The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is a versatile entry-level USB audio interface that allows you to connect instruments, microphones and other audio devices to your computer.
With its simple plug-and-play operation, decent audio quality and affordable price point, the UM2 is a great choice for beginner music producers, podcasters, streamers and other content creators looking to upgrade from their computer’s built-in sound card.
In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the features, design, setup process, audio quality and overall performance of the Behringer U-Phoria UM2. We’ll also compare it to some alternative budget interfaces to help you decide if it’s the right purchase for your needs.
- 2 x 2 USB audio interface with 24-Bit/192 kHz resolution
- XENYX mic preamp with +48 V phantom power
- Inputs: 1 x XLR/TRS combo jack, 1 x 1/4″ TS instrument jack
- Outputs: 1 x 1/4″ TRS headphone jack, 1 x RCA
- Status LEDs for signal and clip indication
- USB bus-powered operation
- Plug-and-play driverless operation
- Bundled with Cubase LE and plugins
- Compatible with major DAWs and operating systems
- Sturdy and compact metal construction
- Affordable price point under $50
Design and Connectivity
The UM2 has a simple and straightforward design typical of most entry-level audio interfaces. The front panel houses two combination XLR/1/4″ inputs for connecting mics, keyboards, guitars and line level sources. Input 1 offers +48V phantom power for condenser microphones.
The front panel also has a 1/4″ headphone output, direct monitoring knob, signal LEDs and a large gain knob for each input. The back panel provides USB and power connections plus unbalanced RCA outputs.
Despite its budget price, the UM2 feels sturdily built with its rugged metal casing. The knobs have a decent feel and all the jacks are securely mounted. With dimensions of 4.3 x 3.3 x 1.5 inches, the interface has a small footprint perfect for tight desktop spaces.
Setup and Installation
Setting up the UM2 is a true plug-and-play experience on both Windows and Mac computers. Simply connect the included USB cable from the interface to your computer, power it on and you’re good to go. No drivers or software installation necessary.
The interface is USB bus-powered so no external power supply is required. It works smoothly with most modern Windows, macOS and iOS devices. Android device compatibility may vary.
Audio Quality and Performance
The UM2 can record and output audio at up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution which is well beyond CD-quality. This allows capturing more depth and detail compared to standard 16-bit/44.1kHz audio.
The onboard XENYX preamps provide 60dB of gain for powering both dynamic and condenser microphones. Phantom power can be activated with a convenient +48V button next to Input 1.
Overall the mic preamps and audio conversion quality is quite decent for the price. The sound is clean and accurate without too much noise or distortion. You can confidently record podcasts, vocals, acoustic instruments and basic demos without issue.
One downside is the mediocre headphone amp performance. It struggles to drive high-impedance headphones to loud volumes. Budget headphones or monitors are recommended for best results.
The UM2 comes bundled with a stripped down version of Steinberg’s Cubase LE digital audio workstation along with plugins for reverb, chorus, distortion and more. This gives you everything needed to start recording, editing and mixing right out of the box.
Cubase LE provides basic multi-track recording capability plus effects and virtual instruments. You can upgrade to the full Cubase version down the road if needed.
Who is it For?
The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is best suited for beginner music producers, home studio owners, podcasters, gamers or anyone looking for an easy way to record audio through their computer.
It works well as a simple two-input interface for capturing vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard parts and more. The phantom power support also makes it microphone-friendly.
Musicians who need more I/O, advanced features or premium sound quality will want to consider a step-up model. But for basic home studio use, the UM2 gets the job done.
Alternatives to Consider
Here are some other budget USB audio interfaces that compete directly with the Behringer U-Phoria UM2:
Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) – Very similar single input interface but with better mic preamps and construction quality. No instrument input jack.
Presonus Audiobox USB 96 – Almost identical 2-in/2-out design. Adds MIDI I/O and slightly better converters.
SSL 2 – From Solid State Logic. Clean transparent preamps and outputs. Sturdier metal build.
M-Audio M-Track Duo – Another 2-input option but with larger form factor. Offers pads and advanced monitoring.
Audient EVO 4 – A step up in quality with high-end preamps and converters. Priced around $200.
Frequently Asked Questions
What operating systems and devices are supported?
The UM2 works seamlessly with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. Any computer or mobile device with a USB port and class compliant USB audio support can use the interface.
Does the UM2 work for live streaming?
