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Budget DAC Review: behringer UMC204HD

RayDunzl

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2 RCA from a nice tape deck to the 2 XLR
That should work.

Don't try to max the levels on the Behringer ADC, it will (based on my UMC202HD) add huge levels of harmonic distortion. Keep the peaks maybe 12dB down from full scale.

You can adjust the volume if you need to, later, in Audition.
 

andreasmaaan

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It arrived today and I've just installed it. I can't say its an enormous difference and I do not have the right setup to AB them fast enough to make a blind test and then have the right epistemic evidence (and if i keep the 3,5mm at the MB it leads to a lot of noise on the behringer), but I do can say that at higher volumes, mainly, I feel really better with Behringer. I do not feel that the music is mixing, blending, kneading (?) like I do when listening to a choir on MB sound. On Behringer It's better distinguished and concise. Well, I can say a bunch of subjective impressions, but the most important is that I can feel some differences, and these differences are positive to my ears. I think it worths and now I have some other ports to use as well.
Will be reporting some more when I feel up to.
Thanks!
Very glad to hear that. Enjoy :)
 
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[QUOTE="



You also could use a software player that can convert on the fly. HQPlayer is one such player. You can download a free trial. In time you would need to buy it. It probably does more than you want. But it is an excellent high quality player.

https://www.signalyst.com/consumer.html
[/QUOTE]

I compared it to Jriver. There is quite a big sound difference. Jriver being the much better one (EQs, DSP, Gain off)
 

jarnos

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A poster at Gearslutz with username Plush posted his review of the 204HD. This guy is an award winning big time fellow in the recording world for those who like credentials. Uses some of the best gear available and gets kudos for his work worldwide. He decided to buy and review the 204HD. Here is a link to his review. I think it is pretty high praise for a $79 unit. The other converter he is comparing to is a pro interface over $5k.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/12805173-post169.html

Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD $79.95

Bottom line--excellent sound but lacks refinement. Loud headphone amp.
Analog section lacks last 20% of detail.
Restricted dynamic range at 110dB, A-weighted
D/A better than A/D
Has fidelity better than a dat machine.


I judged by listening.


The Behringer unit is cheap and cheerful and performs very well. It has fidelity better than a dat machine, a very loud headphone amp, and good detail encoding on a/d. Its playback characteristics are very high fidelity with a slightly bright character but not Chinese bright. Unit is quiet.

Usable on all styles of music including classical orchestra.

Unit is devoid of features that get in the way of you using it right out of the box.
I tested it on a Mac computer and it worked right away after I selected the Behringer as the input and output device in Core audio.


Works with mic, line and instrument input. Good a/d encoding, good d/a playback.

One thing is not so great about this unit. 192kHz. recording bandwidth tops out at 30kHz. Something is wrong.

I have dedicated it to using on my computer to hear music, and videos. I listen to it on headphones.

If you need it quick and you need it good, spend $79.95 and use it today.
This is little confusing when comparing to Amirm's review. Gearslutz tells he listens to UMC204HD using headphones, and that its headphone amp is very loud. But Amirm's review tells that the headphone output is unusable at higher levels. I do not listen loud by headphones, so maybe the headphone output is decent for me anyway.

I read in the manual of my old natural sound AV receiver that it has input impedance of 150 mV and maximum input signal (1kHz, 0.5% THD) 2.2V. Could it be same that with smaller signal there is less distortion and thus the low output (1.1V or so) of Behringer would be ideal for the receiver?

Gearslutz talks about lack of detail in analog section. Can you hear difference in headphone out and playback out in this respect? Could the lack of detail be measureable?

Have owners of UMC204HD met any issues with the device? I read somewhere that A/B switch did not work for someone.
 
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@Jinjuku Throwback!

I've got the UMC404 but I cannot get it to accept any other power supply other than the one that came with it! Have you been successful with using an alternate PSU?
 

solderdude

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It may well be that the power supplies you tried (if they have the correct voltage and polarity) may not work for 2 reasons.
The obvious one is that the UMC is defective
The less obvious one is that the pin in the UMC is smaller in diameter than the socket in the power supply plug and thus does not make contact.
Please check if the pin diameter is correct for the plug.
There are a lot of different inner pin diameters for the same outer diameter.
 
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I am 99% sure the plug type is correct on the multiple cables I've used.

As for the polarity it is showing the symbol for 'negative' polarity. Similar to this (+)-C-(-)

Is this an uncommon polarity? Even when I set my bench power supply to 5V, when I plug it into the UMC404 the voltage output jumps way down to .5V.
 

solderdude

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I am 99% sure the plug type is correct on the multiple cables I've used.

As for the polarity it is showing the symbol for 'negative' polarity. Similar to this (+)-C-(-)

Is this an uncommon polarity? Even when I set my bench power supply to 5V, when I plug it into the UMC404 the voltage output jumps way down to .5V.
Most power supplies have + on the center pin and - on the outer contact. The Behringer has this reversed !

When a lab power supply drops to 0.5V either the polarity is reversed and there is a protection schottky diode in 'reverse' inside th 0404 which is conducting.

