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Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD Full Review

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Are you wondering if the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD is the right audio interface for you?

The UMC202HD is one of the more popular entry-level interfaces on the market. 

Primarily due to its budget-friendly price and reliable audio performance.

Here’s our full review of this interface. 

We’ll give our take on its build and recording quality, features, preamps, and more. 

Overview

The Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD is one of the best audio interfaces under $100. This unit comes with professional-quality preamps, great recording quality, and additional features like direct monitoring for an affordable price. 

We prefer a more intuitive, user-friendly front panel, and the knobs are lower-quality than we would like. But overall, this unit is durable and simple to use, especially for beginners.

Behringer UMC202HD Overall Grade: B

Build Quality: B

Design Quality: B

Recording Quality: B

Preamps: A

Features: B-

Software Bundle: N/A

Who the Behringer U-phoria UMC202HD is Best for?

If you’re on a budget or new to recording audio, you can’t go wrong with the UMC202HD.

It features everything you need from an entry-level audio interface, all for under $100.

It’s also durable and compact enough for recording on the go.

The UMC202HD is best for…

  • Beginners
  • Self-recording artists
  • Basic home studios
  • Music producers
  • Guitar players
  • Engineers and artists recording on the go

Notable Features

  • Microphone and instrument inputs for connecting mics, guitars, and other instruments
  • Line inputs for connecting mixers, preamps, and other audio devices
  • Balanced outputs for connecting studio monitors
  • Record with zero latency using direct monitoring
  • Supply up to 51 dB of gain to dynamic microphones
  • Monitor recording levels and clipping using LED indicators
  • Power condenser mics using +48V phantom power

Layout and Controls

Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD Review

The front panel of the UMC202HD includes two combo XLR and TRS inputs.

Each input has a corresponding gain knob. 

They each also have two buttons. One is for switching the TRS input between an instrument and line-level input. The second is a pad button that reduces its input by 20 dB.

On the far right of this unit is a button for enabling direct monitoring. You’ll also find separate control knobs for the headphone and main output.

Lastly, the front panel includes clipping, +48V, and bus-power LED indicators. 

The clipping indicators flash red when your signal is too hot. 

On the other hand, +48V tells you when direct monitoring is enabled, and power indicates that your interface is on. 

The back panel features a USB-B port, an on/off switch for phantom power, two TRS outputs, and a Kensington Lock Slot.

Build Quality 

Grade: B

As someone whose owned the UMC202HD for the past four years, I can say this unit is built to last.

It’s lightweight and compact yet has an outer metal structure making it great for recording on the go.

However, the plastic knobs on the front panel aren’t the best quality. 

When using this interface, you’ll notice that the knobs and inputs feel a bit loose.

But as long as you travel with this interface in a case, you should be fine. 

Design Quality 

Grade: B

The UMC202HD has a simple interface making it easy to use for beginners.

Each knob is clearly labeled and has a dedicated section. This design makes it effortless to adjust parameters while recording.

While we prefer larger knobs and a cleaner design, we still enjoy the simplicity of the UMC202HD.

Recording Quality

Grade: B

The UMC202HD lets you record at an audio resolution of 192kHz at 24-bits. 

It’s important to note that 44.1kHz at 16-bits is enough to reproduce the human hearing range of 20Hz – 20kHz.  

However, interfaces with higher bit depths and sample rates can accurately capture and reproduce audio. They also provide more headroom, which minimizes clipping. 

Notably, the UMC202HD also has a dynamic range of around 100 dB, giving you a nice headroom for an interface under $100. 

Preamps

Grade: A

The UMC202HD’s MIDAS preamps can provide each input with up to 51 dB of gain

They also have an impressive noise performance, with an ultra-low EIN of -129 dB.

An EIN of -129 means you’ll hear virtually no preamp noise even with low-sensitivity dynamic mics like the Shure SM7B.

Overall, the UMCHD202’s MIDAS preamps are well-known for producing crystal clear recordings.

Features

Grade: B

This interface has quite a few additional features that add to its value. 

One is direct monitoring

Conveniently, you’ll hear audio directly from your inputs for near zero-latency recording with direct monitoring enabled.

Another useful feature is the LED clipping indicators for each input that flash red when your audio is clipping.  

While the UMC202 is limited compared to more expensive units, it has all the essential functions you need. 

Software Bundle 

Grade: N/A

The UMC202HD doesn’t come with additional software. 

If you’re looking for an interface in the same price range that includes software, the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is a great alternative.

Audio Interface Comparison

Here’s how Behringer’s UMC202HD stacks up against other interfaces. 

UMC202HD vs Behringer U-Phoria UMC22

The main difference with the UMC22 is that it comes with one combo input instead of two. Its second input is a 1/4-inch connection for instruments.

As a result, you won’t be able to record two condenser mics at the same time. 

On the other hand, the UMC202HD offers two mic, line, and instrument inputs, giving your studio more flexibility.

If you want to connect additional audio devices, like a preamp or second microphone, the UMC202HD is better.

If not, you’ll save around $30 with the UMC22.

UMC204HD vs Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD

The UMC204HD is an excellent alternative if you’re looking for more outputs. 

The 204HD has four outputs – two RCA, two balanced 1/4-inch – and MIDI I/O.

Behringer UMC202HD vs. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

If you prefer an interface with a software bundle and MIDI I/O, the AudioBox USB 96 is the way to go. 

These are two features not included with the UMC202HD.

However, the UMC202HD has better preamps. 

[Check out our review on the AudioBox 96 here]

Behringer UMC202HD vs Audient EVO 4

The UMC202HD is the better option for beginners. 

While the EVO 4 has a sleek design, it can take some getting used to if you’ve never used an audio interface.

[Check out our review on the Audient Evo 4 here]

UMC202HD vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

The UMC 202HD is the better option if you’re on a budget.

While the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is one of the top-rated entry-level interfaces, you’ll save around $100 with the 202HD.

The 2i2 has an edge with its intuitive design and Air Mode feature.

However, there’s not that much of a quality difference between these units overall. 

Takeaway: Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD

The Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD is a solid option for both pros and beginners.

We recommend this unit to anyone looking for a quality, affordable interface with all the standard features for audio production.

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