Some links on this page are affiliate links. Using these links will generate a small commission for Podcast Hero with no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

The UMC404HD for podcasters

The Behringer UMC404HD for Podcasting
The UMC404HD is a great audio interface for podcasters.

Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD review

Andrew McGivern

Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD Review
Audio Interface for podcasters and musicians.
Portability
Features
Price
Durability
Ease of Use

Are you looking for a reliable podcasting audio interface for a great price? The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD may be what you’re looking for.

Behringer has a reputation as a budget brand but some of their equipment is great value for the money.

The Behringer Uphoria UMC404HD audio interface is a great option, not only for podcasters but also for course creators, YouTubers, and voice-over artists.

Choosing podcast equipment can be difficult because there are so many options. And it can be confusing because of contradictory opinions about which setup is the “best”. That is because podcasting is very personal and podcast studio setups can be customized to meet specific needs. What works for my podcast studio setup might not be the best solution for you.

The podcast microphone gets most of the attention when it comes to podcasting gear. There are different types of microphones and the prices vary significantly. Choosing a microphone to match your studio environment, your voice and your budget is a personalized decision.

Choosing an audio interface is no different.

There are a lot of options both in quality, features, and price.

First, you need to know if an audio interface is the best choice for your podcast studio.

The decision between a mixer (mixing board), digital recorder, or an audio interface.

A mixing board has more options and gives you more control. A digital recorder is more compact and great for mobile recording and an audio interface is somewhere in between.

I have a mixer already but it is older and doesn’t allow me to record multiple tracks separately. This is a problem because I can’t edit the show as easily if everyone is mixed together in a single track.

I could have upgraded my mixer to a USB Multi-track mixer but these are generally more expensive and larger than an audio interface. I decided to go with an audio interface this time.

Audio interfaces generally have fewer options and controls than an audio mixer. They are easier to use and if you need more control they can be used in conjunction with software like Voice Meeter which is a virtual mixer.

The main benefit of an audio interface is to get your analog (XLR) microphones like the Heil PR40 into your DAW software or Virtual Mixer on your computer. It is an interface between analog inputs and your software.

You can also record to a digital recorder as a backup if you want.

If I was looking for a purely standalone recording option the Zoom H6 (or H5) is a great option. It can be used as a portable digital audio recorder and can also record up to 6 microphones on separate channels…

When I was doing my research I decided I wanted to get an audio interface that had inserts so I could use hardware processing if I feel the need for it. I already have the MDX4600 and I want the option to use it.

Quiet pre-amps and decent build quality are important features too. It is well known that Focus Right products are well respected and of high quality. I looked at the focus right 2i2 but it didn’t have inserts and a Focus Right device with inserts is very expensive.

The Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404HD or the UMC202HD were the two that I narrowed it down to because they have inserts at a very reasonable price. I chose the 404HD because it gave me the option of recording up to 4 microphones at the same time.

Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD Review

As soon as you unbox the UMC404HD you will see how many options this device has. Pretty good for a budget audio interface! It has more of everything compared to other audio interfaces in its price range.

It is larger than some of the other interfaces but that is because it has more features and inputs.

The U Phoria UMC404HD is built like a tank

The build quality is sturdy with a hefty aluminum casing. The UMC404HD is detailed with a black finish with grey highlights. I like the look of the device and the controls are well arranged. The knobs and buttons feel good.

The UMC404HD comes with an AC Adapter, USB Cable, and a quick start guide. There is no detailed manual included but there is lots of reference material online.

Looking at the front of the interface you see the channel inputs and controls are separated. Most audio interfaces bundle the inputs and controls together. The Behringer Uphoria UMC404HD has the inputs on the left and all the corresponding controls to the right.

The front of the UMC404HD

If you look at the front of the 404HD you will see 4 XLR / 1/4 ” TRS inputs. You can use XLR for microphones and TRS for instruments but you can’t mix the two up. In other words, you can’t use a microphone with a TRS input because the device will interpret it as an instrument.

UMC404HD Input Controls

For each input, you have some controls associated with it.

There is a line/inst button that will allow you to identify if you are using the input for a microphone or an instrument. It handles the signal differently so if you are using a microphone using the line option.

