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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

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U C A 2 0 2 ( U C A 2 2 2 ) U S B A U D I O I N T E R FA C E O N L I N U X



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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

My kingdom for a horse!

For several years, I used a Mac ( Pro Cheese-grater, with two Power
PC (
G5 ( processors (, as my home theater (
/home-theater-and-home-audio-a-new-website/) computer ( The
video was ne (as long as I ran it at 720P), and the audio was very good with ber optic out . Its aging
Mac OS X ( worked well with
XBMC ( (version Eden), my favorite
media server ( software. All was
bliss until XBMC released its Frodo version, and support ( for the Power PC was dropped. For a few months, I tried to
decide whether to keep my current setup, or buy/build a new HTPC (home theater personal computer).
Then my le server ( expired. The Mac Pro ( was decommissioned as a media server, and , like Pegasus,
rose from the ashes as a le server (,
complete with a BIG hard drive (, and a Debian (
( operating system (
Now, what to do about the HTPC?

What To Do?

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My choice for a HTPC would meet the following

requirements: At least two gigs of ram
( or dual processors running at 64 bits,
( out (this video, along with an adapter,
( to

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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

my at-screen TV), digital/ber-optic out for audio, and all of this for CHEAP. To say I had a tight
budget would be an understatement, so building the HTPC was out of the question. I needed a used
( After some looking and head-scratching, I decided on a brand rst. Hewlett-Packard became
the obvious choice because I have had good look with them in the business world, and as HP sells a lot
of computers, the odds of a no hassle (or low hassle) Linux install (
/some-things-to-consider-before-you-install-linux/) and conguration would be in my favor. Now for some
Ebay searching. I found a 5-year-old HP DC5850 that met all my requirements, except for the audio
(analog out only). It would ship without a hard drive for $60 (freight included). I bought it.
A week after my purchase, the HP was sitting in my living room. It came in very clean with surprisingly
no visible signs of wear. Cool!!! Next, I pulled an unused Western Digital 500 gig hard drive from my
parts closet (yes, only a true Geek will have a parts closet). With the hard drive installed, Debian soon
followed. With the exception of a little work getting a driver for my Nvidia graphic adapter, the install and
conguration of Debian was painless. Then came XBMC (Frodo), clam (
/keep-your-mac-safe-for-free-part-1/) av, fail2ban (, Samba (, VLC, and so
on.. Once all the software was in place, I red the PC up, launched XBMC, and did a little
conguration.The end result: my new HTPC has worked very well for nearly two years, but..
I still wanted digital audio. I am not too concerned about Dolby ( 5.1, as Dolby Pro Logic II and Datasat Digital Sound (DTS
( Neo: 6, as used in
my Onkyo AV receiver, do a good job of converting two channel stereo into 5.1 surround sound. I
wanted a simple, inexpensive digital solution.
To keep both the installation and use of the sound card simple, I decided on using a USB external sound
card. I looked at variants of Sabrent (,
(, Startech, and a good number of cheap Chinese solutions. They
were, for the most part, very very very cheap, and as a result, I concluded that quality and reliability
might be an issue. I liked the USB version of Creative Labs SB1090 X-Fi 5.1 Audio System. It looked
pretty good, but at $60.00 it was at the top of my budget, and 5.1 was questionable, as drivers had to be
installed if one were using Windows. Though 5.1 wasnt a signicant factor in my buying decision, if I am
paying for it, I should be able to get it working. I read ( the CreativeX-Fi would work on Linux; however, I was not sure that Dolby 5.1 would
be available. In addition, my history with Creative Labs has showntheir drivers can be a bit quirky to
begin with, so installing the device with open source Alsa drivers and codecs found in Linux, might work
better than those from Creative, or they might not. There were just too many unknowns for me to
consider theCreative X-Fi. I nearly settled on the Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro II. A device with a
diminutive sound card built into a USB Toslink. It uses a single 3.5 mm jack for analog audio out, or with
an included adapter, it has digital out. The product is advertised to work on Windows and Macs. Dolby
Digital comes from an optional driver for Windows only. As I read user (
/linux-and-unix-le-permissions/) reviews, it seemed the Micro II would work ne on Linux, sans the
Dolby Digital option. As I read more, some reviewers were displeased with the Micro IIs sound, and had

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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

selected a device by Behringer. I then did some research on Behringers products. The item indeed
looked impressive. I purchased a Behringer UCA202 for $30 (US), from Amazon.

