Behringer DEQ2496 Equalizer Review

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    See also @gixxerwimp's Dummy's Guide to using the DEQ2496 Here:
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ehringer-deq2496-digital-eq.9295/#post-306727

    Behringer has a horrible reputation going back years now. Something about them ripping off a Mackie board from almost twenty years ago which they have never been able to escape. And also units that stopping working after the warranty expired. Both my DCX2496, purchased over ten years ago, soon developed issues with inputs or outputs not working. I think that stuff is long past and it's time to move forward. The Behringer Ultra Curve Pro DEQ2496 seems to be working well after a few years - cross my fingers. Heck, they've managed to stay in business that long, so somewhere along the line, I'm sure they've improved their quality control. I'd still be hesitant to use for them pro (money making) work, but at home, it should be fine.

    IMG_20200825_165528.jpg

    So what is the Ultra Curve Pro DEQ2496? It's a inline analog and digital EQ. The use case I will cover here is that of a digital equalizer. I'm not interested in the analog EQ function because there is an AD/DA conversion required which I would rather skip (what would be the point of a four or five figure DAC if we are just going to put this in the analog signal path?).

    Being a piece of pro gear, the only real (that is excepting Toslink) digital inputs and outputs it supports are AES. See below photo.
    IMG_20200825_160015.jpg

    Do not despair if our digital sources and DA converters use RCA or BNC SPDIF, we are not SOL. I picked Sescom AES to SPDIF and SPDIF to AES transformers from Amazon for cheap pictured below. (Note that I don't see Amazon carrying the Sescom SPDIF to AES part anymore, so I provided a link to the more expensive Neutrik part). If necessary, use RCA / BNC adapters.

    Sescom SES-AES-EBU-1 XLRF to 75 Ohm BNC Female AES/EBU Impedance Transformer
    Neutrik NADITBNC-MX 75 Ohm BNC F to 110 Ohm XLR M Adapter

    IMG_20200825_160745 (1).jpg

    Note that is is possible that we can get away with cheater XLR to RCA cables that tie the "-" to ground for AES to SPDIF conversion. However, I wanted to play it safe with a more proper conversion. With the Behringer DCX2496 digital crossover where I used the adapter cables, I didn't get consistent results with digital signal not always locking on.

    So getting the preliminaries out of the way, how might I use this? Here are two examples:

    pi2AES -----AES----> DEQ2496 ----AES----> Sescom Transformer ----SPDIF----> Schiit Gungnir DAC (BNC 75-ohm input)
    pi2AES -----AES----> DEQ2496 ----AES----> Modius (AES 110-ohm input)
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    So basically why the heck would I use a hardware EQ instead of software? Well, in the case of pi2AES and Volumio, the EQ plug-ins kind of suck. Also, some people such as myself prefer a physical interface. I've found a small learning curve with Behringer gear - I will go through the basics to get started quickly:

    Click the IO button on the right panel. Select input via the main dial.
    IMG_20200825_164200.jpg

    The bypass button shows us all the DEQ2496's features. There is a limiter, a dynamic EQ (might come in useful for limiting bass overexcursion for Focals and SR1a at high SPL), stereo width, etc. I plan on covering just the graphic EQ and parametric EQ functions here. IMG_20200825_163902.jpg
    Here is parametric EQ screen: IMG_20200825_163931.jpg

    And graphic EQ screen:
    IMG_20200825_163915.jpg

    Normally, I've tended to prefer the PEQ. However, I've found myself preferring the GEQ during my time with the DEQ2496 for the following reasons:
    1. The band granularity is quite good with 1/3 octave bandwidth per slider.
    2. The DCX2496 has a "True Response" option in the utility menu. When this is turned on, it smooths the EQ function. I will give you a demonstration of how it works in later post via a measurement.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    One thing I wanted to get squared away is how to split the left and right EQs from each other. This was actually the most difficult part of the interface! Normally the left and right channel EQs are linked and there is no reason to change that. With speakers in a uneven funky room, we may want to apply individual EQ to each channel. This may also ring true with compression drivers which have a tendency of not always being exactly the same with each other depending how precisely the diaphragm is aligned. It took me forever to find how to un-link the left and right channels, therefore I finally consulted the manual.

    All we need to do it press the utility button, scroll down to the channel mode (second line from top) via the small top knob, and change from stereo-link to dual-mono with the large knob.

