Behringer FCA202

If you want basic FireWire audio interfacing on the cheap, Behringer has the solution

  • £62
The FCA202 is compact enough that you could take it just about anywhere.

Our Verdict

Its connectivity may be limited, but the FCA202 performs well and is an absolute steal.

Pros

  • Bargain! Sounds great. Well made. Easy to use.

Cons

  • Minor latency issue (Windows only). No MIDI ports. Bundled leads are short.

The FCA202 features one unbalanced stereo input and a balanced stereo output - the connectivity is provided on four quarter-inch jacks. The unit has two FireWire connections, so other devices can be daisy-chained on the same port.

The front panel sports a headphone socket, a headphone volume control and two indicator LEDs. The entire unit can be locked down (using a standard Kensington-style security cable) to prevent theft.

The device ships with both types of FireWire cable, so it can be used immediately with 4- and 6-pin host ports. Unfortunately, the supplied cables are quite short; this makes them ideal for portable use, but potentially restricting at home.

A wallwart power unit is supplied and must be used when the FCA202 is connected to a 4-pin FireWire port.

Build and sound

It may be a cheap interface, but the FCA202 is extremely well built. It's heavy enough to stay put with trailing cables attached, but not so weighty that you wouldn't want to carry it around with you.

Audio performance is equally solid - the sound is detailed and well balanced and has a perfectly controlled low-end. What's more, the built-in headphone amp is capable of driving more demanding cans to high volume levels without any sign of distortion at all.

Three software packages are included in the bundle: a cutdown version of Ableton Live (featuring four audio and two MIDI tracks), Kristal and Audacity. The minimum system requirements are typical for a device of this type, but do be aware that your OS needs to be relatively up to date.

Put simply, the FCA202 represents amazing value for money. At this price, you can't go wrong.