The audio interface is one of those developments that occurred out of necessity. It became apparent in the late 70s and early 80s that we were able to record music on a computer. To do that, some things had to change. Computers needed better processing power, for starters.
The early systems were limited to MIDI only. We needed a way to record our instruments and voices; therefore, we needed an Analog to Digital converter. Products like the forebearers of the Behringer UMC22 were now on the drawing board. So, let’s take a look at a recent entry into the interface market in my in-depth Behringer UMC22 Review.
MIDI had plenty of options, of course. But if we wanted to have a home-based, computer-based recording studio, then live instruments had to be used. It was always going to be a lucrative market, and products started to arrive. Now converting an analog signal from guitars and mics to a digital signal understood by your computer is possible.
There are plenty on the market these days. They have a variety of performance capabilities. And to go with that a variety of price points. But if there is one company that always strives to put technology in everyone’s hands at a cost-effective price, it is Behringer.
But, who are Behringer?
Founded by an engineer from Switzerland in 1989, they feel like they have been here forever. They have made a name for themselves by manufacturing recording and other music-based equipment. And they have done this by ensuring it was always cost-effective.
That doesn’t mean it is cheap and nasty, far from it. We use their stuff here. Never had a problem with it. They have always produced equipment that was basic and did the job. Plain and simple, and affordable. A great philosophy.
They have their critics
Some of it probably because while the equipment is designed in Germany, it is made in “Behringer City” in Guangdong, China. Some complain about equipment malfunction like most things can at some point.
Behringer doesn’t place themselves at the high end of the market, unlike some who have worse records of reliability. If anyone buys their equipment, it will be at a low-end price. It is not rational to expect high-quality equipment at low-end pieces. If you want the higher-end stuff get your checkbook out.
A Budget manufacturer
They fill a gap in the market by manufacturing great audio equipment for those on a budget. And they do a worthwhile job in my view.
Yes, they will have some malfunctions. That happens with most manufacturers, but they do their job more often than not. This Behringer UMC22 audio interface is another product that sits easily with its aims. So, what is it all about?
Behringer UMC22 Audio Interface – Overview
This interface from Behringer has been given some good basic features. It has both XLR and TRS connections with plenty of user controls on the front fascia. On the rear are two outputs, Phantom power and a USB connection. It is a USB-powered audio interface, and so requires no external power sources.
It is a compact unit that is compatible with many of the most popular recording software packages. These include Ableton and Ableton Live, and Cubase, amongst others.
Good Audio Reproduction
Being able to produce a decent audio quality is important. The UMC22 interface will give you 16-bit/48kHz converters and also offers low latency playback when listening through your headphones.
You will be able to download free software, virtual instruments as well as effects plugins. As soon as you turn it on, your computer becomes a powerful and feature-packed recording studio. And this either at home or on the road.
On the Road?
Yes, I did say on the road. Most Audio Interfaces stay where they are in a studio environment. But this Behringer is small enough to be quite transportable. Easy to carry with you should you need to.
As a result, it is one of the best portable audio interfaces you can buy. So, let’s take a closer look at it…
Behringer has built a strong, stable, and compact unit with this interface. It has an all-metal chassis that feels substantial when you handle it. Its design is simple but effective. All the controls are neatly placed on the front, with the remainder easily accessible on the rear.
At 6.42 by 4.92 by 1.97 inches and weighing just one pound, it is compact enough to fit in a backpack. It is powered by the USB port on the rear of the unit. It has four small feet to prevent any vibrations. A basic but efficient build and the metal chassis adds to its stability. No complaints there.
This is one of the high points of this interface. Midas was founded in 1970 in London and has built itself a formidable reputation. And not only for their preamps but for their consoles. They have excelled at both studio and live recording work. They were the chosen audio equipment suppliers for the world tours for both “Cats” and “Evita.”
Behringer is now heavily involved with Midas. Having their state-of-the-art preamps built into their systems is a big advantage. The Midas designed preamp for mics in the UMC22 guarantees a high-quality performance.
Controls and Connections
What is required these days for convenience is what is known as “plug-and-play” systems. This interface is one of those. For Mac computers, no drivers are required. However, if you use Windows, the drivers are easily available from Behringer.
On the Front Panel
We have already mentioned the connections on the front but let’s look a bit closer. There is a useful combination jack socket on Line One. That will accept ¼ inch balanced XLR and ¼ inch and unbalanced TRS connections.