    IMG_20200825_165601.jpg

    Also be sure to dial in negative gain offset so you don't go past 0dbFS. Digital clipping has a hard limit. Set negative offset so that we don't clip. The DEQ2496 has an RTA with peak hold function so we can monitor this. The button is on the very top left of the unit. Don't be a digital EQ noob!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Getting back to the "True Response" option, here is an GEQ profile that I set up:
    IMG_20200825_171202.jpg

    And here are the measurement results for Uncorrected vs True Response:
    upload_2020-8-25_17-15-39.png
    Note that True Response will apply a smoothing function, hence the small dips at the sides.

    Here are some signals to check for jitter. Note the y-axis scale goes from -200dbFS to -100dbFS. We are zooming in on the minutiae here.

    12kHz signal at -1dbFS, 48kHz sampling rate, one pass, no averaging
    upload_2020-8-25_17-26-1.png

    12kHz signal at -1dbFS, 48kHz sampling rate, one pass, average of 4
    upload_2020-8-25_17-27-55.png

    12kHz signal at 0dbFS, 48kHz sampling rate, no averaging
    upload_2020-8-25_17-30-22.png
    This would appear to be jitter given the symmetry around the 12kHz signal.

    12kHz signal at 0dbFS, 48kHz sampling rate, average of 4
    upload_2020-8-25_17-30-52.png

    It would appear that any jitter is transitory and disappears when there is a continuous output. In any event, the jitter is so amazing low, lower than what current electronics are capable of, so none of this is any concern. It's all academic.

    SUBJECTIVE IMPRESSIONS

    Subjectively, and I think this is the most important for the audience here, the DEQ2496 seems pretty darn transparent. Although it boggles the mind that digital sources and transports can actually have a sound, the DEQ2496 seems to transmit the sound of the digital source or transport through without imparting any of it's own. For example, the Theta Data III sounds like a Theta Data III. The Toslink output from the Marantz CD6006 sounds like the Toslink from it! The pi2AES sounds like the pi2AES. If you don't believe that digital sources actually have a sound, then just feel free to disregard what I just said as the ramblings as a madman.
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    So let's have some fun. Did I mention that the DEQ2496 also has a built-in pink-noise generator (selectable from the input source screen)? It can also auto-calibrate (those things are dumb, so I prefer calibrate manually).

    Here is the RAAL Requisite SR1a on a miniDSP EARs. Note pink noise generator being selected below on the DEQ2496.
    IMG_20200825_174633.jpg

    Here is the RTA using SBAF compensation
    YEL = no EQ
    GRN = EQ applied
    upload_2020-8-25_18-19-17.png

    Note that I intentionally dropped everything below 40Hz. I listen loudly, so would prefer the keep excursion under control. Not that this really does much good since I am boosting 50-80Hz, which will already add a ton of excursion already.

    Here are the DEQ2496 GEQ settings with True Response turned on.
    IMG_20200825_181902.jpg

    Go have fun guys!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
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  6. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    Those are designed for live sound reinforcement and actually have pretty great DSP.

    A friend of mine used to have the previous model of this in his live sound rack and put in in the back so no one would see he had Behringer gear.
     
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  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    ^ Hahahahahaha. Maybe unfair, but pros don't want to be seen using Behringer. It's embarrassing.
     
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  8. Pogo

    Pogo Friend

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    Paying attention Jason?
    Lokius Maximus Slim needs to happen because EQ is fun.
    Black,8 bands, SE and Balanced in/out.
    $349 and I'll be the first buyer!
     
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  9. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    This seems like a pretty great unit, and I love that it does EQ in the digital domain. Not only does it not mess with the sweet analog coming out of my Yggdrasil, you get way finer adjustability than fixed analog EQ.

    Since I found the PEQ in Roon, I’m a total EQ convert now. Before I kind of swore it off for “purist audiophile reasons”. Screw that. I was shocked at how a very few targeted adjustments can transform the sound of a speaker in my room. I also use a touch of it on my basic HD650 rig too, just to juice things a bit towards my liking (a bit is all the HD650 can seem to handle). One thing thing about Roon that’s great is that each endpoint, like each Pi2AES, can have its own EQ, and you can also set presets that you can apply to any endpoint at-will. So for instance, you can have a preset for every set of headphones or speakers you own, which you can apply to any endpoint in seconds, depending which rig you’re hooked up to.

    The PEQ in Roon doesn’t appear to allow for seperate EQ per channel however like this unit does, which is great esp for speakers. And the built in pink noise generator is awesome.

