The Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820 is an 18-input, 20-output audio interface aimed at home studio owners and recording enthusiasts looking for a flexible and affordable way to connect microphones, instruments, and other gear to their computer.
With its extensive I/O options, Midas-designed microphone preamps, and bundled software, the UMC1820 provides a lot of value in a compact 1U rackmount unit.
In this detailed review, we’ll take a close look at the features and performance of the UMC1820 to see how it stacks up for home studio use.
We’ll cover the key specs and capabilities, audio quality, ease of use, and pros and cons to help you determine if this interface is a good match for your needs.
Key Features and Specs
- 18 inputs / 20 outputs total
- 8 mono microphone/line inputs with Midas-designed preamps
- 2 hi-Z instrument inputs for direct guitar/bass recording
- 8 line outputs with balanced TRS connections
- MIDI I/O for connecting keyboards and controllers
- 24-bit/192kHz resolution
- +48V phantom power for condenser mics
- Bundled software: Cubase LE, plugins
With its extensive connectivity, the UMC1820 provides enough I/O for even complex home studio setups. The eight mono inputs can handle microphones, instruments like keyboards or drum machines, or other line-level sources. Two dedicated hi-Z instrument inputs make it easy to directly plug in guitars or basses.
On the output side, eight balanced TRS line outputs allow flexible routing options for monitors, external effects, or sending mixes to external devices. There’s also a stereo headphone output with its own level control. MIDI I/O takes care of syncing external MIDI gear and controllers.
Overall, the UMC1820 covers the core requirements for most home studios in a compact 1U rackmount interface. Now let’s look at how it performs.
Audio Quality and Mic Preamps
In testing, the overall audio quality of the UMC1820 is very good considering its price point. The mic preamps deliver clear, neutral sounding results that are low on noise and distortion.
Behringer tapped Midas, the respected pro audio company, to design the UMC1820’s preamps. Each mono input channel features +48V phantom power, 20dB pad, low cut filter, and 75dB of gain for solid performance with dynamic and condenser mics.
The instrument inputs provide direct hi-Z connections for guitar and bass, making re-amping easy. Audio glitches and dropout are minimal during heavy use thanks to the UMC1820’s 32-bit Floating Point DSP processing.
The 24-bit/192kHz resolution ensures pristine A/D conversion when monitoring and recording. Overall the sound is clean, transparent, and noise-free, providing pleasing results across various sources.
Ease of Use and Setup
One of the strengths of the UMC1820 is its simple and straightforward operation. Connections are clearly labelled, with color coding for different input types. The front panel offers quick access to headphone and monitor volume, mic gain, and other essential controls.
The UMC1820 is plug-and-play compatible with Windows and macOS systems, not requiring any driver installation. It communicates via USB 2.0, providing a simple single-cable hookup to your computer. Power is also bus-powered over USB.
In the software control panel, you can assign inputs to outputs, adjust buffer size, and set sample rates. It’s easy to customize signal routing for your specific needs. The UMC1820 integrates seamlessly with all major DAW software for multitrack recording.
Overall, the UMC1820 is designed to be easy to set up and use for beginners, while still providing extensive flexibility for more advanced users.
Behringer includes some handy software titles for getting up and running with the UMC1820 interface:
- Cubase LE – Streamlined digital audio workstation for recording, editing, and mixing
- Plugins – Channel strips, compressors, equalizers, and guitar amp simulators
Cubase LE provides a complete yet simplified DAW solution with up to 48 tracks of audio and MIDI. It offers a great starting point for home studio newcomers to understand basic recording and mixing techniques.
The bundled plugins add compression, EQ, reverb, delay, modulation effects, guitar tones, and channel strip processing to help craft professional sounding recordings. While the included plugins are somewhat basic, they provide essentials for mixing and producing.
