The similarities that the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 has with so many other audio interfaces that can be found in the market come as a result of the common black metal color with small silver details. Such design and colors have become pretty standard in the world of audio interfaces.
If you start looking closer, the particular audio interface has plastic rather than metal parts like the majority of its competitors, which makes it a bit lighter than the rest. The construction is solid, and feels very strong and well-built in case you are wandering about the plastic parts.
The quality of the plastic in the exterior is very nice, and it comes with a sense of high stability. That stated, you are advised not to put other heavy devices over the UM2 when placed in a bag for travelling reason, so that you can avoid any accidental damages.
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The switches and the controls of the unit are also made of plastic. The first feeling you get when you start working with them, is a slight looseness, but they all work extremely well in the studio environment, especially if we are talking about a home studio.
There are two inputs on the U-Phoria UM2. The interface is able to accept XLR cables as well as ¼ cables. In the first input, you can plug in either an XLR cable or a ¼ cable, but the second one offers only the second option.
On the audio interface, next to the inputs you can spot the two light indicators. The job of the first indicator is to make it available for the user to understand if the interface is picking up the signal or not. The second light indicates that the sound you receive is too loud and you are clipping.
What is more, the audio interface provides the user the essential +48V Phantom Power. In order to put the Phantom Power into effect, you have to press the on/off switch, which is placed on the back of the interface. This function is very helpful when it comes to condenser microphones, as it adds the extra boost need for them to work properly.
The U-Phoria UM2, uses the famous Xenyx preamplifier, manufactured by the Behringer Company. The sound quality of the preamp is more than fantastic, very clean and crispy and it has the ability to keep all the gain levels under control without any problems.
At this point, it has to be emphasized that if you try to push the UM2 a lot and make it too loud, the audio interface starts becoming a bit noisy. This can be prevented if you pay attention to the levels and manage to control them effectively.
Loudness and high sound quality can be achieved with careful use of the volume levels and subtle configurations both on the audio interface and in the DAW.
Another huge advantage of the Behringer U-Phoria UM2, is the amazing built-in headphone amplifier. The particular amp has very high levels of loudness, and the sound it produces is extra crispy and clean. This is something that you do not generally expect from an audio interface of such an affordable price.
One of the most common disadvantages for most affordable or cheap interfaces, is the fact that their headphone amps provide very low levels of loudness and an average sound quality, but this is not the case with the Behringer U-Phoria UM2.
Although it would provide more comfort the addition of a dedicated headphone volume control, this cannot be considered as a con in any case for such an affordable interface.
It has been reported that the particular audio interface sometimes causes problems with some Digital Audio Workstations. There has been stated that occasionally you can spot pops during the recording. In order to fix the problem you have to turn the interface off and switch it on again. This is not a usual problem, although it has been reported in forums and reviews quite a few times.
For beginner music producers, sound engineers or home studio owners, the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is definitely one of the best options that comes in a very affordable price. Suitable for tight budgets, you can purchase this audio interface with the minimum amount of money, and start working on your projects in no time at all.
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For professional users and music producers, especially those that tend to work with multiple musical instruments and music gear such as microphones, it is recommended that you look for heavier audio interfaces that provide more channels for multiple recordings.
In case you are setting up a home studio and you are going to need a small number of channels, for instance a mic line in, an instrument line in a headphone output and two outputs for your studio monitors, the UM2 is going to be more than sufficient.
In other words, the particular audio interface is recommended as a starting device, with great features in a very affordable price for home studio owners on a tight budget, or for those that are looking for a cheap solution when travelling and live performances.
The U-Phoria UM2 works really well when it comes to powering condenser microphones, due to the face that this USB Soundcard provides the +48V Phantom Power. This interface, saves the user the extra cost of buying an external phantom power supply, so it is considered a great starting investment.
All in all, the sound quality, the solid plastic structure of the unit and the easiness of the portability are some of the biggest advantages of this audio interface that the individual should carefully consider before purchasing the UM2.
There have been reported some minor problems with popping that have been spotted through the headphones during the recording, although these are single instances and do not by any means indicate that the audio interface does not do a great job.
Considering its amazing price, the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is one of the best solutions when it comes to portable audio interfaces. Along with its great sound quality, it is recommended to every beginner music producer or home studio owner.