on the shy side for dynamic mics, but that way complainers don’t hear too much hiss. The phantom power measured 45 volts unloaded, it was enough to run a Beyerdynamik MC 740. I didn’t have an AP rig handy for truly measuring specs, but comparing to a Tascam FW1884, M-Audio 1010, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 and Behringer FCA1616, they seem about in the same league. Behringer's probably not using tweaked hand-picked vatican discrete transistor virgin flux capacitors, but they will surely surpass the needs of most bedroom studio operators. They sound nice. This should turn out to be a fine box for the intended “demographic”. I didn’t crack it open yet, but an ohmmeter shows the ring on the main out jack is dead-shorted to ground, so these are UN-balanced outputs. That’s fine. Used as desktop interfaces, hardly anybody bothers using balanced output cabling, because it just feed the monitors. Think about it. Recorded signal goes straight into the DAW over the USB connection. I don't think Behringer merits a 5 star for the simple reason that they are incredibly sloppy. They advertise this interface as having XLR outputs which it lacks. They generally claim stuff that can't possibly be, you can't tell what's real, and you can't trust a word they write, less from dishonesty than because they are apparently so cheap that they hire teen-age copy editors who have no idea what they're writing about, and have so far only mastered copy and paste. Let me just mention the zero latency nonsense in passing. If you have to fiddle with a “Mix” knob to try to inject some of the mix to play in sync with, your interface is too slow to bother using. That’s my humble opinion. We don’t have time for this. Most USB interfaces are slow and thus come equipped with these “realtime monitoring” knobs. Understand what they do and why you’re usually better off never using them. Can we just leave the “mix” knob always fully clockwise and just use software monitoring in the DAW? Maybe - as well as with any USB interface, which is to say “within limits”. I can live and play in time with a 10 mS round trip latency. Running Logic X under Mac OS X, if the project sample rate is 96k it’s a 256 sample buffer that gives me that 10 mS latency. If I raise the sample rate to 192k, I can easily take the buffer down to 128 without crackling. That’s with not too many tracks playing with full effects, but I can usually find a way to track under 10 mS. In Windows the driver, instead of just offering a buffer count, e.g. 64, 128, 256 etc, adds a strange drop-down with items labeled “Ultra low latency”, “low latency”, “Standard”, then various degrees of “relaxed” all the way to "Reliable", "Extra safe", not too worried about timing. This in addition to the traditional buffer size. What for? So if you pick “low latency” AND a “64” buffer size it can flash a warning, something like “HEY! you’re asking for too much”? True to Behringer driver tradition, there is no explanation whatsoever as to the relationship between the buffer size and the dropdown labels. After testing on two i7s under 64 bit Windows 7 and then 10, I truly give up making any sense of it. This is the same experience I had with the FCA610 on USB. The Windows drivers are a bottomless puzzle. Sometimes higher sample rates give shorter latency, other times it's worse. I was OK under 10 mS at 44.1k, I went up to 96k and could barely get 15 mS. The "Relaxed" setting now brings up the warning at 128 buffer while "Low latency" does not. Latency is truly complex. I started doing serious lab measurements last year and lost faith. Try this box on your system, trial and error, take notes and make up your own mythology. That's not as crazy as it sounds. If it works well enough for you, you've saved a lot of budget. If using the "Mix" knob is acceptable, use it. Because I don't think any of the under five bills USB interfaces are a lot better in sound OR latency. In the end the latency can generally stay under 10 mS. If there are many tracks playing, with realtime effects, that old 19 mS round trip latency is back, looking not so terrible. With USB it's just what it is. I wish I had a solid optimizing recipe here, but I can't derive one. Good DAWs have "low latency" buttons to temporarily reduce processing load for tracking. Some very expensive USB interfaces use latency shaving tricks we can't discuss, or afford, here. If you must have lowest latency with lots of effects and tracks, this isn't the right bracket. For mixdown, latency is irrelevant; so hack any solution for tracking, some people swear by manually aligning tracks anyway, then use a big buffer size for best sound quality. The MIDI jacks work. Under Windows, any change in the audio settings causes the MIDI stream to break until you manually disable then re-enable it. Under OS X it does that all by itself. The Behringer FCA610 and FCA1616 that offer Firewire and some more (semi-)professional flexibilities and features, top out at 96k. Yet they deliver the necessary sub 10 mS latencies without having to run at 192k. For all the poo-poohing of Firewire, IMHO there’s no comparison. In real world studio use, Firewire comes close to the 4 mS latencies of a PCI bus audio card, and USB does not. If for no other reason, I’m keeping the FCA1616 in the studio and putting the UMC204HD in my office for playback and occasional composition doodling. So is this a great interface? Let’s be clear. The hardware is a little notch below what we call “semi-pro” these days, but that’s a very high standard in 2015. It lacks balanced I/O, it has some odd fixed settings, like the way the 4 outputs are always engaged, it can interact unfavorably with other audio hardware on the system — a lot of little details that can matter to someone with a home studio. But to the desktop users looking for a way to run a couple of mics or a guitar into a DAW, or for the bedroom studio, for eighty bucks this is good. IMHO it’s as good as the Focusrite Scarletts that cost twice as much, and they too lack balanced I/O and target the same demographic. Mac users will be a lot happier not having to deal with the inscrutable Windows driver. The bigger UMC404HD is tempting, since it has 4 preamps, 4 inputs, a pair of XLRs and 4 TRS 1/4” jacks for outs, and only costs a tiny bit more. But that’s a bigger box, with a power supply (though it says none is needed !?!) , and the spec sheet clearly shows the S/N of the 404HD as being 10 dB inferior to the 204HD. That’s more than twice as noisy. And it weighs literally twice as much. Assuming these specs are true, I’ll stick to the handier and quieter 204HD. They have adopted a nice little booklet on good paper, in 5 languages, but it covers so many interfaces it's almost as confusing as the previous single page of fish-wrapping, and it explains nothing. And true to Behringer tradition, they say that this is only a quick start guide and that a real manual will be arriving soon. They never do.

