Recommendations: $100 usb stereo ADC for studio mic


I am trying to put together a “casual” portable studio for acoustic music. A laptop running Audacity under Linux is a given, an Audio Technica at822 is a nice starting point if a bit overkill (stereo condenser, 1 AA battery for power, XLR, comes with XLR-to-1/4" and even XLR-to-1/8" cable), and now I just want a good stereo-to-USB ADC (preamp? sound card?) in the sub-$100 range, which ought to be plenty to knock the socks off my Lenovo’s built-in Intel 82801H with ALSA, right? Ideally it would be powered from the USB (less crap to carry around), but I don’t know the tradeoff between power and audio quality here.


Many thanks!

Two USB souncards that get mentioned favourably a lot on the forum are the Behringer UCA202 and the Edirol UA-1EX. The Behringer is cheaper - the Edirol has more features/functionality. Both have good websites with the specs - and both have good helplines that will give technical advice both pre and post sales. The Behringer helpline is in Germany - but they helpfully speak excellent English. Both should come in under your budget.

I personally use the Edirol, mainly for LP/tape/MD transcription and recording FM off-air plus occasional spoken-word mic work - and it delivers consistently excellent results. Stevethefiddle uses the Behringer and also rates that highly.

If you also need a pre-amp (I need one for my LP TT work) then ART make the excellent DJ-PreII, which I use. And I note that they also make the USB PhonoPlus v2, which combines a preamp with an ADC.


Looking at the info on the most amazing website ever (, that mic is a stereo mic and it comes with an oddly non-standard cable. The microphone has a battery inside, so you don’t need phantom power, but I think you will need a preamp (in addition to possible cable adapters).

The M-Audio MobilePre has what you need (and you won’t need an adapter, it’s got a stereo mic input in the back). It will act as a preamp and a USB interface and it can be powered through the USB port. It’s a bit over your budget, but you won’t need to buy anything else to go along with it: (go ahead and shop around, it might be cheaper elsewhere)

I have personally used the MobilePre and work and it’s not bad. I can’t tell you how noisy the thing is though, our recording booth at work is pretty terrible and the room noise overwhelms any noise coming from the MobilePre. But it does get pretty good reviews for it’s price range.

If you do choose to use the Behringer or the Edirol that waxcylinder suggests, then keep in mind that you will need a preamp to boost that mic signal up to line level. I don’t know of any stand-alone preamps that will accept a mini-plug input, so you’ll likely also need a cable adapter.

You might have good results if you talk to audio-technica and see if they can recommend something for you as well.

If you just want something to mess with, we were surprised how well this thing works.

It was designed for comunications work with an analog microphone one direction and a headphone the other. The Mic-In is “wet” and will power a computer microphone, or you can plug a standard microphone into it and the tip-sleeve connection will ignore the battery voltage.

We looked up the company and the chip set inside this thing is far better than I can do with purchased separate parts on the open market.



Does that thing have a stereo Mic In? Keep in mind fugue’s mic is a stereo electret condensor mic. If that thing is mono only, then I don’t think he’ll be able to use it.

Mono only, so that’s that.