A cheap sound-card that out-performs its price tag
I was looking for an external sound card to use with music studio software (Sonar) on my laptop (Toshiba Tecra M1). My main editing is done on a PC with an M-Audio 2496 internal card, and my first consideration for the laptop ‘field machine’ was the USB version of this same M-Audio unit – but the cost would not be cheap. What alternatives were there? I have generally trusted Behringer for studio / sound equipment, so this little device seemed worth a look. Far cheaper than any of the ‘serious’ contenders, (and whilst it had no MIDI connectors, this was not an issue for me as I already had a separate USB MIDI interface), the specification did not look bad at all – gold plated RCA phono jacks for line-in and line-out, SPDIF optical output, low noise DAC and ADC, headphone output with separate level control… My only initial reservation was that it only works to 16-bit/48kHz rather than the 24-bit/96kHz offered by the more expensive cards, but let’s face it, how often do we use those extreme settings anyway? I was drawn, too, to the promise of ASIO (near zero latency) drivers, downloadable for free from Behringer’s web site. An essential, in my opinion, if we are to use audio and MIDI together.
So, what is the verdict in use?
Simple to use, decent sound quality, does the job well for a fraction of the cost I would otherwise have paid. And if you need the MIDI facility, it is easy enough to get a USB MIDI interface along with the UCA202 and still have change in your pocket. (Just be prepared to give up 2 USB ports to the cause). But what about the ASIO drivers? If these are as important to you as they are to me, you may be initially disappointed. They seem complex to install, and difficult to use – in fact I did not get them to work at all. But this is not all bad news. I simply did not try very hard, as the documentation provided stated that the (freely available) ‘asio4all’ drivers would also work ‘perfectly well’ – so rather than spend too long resolving issues with the Behringer drivers, I decided to try asio4all – and (on the Tecra, at least) they worked perfectly, straight away, without a glitch.
So – a really cheap sound card which way out-performs its price tag. Ultimately, my only real complaint is the mini-jack connector for headphones (any self-respecting sound recordist would surely never be seen with a mini-jack!) and the plastic construction which needs careful handling if there is the weight of a suitable 6mm adaptor and a full-size headphone jack hanging on the side. It seems a little fragile – but I have to admit I’ve been using it like this for some time now, and nothing has broken or come loose – so perhaps it is actually sturdier than it looks.
Excellent value for money, and a recommended buy!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
A good sound for a good price!
I had need of one simple audio card in order to record mine dj set. Therefore I have acquired this economic behringer, than to say? Optimal in relationship quality installation price... no cd, is settled automatically. RCA in/out gold + optical escape. Advised for who it begins!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.