A Rose By Any Other Name

Once you start doing some research on the
Behringer UCA202, you will nd that for both its
price, exibility, and audio stats, it is a very
desirable product. It also must hold a record for
the most names given to a device. It is called, the
Behringer UCA 202, the Behringer U-Control UCA
202, the Behringer UCA202 USB Sound Card, the
Behringer UCA202
Behringer UCA 202 USB DAC, the Behringer
UCA202 Audio Interface, and from Behringers
Website: The Behringer U-Control UCA202
Ultra-Low Latency 2 in/2 out USB/Audio Interface with Digital Output. Yikes!!!
Now for more confusion, the Behringer UCA202
has a fraternal twin, the UCA222. As near as I can
tell, the UCA202 was introduced in 2009. It has a
silver case. In 2011, the UCA222 was introduced,
and this item has a red case. The later, typically
retails for $5.00 more than the former. With the
exception of the case color, the items are
thesame. So, why the $5.00 variance? It seems
Behringer UCA222
that both items at one time had CD
( of software in their product box.
The UCA222 had more software, and it was more specialized. OK, if you need more, and more
specialized software, and prefer red over silver, then the UCA222 mightfor you; however, another twist,
neither item ships with the CDs anymore. The software is now all downloadable. You can freely
download software for either product from the Behringer website. Here are the URLs: (
/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx) (
The bottom line: Today, the red UCA222 is a $5.00 upgrade over the silver (choose a name from above
and insert it here)______________________________________. But wait, theres more: there is also a
UFO202, that at rst, looks identical to the UCA202 (Silver, also). This item diers from the UCA202 in
that it adds a small phono pre-amp (, and does not have a TosLink S/PDIF optical out.
Enough nitpicking, here are some features of the UCA 202/222:

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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

2 X RCA input
2 X RCA output
1 X TosLink S/PDIF optical output
3.5 mm headphone output
Volume control for the headphone output
Monitor ( switch ( allowing you to
directly listen to what is coming in on the stereo inputs
Full duplex record/playback
Low latency driver
Here is without a doubt the most exhaustive review ( I found on this
product, complete with performance specs: (
There are many ways to use this device. For me, the UCA202s USB cable carries digital audio to the
UCA202, and exits via a ber optic cable to my Onkyo receiver. Here are some more specialized uses
for the UCA202 and UCA222:

Behringer UCA202 sample conguration, Figure 1

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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

Behringer UCA202 Sample Conguration, Figure 2

Double, double toil and trouble

Installing the UCA202 or UCA222 is as simple as plugging the device into an available USB port, and
turningon your computer. Done. No drivers needed, kernels to patch, etc.
The conguration of the UCA202 or UCA222 will depend on how you are going to use it. Here is how is I
congured the device in Debian Linux, using UCA202s S/PDIF out, with a ber optic cable to my Onkyo
AV receiver (
1. Find Sound Preferences. In Debian, the easiest way to do this is to nd the Speaker icon on the
tool bar, and right click on it. You will see in the drop-down box Sound Preferences. Click it. A

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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

window with multiple tabs appears on your screen. The window is entitled Sound.
2. Click the Hardware tab. Under the Choose a device to congure (
( 1 output/1 input
Digital Stereo Duplex (IEC958). Now at the bottom under Settings for the selected device:, click
on the drop down arrow on the right in the Prole: box, and nd and Digital Stereo Duplex.
3. Now, click on the Input tab. Under Choose a device for sound input, highlight PCM2902 Audio
Codec Digital Stereo (IEC958), now just above, verify the box to the right of Connector displays:
IEC958 Stereo Input
4. Click on the Output tab. Under Choose a device for sound output:, be sure to highlight:
PCM2902 Audio Codec Digital Stereo (IEC958). At the bottom of the tab, to the right of
Connector, verify the box displays: Digital Output (S/PDIF). Occasionally, during setup, I have
had the Connecter box display Analog Stereo. If it does, just go back through the Input and
Output tabs, and verify that PCM2902 Audio Codec Digital Stereo (IEC958) is still highlighted.
5. Thats it. You can test your setup on the Hardware tab, by clicking (what else?): Test
Speakers, in the lower right hand corner of the tab.
For those of you using XBMC, here is my audio setup. Before I go further, XBMC is cable of running
dierent skins. These can vary Settings, the appearance of the GUI, and other variables. That being
said, I am using on my Debian Linux install, XBMC version Frodo. The skin (which is by the way, beyond
COOL!!!) I am using is Aeon MQ5. Here are my settings:
1. Go to Settings. Find and click on System Cache (
/larrytalkstech-installs-w3-total-cache/) & Hardware.
2. Find and click Audio Output. Depending on your installation, there could be 4 or more items
showing here. For both clarity and brevity, I am only going to mention the items I changed:
Audio Output: Optical/Coax
Speaker Conguration: 7.1
Boost Volume Level on Downmix: O
Output Stereo to All Speakers: On
Audio Output Device: Playback/recording through Pulseaudio Sound Server
Pass-through Device: HDA ATISB, AD198X Digital S/PDIF

What light through yonder window breaks?

I have used the device now for sometime. As a test, I reconnected and congured it as an analog stereo
device for sound output. Though the analog output sounds ne, the digital output is indeed much
clearer. I have kept it as a digital device. The UCA202 works awlessly. For a $30 investment its hard to
There are some downsides:
No Dolby Digital. It mustrely on a receiver to do two channel stereo into DTS Nero: 6, or Dolby Pro
Logic II to get surround sound.
The device has been around since 2009, and some of its components are showing their age: such

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The Behringer UCA202 (UCA222) USB Audio Interface ...

as, the USB is version 1.1

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