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Budget DAC Review: behringer UMC204HD

Jimster480

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Greetings,
Was looking at UMC204 or 404 models primarily as a dedicated DAC to play music from PC. Can it function as a pre amp as well? I can connect it to my tube amp directly. I know it has low voltage output (1.2v), but my amp only has 1v input sensitivity, so it should work.
Looks like it has a volume control for main RCA out, which is what I plan to use.

Or should I get a dedicated preamp as well? Would prefer as few components as possible to keep everything simple.
Thanks
If you are plugging it into an amp.... that Amp should have a volume control?
 

RayDunzl

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I have the UMC202HD.

It can output a "monitor" signal on the L/R outputs from the L/R inputs, which, would seem to be an analog monitor (with no ADC delay).

A 1/4" Tip/Ring to cable RCA works for me.

I'm less clear on the routing of digits. Seems like I have to take the digits from the ADC via USB, and send them back over USB to get to the UMC DAC to get output. Not real sure on this one, though, still fooling around with it occasionally.
 
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trl

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Quite a long thread, I'm pleased. :)

However, seems that the UMC204HD and UMC202HD have a better dynamic than UMC404HD, that could also mean a lower noise-floor too, based on Behringer's specs. Most likely the external PSU would be the reason?

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 4.22.03 PM.png


Great review Amir!
 

trl

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Found some naked pics here: https://minirig.org.au/wpg2?g2_itemId=7200.
- Seems to be the same AD8694 CMOS quad opamps
- probably the same 4580 and 2122 dual opamps too
- same XMOS 8U6C5 transport chip is different, but the same class
- same HEF4066B analog switches
It really seems to be about the same device, just multiplied with many IN/OUT channels.
However, no more off-topic now. :)
 

Ren

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Hey just made an account to post here ^^.
I also purchased an UMC204 played around with it a bit and found a peculiar behavior concerning the input preamps.

If no cables at all are connected to the device (except usb of course) and I send an 10khz 0db sin signal to it I measure a -110dB signal on input 1 and -80dB on input 2 while noise starts at roughly -120dB.
All gain controlls (in and output) where turned to their minimum.
-80dB seems pretty high for the fact that nothing is connected to the inputs, what's your opinion on that?

If I bypass the preamps by plugging in an empty jack(6.35mm to 3.5mm) adapter to the insets 1,2 both channels only show an -110db input signal.

The pictures:
Input 2 bypassed preamp:
baudline_spectro_preamp_off.png

Input 2 with preamp:
baudline_spectro_preamp_on.png
 
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amirm

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Hey just made an account to post here ^^.
Welcome to the forum :).
I also purchased an UMC204 played around with it a bit and found a peculiar behavior concerning the input preamps.
I only tested the UMC204HD for its DAC functionality. I briefly tested its ADC on my desktop and found lots of hum in there for measurement purposes and gave up. Have not done any more work on it since. Our member Ray has more experience with the input side and perhaps he can comment.
 
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RayDunzl

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UMC202HD.

1: Ch 1 Input level about 10 o'clock - Line, no pad, no cable, output max (channel 2 is the same with these conditions)
2: Ch 2 Input level about 10 o'clock - Instrument (premap active), no pad, guitar cable with bass guitar.
3: In-room, UMIK-1

Slight hiss from speakers, well above their usual hiss (JBL LSR 308), heard if close by, not heard at listening position (10 feet).

upload_2018-3-24_14-39-52.png

Some guitar playing on Ch 2. Didn't affect Ch 1.

upload_2018-3-24_14-46-55.png

1125Hz input to USB Ch 1, 1325 Hz input to USB Ch 2. 1 doesn't bleed to 2, but 2 bleeds to 1.

upload_2018-3-24_15-8-25.png

Conclusion: Useful for messing around, not a "high precision" ADC device. Noise floor similar to that of my room, maybe a little lower. Look elsewhere for a good ADC for measurement or recording.

---

1125 and 1325 hz -6dB each, in-room, shows (probably) harmonic and intermodulation distortion of JBL LSR 308

upload_2018-3-24_15-29-27.png

---

Reference: just audible (to me) level in-room using levels above:

upload_2018-3-24_16-17-46.png
 
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1level

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Hello everyone,
First - thank you for your awesome work, much appreciated.
A quick question - i'm currently considering a 204hd + Arcam rHead amp just for music listening. Would this be ok? Any other recommendations within the same price range? (~$350).
 
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amirm

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Hello there. Welcome aboard. The 204HD is a nice DAC but unfortunately has rather low output. So depending on the gain of the Arcam, you may not get maximum volume out of it. An alternative which doesn't have this issue is the Topping D10 at similar pricing.
 

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Hello, thanks for the suggestion. I was considering the 204HD because it is much more widely available.
But i don't understand something - could you please explain? Does the power output of the DAC matter if i connect it to an amp via RCA? I was under the impression that it does not.
Also, the Arcam outputs 1.1W @ 32Ω load. My headphones have an impedance of only 25Ω so i think that would be more than enough power.

Currently, i have an Asus Essence STX computer soundcard - would the 204HD/Topping D10 + a decent amp (slightly warmer if anyone has any suggestions) be a significant upgrade?
 
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amirm

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But i don't understand something - could you please explain? Does the power output of the DAC matter if i connect it to an amp via RCA? I was under the impression that it does not.
It is not the power (which is not important) but the overall voltage. The 204 is just a bit anemic and some owners have complained that with speaker systems at least, it would not get loud enough.

If you are in US and can buy from Amazon with return privileges, then you can purchase it and see how you like it.
 

1level

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Oh i see, thank you, was not aware of the importance of the voltage.

I'll see where i can get the Topping DAC in Europe, amazon does not seem to have it.
 

Jinjuku

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The output voltage of the UMC 204HD is only of a concern if your AMP requires a certain input voltage and the Behringer is falling short of that input voltage. If you have an amp that can be driven to full output by what the UMC 204HD outputs then:

1> It's a non-issue
2> You get to enjoy a $79 DAC with a low noise floor and very good jitter abeyance
 

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Understood, thank you :)
I think i'll get the Topping D10 or D30 to be on the safe side.
 

Jinjuku

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Understood, thank you :)
I think i'll get the Topping D10 or D30 to be on the safe side.

I would too... I've never seen anyone so budget bound that they couldn't make up the difference in cost from the 204HD to the Topping D30.
 

1level

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I would too... I've never seen anyone so budget bound that they couldn't make up the difference in cost from the 204HD to the Topping D30.
Budget is not a big issue, just want to stay below $500 for a dac + amp. Problem is that i don't have the opportunity to try any of these products and there is a lot of misinformation and just plain incorrect info floating around.
Thank you guys for forums like this one.

Any suggestions for a headphone amp? The Arcam rhead is still my current pick since i see that many of the Chinese amps have a high output impedance (10Ω and above) and my headphones are only 25Ω impedance.
Any other dac i should consider besides the D30? maybe something available in Europe.
 

FM1

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I would too... I've never seen anyone so budget bound that they couldn't make up the difference in cost from the 204HD to the Topping D30.
But has anyone said which one actually sounds better? There's lots of technical measurements in these reviews, but subjective and comparison opinions make it hard to know if one is better for a certain person than another. I've been wondering about the newer $79 or so SACD DAC too, but it's so hard to find comparisons about it.

I've been considering one of these, well, the umc202hd since as far as I know it sounds the same for a DAC as this umc204hd, but its main competitor to me is the Topping D30, and strictly technical measurements only go so far when choosing a DAC. Someone above asked how it compared to an Asus Xonar ST. I had one of those, so if someone has had both and can compare, that would be great.
 
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