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Behringer B2030P Studio Monitor Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Behringer B2030P Studio Monitor, 2-way speaker. It is on kind loan from a member. Note that this is the passive version, not active. It has been discontinued and I can't find the original price in my search. I see one on sale on ebay for US $120 plus $60 shipping.

The sample I have has good bit of battle scars:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Audio Review.jpg


There is good bit of heft to it and seemingly the walls are quite thick relative to thin walls we see today.

Boy does the shape of the B2030 bring back fond memories of me buying my first studio monitor: a Genelec with the same vertical slot port (mine were active though).

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I used over 800 measurement point which was sufficient to compute the sound field of the speaker. Temperature in measurement "chamber" was 71 degrees. Location is at sea level.

Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Spinorama CTA-3024 Frequency Response Measurements.png


At first blush it seems that on-axis window has a lot of variations but if you take away the one resonance around 800 Hz, it is actually reasonably flat. Interestingly, the off-axis as represented by early (and strongest) is very flat from 1 kHz up. As a result, the Listening Window (dashed green) is also flatter than on-axis.

We can zoom into early reflections and see this even better:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Spinorama CTA-3024 Early Window Frequency Response Measur...png


Putting the two together we get a very nice predicted in-room response:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Spinorama CTA-3024 Predicted In-Room Frequency Response M...png


Again, we have a couple of humps we have to deal with. Also, given the near horizontal response, we are likely going to get a bright tonal response which needs some kind of "target EQ curve" to correct for hi-fi listening. For a studio monitor, the flat response as designed may be appropriate though.

Directivity control in the horizontal axis is very good, providing near constant response for much of audible spectrum:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor horizontal directivity measurements.png


The beam width is also on the wider side making seating and toe-in less critical:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Beam Width measurements.png


Vertical response is typical (i.e. not as good as horizontal) so don't put the tweeter too far below or above the ear level:
Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Vertical directivity measurements.png


You want to avoid those two "eyes" (in blue) where the arrow is.

Impedance is surprisingly high (and hence good) in bass:
Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Impedance and phase measurements.png


CSD/Waterfall plot clearly shows the resonance peak that we have around 800 Hz:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor CSD Waterfall measurements.png


To diagnose, I took nearfield measurements of the tweeter and woofer:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Driver Near-field Response.png


We see the woofer breaking up farther past crossover point causing some up and downs there. We also see the peak below the crossover and it seems to be a resonance of sorts in the woofer. Other guesses are welcome.

Distortion Measurements
I am continuing to refine my distortion measurements hoping to standardize them soon. Please don't post to say distortion is not audible, you don't believe it, etc. This has been done 1000 times and doesn't need to be said again.

Let's start with linearity test using 200 Hz frequency. Yes, I should probably average a few frequencies but that is too much work. :)

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Max SPL Linearity measurements.png


We see better power capability than the Revel M106 with its smaller woofer which is good.

Klippel measurements show our two distortion points:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Relative THD measurements.png


This woofer is definitely a distortion source. Tweeter in contrast seems to be a calm amigo.

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor THD measurements.png


Comparing to Revel M106 at 86 dB SPL we see the same problem:
Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor THD at 86 dB SPL AP measurements.png


We can see it better as we increase the output to 106 dB SPL @1 meter:
Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor THD at 106 dB SPL AP measurements.png


Not however that below 200 Hz the Behringer is actually better than the Revel.

Showing multiple levels at once we get this:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor THD Level AP measurements.png


Note that these are actual THD levels. They are not ratios so let's look at that:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor THD ratio AP measurements.png


We clearly see that distortion rises faster than output level in the woofer. This is why you can't interpolate distortion from one level to another. You have to measure it.

Speaker Intermodulation Distortion Measurements
Let's start by measuring 2nd and third-order (side band) intermodulation products of two tones in the woofer range:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Intermodulation measurements.png


In the last speaker review I showed the absolute level rather than ratio. I thought this method is better as it takes into account the output level differences between speakers. I will be refining this more to bring better differentiation. For now, looks like at this playback level, the Behringer B2030P is holding its own against the Revel M106.

I worked on refining the 32-tone multitone test and I think the results are very presentable now:


Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Multitone measurements.png


The -10 dB baseline shows that we can dig pretty low and not worry much about room noise now above 100 Hz or so. As such, increasing the level (red) shows lots of intermodulation products. At 3 kHz, we have about 80-35 = 45 dB of distortion-free range.

Speaker Listening Tests
Yes, I saw the measurements before listening. Shoot me! Impression going in was that there is going to be some problems. 5 second impression did not agree with that. Yes, the sound was bright but not in obnoxious way and otherwise, enjoyable. I think even response above 1 kHz together with good directivity is something that is pleasing to my ears (and match my experience with Revel speakers).

Of course, we can do better. After some experimentation with equalization, I arrived these settings:

Behringer B2030p Speaker Pro Monitor Correction Equalization.png


Ignore Band 1 as that is to deal with a room mode that interferes with speaker listening tests.

I put in the shelf in the form of Band 5 to get rid of brightness (to taste). A proper filter would tilt down and not be a flat shelf like that. But Roon can't generate that filter easily so I went with that.

The speaker responded very well to Band 3 which pulled down that resonance. Directivity is very good there so we are correcting the total response of the speaker (on and off axis).