    I ❤️ digital EQ.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Be careful what you wish for. $350 could be tough if it's a balanced version, as a lot of Schiit's gear seems to be headed in the mid and high ranges. Another request would be use of actual inductors for the EQ, but $$$.
     
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  11. ruinevil

    ruinevil Rando

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    The comparable Harman device would probably be the dbx DriveRack Venu 360 which runs around $900. I run a DriveRack PA2 now to run my crossover between my Magnepan LRS and my subwoofers, but it doesn't have digital inputs. It does have a spotty iOS application to control the crossover and EQ, but you can also go up to device and control it directly.

    I actually like the AutoEQ, but it does have a heavy early sub-bass bump, since it's designed around professional subwoofers that cut off around 40 Hz. Too boomy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    For EQ on analog signals, the dbx is much better then the Behringer. There's still an AD/DA on the dbx stuff.

    For pure analog EQ, discrete parts with LC circuits is best. No gyrator bullshit with opamps.
     
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  13. wadec22

    wadec22 Facebook Friend

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    love the performance and price! i'm still young and dumb enough to be a shallow hal with my gear. that thing is too fugly to make it into my office lol.

    thanks for taking the time @purr1n. i like the motu ultralite mk4 eq, but would much prefer some physical toggles. i can't even really explain why. the interface is easy to open, responsive and intuitive.
     
  14. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    If only this review and "how to" was up before I got mine, although Marv and @atomicbob gave me some tips and tried to guide me down the righteous transformer path.

    But I was cheap, the DEQ2496 specifications say that both the AES input and output are "transformer-balanced", and I got conflicting information from the tech at Thomann, who said to just use an adapter w/o transformer for S/PDIF in/out. Which I did when I first got it, and everything worked fine (PI2AES > AES > DEQ2496 > AES-S/PDIF straight through adapter > BF2). But I was afraid that in the long term it might do damage to the BF2, so I found out how to make an 18dB PAD to bring the AES output level down to S/PDIF levels. You can read about it here.

    Marv's way is the safe way, and guaranteed not to generate any magic smoke. Make sure and read my disclaimer if you want to follow the path of the gixxer.

    Oh, and I love the DEQ2496.
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Holy crap, I didn’t even see the guide you wrote. Will add a link to it in first post.
     
  16. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    This is one of the few good Behringer boxes along with the discontinued V-Verb. Right now their thing is tons of decent to dogshit disposable guitar pedals, cloning other clones through their Klark Technics brand (yes they make them even worse), and synth clones.

    The new Tannoy 8s don't look too awful in the low end monitor sphere either.
     
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  17. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Used to own this back in the day and remember i didn't care for it. I used it to eq the HD800 but i could always tell when it was in the chain whether it was doing anything or not. Maybe it was placebo or a defective unit, or something else. Chain was fully digital btw no conversion.
    Iirc the chain was Musical fidelity usb to aes converter>DEQ>Violectric V800 Dac>Agd Phoenix.
    The MF did have a gimped aes out i later learned being only around 50ohms.

    Not to say i'm against digital eq, i use it daily with minidsp shd studio. And i love that thing...
     
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  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I'm sold on Roon's PEQ plus convolution through multiple endpoints, too. I'm running convolution from 120Hz down in the main speaker setup, and full frequency convolution in the my summer time mini setup for radio listening. And similarly to @rlow I've got a bunch of preset PEQ curves for different headphones/moods/music. It's really painless through Roon - I'm loving it.
     
  19. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    If just needing EQ and wanted to save some, the older DSP8024 can be had for super super cheap:

    [​IMG]

    Yes, 2-rack and late 90's fugly, but it works. Even has a mic input for RTA for 2 channel systems. However, it is just like the DEQ2496 in that it only has AES in/out and analog in/out.

    I also did not see that the DEQ2496 is really marketed as a mastering processor as well as live sound reinforcement with added things like compression, stereo imager, limiter, expander, dynamically activated EQ, and other such DSP stuff as well as things like feedback destroyer.
     
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  20. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    I don’t think AD/DA is such a bad thing.
    It’s usually done at 96+ kHz to relax the reconstruction filter and the clock is internal, so the same for both AD and DA stages.
    No need for heroic reconstruction filter, buffering or re-clocking like standalone DACs need.

    As long as you don’t saturate the AD stage, that is.
     
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