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Budget DAC Review: behringer UMC204HD

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amirm

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@amirm do you plan on doing any other measurements on the Behringer?

At least one I would like to see is the -4 db of white noise in a 44.1 or 48 khz file recorded at 192 khz. That will confirm the FR is basically flat over the first 20 khz, and if combined with a 19 khz tone overlay it will show us the steepness of the filter and whether it does a good job of keeping out aliasing. Here is one for the HDMI switcher this one is 48 khz so I used a 20 khz tone.

View attachment 6972

I actually find combining the white noise trace and silence with a portion of a sweep to makes it easier to see what is reflection/aliasing around the sample rate and what is a spurious idle tone. Here is the same graph only I used an FFT of a small portion of a slow 20-20 khz sweep. The noise floor is modulated by the below 20 khz signal even out to nearly 80 khz.

View attachment 6974

For comparison here is a Tact RCS 2.0. You see less modulation of the noise floor. You also can see several idle tones which actually were in the ADC.
View attachment 6973
I can generate that test file but if you want to be sure it is the same one you have, do you want to send it to me?
 

Blumlein 88

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My DEQ2496 wouldn't save settings. Opened it, found splayed pins on the big ROM chip.

My Buddy bought one, random resets ensued. He opened it, found bent-under pins on the big ROM chip.

Both fine (six years?) since reinserting ROM.

Duh.
Maybe that is why quality has improved. Now things are mostly surface mount.
 

Blumlein 88

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I can generate that test file but if you want to be sure it is the same one you have, do you want to send it to me?

Nothing fancy, but I sent you a link in a conversation for two files you can download from my Dropbox.
 

Jinjuku

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My DEQ2496 wouldn't save settings. Opened it, found splayed pins on the big ROM chip.

My Buddy bought one, random resets ensued. He opened it, found bent-under pins on the big ROM chip.

Both fine (six years?) since reinserting ROM.

Duh.

I have a DCX 2496 still in service after 8 years and an FBQ2496 that is going on 11 years old :) I would say QC used to be all over the place. Look up all the brands Uli now owns. You might be surprised. I certainly was.
 

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You didn't mention the travails of getting it to work in your review. So did you have an arduous path, like plug it up and it worked?

It's USB Class-compliant, yeah, plug it in and it works. From what I've read the Windows side needs drivers from the Behringer website, and other audio I/O need to be disabled in the system or you get clocking errors/clicking. On the Mac side you just plug it in. I was looking for a good review, but I didn't expect to find one anywhere that was this thorough. Impressed! I'm buying one today. I'll drop by with my thoughts after I give it a run-through. If it works, I'll be dumping my mom's hundred year old records through it.
 

Palladium

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I'm sure i'm not the only not one surprised by DACs from Behringer or other pro gear manufacturers completely outperforming hideously overpriced and overhyped 'specialty' consumer garbage.

Behringer's ~$20 UCA202 is already 16 years old and uses the long-obsolete TI PCM2902 chip and yet the line-outs still measures very well by today standards. Give them modern chips/manufacturing tech and we get amazing products like the UMC204...And ironically pro gear snobs LOVE to proclaim how much they hate them as the king of cheap Chinese knockoff crap. (Which begs the funny question about where do stuff like Schitt sits in that totem pole?)

Thanks Amirm for doing the actual testing and sold me on the UMC204 since I was already itching to have a no-nonsense desk headphone amp in addition to line-out to my monitors...As well as saving countless others from wasting hard earned cash on placebophile drivel.
 
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amirm

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Warm welcome to the forum Palladium and thank you so much for the kind words. I must admit, I was quite surprised myself on the performance of Behringer. I thought for sure all the money spent on case, inputs and outs, switches, etc. took too much away from the budget for good DAC performance. Credit goes to member Jinjuku for bringing this to our attention for testing.

Please do let us know what you think of it subjectively. A person I know compared it to Mytek and said it did not have enough output drive for his amp for max volume.
 

