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Behringer DCX2496 EQ Review

Rate this DSP DAC/ADC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 5.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 65 36.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 86 48.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 16 9.0%

  • Total voters
    177

AnalogSteph

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Also, do you think it is possible a modding of the unit by replacing the AK4393 with a more modern DAC via I2S?
The bottleneck of these units has always been the analog stages, so there is no point in a converter swap without addressing those first. (They are riddled with crummy ceramic capacitors in the signal path and NJM2068s subjected to high levels in unbalanced circuitry.) Once those are modified, you can basically get datasheet-level performance out of the AK4393, about as good as anything remotely affordable in the mid-2000s. DAC SNR of 117.5 dB and THD of -105 dB is more than good enough for a crossover, you can clear a 110 dB system dynamic range and any human distortion audibility threshold like that.

Using a more modern DAC would require some glue logic to properly accommodate the pins used for speed setting and such.

I bet they kept using these 96 kHz parts because they were actually top-notch converters that were considered outdated within just a few years (with 192 kHz being the new hotness) and may have sold at quite a discount as a result.
 

The Capstan

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The bottleneck of these units has always been the analog stages, so there is no point in a converter swap without addressing those first.
Maybe I was not clear: my assumption was to use the digital input (AES-EBU) available on one of the inputs, managed by the CS8420 receiver/sample rate converter, so with the target to achieve a full digital I/O in case you opt for the Toslink/AES-EBU additional board. IMHO feasible and still worth the effort.
Especially valuable to manage a DSP correction in 2.1 configurations where the subwoofer matching is sometimes critical.
 

kencreten

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The jitter measurement show about 88 dB. Maybe low enough, but modern dsp crossovers like Minidsp flex has 135-140 dB.
I think that's very impressive, but it's gilding the lily. Can you find me music that goes to that? Most music today has far more limited dynamic range than that. I'm a serious hobby musician. If I get -88 out of my system in total here... I'd be jumping for joy. As it is... it's functionally silent. I have a headphone amp with all kinds of dynamic range. Pretty soon get into territory that doesn't make any sense. Whether something is at -88, or -100, or 140... I don't seriously care.
 

Tangband

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I think that's very impressive, but it's gilding the lily. Can you find me music that goes to that? Most music today has far more limited dynamic range than that. I'm a serious hobby musician. If I get -88 out of my system in total here... I'd be jumping for joy. As it is... it's functionally silent. I have a headphone amp with all kinds of dynamic range. Pretty soon get into territory that doesn't make any sense. Whether something is at -88, or -100, or 140... I don't seriously care.
And maybe you are right that one cant hear any difference in this case . I just compared with a more modern device .
If the gainstage is less than max (0 dB ) like If you use a digital volume control at the source set at -30 dB before the AES input on the Behringer - how will the jitter measurements be then ? I dont know for sure and maybe you and I cant hear any problems but its something thats been improved over the last 20 years.
 

DualTriode

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I’ve been using this unit for years to sort out DYI crossovers on custom built loudspeakers. It has performance as good as or usually much better than the passive crossovers that I build to mimic optimized transfer characteristics.
Same same.

I have owned and used used one these things for years.

Used to select diy crossover frequencies.

Thanks DT
 

kencreten

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And maybe you are right that one cant hear any difference in this case . I just compared with a more modern device .
If the gainstage is less than max (0 dB ) like If you use a digital volume control at the source set at -30 dB before the AES input on the Behringer - how will the jitter measurements be then ? I dont know for sure and maybe you and I cant hear any problems but its something thats been improved over the last 20 years.
Most people aren't that serious that are using this thing. If they can get a signal through it and it sounds OK, they're set.

How are we using the word improved? For me, improved - enough, means that problems are imperceptible. My friend used to respond to some kinds of inquiries this way, "it's a matter of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter." Once we pass the threshold of perceptibly, what does, "improvement" mean then? So, one device might have a 140db dynamic range and is otherwise perfect, and another similar device comes along, and it is also otherwise perfect, but(!) It has a dynamic range of 150db? Is the second device better? If there was a device that had 100db dynamic range, and otherwise measured "the same" as the 140-50db devices, but cost 50-75% less, I'd go with the 100db dynamic range, and I, and no human listening to my (good) system would ever notice any kind of a problem, assuming proper operation.

