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Budget DAC Review: behringer UMC204HD

RennyS

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Sorry if this is the wrong area to post this, but I have the UMC 202hd and I saw that the front RCA output is not very good. I am looking to get a headphone amp to replace it.

can anyone recommend any budget headphone amps that would pair with this? As I already have the interface i dont think its worth getting myself a topping 10 + an amp as other people were suggesting. I was looking at a "Loxjie p20" as its supposedly pretty good.
I am only running philips fidelio x2's off the 202hd so I dont really need an amp but im more thinking for if i get better headphones in the future.

Thanks
 

lukitza

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I`m trying to decide between 202 and 204. I`ll be using the DAC only to play flac from my pc to a stereo receiver so I don`t care about all the extra features the 204 has. Can anyone confirm that the difference between the two is only in the features not the electronics? If the sound quality is the same then I`ll go with the 202.
 

solderdude

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Have both, they sound the same to me but am DAC-deaf anyway.

The UMC204HD has RCA outs the 202 only has 6.3mm TRS outputs so you need different interconnects or TRS to RCA converters where the Ring is left open. (I assume these are balanced out).
The 204 can be connected directly using the RCA.
 
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Thank you @amirm for your detailed measurements. If there is a god, you're doing his work.

I just came across a killer deal on the Behringer UMC404HD, and I know a few people might be interested. $93 with the coupon (MARSAVE19).

https://express.google.com/u/0/product/9080157936407286064_16013321202850388727_118451490?

I'm picking one up for some voiceover and podcast recording.
Would be awesome to see preamp gain and noise measurements on this piece of kit, I can't find any detailed specs with my google-fu.
It can be powered directly from USB but also comes with a wall wart adapter. I assume a simple loopback and dummy load recording would tell me which power source is cleaner, aye?
 
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amirm

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It can be powered directly from USB but also comes with a wall wart adapter. I assume a simple loopback and dummy load recording would tell me which power source is cleaner, aye?
It may. You will face different conditions regarding ground loops with different supplies so would need to figure that part out.
 

Modu

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Hi!

Long and nice thread you have here. I'm planning on getting an affordable USB audio interface, but it has to fullfill an requirement. It needs to be able to output frequencies up to 60 kHz somewhat flat. Reason for this is FM radio and MPX. Stereo FM transmission is basically a signal that is about 60 kHz wide audio spectrum, that consist of 0 - 16 kHz wide mono, 19 kHz spike to indicate stereo transmission, a stereo difference signal (L-R) centered to 38 kHz (twice as wide as mono because of DSB-SC) and a RDS signal centered at 57 kHz. Behringer only claims to be able to output fairly flat up to 43 kHz, but could some one make an frequency sweep output measurement from 20 Hz to 96 kHz (Nyquist of 192 kHz). Is it possible?

I'm using computers to process sound for a hobby FM radio station project. Software doing the processing is Stereo Tool. We input program audio to the software's input, and it will process it for FM radio. Stereo sound in to a sound card or interface and mono signal (MPX) out simultaneously to be fed to the transmitter input.


Sorry if this is out of your league :/
 

SIY

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Behringer only claims to be able to output fairly flat up to 43 kHz, but could some one make an frequency sweep output measurement from 20 Hz to 96 kHz (Nyquist of 192 kHz). Is it possible?
Here you go. This is a 404, which is a 4 channel version but is otherwise identical.
 

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Modu

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Here you go. This is a 404, which is a 4 channel version but is otherwise identical.
Thanks for the graph! It was 2 AM here when I wrote the message and now it's just around 8.30, so it's a pleasure to see action during my short sleep.

Graph indicates that the DAC could potentially be used in a application what I've described, interesting stuff! As mentioned earlier in the thread, the output level is quite shy.
 
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Didn't search the whole thread due to length, but I'm using the UMC202HD with the balanced TRS outputs on the back. There is a "direct monitor" switch that, when NOT engaged, appears to provide more gain than when it's engaged/pressed. Now, for the purpose of mixing and such, I have read that this feature enables the mixer to avoid or bypass latency - but I'm unclear where that latency comes in when the only input is undecoded digital via the USB port on the back.

