Last Updated on July 6, 2021.
Today I’m going to compare the differences between two audio interfaces, the M-Audio M-Track Quad and the Behringer UMC22.
If you spend any significant amount of time making music, streaming, or podcasting, you’ll want to invest in an audio interface, but with so many options available on the market, which one should you go for?
In short, here are the differences between the M-Track Quad and the Behringer UMC22:
The M-Track Quad offers more utility including more inputs and outputs, a powered USB port, and a higher rate of digital audio processing of 24-bit/96 kHz compared to the Behringer UMC22’s 16-bit/48 kHz resolution, but also retails for a fairly higher price.
M-Audio M-Track Quad
The M-Track Quad is a four-channel audio and midi USB interface.
Despite having purchased my own M-track Quad in 2016, it remains the stable core of my home setup five years on, speaking to its professional build quality. When I first plugged it in, the difference in audio quality from what I had been used to (standard computer audio), was immediately obvious.
The powered USB hub that comes built-in to the interface has been extremely useful on multiple occasions. Whether you’re lacking USB ports on your computer or simply want to add extra devices to your setup, this feature cannot be overlooked.
I’ve used various pieces of hardware over the years with this interface, including synthesizers, reverb units, microphones, guitars, and not once have I had an issue with the quality of the recording, but I am aware that the interface has had complaints about input distortion, pops/clicks and USB connection failing.
Some stores have been including Avid Pro Tools Express and Ignite by Air Software with this interface which is frankly outstanding value for money, but personally, I didn’t receive software when I bought mine, so make sure to check the details before you make the final decision.
Whilst recording an input from a microphone or other external sources, you have the option to use external effects on any of the channels thanks to the inserts on the back of the unit, something not usually found on an interface of this kind.
The M-Track Quad has a useful mix knob that adjusts the balance between the direct inputs and the playback from your DAW, perfect for checking your inputs in an isolated situation. The headphone output also has its own level control knob.
Another useful addition to this interface is the MIDI in and out jacks, ideal for someone using a MIDI keyboard, or recording MIDI data from an external source. It’s quite a big unit compared to other interfaces on the market, which could be a downside depending on your desk space.
What comes in the Box?
- M-Audio M-Track Quad
- Power supply
- USB connection
|Product Dimensions||(W x D x H) 13.1″ x .5″ x 6.1″; 333mm x 89mm x 156 mm|
|Color||Silver and Black|
|Operating System||Windows 7 or higher, Mac OS X Lion or higher|
|Inputs||4 XLR+1/4″ Combo|
|Max sample rate (kHz)||96kHz|
|Max resolution in bit||24 bit|
Find out more about the M-Audio M-Track Quad here:
The Behringer UMC22 is a 2×2 USB Audio Interface with a Midas Mic Pre-amplifier.
If you’re looking for your first audio interface the Behringer UMC22 offers plenty of features to get you started in a compact size. You’ll have the ability to hook up one microphone or anything else that has an XLR or 1/4″ output into the built-in Midas pre-amplifier.
The two outputs on the back can be used to connect the interface to your speakers, with space left to plug in an instrument or effect unit and headphones for monitoring purposes. The UMC22 has good, but not studio standard audio quality, with a resolution of 48kHz. This will certainly be enough for making music or recording dialogue and for the price you’re getting extreme value for money.
One of the best things about the UMC22 is the LED gain lights, allowing you to monitor the audio whilst recording or streaming. The clip light will shine red when you need to lower the volume, an awesome feature ensuring your audio isn’t clipping.
You’ll need to acquire the Asio4ALL driver for this interface however, as it doesn’t ship with its own audio driver, unlike many other Behringer interfaces.
A huge downside to the UMC22 is the lack of MIDI support, but if you’re not intending on recording MIDI data, the lack of support isn’t an issue you’ll need to worry about.
What comes in the Box?
- Behringer UMC22
- Power supply
- USB Connection
|Product Dimensions||16.31 x 12.5 x 5 cm|
|Operating System||Windows XP, Vista, 7-10 and Mac OS|
|Max sample rate (kHz)||48kHz|
|Max resolution in bit||16bit|
Find out more about the Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 here:
The main differences between the two interfaces are audio quality, utility, and cost. The M-Track Quad is by far the better interface in general, but an unnecessary purchase for anyone who doesn’t have many instruments, analog gear, or a need for multiple inputs.
The 96kHz resolution provided by the M-Track Quad outperforms the UMC22’s 48kHz, but for a beginner looking to improve their audio quality from the standard headset input or USB microphone, the UMC22 will be perfectly sufficient.
The M-Track Quad is more suited to audio professionals and reflects that in its cost and build quality, compared to the UMC22 that despite being a great option for beginners, is quite limited for anyone looking to connect multiple inputs or replicate studio-level audio quality.
The M-Track Quad also provides an ASIO driver which bypasses the built-in audio path for an OS, providing a low-latency and high fidelity connection between software and the computer’s soundcard for audio professionals, whereas the Behringer UMC22 will require Asio4all, an emulation version not quite up to the same standard of quality but still reducing latency issues.
Ultimately, the Behringer UMC22 is a great budget option for a beginner musician, streamer, or hobbyist, whereas the M-track Quad is suited more to an intermediate or professional audiophile.
In my opinion, if you’re buying your first interface, I’d go for the UMC22. It’s extremely affordable and whilst not quite living up to the performance or potential of the M-Track Quad, it will still improve your audio recording, and/or listening quality, for a fraction of the price.
Both interfaces come with the possibility of using +48v phantom power for those of you looking to use condenser microphones, however, if you’re looking to connect multiple input sources or already make a salary from anything audio related, I’d recommend the M-Track Quad as a fantastic alternative to some of the top of the range interfaces that’ll cost triple the amount of the Quad.
To summarize, picture the UMC22 as a beginner option, the M-Track Quad as an intermediate option, and then an interface like the Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo as a professional option.