Me boasting about my (inexpensive) -140db headphone amp that I have, is like maintaining bragging rights on an unidentifiable, microscopic teacup, floating behind the Moon. Or maybe bragging about my piece of kelp at the bottom the Mariana Trench.

As far as all the modern levels, and all. I with my home recording setup up, I try to get as much level as I can in, without distorting, and normalize the signals before mixing them. I'm not at all a professional, but I did 72 track song for friends and family in 2018, and I was surprised how it sounded. I ahered to exactly zero "industry standars" that I knew of. I'll link it. If a person is a pro, I understand the desire and necessity of industry standards but are those people buying this unit?

Ken Creten Christmas song - 72 tracks, DAW: Mixcraft, Focusrite, Shure 57, Kemper amp, and other stuffs.
 

Waxx

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for those interested, the DCX is one of the few items from Behringer having full schematics available online. here is the link:
Download

Also, do you think it is possible a modding of the unit by replacing the AK4393 with a more modern DAC via I2S? I see, just as example, this product that maybe should work:


I see physical lines should be matchable: SDATA -> DATA, BCLK->BICK , LRCK-> LRCK , MCLK->MCLK.

Same for providing the unit with a digital output:

In case, should the external converter work in parallel without removing the original chip?

thanks
There is a whole Behringer mod scene, and some even sell modifications like here: (the first hits i found in a quick google search): https://www.behringermods.com/dcx2496.html

So changing it is certainly possible...
 

The Capstan

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There is a whole Behringer mod scene, and some even sell modifications like here: (the first hits i found in a quick google search): https://www.behringermods.com/dcx2496.html

So changing it is certainly possible...
yes and no, both the above mods are intended to address limitation on the analogue I/O boards with new opamp circuitry and voltage regulators. My idea was to replace the digital audio path from its roots so to be able to use and external DAC.
 

sergeauckland

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There is a whole Behringer mod scene, and some even sell modifications like here: (the first hits i found in a quick google search): https://www.behringermods.com/dcx2496.html

So changing it is certainly possible...
They (behringermods.com) were the people (Hi Simon!) that modded both my DEQ (inputs) and DCX (outputs). Simon's view was that the ADCs and DACs were fine, even the opamps would have been OK, what was wrong was the circuit topology. He didn't give me the details of exactly what was wrong, but both on the ADC and DAC sides, his mods reduced distortion by some 20dB. I had these done as Simon offered to do them for free as I think he was testing out some new boards, but as I use the DEQ with analogue inputs, having SOTA distortion is useful (not that I can hear it!) as I can use the DEQ as a 'reference grade' ADC (with EQ bypassed) for recordings.

I come back to what I've always thought of Behringer, they're never SOTA, but 'Good Enough' for transparency in normal use, whether domestically or professionally. As to reliability, I can't complain, as I've got Behringer equipment working 24/7 for some 10+ years now. The only one that's given problems is their compressor/limiter, otherwise everything else has just worked. It may be different 'On The Road', but my use is in a rack, either at home, or at our local Radio Station, and their stuff has been just as reliable as 'Proper' pro equipment.

S.
 

JPA

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Eq changes the response and as a result distortion.
How about setting up pairs of EQ filters that cancel each other out? Like a PEQ peak and a PEQ dip both centered at 1K Hz. Or a bass shelving filter paired with a complementary bass boost filter. Then measure the distortion.
 

Robbo99999

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Random request on a related tangent, @amirm , could you measure this one, I want to know how bad it is!
You've measured the HD version ages ago, but not the cheapest "base model".
 

fpitas

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They (behringermods.com) were the people (Hi Simon!) that modded both my DEQ (inputs) and DCX (outputs). Simon's view was that the ADCs and DACs were fine, even the opamps would have been OK, what was wrong was the circuit topology. He didn't give me the details of exactly what was wrong, but both on the ADC and DAC sides, his mods reduced distortion by some 20dB. I had these done as Simon offered to do them for free as I think he was testing out some new boards, but as I use the DEQ with analogue inputs, having SOTA distortion is useful (not that I can hear it!) as I can use the DEQ as a 'reference grade' ADC (with EQ bypassed) for recordings.

