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In-depth Feature:  Behringer FCA202
Behringer FireWire Audio FCA202
Shorn Rah writes: .

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In Use
The FCA202 can be powered from the Firewire connection, but to save on your laptop battery Behringer have supplied a mains DC power supply. Behringer also generously provide two Firewire leads for six and four pin connections - these are however a little on the short side, I guess to save some money.

The manual says that I can simply plug the FCA202 into my Mac running OS X (10.3.9 (Panther) or higher) and it will "automatically recognize the equipment" and "the inputs and outputs on the inferface will be now available to you in every audio application" which is a bit of an exageration as "every audio application" would mean a program such as Pro Tools which designed to only work with specified interfaces. However, away from these mavericks, surely enough I was able to utilize the FCA202 in almost "every audio application" on my Power Mac G5. Pretty neat and accessable, this gives you simple jack inputs and outputs away from the soundcard which came fitted with your computer.

There has to be a distinction made between this interface and other small Firewire interfaces. There are no balanced XLR inputs. This unit is not designed to plug a mic into it. It has no gain control or phantom power, or MIDI. It has to be used with a mixer or pre amp to get desent results with high or low gain sources. Sure you can record from a mini disc or MP3 player, DAT, CD player etc. if you have the right leads.

I installed the bundled Ableton Live Lite 4 and the Audacity software (Crystal is on the disc for the PC also). I've never used Ableton Live before, I found it really is easy to get to grips with; every time you move the mouse you get a useful "help" instruction. So with the aid of a small mixer and an SM57 I set about recording an acoustic guitar part. The latency was absolutely fine, just like a little bit of reverb, no echo, completely workable. It sounded fine, no noise or clicks from the FCA202.

I did the same on my PC in the studio and recorded at 96kHz and 24bit into Audacity, the latency is increased slightly but still not a problem. At this point I started to test the FCA202 and the way it sounds against the other interfaces here at Studio Paranormal. Considering this unit costs about 12 times less than the interfaces here, I was surprised by how the FCA202 stood up. OK, these aren't the greatest A/D D/A converters in the world but to be honest the FCA202 doesn't sound ugly at all and considering the price, a perfectly adequate route to 24 bit, 96kHz recording.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Behringer.com
  • ableton.com
  • See the FCA202 Unveiled at Music Live!

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