But to my ears when I push in the "Direct Monitor" switch, the gain is lower (2-3dB maybe?) and the treble seems less pronounced/hot. Does anyone know what this switch is doing electrically to the signal and whether the test report above was conducted with the switch in or out? Sorry if I missed something obvious.
 
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FWIW, I have it sitting side-by-side with a $7K (retail ha yeah right) PS Audio Perfectwave Directstream DAC w/ latest firmware and this Behringer more than holds its own in sound quality. It's not as convenient however since I'm streaming Roon to the PSA and that DAC does sound nice. Never seen it tested though.
 
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I`m trying to decide between 202 and 204. I`ll be using the DAC only to play flac from my pc to a stereo receiver so I don`t care about all the extra features the 204 has. Can anyone confirm that the difference between the two is only in the features not the electronics? If the sound quality is the same then I`ll go with the 202.
I believe that is correct. The only difference is the features - Midi inputs and RCA outputs, but the underlying DAC is the same across all the UMCXXXHD series from Behringer.
 
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Didn't search the whole thread due to length, but I'm using the UMC202HD with the balanced TRS outputs on the back. There is a "direct monitor" switch that, when NOT engaged, appears to provide more gain than when it's engaged/pressed. Now, for the purpose of mixing and such, I have read that this feature enables the mixer to avoid or bypass latency - but I'm unclear where that latency comes in when the only input is undecoded digital via the USB port on the back.

But to my ears when I push in the "Direct Monitor" switch, the gain is lower (2-3dB maybe?) and the treble seems less pronounced/hot. Does anyone know what this switch is doing electrically to the signal and whether the test report above was conducted with the switch in or out? Sorry if I missed something obvious.
Direct monitoring allows for monitoring of the analog inputs as well as the PC output. If you were to plug a guitar in and not use direct monitoring to hear yourself, then you will have latency from the ADC conversion > PC processing > DAC conversion. You should leave this off unless you are recording directly into the interface and want to hear yourself with zero latency. All it does is mix the input and output. If you are not using analog inputs, make sure direct monitor is off as it will add to the noise floor.

I believe the reason that the PC output level drops, is so that when multiple inputs are mixed with it, you will not overdrive the output.
 

trl

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FWIW, I have it sitting side-by-side with a $7K (retail ha yeah right) PS Audio Perfectwave Directstream DAC w/ latest firmware and this Behringer more than holds its own in sound quality. It's not as convenient however since I'm streaming Roon to the PSA and that DAC does sound nice. Never seen it tested though.
Why don't you mail it to Amir to have it tested then? :)
 
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I noticed the very low output of the UMC404HD that you talk about in your review. It is lower than any other USB audio interface that I have come across which means I really have to crank up the volume on my powered monitors. Makes me wonder if any of the resident audio wizards could find a way to increase the output level with some simple mods.
 

RayDunzl

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I noticed the very low output of the UMC404HD that you talk about in your review. It is lower than any other USB audio interface that I have come across which means I really have to crank up the volume on my powered monitors.
Cranking up the volume generally means reducing the amount of attenuation applied to the input signal.

If the result is loud enough and not marred by some other problem (noise/hum) - I'd just accept it and move on.
 
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Cranking up the volume generally means reducing the amount of attenuation applied to the input signal.

If the result is loud enough and not marred by some other problem (noise/hum) - I'd just accept it and move on.
Indeed. I'm not entirely sure how the volume control works on the JBL LSR305, but I know it is controlled digitally. So the signal is something like ; Audio in > opamp buffer/preamp > ADC + DSP with volume control > digital amplifier (volume could be handled here) > speaker

My main gripe is that the UMC404HD is advertised as having an output level of +8dB if I remember correctly, which is close to what "pro" audio gear should output. Maybe this is measured with direct monitoring and all inputs maxed out, but the DAC output is nowhere near this level. I have to switch the monitors to the high gain, low level input that is intended for "consumer" line level. Considering this interface is marketed towards "studio" use, I would think they should have studio line level output.

Anyway, there is no noticeable noise floor increase from switching the input level and turning up the digital volume control on the monitors, so not a big deal. Just annoying.
 
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