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Behringer Guitar Link UCG 102 USB audio interface review

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Features 10/10

With UCG102 you get pretty much everything that you need. Hi-Z guitar input, ASIO driver, headphone output, guitar amp simulating software that allows variable-speed playback of MP3, WAV, AIFF audio files and has built-in tuner and metronome.

Features:

  • Hi-Z guitar input
  • Stereo headphone/speaker output with volume control
  • LED clip indicator
  • Input level selector HI/LO
  • Ultra-low latency ASIO driver
  • Native Instruments Guitar Combos software
  • USB powered

Sound quality 6.5/10

It sounds decent despite the fact that its converters are 16-bit. The only complaint I have is hiss. Fortunately it's noticeably quieter than any guitar hum. I guess UCG102 lacks some internal shielding.

Minimum roundtrip latency of UCG102 is 8 ms and that's a very low value for an overall latency. Do not compare this value to often marketed 1-3 ms because these are only buffer size latencies that don't include hardware input and output delays. E-MU 0202 USB offer minimal round trip latency of 10.4ms. I had some trouble getting it to work at the lowest buffer size on an Intel i3-2100, however a friend of mine says it works flawlessly on his older Intel based PC so I assume it was USB controller incompatibility issue.

I haven't tried the included software, but I assume it doesn't offer that much with its three guitar amps. Fortunately there are numerous free guitar plugins that you can use with UCG102 and a DAW software such as Reaper:

Check out an article on free guitar plugins

Ease of use 10/10

Plug in and play. ASIO buffer size adjusting is easy.

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Price 10/10

You can buy this interface for around 30 euro or less which I consider a very good price.

Technical specification

  • Guitar in - 1/4" TRS, impedance - 400 kOhm (LO), 250 kOhm (HI)
  • Phones out - 1/4" TRS, output impedance 50 Ohm, max. output -2 dBi, 2 x 3.7 mW @ 100 Ohm
  • Digital processing - 16-bit converter, 32/44.1/48 kHz sample rates
  • Power supply - USB connection, 5 V DC, 100 mA max.
  • Dimensions (H x W x D) - approx. 1" x 3 3/4" x 2"
  • Cable lenght - approx 5 9/10" (15 cm)
  • Weight - approx. 1/5 lb. (92 g)

System requirements (PC / Mac)

  • OS - Win XP (works with Windows 7)/ Mac OS X
  • CPU min. - Pentium 700 MHz / Athlon XP 1.33 GHz (PC), G4 733 MHz / Intel Core Duo 1.66 (Mac)
  • RAM - 256 MB (PC), 512 MB (Mac)

Advantages

pic Price
pic Ease of use
pic Features
pic Low latency
pic Size

Drawbacks

pic Sound quality (hiss)
pic Difficulties in achieving lowest latencies even on a modern PC (USB controller incompatibility?)

Behringer Guitar Link UCG102 on www.behringer.com

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