This is where the Midas preamp lives, and so is your best option for the vocal channel. There is an extra ¼ inch TRS socket on the second channel. The second channel is really for instruments only.
A nice touch for Distortion control
Each channel has its own Gain control with a red LED light to warn of clipping which is a nice touch. There is a ¼ inch jack socket for your headphones and an output level control. You have the option of Direct monitoring. I will go through this again later.
Finally, two LED indicators, one to show that the unit is powered up. The other is to indicate that you are using Phantom Power.
The Rear Panel
Once again, simply laid out, with just RCA playback options. These allow you to connect straight to your studio monitors. On the rear, you will also find the switch control for using Phantom Power and the USB 2.0 port for powering up. You also have the option of an Optical Digital Output.
Well laid out with simple and easy-to-use controls and all well-labeled. What could be easier to use?
If you are going to be picky, then this is an area where you find some fault. It operates at CD quality 16bit/44.1kHz or 48kHz. For the vast majority of people using this interface in a home studio environment, that will be adequate.
For some, though, they will need a higher performance level. If you are looking for a higher quality, then you will have to look elsewhere. And increase your budget, of course.
We have already looked at the controls and inputs. They are designed to give you control over what you are doing. Ease of use is always a good thing when you are trying to create a decent performance.
This is always a good option to have at your disposal. It will allow musicians to clearly hear what they are doing. This will usually result in you producing a better performance which will give you a better recording.
This is another important feature of audio interfaces. With the UMC22 audio interface, I wouldn’t say it has the lowest latency levels you will find. However, for a home studio, it will be adequate. And that is what the Behringer UMC22 Audio Interface is all about.
Behringer has come up with a product that will do an adequate job. It doesn’t set the world on fire with new technology. But then just check the price point. It is one of the best budget audio interfaces, and what it does, it does very well.
That last line applies to just about everything performance-wise with this interface. But there is one exception. That is the Midas Preamp. Over the years, Midas have proved they know how to produce quality. And having this preamp built-in does raise the UMC22 a little above the norm. Therefore, it’s one of the best audio interface preamps you will find.
Behringer does like to give value for money with their products. You can therefore expect to find a few extras. This interface is no different.
Instruments and more
To start with, you are given over 150 virtual instruments free. You just have to download them. More than that, you also get plugins for effects. And as Behringer are well-known for their effects pedals for guitars, you can be certain all your favorites will be included. In a very short space of time, your computer has become a home studio with plenty of options.
Recognized as one of the easiest DAWs to learn and use, this is also included for you to download. It has a single-screen interface and comes with all the features and tools you are going to need to record, edit, and mix your work using an unlimited number of tracks and dynamic automation.
Behringer UMC22 Review – Pros and Cons
- Good quality all-metal chassis.
- Convenient and compact size.
- Can be carried around quite easily.
- Excellent Midas Preamp built-in.
- Easy to use connections and controls.
- Clipping warning.
- Direct Monitoring.
- Low latency playback.
- 16bit/44.1kHz or 48kHz CD quality.
- Virtual Instruments and effects are available for download.
- Tracktion DAW to download.
- Great price point.
- Only 16bit, whereas most of its competitors are the higher quality 24bit.
- Lacks a few bells and whistles.
- Can be a little noisy with nothing plugged in.
- Better on Mac than with Windows because of some PC driver issues that can occur.
Need Great Recording Equipment?
We have you covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best USB Audio Interfaces, the Best Audio Interface, the Best Multitrack Recorder, the Best Portable Audio Recorders, the Best iPad Audio Interfaces, the Best Studio Headphones For Home Recording, and the Best Audio Mixers you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our detailed Behringer UCA202 Review, our BEHRINGER Audio Interface 4-Channel UMC404HD Review, our Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen Review, our Focusrite Scarlett 18i18 3rd Gen Review, and our Presonus Audiobox USB 96 Review for more awesome recording interfaces currently available.
Behringer UMC22 Review – Bottom Line
I, for one, recognize the importance of Behringer’s efforts and what they try to do. You can argue that they don’t have some of the bells and whistles other interfaces offer. Likewise, you can argue they lack some sophistication.
Of course, you can say that the quality of the recordings is only average by today’s standards. But those standards, features, and quality come at a price. And usually a big one.
It is what it is, and it does what it says. A budget range interface. You are not going to get that high quality that some people seem to think is available at low-level prices. But at the price point, it is a good option in my view. For those on a budget, it is definitely worth a look.
Until next time, may the music make you merry.