• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Behringer UMC204 HD Audio Interface Review

617

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
2,384
Likes
5,261
Location
Somerville, MA
Thanks -- that seems like a more plausible explanation than my insufficient current sourcing theory.
I was having a similar issue. Very annoying.
 

yummy

Active Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2017
Messages
142
Likes
188
we need more of these tests, ADC, though most of the cheap ones are codec, and codec hasn't been updated for years, like since 2010
 

Bruce Morgen

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
834
Likes
1,191
Well, my UMC202HD has developed an audible playback flaw, staticy crackling in the left channel just loud enough to be distracting when it occurs. Meanwhile, I switched my source back to the on-board Realtek High Definition Audio option in my PC and I'm surprised at how good it sounds. Of course the noise floor was way too high to be considered true hi-fi -- having the relevant chip(s?) living on a PC motherboard makes that unavoidable -- but otherwise I must say it was every bit as enjoyable to listen to as the Behringer until a silent passage came along and I could hear all that pesky noise above the whine of the PC fans in my little home office space. When I get the Behringer exchanged or repaired under warranty I'll do some more rigorous listening comparisons, but for now listening via the Realtek silicon and driver is more than bearable.
 

Bruce Morgen

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
834
Likes
1,191
Well, my UMC202HD has developed an audible playback flaw, staticy crackling in the left channel just loud enough to be distracting when it occurs. Meanwhile, I switched my source back to the on-board Realtek High Definition Audio option in my PC and I'm surprised at how good it sounds. Of course to the noise floor was way too high to be considered true hi-fi -- having the relevant chip(s?) living on a PC motherboard makes that unavoidable -- but otherwise I must say it was every bit as enjoyable to listen to as the Behringer until a silent passage came along and I could hear all that pesky noise above the whine of the PC fans in my little home office space. When I get the Behringer exchanged or repaired under warranty I'll do some more rigorous listening comparisons, but for now listening via the Realtek silicon and driver is more than bearable.
 

Bruce Morgen

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
834
Likes
1,191
Well. I (believe I have) solved all my Behringer-related issues in "one swell foop" and, barring future untoward developments, I can recommend this course of action to others who've found the DAC -- and perhaps even ADC -- function of these USB-powered gizmos troublesome in any of several respects: get a powered external USB hub with a hefty wall wart and devote it exclusively to the Behringer. Apparently, even exclusive use of a motherboard USB Root Hub can fall short of the peak current demands of all the DAC, ADC, and phantom power circuitry involved in making this thing perform adequately -- IOW, it seems to need more than the 500 mA we can count on from a typical motherboard USB 2.x connection.
 
Last edited:

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,786
Likes
35,684
Location
The Neitherlands
Both my 202 and 204 play perfectly directly from laptop and PC USB output ports even with other USB devices (2x ext HD, mouse and keyboard) connected.
 

Bruce Morgen

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
834
Likes
1,191
Both my 202 and 204 play perfectly directly from laptop and PC USB output ports even with other USB devices (2x ext HD, mouse and keyboard) connected.

Well then, we're both happy. :)

Maybe there's something deficient about my old PC's motherboard, although my other USB devices have always worked normally -- do your laptop and PC have USB 3 perchance? Otherwise I can't explain why myself and others have had some USB-related issues and you haven't.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,786
Likes
35,684
Location
The Neitherlands
Old PC and laptop all USB 2.0 Nothing fancy or high power nor externally fed with power supply.

I assume they sold thousands of these devices. When one goes online (true for almost all stuff) one often finds people either complaining about it or praising it like there is no tomorrow. The normal users who use it problem free aren't vocal.
So chances are one may find 10 or maybe 20 people complaining about it after they had been looking online for the same issues.
I expect the devices function normally.
The only issues I have had was that my PC did not recognize it and had to plug out and back in the device in order to get it working.
The same happens with other DAC's as well. Both on Linux and Windows so reckon that is 'normal'
 

Bruce Morgen

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
834
Likes
1,191
Addendum: a passive external hub also remedied the problem. Maybe it's the proximity of the PC's internal USB transceiver to other stuff on the mobo that's problematic? Perhaps somebody better informed on this sort of stuff will be kind enough to chime in, because at this point I'm all out of undereducated guesswork.
 

bigx5murf

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
522
Likes
343
Yikes! Thank you for the excellent update Amir. I purchased a Behringer UMC404HD a while back but found it had the poorest sound quality of the several dacs I have. I even preferred the Apple dongle to it and now I can see why. My biggest problem with it was the low output. I have enough gain with my existing amplifier but it always sounded anemic and lacking bass impact. All of my dacs that have higher output (clean) had more powerful bass and dynamics. With the Behringer I was really expecting it to be better because of the internet praise of it, but found it seriously disappointing. That was before seeing the measurements, so at least my fallible ears got that one correct...it's been gathering dust for months. Thanks again for the empirical data!

