Saturday, July 16, 2016

Review: Behringer Ultragain Mic200

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are going to talk about a tool that is considered the cheap "swiss knife" of Di/Preamps: the Behringer Ultragain Mic 200.

Every musician knows Behringer: a big german producer that has as a target the cheapest layer of the market, and that creates products, often clones of famous hardware from more expensive brands, affordable for those who are first approaching the world of music or music production and need some dirt cheap tool, such as mixers, stompboxes and so on.

It has happened, especially in the past, that Behringer has put in the market products with such a poor construction that it made them almost unusable, or prone to break after a really short time, but in recent times it appears like the company is working in the direction of improving its product quality, especially creating a guitar amp sub-brand called Bugera, which produces affordable clones of famous amplifiers, and that represents a big step forward from the extremely poor quality of the previous Behringer branded guitar amps.

Asking to professional audio engineers on whether or not to use Behringer products on your record would often result in a negative answer, yet many thinks that this brand has actually some (very few) product that can be used also in a professional environment, and I am talking specifically about the Ultragain serie, both rack or this small desktop version.

The Ultragain Mic is a small Di/preamplifier with 2 inputs and 2 outputs, one Xrl and one line, and it is appearently a clone of the Art Tube Mp, a beloved, multi purpose Di and Preamp.
The unit features a 12ax7 preamp tube, an input (from -28 to +60db) and output control, the phantom power control obviously, a -20db pad, a low cut filter, a phase switch and a preamplifier that features a serie of presets usable for vocals, guitar and so on.

I have approached this unit with not much expectations, considering the price, and yet I am still using it after many years with satisfaction: it has never let me down, doing its job diligently and without excessive background noise, which was my main concern due to the cheap materials.
I am using it usually as a Di/signal splitter: I go from my guitar to this unit, and from there one cable goes to the amp, which is microphoned, while another goes straight into the audio interface, so that for each guitar track I record, I will have one or more microphoned tracks and one clean line track.
It is always a good thing to record also a clean track, because sometimes during the mixing phase we might find out that the microphoned tracks have some issue and cannot be used, so we have to use the line track to reamp it with a real amplifier or with a guitar amp simulator.

In conclusion I find this unit useful, it is reliable (although I wouldn't use it on tour) and it sounds good, plus for the price, it is a real bang for the buck.
Final verdict: recommended!

- Ultra-flexible Preamp Modeling allows you to optimize your recordings
- Choose between 16 preamp voicings designed for electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass guitars, drums, vocals and more
- Hand-selected 12AX7 vacuum tube with UTC technology for exceptional warmth and lowest noise
- Ensures outstanding signal transparency when used as a high-end DI-box
- Sophisticated output limiter prevents the output signal from being distorted
- Dedicated low cut filter eliminates unwanted noise, e.g. floor rumble
- +48 V phantom power, Phase Reverse switch and 20 dB Pad for utmost flexibility
- Highly accurate 8-segment LED level meter
- Balanced inputs and outputs on ¼" TRS and gold-plated XLR connectors

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