What is the PAD button for?

The Pad button allows you to reduce the signal by 20 dB if the signal is coming in too hot. This normally applies to musical instruments and not your podcast microphone.

The Behringer UPhoria UMC404HD controls explained

There are also two indicator lights on the UMC404HD.

The first is the clipping indicator. If your gain is too high it will show a red light when the audio clips.

The other light is a green indicator that the device is receiving an audio signal from that input. If you are speaking and you don’t see the green light there is a problem with your setup.

The last section on the front of the device is the MIX settings.

You have the stereo/mono toggle switch with the MIDI In and Out indicator lights. Mix and Main out volume controls

Monitor A/B toggle switch

Power indicator and phantom power +48V indicator light.

Headphone jack with Phones monitoring volume control

Diagram of the back of the Behringer U Phoria UMC404HD podcast audio interface

Looking at the back of the audio interface you see that all the device outputs are on the back of the device.

On the back of the UMC404HD, you will find the DC In jack and the USB A Jack. The device is USB powered so you don’t need to use the included power adapter if you are connected to your computer via USB.

I read that if you are running a lot of microphones and pushing the device hard that you may want to plug it in to make sure that it has enough power but I’ve also heard that the USB power works fine.

When you are using the device independently of a computer then the power adapter is necessary. For example, if you are recording yourself and a cohost and the output is going to a digital recorder (not a computer) then you will need to power the 404HD with a DC power adapter.

MIDI IN / OUT

Behringer U Phoria UMC404HD Feature List
Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD Features

Moving to the right we see the MIDI OUT and IN jacks which allow you to output and input MIDI devices like keyboards to the UMC404HD.

Phantom Power

The next setting is the +48V Phantom Power on/off switch. This is an all-or-nothing option which means that phantom power is either on for all channels or it is off. You can not turn phantom power on for input one and off on another input.

This is one of the drawbacks to this device as it would be nice to have individual control per channel on phantom power but it isn’t a big deal unless you use a Ribbon microphone which can be damaged by phantom power.

Dynamic microphones don’t need phantom power (unless using a Cloud Lifter or FET HEAD) but they won’t be damaged if phantom power is turned on.

Playback Outputs

Next, we have the playback outputs A and B. The UMC404HD has 1/4 ” and RCA outputs allowing you to use whatever cable works best for your podcast equipment setup.

Main Outs

The next set of outputs is the MAIN OUTS which have two options: 1/4 ” TRS connectors or balanced XLR outputs. Each option has a left and right output which is great for sending your audio mix to speakers or a digital recorder.

Inserts

The final setting on the back of the Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD is the INSERTS section.

This is cool. You can use the insert jacks to set up other equipment in line with your audio interface. I have the MDX4600 and I can use it in conjunction with the UMC404HD if I want hardware compression, gate, or expansion. The DBX286 or the MDX2600 is also a popular choice.

The inserts will send the audio signal to the audio processing equipment and then bring the processed audio back to the UMC404HD allowing you to have hardware compression, gate or limiters applied while recording or streaming.

MIDAS PREAMPS

The Midas Pre-Amps power the Behringer 404HD. These award-winning pre-amps are surprisingly clean and sound great. While researching the 404HD I found many accounts of people saying great things about these preamps and compared the quality with much more expensive audio interfaces.

How to set up the UMC404HD

Setting up the UMC404HD in a MAC is plug-and-play. Just plug it in and you can start using it.

Behringer U Phoria UMC404HD Driver

I podcast with a PC (Windows 10), so I needed to download the driver from the Behringer website in order to get my computer to see the hardware.

Click here to get the UMC404HD Driver

I did have some difficulty installing the driver. I read in a forum that it is important to NOT plug in the device before you install the driver. If you plug it in first you may run into issues. HOWEVER, I did it this way and my computer did not recognize the device.

So I uninstalled the driver and plugged in the device. Then I re-installed the driver and it worked.

Most of the negative reviews I’ve read about the UMC404HD were regarding difficulty setting it up with their Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and it was because of the driver. Once they got the drivers worked out they said it worked well for them. I had an issue with the first attempt but then I followed the instructions in the quick start guide which says to plug in the device and then install the driver.