I then tried to pull down the smaller peak around 220 Hz. That resulted in reduced bass performance which I did not like. So I decided to fill in the dip before it. We want more bass than highs anyway. That worked well and seemingly reduced distortion and made the sound fuller as well. A winner in my book.

I tried my recent trick of putting a sharp filter in very low bass (around 30 Hz). This time the trick did not work as it reduced bass which was less pleasant. This speaker has a bass tuning that gives it more usable response that low. Best to leave it alone.

With these small tweaks the sound was wonderful! I could happily listen to this speaker with EQ as my normal system. Track after track in my reference library sounded great. Female vocals, male vocals, instrumentals, classical, you name it, and it sounded good.

What is more, the B2030P can play quite loud without bottoming out. With a single speaker playing, I had no issue enjoying music at levels that I desired.

Conclusions
This old man of speaker has just a few flaws that are easily corrected with equalization. Once there, it sounded quite good! I would put ahead of many commercial budget speakers of today. Sure, they may have copied Genelec but by doing so, gained what was good about that brand's design.

It is a shame that we were not around years ago to add a vote of confidence to this speaker and keep its production going. As it is, you have to hunt around for a used pair.

If you have one and want to replace it, know that you have a high bar to cross. This is no cheap junk speaker.

I am happy to recommend the Behringer B2030P with equalization (without it, it will be too bright for many).

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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MZKM

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#7
Dang it looks almost identical to Genelec 1031A.
I wonder if Behringer licensed an older design from Genelec or simply ripped off and named it 2031A!
Seems great value regardless.

View attachment 73490
It is almost certainly the latter. Behringer is very bold when it comes to copying products... it's practically their entire business model. Their entire range is littered with barely-changed copies of other company's gear.
 

ROOSKIE

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#9
Cool little speaker.
So EQ/DSP is mandatory these days with just about all speakers?
Well, mandatory it is not.
It is however so cheap and easy to DIY these days that it takes an average speaker to real excellence easily.

You used to have to pay big bucks to rely on the manfacturer to do this via active speakers or spend tremendous efforts to design a fantastic passive that perfectly matches your room.

If you or anyone with Android want to try a very easy to use six band PEQ (parametric eq) with the ability to set for L or R or both speakers and support for Tidal and Qbuz try "USB Audio Player PRO". There is also a Graphic Eq to try and a 10 band PEQ (however the 10 band cant be set to L or R independently, just both speakers)
This app is like $7 plus $2 or $3 for the PEQ add on.
Great way to start. There are some other great ones with out Tidal support but I have not tried any of them due to needing Tidal.
Windows and Mac have some great free programs as well that are a little more complex to start with but not crazy so.
If you have an Iphone, then I am not sure what the same easy program would be but there must be something.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #10
Cool little speaker.
So EQ/DSP is mandatory these days with just about all speakers?
I can improve any speaker with DSP/EQ. No question about it. Some speakers are still very good without it though. The Behringer is not due to being too bright.
 

mrmoizy

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#14
That peak at 800Hz seems to maybe come from the tweeter? Weird that the crossover doesn't continue to drive the tweeter response downward below the crossover point. The crossover seems to be about 12db/octave, but on your nearfield response chart the tweeter just levels out about 24db down after a while.

@amirm How do you do this sort of test to be curious? I've built speakers in the past, and it's easier to test individual drivers during the construction process, but doing so with a finished product seems more difficult. I'm curious how you tackle that, you do so many tests and reviews I'm sure you've come up with something interesting. Or is it not an actual test of individual drivers, and just a full-spectrum, full-system test but with the microphone set up close to each driver to try to suss out its individual contribution? Anyway, just curious, want to understand that nearfield chart better.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #15
That peak at 800Hz seems to maybe come from the tweeter?
I am not sure. That measurement for the tweeter is polluted by the woofer still playing and being picked up by the microphone.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #16
@amirm How do you do this sort of test to be curious? I've built speakers in the past, and it's easier to test individual drivers during the construction process, but doing so with a finished product seems more difficult. I'm curious how you tackle that, you do so many tests and reviews I'm sure you've come up with something interesting. Or is it not an actual test of individual drivers, and just a full-spectrum, full-system test but with the microphone set up close to each driver to try to suss out its individual contribution? Anyway, just curious, want to understand that nearfield chart better.
That's correct. Mic is positioned very close to the driver. With woofer this works well because tweeter is directional and hence its output does not get picked up by the mic. Reverse is not true in that when the tweeter response gets weak, the mic picks up the woofer sound.

When there are bi-wire terminals, I can disconnect the tweeter but can't here short of disassembling the speaker which I don't do.
 

krabapple

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#17
I enjoyed listening to these speakers -- I used 5 of them + 2 subs in their final use time -- and I typically used Audyssey (reference) to tweak their in room response. It would be interesting to apply your more targeted EQ instead. Alas, relocation of the listening room to a smaller room means I am for now experimenting with significantly smaller* loudspeakers , and these 5 old men are in storage. ;>


(*I've tried Ascend CBM-170s , which are still too big physically to use 5 in the room, and now about to try the truly small Paradigm Cinema 100 's as either surrounds, or as 5 all around.)
 

Lbstyling

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#18
Damn. I thought the 2031a was going to be my secret for a while!;)
 

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