Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 Vs Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD

When I first got interested in getting home recording equipment, I had no idea what Audio Interface to buy.

A friend recommended that I should check out the Focusrite Scarlett series, saying that they were the best ones available.

I decided to do some research on the topic and now I intend to share my findings with you.

Both of them have been around for quite some time now, they are some of the best-selling ones and for good reason.

The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen however, costs almost twice as much, is it really worth it? Or should you go with the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD instead?

In this post I will be doing a general overview of both Interfaces, their features and specifications, included software, and at the end I’ll give you my conclusion of which one I think is best for the average musician.

If you happen to find that neither of them fits your needs, then have a look at the best Audio Interfaces under $300.

Now, let’s get started with the most affordable one which is the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD;

Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD

The great thing about this Audio Interface is that it’s excellent both for starting musicians and also experienced ones who need a simple Interface to do some home recording.

The first thing you’ll notice is its build quality, it’s excellent considering the incredibly affordable price.

Being one of the most affordable Audio Interfaces out there, I don’t think you could ever go wrong when purchasing it, especially since the recording quality is pretty damn good.

It has four Combo XLR and ¼” inputs on the front, capable of recording four Microphones or Line/Instrument level signals through USB directly into your DAW, while on the back it also has MIDI I/O.

The four Inputs feature the MIDAS designed mic-preamps, which are known for their great quality and excellent sound.

The highest recording quality you can achieve with this Interface is a 24-bit/192kHz resolution.

Not only is it a good option for recording at home, but since it’s small and light it will certainly work well for travelling musicians who need to record at different locations.

Each channel comes with the essential controls that you could need, there’s the gain control for each individual input, an attenuation pad and a switch that lets you choose between line and instrument level.

Another great feature is the Mono/Stereo switch on the front, which will allow you to quickly switch to mono while mixing, since this is an essential part of the mixing process.

The UMC404HD mix control allows zero-latency direct monitoring, which means musicians can experience their performance clearly with no delay or lag in the returning signal, this will help you improve your performance.

The Headphone output isn’t really the greatest one out there, since it doesn’t have the necessary power to drive high-impedance Headphones like the Sennheiser HD650 properly.

In cases like this you’d need to purchase a separate Headphone Amp.

On the back you get the USB 2.0 port which allows for simple and quick connection to your PC, the main Outputs, the MIDI I/O. and four Insert channels to use with external effects such as compressors, gates and EQs, etc.

Also, you get individual outputs for each channel both on ¼” jack and on RCA connector.

The USB connection can power the Interface on its own, but it can also be powered through a DC adapter.

Lastly on the back it has the Phantom Power switch, which will apply Phantom Power globally to all four Inputs.

Performance

Review Of Behringer U Phoria UMC 404HD Audio & Midi Interface

As I said before, the UMC404HD comes with the MIDAS preamps which sound great!

You will be able to achieve great recordings both with microphones and also when connecting instruments such as guitars with both active and passive pickups.

While recording there aren’t really any latency issues but remember that you can always use the direct monitoring function, should you need to.

It works perfectly with any DAW, although to be honest, every Audio Interface today does, so no surprises there.

Also, it doesn’t appear to add any noticeable noise to the inputs.

Monitoring sounds good, though a bit on the low side (on all of the unit’s line outputs) and like I stated before, the headphone output doesn’t have enough power to drive some of the high-impedance headphones.

Note: Consider that in this video the microphones that were used are quite good, if you’re looking to buy this interface because of budget restrictions then you probably won’t have these types of mics, the quality of your recording might not be exactly as good.

Features

  • 4 ins & 4 outs via USB 2
  • Audio & MIDI Interface
  • 24-Bit / 192 kHz resolution
  • Supports Mac & Windows
  • 4 MIDAS Mic Preamplifiers with +48V phantom power
  • 4 analog Inserts for using with external processors
  • Zero-latency direct within the monitoring
  • Stereo/Mono switch for direct monitoring
  • 3 Year Behringer Warranty
  • Low cost solution for a high-quality interface

Included Software

  • Full version of Tracktion 4 DAW
  • 150 instrument/effect plug-ins downloadable at behringer.com

Specifications

Computer ConnectivityUSB 2.0
Simultaneous I/O4 x 4
Number of Preamps4
A/D Resolution24-bit/192kHz
MIDI I/OIn/Out
Analog Inputs4 x XLR/TRS Combo, 4 x 1/4″ (Insert)
Analog Outputs6 x 1/4″,2 x Stereo, 2 x XLR, 1 x 1/4″ (Headphones)
Phantom PowerYes, applied to all channels simultaneously

Taking into account the very affordable price plus the four inputs and all the extra features, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD has to be one of the best investments.