Palladium

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Warm welcome to the forum Palladium and thank you so much for the kind words. I must admit, I was quite surprised myself on the performance of Behringer. I thought for sure all the money spent on case, inputs and outs, switches, etc. took too much away from the budget for good DAC performance. Credit goes to member Jinjuku for bringing this to our attention for testing.

Please do let us know what you think of it subjectively. A person I know compared it to Mytek and said it did not have enough output drive for his amp for max volume.

Unfortunately, I do not and will not have the test gear or standalone speaker amps to speak on that matter.

And I'm unconvinced the other BoM costs of the Behringer means they are compromising the design of their DAC implementation, when Apple can already produces a $10 iPhone 7 DAC dongle that outperforms that already-excellent iPhone 6S built-in DAC (namely at much lower output impedance). If you connect the dots together it's not hard to see a well designed DAC circuit can be built for peanuts.
 

Jinjuku

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Please do let us know what you think of it subjectively. A person I know compared it to Mytek and said it did not have enough output drive for his amp for max volume.

I've found the same with my Amp BTW. The Emotiva DC-1 gets my amp enough input voltage to drive it to max with the input sensitivity at 3/4th's. I haven't turned up the attenuation on my amp all the way however.

So yes the Behringer could use a bit higher RMS. But at normal levels subjectively sounds fine. Just like my Emotiva.
 

jtwrace

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I've found the same with my Amp BTW. The Emotiva DC-1 gets my amp input voltage to drive it to max. For ADC and HP it's fine.
I would love to see some measurements of the Emotiva DC-1. I have the DC-2 on my radar as my next dac!
 

Blumlein 88

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I would love to see some measurements of the Emotiva DC-1. I have the DC-2 on my radar as my next dac!

This fellow measured it and unfortunately doesn't show the measurements, but describes them. Saying for instance it had good jitter immunity able to not be bothered by jitter fed to it via dScope measuring gear. Otherwise it pretty much met all the claimed specs, and the claims are pretty good specifications. He implied it was more or less on par with a Benchmark DAC1 in actual use.

http://www.prosoundnetwork.com/gear-and-technology/emotiva-pro-stealth-dc-1/44291
 

jtwrace

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This fellow measured it and unfortunately doesn't show the measurements, but describes them. Saying for instance it had good jitter immunity able to not be bothered by jitter fed to it via dScope measuring gear. Otherwise it pretty much met all the claimed specs, and the claims are pretty good specifications. He implied it was more or less on par with a Benchmark DAC1 in actual use.

http://www.prosoundnetwork.com/gear-and-technology/emotiva-pro-stealth-dc-1/44291
Thanks! I'll get a DC-2 and measure it. :)
 

Sal1950

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This fellow measured it and unfortunately doesn't show the measurements, but describes them. Saying for instance it had good jitter immunity able to not be bothered by jitter fed to it via dScope measuring gear. Otherwise it pretty much met all the claimed specs, and the claims are pretty good specifications. He implied it was more or less on par with a Benchmark DAC1 in actual use.

http://www.prosoundnetwork.com/gear-and-technology/emotiva-pro-stealth-dc-1/44291
I found it interesting how many of us here own one, purchasing them with very little media hype, only ending up as owners thru individual investigations.
 

Palladium

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Amir, it is possible to do a frequency response sweep test with the AP on the UMC204HD? Subjectively my UMC204HD has more treble sparkle but has too much bass to my annoyance and I much prefer the sound of the UCA202 from the same folks. Maybe this is my placebo pills talking though.
 
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amirm

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Sure. When I get through testing some new gear I have on hand, I will go back to it and also measure the balanced output as requested. Please pester me if I don't do it. :)
 
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amirm

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Here is the frequency response as measured using white noise and FFT (so please ignore the little variations):

Frequency Response white noise.png


As the cursors indicate, the roll off starts at 21.8 Khz or so and finishes at 23.8 Khz. So a 2 KHz stopband region (gentle). This is for 44.1 Khz.

In a nutshell, it is ruler flat response so any variations perceived is not the results of this.
 
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