Scarlet 18i20 VS Behringer UMC 1820 - Is the Word clock an essential feature?

I’m selecting between the Scarlet 18i20 and the Behringer UMC 1820.

Now I wouldn’t mind saving some cash and go for the Behringer. But I see that it doesn’t have a Word clock like the Scarlet.

I’ll definitely be expanding the interface later on with additional inputs through ADAT, so I’m wondering if I’ll might have some problems with my recordings in the future if I go for the Behringer since it doesn’t have the clock?

I read somewhere that ADAT signal always includes a clock so this actually might not a problem. But just wanted to double check with you guys before I go for the purchase :slight_smile:

Also, appart from build quality of course, are there any good reasons why I should not go for the Behringer? I’m mostly thinking noise floor or latency issues.

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I use the Behringer UMC1820 and the ADA8200 they are absolutely great for me. Not very expensive either. Really solid builds too. No experience with the Scarlet.

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I have two 18i20 Gen2 chained in my setup, they work really well! I don’t really use mics with them direct so I can’t comment on that, but for synths they sound just as good as you could want.

I have the umc 1820 and I love it. I haven’t had the need to expand it yet though so I can’t comment on that aspect. No quality issues for me. Solid build, no discernible latency, and very clear sound. Punches above it’s weight.

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…i’m surprised to hear, that the scarlet has wordclock…
…no real need for wordclock these days…only in use for accurate bit sync on bigger interface rigs…
with more or less hi end converters…so, in this case, no essential feature at all…

both interfaces are far away from hi end…
scarlet a bit more worse than their call…
while behringer is more than just a bit better than their call…

if the behringer offers an adat lightpipe expansion u gonna be all fine with that…

but be warned… both got pretty poor mic pre amps…

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I’d you plan to expand with ADAT, wordclock sync will give you the most accurate audio sync between multiple devices. You can sync without it but you are more prone to small glitches in your audio without wordclock.

If you plan to expand with ADAT, get the wordclock now. If not, don’t worry about it.


The difference is that with ADAT and other digital signals is that there’s still word clock involved, but it’s carried over the optical connection in addition to the digital audio. One device still needs to clock to the other (e.g. master / slave). That said, it’s usually fine to do it via optical.

In a broader conversation there’s arguments that separating the clock from the digital audio gives a more consistent and stable clock (less jitter) and thus better audio quality. It’s a YMMV and like all things audio related subjective. Some may notice a difference and others will not. That’s why higher end devices will have separate BNC clock interfaces while in many cases the digital interface (ADAT, AES, MADI, etc) is capable of carrying both. There’s also potential for clocking all devices to a separate dedicated master clocking device.


Thanks for the replies!

One question. Can I connect the Scarlet 18i20 3rd gen to a non USB-C MacBook pro?

I can’t seem to find anything about this online.

Í have a MacBook pro mid 2014 with two Thunderbolt 2 ports (up to 20 Gbps) and two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps).

Just found this on the Thomann webpage:

Includes USB cable (Type C to A)

So I guess the answer is yes!

Just to give you another data point, I’ve owned the behringer and the scarlett but returned the behringer. I found the sound on the outs to be strangely harsh, which I’m usually not at all picky on, and I got a loud sound every time I turned one of the 8 pots. Mine might have just been weird, but all the scarlett stuff I’ve owned has been rock solid. If you’re on a budget test out the behringer, but just return it right away if it gives you issues.

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what would you recommend? Something you call hi end? :blush:

…uad or metric halo…are the most obvious ones…

pretty pricy only in first place, since once u get one of those, u never got to think about converterquality on interfaces ever again…

same with any latency issues…

but it’s only worth it, if ur sure all that audio / producing rabbit hole thing will stay part of ur life in a serious way from now on for quite a while…

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okay that’s nice! thanks for the reply :blush:

I’ve been considering uad for quite a while now, and looking for the perfect 8pre thing