Yes, the UM2 can readily provide audio interfacing duties for live streaming using software like OBS or XSplit thanks to its ultra-low latency. Just ensure buffer sizes are set correctly within your streaming software.
Can I record instruments directly into the UM2?
Absolutely. The 1/4″ TS instrument input allows you to directly connect guitars, basses, keyboards and other instruments to record into your DAW. No DI box required for hi-Z sources.
What comes included in the box?
You get the interface itself, a USB cable, download code for Cubase LE and plugins, and a safety/warranty manual. No power supply is included since it’s USB bus powered.
Where is the UM2 made?
Designed by Behringer in Germany but manufactured overseas in China to achieve the low price point. The quality is reasonably good though not at the level of more expensive German-made interfaces.
|Low price||Mediocre headphone output|
|Easy plug-and-play setup||Cheaper build quality|
|Decent audio quality||Limited to 2 inputs|
|Phantom power for mics||No digital outputs|
|Direct instrument input||No standalone operation|
|Bundled software package|
The UM2 offers broad DAW compatibility working seamlessly with most major digital audio workstations including:
- Ableton Live
- Logic Pro
- Pro Tools
- Presonus Studio One
- FL Studio
- Propellerheads Reason
The class compliant USB audio drivers allow the interface to be recognized immediately without any custom driver installation required. You may just need to select the UM2 as your audio device within your DAW’s preferences.
Recording and Mixing Tips
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the UM2 when recording and mixing:
Gain Staging – Set input gains carefully to optimize signal to noise ratio. Watch for clipping of input LEDs. Start conservative with gain levels and increase as needed. Engage pads if sources are very loud.
Use Low Latency Monitoring – Enable direct monitoring to hear live inputs with near-zero latency while recording. Set buffer sizes to 128 or 256 samples.
Minimize Background Noise – Use a noise gate VST to cut out noise when inputs are inactive. Position mics close to sources to minimize ambient noise.
Mix in Your DAW – Make use of your DAW’s included effects plugins to add reverb, compression, EQ and more during mixing. Don’t rely solely on outboard processing.
Export at Highest Resolution – Bounce final mixes down at 24-bit resolution to preserve fidelity. Use dithering if lowering sample rate.
Accessories to Improve Your Setup
Here are some worthwhile accessories to pair with the UM2 for an enhanced home studio setup:
- Pop filter – Add one to your vocal mic to reduce plosives and breathing noise.
- Headphone amp – Improves driving higher impedance headphones compared to the UM2’s headphone jack.
- Microphone isolation shield – Provides acoustic isolation for vocal recordings.
- Direct boxes (DI) – Allows you to cleanly record high impedance instruments.
- Studio monitor speakers/headphones – Upgrade your listening experience.
- XLR and TRS cables – Use quality cables to connect mics, instruments and monitors.
- USB hub – Adds extra ports if your computer lacks USB connections.
With its simple operation, compact size and affordability, the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is one of the most popular entry points into computer-based recording. It performs admirably for the price and includes decent quality preamps, converters and software.
Sure there are some compromises such as average headphone performance and cheaper build quality compared to pricier models. But for around $50, the UM2 gets you started with quality 24-bit/192kHz audio interfacing perfect for basic music and podcast recording needs. It’s easy to recommend for beginners looking to upgrade past the limited sound quality of their computer’s built-in sound card.
Overall if you need an inexpensive way to send and receive audio to/from your computer, the versatile U-Phoria UM2 is difficult to beat.
Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface
The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is a compact and affordable USB audio interface that provides a convenient solution for musicians, podcasters, and content creators looking to record high-quality audio directly into their computers. With its two inputs, the UM2 offers versatile recording options, including an XLR microphone input with +48V phantom power for condenser mics, and a 1/4" instrument input suitable for guitars, keyboards, or other line-level sources. The interface also features a stereo output, allowing for real-time monitoring through headphones or studio monitors.The U-Phoria UM2 offers a 48 kHz sampling rate and 16-bit resolution, providing decent audio quality for recording purposes. Its plug-and-play compatibility with both Windows and Mac systems makes setup quick and straightforward without the need for additional drivers. Additionally, the interface comes bundled with a range of free software, including audio recording and editing applications, providing users with a complete package to kickstart their recording projects. With its user-friendly interface and affordable price, the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is an excellent choice for those seeking a budget-friendly and reliable USB audio interface.
Ease of Use
Value for money