Now let’s take a look at the Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen;

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen

Focusrite is known for their high quality yet affordable consumer grade Audio Interfaces with the Scarlett series being their most famous ones.

The Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen is a 6-in, 6-out USB Audio Interface with two Scarlett Preamps on their first two inputs.

The build quality is excellent, something you’d expect from this brand and especially for the price, since the Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen is a lot more expensive than the UMC404HD, costing almost twice as much.

On the front you can see the two combo XLR and ¼” inputs for both Microphone and Instrument level signals each with their separate gain knob.

The highest recording quality you can achieve with this Interface is a 24-bit/192kHz resolution.

The 48v phantom power switch is on the front and provides phantom power globally and not to each individual channel, which isn’t ideal and since this one isn’t really that inexpensive, they could’ve made the effort, I think.

The volume knob is huge, this allows for better control and feels quite good.

One huge pro about this interface are the Headphone Outputs, it has two and they both have independent volume controls. This is really useful if you are recording with another person in the room.

Taking a look at the back we can see two line-level inputs, 4 line outputs, MIDI I/O, the USB connector, S/PDIF ins and out and lastly the DC power supply connector.

Note: The Scarlett 6i6 CAN’T be powered through USB, it needs to be powered by the DC adapter, this makes it less versatile than the UMC404HD.

The latency is phenomenal, you can use a Keyboard though the MIDI I/O and you won’t feel it at all.

Performance

Focusrite // Recording Shivum Sharma with the Scarlett 6i6

The Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen Performs as you’d expect, the sound quality is great, no latency whatsoever and it’s quite versatile with the different inputs also the two Headphone outputs.

One of the things I don’t like is that the power adapter is required, you can’t simply connect it through the USB port to your laptop and record.

The Inputs don’t add any noise and it will also work on any DAW.

Monitoring is a bit better in my opinion than on the UMC404HD.

Features

  • Four analogue inputs, including two Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain
  • Two instrument inputs, designed for hot pickups
  • Digital conversion at up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Four balanced analogue outputs for connecting studio monitors
  • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty

Included Software

  • XLN Audio – Addictive Keys
  • Focusrite – Red Plug-in Suite
  • Softube – Time and Tone Bundle
  • Focusrite – Plug-in Collective
  • Ableton® – Live Lite
  • Avid® – Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack
  • Loopmasters: 2GB of royalty-free sample libraries

Specifications

Computer ConnectivityUSB 2.0
Simultaneous I/O6 x 6
Number of Preamps2
A/D Resolution24-bit/192kHz
MIDI I/OIn/Out
Analog Inputs2 x XLR-1/4″ combo, 2 x 1/4″ (line in)
Analog Outputs4 x 1/4″ (line out), 2 x 1/4″ (headphones)
Digital In/out1 x Coax (S/PDIF)
Phantom PowerYes, applied globally to all channels

The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen is definitely a great Interface, having non-existing latency, great preamps and a huge amount of added software to download.

Conclusion

To be honest, I’d go with the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD for two reasons;

First; you get four microphone inputs instead of two.

Second; It costs half as much.

Also, on the Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen you don’t have a Mono/Stereo switch.

If budget is not a restriction then yes, go with the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen, but it’s double as much and you’re not getting a product that is twice as good.

The recording quality is excellent on both of them, so unless you feel like you can really take advantage of the free software that the Scarlett 6i6 brings, you’d be better off with the UMC404HD.

Also, remember that the UMC404HD can be Bus powered, making it a lot better for recording while travelling.

2 thoughts on “Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 Vs Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD”

  1. FWIW, Behringer makes a very inexpensive headphone amp: the HA400 delivers plenty of power to 4 outputs for a whopping $20. While it does require AC power, it’s a quick way to expand any of the UPHORIA series into a small studio setup.

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