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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain Measurements

peniku8

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Here are my measurements of the Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain we purchased for the studio 6 years ago. Current price I see on Thomann Germany is 220€.
The unit is digitally fed by our RME Fireface UC and analog I/O consists of a Topping EX5 and a Cosmos ADC.

NtRlHZ2.jpg



Let's start with the DAC part:

QGahN7O.jpg


-0.5dB points are 3Hz and ~20KHz


Noise spectrum reveals -86dB THD+N at 3.7V (0dBFS):

V5pmu1D.jpg


I forgot to properly measure dynamic range but as you can see, it's at least 99dB.


Distortion vs level:

E3uspbD.jpg



ADC Mic Input:

Frequency response:

cdyb1jA.jpg


-0.5dB points at 8Hz and ~22KHz


Noise spectrum at best-case SINAD (87,5dB):

eA08gs2.jpg



Distortion vs level:

ggK1W99.jpg




ADC Line Input:

Frequency response:

3tua7oL.jpg


-0.5dB points at 3Hz and ~22KHz


Distortion spectrum at best case SINAD (86dB):

v6JFQiG.jpg



Distortion vs level:

xKKbErf.jpg


As you can see I used 18dB of gain to be able to make the input clip with the EX5's output capabilities, pointing at an un-gained clipping point of 33dBu (34,5Vrms wow!). For reference, that equates to about 150W into an 8 Ohm load.

I did not measure its performance with a simulated microphone 'load' on the input.
I swept the Mic input for distortion vs frequency and found it to be pretty much the same level and characteristic throughout the entire spectrum, being dominated by the 3rd harmonic.


Summary:
All in all, you get pretty good performance for little money and you just need an ADAT bridge to be able to use this as an 8In 8Out interface.
Both for the DAC and the ADC side, distortion is pretty much a non-concern, but noise isn't the cleanest. For DAC applications you should aim for good gain staging in your chain or you might end up having hiss issues.
For the ADC, you might encounter noise issues here too, depending on what you're recording. You have the noise floor at ~-100dB, but you leave let's say 20dB of headroom for good measure and your dynamic range is already below that of what 16 bit audio can handle. Add compression to that and record more than one channel and noise might become an audible issue. This however can easily be resolved with a noise gate or through spectral editing.
We use it mostly for drum (shell) mics and I haven't found myself wishing for a better signal yet. The usability however could be improved (by being able to control gain digitally from a PC and having more level indication LEDs than just "signal" and "clip").
For about 200 bucks you get great performance here. With the RME Digiface ADAT bridge and four of these, you can get a 32In 34Out audio interface for just a little over 1000€ here.

Cheers!
 
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Philbo King

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I've had one of these for quite a while in my recording rig. I only use the A/Ds, and it has done a fine job. I use it for Edrums, keyboard and 2 Roland guitar synths (all stereo inputs, all line level). As mentioned, gain staging is (always) important when recording, though less critical for line level inputs. A mic needing a lot of gain (like a ribbon mic) might call for attention to noise floor...

I paid if I recall correctly, $200 USD. At $25/channel it's quite a good deal.

An interesting 'glitch': When testing the D/A outputs using my Presonus 1818VSL as ADAT source, all 8 outputs had to be trimmed down by 48 dB(!) to provide undistorted 0 dB analog output. I verified this is not an ADA8200 fault by doing a toslink feedback loop (ADA8200 ADAT out wrapped back to ADAT in) which measured as expected. I attribute it to a firmware bug in the Presonus 1818VSL, which has some halfass code, and of course Presonus support for it was abandoned long ago... (caveat emptor and all that).
 
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AnalogSteph

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As you can see I used 18dB of gain to be able to make the input clip with the EX5's output capabilities, pointing at an un-gained clipping point of 33dBu (34,5Vrms wow!).
This agrees with other measurements I've seen for this model. Even the mic input can still handle over +13 dBu.

Now clipping at +33 dBu seems patently absurd, especially when about 100 dB of dynamic range is all you have, so I suspect a design problem of sorts. It's probably moddable by changing the extra series resistors for the line-in if you insist.
 

holdingpants01

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I had this unit as well as the older ADA8000, both useful. What I would love to see in hypothetical mk3:
1. XLR inputs on the back
2. pure analog out from the preamps, without bridging ADAT OUT->IN, possibly through DB25 to save space
3. individually switched phantom power, or at least in a 4 channels banks
 
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