Connectivity and I/O Options
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the UMC1820’s extensive input and output connectivity:
- 8 x mono mic/line inputs (XLR or 1/4” TRS)
- 2 x instrument inputs (1/4” TS)
- 1 x stereo input (1/4” TRS)
- 1 x ADAT input (optical)
- 1 x S/PDIF input (RCA)
- 1 x MIDI input
- 8 x mono line outputs (1/4” TRS)
- 1 x stereo line output (1/4” TRS)
- 1 x stereo monitor output (1/4” TRS)
- 1 x headphone output (1/4” TRS)
- 1 x ADAT output (optical)
- 1 x S/PDIF output (RCA)
- 1 x MIDI output
This versatility in I/O allows for extensive routing options and expandability. For example, the ADAT port can connect to external mic pres or output modules for additional channels. The 18×20 design provides flexibility for complex setups.
- Great value for the price
- 18×20 I/O routing flexibility
- Clean, neutral sounding preamps
- Easy to set up and use
- Rugged metal construction
- Bundled DAW and plugins
- No Thunderbolt support
- Software control panel lacks some features
- Preamps lack character/coloration
With its flexible I/O, transparent Midas-designed preamps, and bundled recording software, the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820 provides an excellent value audio interface option for home studio owners. It covers the core connectivity needs for a wide range of recording and mixing scenarios.
While more expensive interfaces may offer extras like better preamp character or Thunderbolt support, the UMC1820 gets the basics right at a very affordable price point. For home studio musicians looking for great quality without breaking the bank, the UMC1820 deserves strong consideration. Just be aware the preamps aim for neutrality rather than distinct coloration.
Overall the Behringer UMC1820 earns high marks for capabilities and performance relative to its reasonable price tag. For home studio owners seeking an affordable path to take their recording to the next level, the UMC1820 is easy to recommend.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of mics and instruments can I connect?
The UMC1820 works with just about any microphone, instrument or line level source. The XLR inputs support professional condenser mics, dynamic mics, ribbons, etc. The 1/4″ TRS inputs work with keyboards, drum machines, live mixing boards, and other line level sources. The hi-Z instrument inputs are perfect for guitars, basses, and other instruments.
What cables will I need?
You’ll need XLR cables to connect microphones, 1/4″ TRS cables for line level sources like synthesizers and mixing boards, and standard 1/4″ TS instrument cables for guitars/basses. Behringer provides a USB cable for connecting to your computer.
Is the UMC1820 compatible with iPad/iPhone?
Yes, with the proper adapter cables you can connect iOS devices to the UMC1820 for mobile recording and using apps. The stereo input works well for this.
What software is included?
The UMC1820 comes bundled with Cubase LE for Mac and PC, which provides a basic DAW for recording and editing. It also includes some effect plugins like compressors, EQs, reverbs, and guitar amp simulators to use when mixing and producing.
Does it work with all major DAWs?
Yes, the UMC1820 is compatible with all popular DAW software including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Reaper, and more. It functions as a plug-and-play audio interface with no driver installation necessary.
How many mics can I use at once?
The 8 mic/line XLR inputs allow you to use up to 8 microphones simultaneously. With the ADAT expansion port, you can add additional mic preamps as needed.
What resolution and sample rates does it support?
The UMC1820 supports up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution for excellent audio quality. Sample rates up to 192kHz are provided.
Does the UMC1820 work with Windows and Mac?
Yes, the UMC1820 has universal compatibility with Windows 7, 8, 10 and macOS/OS X operating systems. No drivers are required, it functions as a plug-and-play class compliant audio interface.
Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820
The Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820 is a professional-grade USB audio interface designed to cater to the needs of musicians, producers, and audio engineers. Boasting an impressive array of features, this 18x20 interface allows for the simultaneous recording of up to 18 input channels at once, making it an ideal choice for multi-track recording sessions. Equipped with high-quality MIDAS-designed mic preamps, it ensures crystal-clear audio capture with a wide dynamic range and low noise. The UMC1820 offers extensive connectivity options, including eight XLR/TRS combo inputs with built-in MIDAS preamps, ADAT and S/PDIF inputs, and MIDI I/O ports. With 24-bit/96kHz resolution, it delivers pristine audio quality for professional studio projects. Additionally, it comes bundled with the Tracktion DAW software, making it a comprehensive solution for recording, editing, and producing music right out of the box. Whether for home studios or larger setups, the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC1820 stands out as a reliable and versatile audio interface, suitable for a wide range of audio applications.
Ease of Use
Value for money