Behringer UMC202HD vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2!

Last Updated on July 1, 2021.

I tried both of these audio interfaces a while ago and decided to write down my thoughts on how the experience went.

Most people recommend the Scarlett interface even though it costs more than twice as much, but is it twice as good? Let’s dive right in!

I will be doing a general overview of both Interfaces, their features and tech specs and at the end I’ll give you my opinion on which one I think you should get.

Let’s start with the most affordable option of them both, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD;

Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD

Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD

The UMC202HD in an entry-level audio interface that comes with the MIDAS designed mic-preamps, which give you the same sound quality as their popular mixers, but at an affordable price and in a much more portable form.

As far as the inputs go, it has two Combo XLR and ¼” inputs on the front capable of recording two Microphones or Line/Instrument level signals through USB directly into your DAW at a maximum sample rate of 192kHz and a bit depth of 24-bit.

It also has the Direct Monitoring function which can be enabled by tapping on the “Direct Monitoring” switch which is really useful while recording since you don’t want to have the sound being sent into the PC, processed (which introduces latency) and then sent back out to your headphones since this will sound similar to a slapback delay, and recording like that really sucks!

In addition to this, the UMC202HD can be powered through the USB bus, making it ideal for musicians who are on the road and who don’t have anywhere to plug it in to draw power.

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, plus the general output controls such out “Output” and “Headphone” volume.

If you’re recording with condenser microphones you’re going to be needing phantom power, and the UMC202HD is capable of supplying it via a Switch on the back of the interface.

As far as the output options go, it’s only got the two TRS outputs on the back and a headphone jack, but that’s really about it!

Lastly, let’s briefly talk about the build quality; I tried this interface as well as the UM2, which is the absolute cheapest Behringer interface available and it’s almost entirely made out of plastic, and I’m glad to say that the UMC202HD seems to be really well built, especially considering that you can get one for well under $100.

Let’s take a look at its performance;

Considering its extremely affordable price, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD actually surprised me.

The MIDAS Mic preamps on this unit are clean and sound incredible at this price point and to be honest, anyone claiming that their Behringer Interface is making their music sound bad really needs to work on their production skills since the interface isn’t really at fault here (unless you’re using the Behringer UM2).

However, while searching on forums I found quite a lot of people complaining about driver issues and some even complained about having to disconnect and re-connecting it because of unwanted noise issues.

But in terms of sound quality, like I just mentioned, I think that you could certainly create high-quality music with it; The MIDAS preamps sound great and connecting instruments to it and running some guitar amp sims also works well and there’s little to no latency.

Specifications

Computer ConnectivityUSB 2.0
Simultaneous I/O2 x 2
Number of Preamps2
A/D Resolution24-bit/192kHz
MIDI I/ONo
Analog Inputs2 x XLR/TRS Combo
Analog Outputs2 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/4″ (Headphones)

Find out more about the Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD here:

Next is one of the most famous two-channel Audio Interfaces, and for good reason.

Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 (3rd Gen)

The Scarlett 2i2 series has been the absolute best-selling Audio Interface on the market for the past couple years now mainly because of its price-to-performance ratio.

In terms on inputs and outputs it’s completely identical to the UMC202HD, providing two Combo XLR and ¼” inputs on the front capable of recording two Microphones or Line/Instrument level signals through USB directly into your DAW at a maximum sample rate of 192kHz and a bit depth of 24-bit.

All Scarlett preamps are of great quality and feature an even gain structure, which allows for accurate gain level setting, plus in the 3rd Gen of the Scarlett series they added the “Air” circuit which essentially works as a High-Frequency boost to make the signal more “Airy”.

I have to say, however, that I don’t really use/see any real benefit to having this feature since I prefer recording my signal as cleanly as possible and then using some EQ to shape it.

The channel controls are fairly simple; Gain knobs and Line/Instruments switch for each channel, 48V Phantom Power, Direct monitoring On/Off Switch and Headphone Knob.

The red aluminum casing is very well put together, the knobs on the device are pretty easy to rotate, they aren’t stiff at all and seem like they are built with to last.

Now, one really cool thing about this Interface is that it comes with Pro Tools First, Ableton Live and a suite of plugins and samples so you can start recording and producing straight away, and these plugins are actually pretty good!

Of course, there’s a huge number of free plugins out there that work just as well, so factoring these included ones into the price might not make a lot of sense in most cases since you can simply download identical ones that are actually free.

Let’s take a look at its performance;

The latency while monitoring is surprisingly low, about 6ms. But should you have some issues with it you can always switch the direct monitoring on, which will give you true direct monitoring with zero latency.

Of course, doing this when recording electric guitar through an amp sim is boring as hell because you won’t be able to actually hear the processed signal, but in all honesty, I didin’t have any latency issues.

As far as the sound quality goes, it’s virtually indistinguishable from any other more expensive interface, such as the Audient iD14, the Apollo interfaces, etc., at least not for most people.

Specifications

Computer ConnectivityUSB 2.0
Simultaneous I/O2 x 2
Number of Preamps2
A/D Resolution24-bit/192kHz
Analog Inputs2 x XLR/TRS Combo
Analog Outputs2 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/4″ (Headphones)

The Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 3rd Gen is an good option for both beginners and experienced musicians who need a reliable and affordable Audio Interface for Home Recording.

Find out more about the Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen here:

Differences

Both interfaces share the same number of ins & outs, but the Scarlett 2i2 comes with some free software and features the built-in “Air” circuit, while the UMC202HD has a PAD for the two inputs which the Scarlett 2i2 doesn’t.

In addition to this, the Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen sells for twice as much, or sometimes more, than the UMC202HD which should also be taken into account, and I honestly don’t think that it’s twice as good.

Sure, it’s got a nicer build, it looks cooler, it features the air circuit plus all the free software, but it’s not really free if you’re paying that much more for it.

If none of these tickle your fancy, may I recommend you read this article I wrote about the best Audio Interfaces Under $300?

Conclusion

To be honest, I think that the UMC202HD is the winner here mostly because of how insanely cheap it is.

Having said that, I prefer buying higher quality gear even if it costs a lot more upfront, but that’s just me, and I assure you that you can create the same quality of music with any of these interfaces.

However, if you want something even better for the same price of the Scarlett 2i2, or actually a bit less, then check out the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD.

This again is one of those situations where it comes down to your needs. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong with either of them!

I Hope you have a wonderful day!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top