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BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC404HD
|Price:||$99.99 & FREE Shipping|
- 4x4 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface for recording microphones and instruments
- Audiophile 24-Bit/192 kHz resolution for professional audio quality
- Compatible with popular recording software including Avid Pro Tools*, Ableton Live*, Steinberg Cubase*, etc.
- Streams 4 inputs / 4 outputs plus 1x MIDI I/O with ultra-low latency to your computer, supporting Mac* OS X* and Windows XP* or higher
- 4 state-of-the-art, MIDAS designed Mic Preamplifiers with +48 V phantom power
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BEHRINGER UMC404HD Audiophile 4x4, 24-Bit/192 kHz USB Audio/MIDI Interface with MIDAS Mic Preamplifiers
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• (4) great MIDAS design preamps with XLR/TRS combo jack for mic/line/inst signals
• Pad for each preamp
• Very small footprint
• Dual monitor output with A/B and mono switches
• Can be powered from the USB bus
• Single phantom power switch for all channels (all 4 on or off) – be careful with mixed sources (ribbon mics, acoustic guitar pickups, etc)!
• No internal effects for use during low latency monitoring
----------------Value Rating: HIGH----------------
First off, the value of this interface is FANTASTIC if you simply need a no-frills interface with four preamps. I’ve done direct comparisons with other USB devices, with four preamps, (main example being the Focusrite 18i8). For several hundred dollars less the Behringer UMC404HD provides:
• A set of preamps that, according to a few recording tests I’ve done, sound EXTREMELY similar to competitors
- (my YouTube channel, B6Music, will have video reviews and product comparisons showing this soon)
• A much smaller footprint
And you’ll only sacrifice a few features, which I did not find worth $200+ plus more dollars. Those included:
• Expandability using ADAT and/or SPDIF connections
• DSP for effects during low-latency monitoring
• A second headphone out with separate gain (but 4 of these can be added for as low as $20 via a headphone amp)
As stated above, the preamps definitely give more expensive competitors a run for their money. There were very little discernable differences (audibly and visually, using frequency analysis software). Preamps offer plenty of gain and are warm, smooth clean, etc. The phantom power works as it should, although, there is but a single switch which means additional gear may be required if you are mixing sound sources that don’t play well with phantom power. MIDI I/O is basic with a single 5-din connector for both in and out (ie: 16 channels in, 16 channels out).
Usability is great. All jacks, knobs and buttons and located fine and use is intuitive. The device is MAC and PC compatible and will work with most any DAW. I have been using this with MAC OSX El Capitan 10.11.1 and Logic Pro X. It has been flawless and requires no drivers or downloads. I have not personally used this on Windows but I know they advertise compatibility and the device will work with most current versions by downloading drivers from Behringer’s website. Another GREAT feature, which is not common on interfaces with this many preamps, is that it can be bus powered. That means, if you are mobile and don’t have a place to plug in the AC adapter (included) you can power the interface from your laptop.
All of the gain and volume knobs feel great. They operate smooth and feel very stable. The construction is small and, overall, the build and finish quality is great. I have no complaints about any of the jacks, buttons, knobs, LEDs, etc…
In the box you’ll get:
• UMC404HD interface
• AC Adapter
• USB Cable
And as download (I did not use the downloads and there is not much in the documentation about what is included) you can get:
• Audio recording, editing, podcasting software
• 150 instrument/effect plug-ins
If you just need a couple extra preamps, vs other inexpensive interfaces which usually only have two, the Behringer UMC404HD is a fantastic choice. Although you sacrifice a few features, I’d use this interface, to save a few bucks for other gear, over most other options in the sub-$400 range – beyond that I’d step up to a bigger 8-preamp unit. It’s fantastic for small studio setups and for a mobile rig.
Sound quality is great. I'd say the quality of the conversion beats my M-Audio card (which was originally at least 6x the price!). I'm going to chalk this up to improvements in technology over the years, and it really makes the Delta show its age. A nice clear sound, not lacking in body, and doesn't have any of the harshness I've encountered with other Behringer products of the past. I'm not going to say it's "warm" sounding at all, but it really doesn't need to be, honestly. It's just a solid clear sound with a minimum of any noticeable hype or color. Behringer's parent company recently bought Midas, and the UMC404 claims to have the same mic preamps as used in the high end Midas consoles. Which model of console is anyone's guess, and it's really more just an excuse to stick the name on there to play off the reputation of the name (though, Midas is a big name in live FOH consoles, not really anything to do with recording consoles). But whatever, the mic preamps do sound good. Noise isn't too bad - recording piano with some dynamic mics didn't get any bad noise issues. It will get a bit hissy if you have to max the gain out, but there are few situations where I see that happening, and if you really need lowest noise, you can always use a nicer external preamp and patch into the line inputs. The inserts included on each input is a nice touch! You can easily patch a compressor after the mic input - which is good news for tracking vocals. This is an extremely helpful feature that most other interfaces neglect.
One complaint about the mic preamps: they don't work well with low-output ribbon mics. I tried it with my Cascade Fat Head II and it was a no-go. Not enough clean gain available. Had to max it out to get any signal and at that point the noise was too much. Ribbon users would need something like a Cloud Lifter or other external preamp to be able to use them with the UMC. Too bad, but that's really not a huge letdown considering the price and how well the unit performs otherwise.
Control panel for the drivers is very spartan, but it does enough to tell you what's going on and make a few adjustments. People like me who are used to the luxury of an onboard DSP zero latency monitor mixer (like the Delta has) will be a little disappointed by the lack of monitor adjustment with the simple analog input monitoring on the box itself, but it's still work-able, just a bit unusual to lack a separate control for monitor mixing. But considering the price and general sound quality, this isn't really a complaint.
As far as how well it plays with software, I've tried this with Adobe Audition, Reaper, and Tracktion. It works just fine doing multitrack using the ASIO drivers in Reaper and Tracktion, but it did NOT work well with Audition at all. Attempting to use the ASIO drivers to do a multitrack recording in Audition caused Audition to crash. Multitracking in Audition doesn't seem to work at all with this, even when switching to the MME or WASAPI drivers. I'm blaming this on Audition because Adobe sucks. Tracktion was billed as "included" software, but it wasn't actually in the box with it, and when I registered the product with Behringer to get my "free" download code, I have yet to get any reply from them. There's a free version of Tracktion available and that's probably what they're talking about. Behringer pulled this crap before by including the freeware Audacity with interfaces and billing it as some great deal of included software (and Audacity sucks, BTW). Tried messing with Tracktion a bit, but really not a fan of the workflow. It's quick and easy, but it's too stripped and just not an interface I find comfortable. Reaper gave the best results for multitracking on the laptop, and then I used Audition for editing/mastering the final mix. My main software on desktop is Samplitude Pro X, but I haven't plugged the Behringer into my desktop yet. The laptop is running Win10, so good news for Win10 users that the drivers seem to work fine with it.
Haven't tested the MIDI yet, and therefore haven't used any realtime softsynths with it, so I can't make any judgment about the latency. The control panel gives you some control over this, so I'm sure I could probably get it to where it feels good for realtime synth. But as this is being used almost exclusively for recording, low latency is really not on my list of needs.
Time will tell about the long-term reliability of a $99 interface with this much packed into it, but overall construction seems solid and I've had no feelings about it being too delicate to carry around in my backpack. Should hold up well to regular mobile use.
Giving something like this 5 stars seems excessive, because there's certainly better out there. But at this price? Not even close! In the very crowded world of sub-$200 audio interfaces, I will put the UMC404HD up there as a clear winner.