Amazon Customer

Rubbish, dont waste your time trying it!

Very bad quality. I had Focusrite audio interface before and sound coming out from JBL speakers was much better than with U-phoria. Also although it claims having 2 stereo outputs, in reality only one stereo output works. Also even if second stereo output would work, you cant due cueing with it (that was main reason to buy 2 stereo channel audio interface). In other words, you cant play two different songs at same time like DJs do, it could only play 1 song for two different speakers. Other bad things: volume knob is just half of what Focusrite volume knob can do. So you cant really play anything very load. You also get shhh sound, when you turn volume knob and gain knob more than half. Flimsy USB connection. So had to return this product. I picked KOMPLETE audio 6 instead, which could satisfy my needs: mic in, 2 stereo outputs for cueing, good sound quality. I could also choose Focusrite with 2 stereo outputs, but didn’t, because it is too bulky in size, so not very portable. Although KOMPLETE audio interface is very heavy. So you have to compromise what’s more important for you: size or weight.

multivitamin

Best interface for the money

Excellent audio/midi interface. Simple enough for a beginner yet extremely functional!

Jason Von Stein

Five Stars

East to use, works with my Mac, didn't even need to download anything.

Amazon Customer

Great audio clarity

Great audio clarity. Makes the sound in my KRK's come alive! The microphone quality is stellar as well. Great overall product!

Anthony

Great Product!

Good bang for the buck. Plenty of ports to use and easy usb plug to cpu. I had to go and download the drivers from the website but after that, this device has been one of my best friends.

Bret

... recently received this beauty and everything about it I love. Very cheap at the moment

I just recently received this beauty and everything about it I love. Very cheap at the moment! So you better get it while you can ;)

Richard P. Egan

Happy with purchase

This unit has been really great so far. Very easy to use and great quality. I'm not a big tech guy, so I can't comment on specifics, but it works perfectly for what I need it to do.

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