It could also be that the internal power supply was accidentally fried when reverse polarity or AC was applied.

Also it's possible that your original power supply was not defective after all and the UMC0404 was.
 
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When I used my 5V LPS that I also attach a PoE cable in line and attached it to the Behringer, the PoE cable portion got so hot it melted the cable material at the input. It was crazy, I didn't know what to think!
 
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With the polarity REVERSED, it is now receiving power from my bench power supply. YES! I've been wanting to know what it sounds like powered by an LPS!

Now I have yet another SQ discovery with my system. Thank you all!

@solderdude I'm sure my project horizon is going to love this behringer now ;D

So for anyone out there wanting to kick the stock SMPS aside and use their UMC404HD with an external power supply make sure that your polarity is reversed or

A) you can destroy and melt things like what happened to me
B) A can happen and/or you won't get power
C) other things can happen beyond my experience
 

solderdude

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It looks like the reverse voltage diode in the 0404 survived.
Looked like it from the measured 0.5V.
When that diode is fried it usually shorts completely.

The Horizon (all G1217 designs) also have a reverse Schottky for the exact same reason. In G1217 case the center pin = +
 
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I'm really glad somebody designed it this way *wink wink*

This 404 combination with the Horizon is really something special now. I'm kind of blown away at what initially was to become just an audio interface for musical instruments has now become my listening DAC.
 

solderdude

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I am using an 0204 and an 0202 as USB DAC as well.
They do great, especially considering the price.
For measurements the trusty old EMU0204 is still slightly better in the ADC department.
For recording music the Behringers work fine.

Whenever I would feel the need to upgrade I would probably buy the RME at this point but will wait till they become available second hand for a more pleasant price.
 
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I am using an 0204 and an 0202 as USB DAC as well.
Sorry to bother. How would i go about connecting jds atom amp to umc202hd. Are those rca jacks on the 202 rear?
Found out theyre 1/4 mono jacks. So it's either 1/4 to 3.5mm or 1/4 to rca for my atom right?
Thanks.

Initially i planned to get khadas tone board dac but since i need to power a mic i got the 202 and it just so happens it has a dac. Not sure if it's better than onboard. Will see.
 
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Hi all.

Great forum. Really impressed with the detailed info on it.


I picked up a new UMC204HD yesterday. Testing it today (to see at what level it clips) I notice that its audio outputs look VERY noisy. It’s all high frequency noise (except for a small amount of hiss, very little of it’s in the audio bandwidth). But it still seems very high and I’m wondering if this is normal for this unit - or if mine’s faulty.

Fernand (page 15 of this thread) mentions a similar thing.

My scope is measuring the noise at around 90mv rms (see pic). You can see the noise clearly superimposed on a 1vrm sinewave (see pic). For control the second channel is muted.

- I calculate the noise at -21db!!! (1vrms/89mvrms) (left channel 1k sinewave/right channel no signal)
- The noise comes out of all four rca outputs.
- And both TRS outputs.
- The TRS outputs are unbalanced (sleeve is grounded) so you can’t use a balanced output to avoid it.
- The noise is out of phase on different channels (so seems unlikely to be internal psu noise)
- My analogue scope shows exactly the same noise at the same level as the digital one.
- In comparison my crappy old usb soundblaster SB0490 is whisper quiet.
- You get the same noise on different laptops, win10 (I even installed the drivers) and linux
- You even get the same noise just powering the thing up on a usb charger (no laptop)
- So its the soundcard itself that is generating this noise and not any apps controlling it.

As I said its mostly high frequency. I ran it via a digital mixer (effectively a 20hz low pass filter) and it cleaned up a lot. So apart from some faint residual hiss it’s not audible. I was able to measure 85db signal-to-noise on the graphs on the mixer (probably the limits of its performance).

However even though I can’t hear it, and my speakers can’t play it - I guess a lot of this high frequency crud will be getting into my amp and heating it up. So it doesn’t seem right to me.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this.

Thanks in advance
Sieskid
(australia)

Scope_UMC204HD.jpg
 

solderdude

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Sorry to bother. How would i go about connecting jds atom amp to umc202hd. Are those rca jacks on the 202 rear?
Found out theyre 1/4 TRS jacks. So it's either 1/4 to 3.5mm or 1/4 to rca for my atom right?
Thanks.

Initially i planned to get khadas tone board dac but since i need to power a mic i got the 202 and it just so happens it has a dac. Not sure if it's better than onboard. Will see.
I use 1/4 to RCA (2 of them).
The headphone out is crap.
 
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As I said its mostly high frequency. I ran it via a digital mixer (effectively a 20hz low pass filter) and it cleaned up a lot. So apart from some faint residual hiss it’s not audible. I was able to measure 85db signal-to-noise on the graphs on the mixer (probably the limits of its performance).
Is the noise there on all volume levels. Which ones did you measure?
it picks up past 50% and clearly audible at max volume. I usually listen at 30-40% volume and i cant hear that hiss. Im listening on headphones too. Hope my ears wont be ringing after prolonged use. Going to use it as mic in only after i get a proper dac :(
 
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