It doesn't make any sense, but the UMC404HD is spec'd 10db less than the UMC202HD and UMC204HD
 

Attachments

  • behringer specs.PNG
    behringer specs.PNG
    52.7 KB · Views: 479

Get a hearing test

Active Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
101
Likes
29
[QUOTE="It seems to need more than the 500 mA we can count on from a typical motherboard USB 2.x connection.[/QUOTE]
That's what i found. Going from 2.0 to 3.0 usb hub perf improved by 2x no kidding. Had to put amp on high gain and MAX to get what i get now on low gain 10 to 12 o'clock.
Wonder if getting a powered\passive hub would do something.
 

Bruce Morgen

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
834
Likes
1,191
[QUOTE="It seems to need more than the 500 mA we can count on from a typical motherboard USB 2.x connection.
That's what i found. Going from 2.0 to 3.0 usb hub perf improved by 2x no kidding. Had to put amp on high gain and MAX to get what i get now on low gain 10 to 12 o'clock.
Wonder if getting a powered\passive hub would do something.[/QUOTE]

Both types of hubs eliminated my intermittent clicking/popping symptom. FWIW, both my hubs had sole use of a motherboard USB hub.
 

The Big Z

New Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
1
Likes
1
I've just added an external 5V 1.5A power supply to mine. Haven't done any testing yet to see how much of a difference it makes. It's a really easy modification, by the way. Just cut one trace on the PCB and wire in a connector jack. I have mine configured so it'll run off the 5V from USB but switch to the external supply as soon as it's plugged in.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,786
Likes
35,684
Location
The Neitherlands
Just measured the current draw of the UMC204HD and it is 240mA.
During startup it shortly reached 400mA (which is what most phones draw when connected to a USB port when charging)
240mA may be a bit on the high side for certain laptops, tablets etc.
USB ports should not be bothered by it. Maybe when many other higher current drawing devices are connected to the same physical bus or front (wired) USB ports are used the voltage may drop too much.

I have seen no changes in performance when fed with external power sources.

Also measured the output resistance of the headphone out = 21 Ohm
 
Last edited:

Get a hearing test

Active Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
101
Likes
29
When amirm says he reduced input by -3dB... what is the equivalent for an user, reducing player source by -3dB?
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,786
Likes
35,684
Location
The Neitherlands
It could be Amir used the main outs (TRS on the back) which have their own volume control (and possibly amp section ?) which may have been clipping at 0dBFS input.
Perhaps dialing down the volume has the same effect.

I always use the RCA out which isn't volume controlled from the front. Never had clipping issues but admit that I rarely have the volume control on the PC on max. Also when measuring with it REW doesn't allow outputs above -3dB.
So maybe it is clipping at 0dBFS digital in, maybe only on the main out ?
 

Get a hearing test

Active Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
101
Likes
29
Ah, mine are trs 1/4 inch to rca to atom because the 202hd unit doesnt have rca outs on the back. Otherwise its identical. Detect no audio quality increase if i lower the dac knob from 100% to say 90%. Maybe the unit is worse due to more connectors much like umc404hd is.
KTB is yet to arrive and noticed i dont have rca to rca so i bought one from china which will take months to arrive if not more also picked up crappy local ones for the time being. Dont think itll make a difference. Just paying for better looks.
 

6speed

Active Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
128
Likes
84
Location
Virginia, USA
I had failed recently to get low enough noise out of my UMC202HD + Dayton mic to make usable IMD measurements of some speakers I just built, but I took a few minutes today to loop an output of the UMC back to an input and try measuring itself. I first played white noise and ran the RTA while playing with the gain and output knobs. I found that increasing the gain raised both the signal level and the noise floor, but increasing the output raised only the signal while keeping the noise floor in place.

I then kept the gain at 50% and recorded IMD tests with the output at 50% (blue) and 100% (red). Here are two different views of the results, first as recorded, and then with the peaks of both traces offset to 0dB. Notice that the SNR goes up with the output knob cranked, but I have crossed over the saturation threshold and IMD has also gone way up. That seems to support Amir's testing.

However, am I the only one surprised at how bad the IMD performance is in any scenario? If you do the tones at 1/3 octave spacing, the IMD is so uniform it becomes the new noise floor.

44-256k IMD G50 O50vs100.png

44-256k IMD G50 O50vs100 0dB.png
 
Top Bottom