Devices such as the U-PHORIA UMC404HD are the reason why Behringer is one of the go-to brands for budget users looking for reliability and efficiency. This USB-powered device may look plain, but it is easily one of the most versatile audio interfaces you can find for under $200. Let’s take a closer look.
The moment you pull the UMC404HD out of the box you can see that this audio interface is nothing like its competitors. There is just more of it – in every sense of the word. At around 11” wide, it’s quite a large unit, which is understandable when you consider the four separate inputs that line up on the left of the face (more on these soon).
Aside from this, the UMC404HD is more or less a standard interface in terms of design, with inputs on the front and outputs in the back, all packed into a sturdy aluminum chassis. As expected, the UMC404HD features the classic Behringer color scheme, with black the dominant color and light grey details breaking up the monotony. It’s not the most entertaining system to look at but it will look professional in any studio setup.
When you start looking at the features of the UMC404HD, the story starts to unravel. The main focus is naturally on the four channels, with Behringer using dual XLR/TRS connectors for all of them, adding to the convenience and versatility. Each input is connected to a MIDAS preamp, which is a well-known name in the audio market due to its high-quality performance.
Each input has a corresponding control cluster that includes a line/instrument switch, a pad for each preamp, and a gain rotary control. Not bad at all, although there is no individual phantom power option – instead of being able to turn phantom power on a specific channel, you can only use it on all four at the same time. Still, at this price, we really can’t complain. Finally, the back panel reveals a variety of different outputs, including RCA and MIDI, as well as a USB output, which doubles up as the power source (although it can also take a DC adapter).
When it comes to performance, the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404HD works like a champ. As mentioned, the MIDAS preamps included in the device are very solid and allow for achieving very clear vocal recordings. In terms of guitar recording, the UMC404HD can take the heat of active pickups with no issues.
The good news is that this audio interface is perfectly compatible with both Mac and Windows machines, as works nicely with most DAWs. Note that the UMC404HD actually comes bundled with a copy of Tracktion DAW, which makes a handy addition for recording and editing.
For under $200, Behringer has pulled off an excellent achievement with the UMC404HD. They have created a powerful and intuitive audio interface with a great range of I/O options, leading to a very flexible partner for home studios. A solid choice for serious beginners, experienced users and bands, who will find those extra inputs very useful.