The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD is a beautiful audio interface, and can easily outrank any other competing interface of the same price range. From the first look, you can understand that it is a device built for more than average performance.
The unit itself is fairly large, which is not uncommon for the most audio interface models designed by the Behringer Company. This happens mostly because the company decides to keep the controls, inputs and outputs separately, without labeling them into groups like most of the their competitors.
The design of the UMC404HD is very easy to understand, as it considered standard. It is made of aluminum materials, and as it is very common when it comes to interfaces, the inputs are placed at the front panel, whereas the outputs are placed at the back.
Behringer keeps the design and the colors of this model similar to the rest of the U-Phoria series. The interface is mostly black with silver details, which add a professional look to the overall appearance of the unit.
In order to enhance the user experience, the Behringer Company added four channels to the interface. These channels have dual XLR/TRS connectors, which make the connection of several musical instruments and the multichannel recording as easy as it gets.
All the input channels mentioned have their own gain knobs, a line or instrument switch and a pad. The fact that you can have all those features separately, makes it possible to have more control over each channel.
On the other hand, the Phantom Power is the same for all four channels. That means that if you choose to turn it on, it will turn on for all four channels, which sometimes you may find inconvenient as it prevents different use for various instruments.
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD uses a DC adapter for power, although it has a USB output. The USB output can be used along with other output options, such as MIDI or RCA that the user can find on the particular audio interface.
The four channels mentioned above, all provide the option between XLR and ¼ jacks. Having an instrument input, the interface gives the user the ability to connect loud instruments such as electric guitar or bass directly, without the use of a preamplifier.
What is more, there is a LED placed on the interface for every input, which indicates the signal of the sound inserted during the recording or the playback. For clipping or peaking, there is a separate LED for every input, which is something uncommon as most interface use only one LED per channel.
The performance of the U-Phoria UMC404HD is fascinating at least. The device has some amazing preamplifiers which are very strongly structured, and provide a very clean and loud sound, especially when it comes to recording vocals.
The interface is capable of handling heavy and loud musical instruments very well. It can pick up their sound without any issues of distortion or clipping, and it manages to record them very clearly without any signs of muddiness.
The UMC404HD is automatically recognizes by most of the well-known operating systems, and works fine with every desktop or laptop. The Behringer Company has decided not to include any software or digital work station with the device.
You can use the particular interface with the majority of the DAWs, such as Cubase, FL Studio, Ableton Live and Pro Tools. All of these DAWs and the rest of the software work particularly well with the interface, with minimal effort during the setup process.
At the price point of under $100, the U-Phoria UMC404HD is one of the best options in the market, as it offers a wider variety and number of inputs and outputs that most of the competing audio interface at the same price point do not.
When it comes to switching the input channels into instrument mode, there 20db of gain added to the overall sound. This help the instruments sound a lot more cleaner and louder. Switching the pad, caused a removal of 20db.
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What Behringer has achieved with the UMC404HD, is to provide its customers with a more than affordable audio interface with four channels, ready for multichannel recordings. In addition to this, there are several output options available for the user, which makes the use of this interface even more convenient.
For beginner music producers and sound engineers that are on a tight budget, this interface offers more than most similar interfaces do at the same price range. Audio engineers now can record entire bands at a low cost, making the choice of this audio interface a must for home or small recording studios.
The fact that the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD can handle four separate input channels at the same time, makes it one of the most effective audio interfaces in the market. Adding to that, it does handle these channels with nothing more than the standard audio connectors.
One of the additional advantages of this interface is also the ability to provide balanced audio, phantom power, and although it does not provide it separately for each individual input channel this cannot be considered a disadvantage at this price point.
One small con though, is the noise that the user can notice when the pad switch is turned on. Along with the low volume when it comes to the output levels, this can sound a bit disturbing for a certain number of users, although it is a minor problem that you can avoid with the use of a preamp.
Considering the price, the U-Phoria UMC404HD is one of the most effective tools for low-budget studios and beginners music producers or artists. It can very easily handle a number of instruments and microphones, without causing any latency or clipping issues.
The sound quality of the audio interface is at professional levels. It provides very clear middle frequencies, along with crispy clean high freqs that give a sense of loudness and overall clarity. The sound in general is considered neutral as it should, helping the editing, the mixing and the mastering process.