So if you are on a PC you may need to fiddle a little with the driver but once your computer recognizes the device you are good to go.

The Behringer Uphoria UMC404HD and Audacity

The most popular audio editing software for podcasting is probably Audacity. Audacity is free and does everything most podcasters need to record, edit and mix their podcast episodes.

I tested the UMC404HD with Audacity and it works great.

The Behringer Uphoria UMC404HD and Reaper DAW

I plugged in my Heil PR 40 microphone and tested the microphone using the Reaper DAW.

In Reaper preferences set up the audio device settings select Audio system: ASIO and ASIO Driver: UMC ASIO Driver. Then tick ‘enable inputs’ and choose first: 1: In 1 and last: 4: In 4.

I recorded a sample recording into Reaper and it worked well. Next, I plugged in my Audio-Technica 2100USB microphone into the second input and recorded a sample track and it was recorded on a separate track.

I plugged in one of my Nady SP1 Microphones into input three and my old Heil Classic Rock and Roll Microphone into input 4. I grabbed my kids and we recorded a quick sample recording using all the microphones at the same time. It recorded each of us in a separate track.

The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD and VoiceMeeter

Next, I opened Voice Meeter and I did the same thing using VoiceMeeter’s built-in recorder. I opened the file in Reaper and all four mics are still in separate tracks. When recording multiple microphones with the VoiceMeeter recorder it puts all the microphones on one track in separate takes. In order to separate the takes into individual tracks, you need to “explode” the track and then remove the folder.

To do this select Item then item processing and then Explode multitrack…

This took a little work for me to get the settings right in VoiceMeeter to record multi-track instead of a stereo mix. I’ll post a separate tutorial post on how to do that later.

The UMC404HD and an Audio Processor (MDX 4600)

I chose the UMC404HD partly because I have the MDX 4600 and I want the option of using it with my podcast audio interface.

Behringer Euphoria UMC404HD Features Review (as listed on the retail packaging):

  • 4×4 USB 2.0 Audio/Midi Interface fro recording microphones and instruments
  • Audiophile 24 Bit / 192 kHz resolution for professional audio quality
  • Compatible with popular recording software including Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, Reaper, Adobe Audition, Audacity, Cakewalk by Bandlab, Garage Band, Pro Logic and others.
  • Streams 4 inputs / 4 outputs plus 1x Midi I/O with ultra-low latency to your computer, supporting MAC OSX and Window XP and higher.
  • 4 State of the art, MIDAS designed Mic Preamplifiers with _48 V phantom power
  • Analog Inserts for use of external effects such as compressors, etc.
  • Zero-latency direct monitoring while recording
  • Input /Playback Mix control and Stereo / Mono switch for direct monitoring.
  • Powerful Phones output with Level control and monitor A/B source select for DJ-style cueing
  • Status, Signal and Clip indicators for perfect overview.
  • Main Outputs on balanced XLR and 1/4 ” TRS Connectors
  • Free audio recording, editing and podcasting software plus 150 instument / effect plugins downloadable at behringer.com
  • “Built-like-a-tank”, impact resistant metal chasis.
  • 3 year warranty program
  • Conceived and designed by Behringer Germany.

CONCLUSION

The Behringer UMC404HD is a great-sounding audio interface. For the money, it is probably the best value in this price range. I thought it would be a good-sounding device based on the reviews from people like Bandrew Scott and Mike DelGaudio. And I am happy with my purchase.

The only negative experience was, not surprisingly, the windows driver issue I had while setting it up. If you’re on a MAC you won’t have to deal with that.

So if you are interested in a good quality digital audio recorder at a budget price then this may be the one for you. It isn’t top of the line but it is the best value for the buck.

If you’d like to add your thoughts about this device leave a comment below.


Andrew McGivern
Andrew McGivern

Andrew McGivern is a podcaster, blogger and mobile tech guy. Father of three awesome little ones. Interested in Social Media Marketing, New Media and Podcasting, Technology, Natural Health and Green Energy.