I come back to what I've always thought of Behringer, they're never SOTA, but 'Good Enough' for transparency in normal use, whether domestically or professionally. As to reliability, I can't complain, as I've got Behringer equipment working 24/7 for some 10+ years now. The only one that's given problems is their compressor/limiter, otherwise everything else has just worked. It may be different 'On The Road', but my use is in a rack, either at home, or at our local Radio Station, and their stuff has been just as reliable as 'Proper' pro equipment.

S.
That's my opinion, too. It's not so bad if you use it fully balanced output. The big problems start when you ground the minus output to get single-ended from the plus output. Hence, I used mine balanced. A transformer could be used if you have to get single ended, or even just leave the minus output open.
 

krabapple

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I dont think the SRC is any good in this 20 years old product . The jitter measurement shows a bad result. Maybe Ok in 2003 but not in 2022.
There is pronounced data dependent jitter but thankfully levels are not high enough to be an audible concern:

But hey, you do you.
 

Tangband

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Interesting review .
Theres many opinions by owners that the AES input sound better and has better S/N . This test dont show this . Maybe people havent optimized for optimal gain structure ? .

The jitter results in this Behringer are not up to standard of 2022 ( -90 dB ) . I wouldnt buy it for this issue. The minidsp flex uses a xmos as USB input and shows much less jitter .

This Behringer digital crossover offers a 3 way solution for not much money , so maybe the price reflects the performance? Not top notch , but better than some analog active crossovers .

View attachment 241576View attachment 241577
This is not a good jitter result 2022. They could rebuild the dsp with a xmos and a modern SRC for very little money.
Look at the comparison of Minidsp flex.
3767F483-DF70-44FD-9837-9089EF0DED9E.png
FA069B07-E528-4A6C-BE2E-8B5153F862D4.jpeg
 

Rrobot

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Nice to see this unit still hanging in there! I've got one with Simon's (behringermods) I/O upgrades and I'm fairly happy with it - extremely powerful device for the money....i barely use a fraction of the functions.

One of the best things I did though was build one of the little wifi remotes using an esp based board and a couple of connectors... so now I can happily check the curves and eqs in a nice little GUI from my laptop. Huge props to the developer of the hardware and software for making it all open source.

 

AnalogSteph

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They (behringermods.com) were the people (Hi Simon!) that modded both my DEQ (inputs) and DCX (outputs). Simon's view was that the ADCs and DACs were fine, even the opamps would have been OK, what was wrong was the circuit topology. He didn't give me the details of exactly what was wrong, but both on the ADC and DAC sides, his mods reduced distortion by some 20dB.
Problem #1 is that the signal path stock is littered with craptacular tiny ceramic caps, even values in the low 100s of pF not being NP0. Fixing that alone makes a huge difference. And then asking a lone NJM2068 to handle the full output level single-ended (as it's an impedance-balanced output stage only) is asking for trouble, too. Ultimately it comes down to penny-pinching.
 

sergeauckland

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Problem #1 is that the signal path stock is littered with craptacular tiny ceramic caps, even values in the low 100s of pF not being NP0. Fixing that alone makes a huge difference. And then asking a lone NJM2068 to handle the full output level single-ended (as it's an impedance-balanced output stage only) is asking for trouble, too. Ultimately it comes down to penny-pinching.
The DCX I have in my system has proper balanced and differential inputs and outputs, not just impedance balanced outputs.
The outputs consist of a pair of 4580 opamps in a fully-floating configuration such that either side can be grounded for unbalanced connections without a drop in level.

It's possible that later production was cheapened, but the one I use is as above. The same output arrangement is used for the DEQ2496.

S.
 

gp4Jesus

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I’m pursuing flat output to or better, below 20 hz. How do I if it’s possible (in the XO section) to disable the “Low” high pass filter?

It appears to attenuate at or about 20-21hz.
Or which setting has the least affect at or below 20hz

Thanks. Tony
 

ssashton

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I’m pursuing flat output to or better, below 20 hz. How do I if it’s possible (in the XO section) to disable the “Low” high pass filter?

It appears to attenuate at or about 20-21hz.
Or which setting has the least affect at or below 20hz

Thanks. Tony
It is possible to disable the filter.
 
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