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Behringer DEQ2496 Ultracurve Pro DSP Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Behringer DEQ2496 Ultracurve "2-channel Equalizer and Mastering Processor." It was kindly loaned to me for testing from a member and has a retail cost of US $645 but I see it discounted to US $429. For those of you frustrated with my lead times, this poor owner has been waiting for a year for this review! Yes, shameful on my part. Testing these specialized products is more of an unknown and I tend to procrastinate in getting them done.

Anyway this is a pro product and "looks the part" as our British brothers would say:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out DAC pro review.jpg


Don't expect fancy OLED displays and such. You get a low contrast orange display (a bit better in person than above). There is a ton of complexity here and navigation is not intuitive using no less than three separate dials and three soft buttons. I muddled my way through it but it is possible I did not get it completely right. Here is the back panel:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out DAC Toslink AES Input and Output Back P...jpg


You have the ability to feed it digital data and have balanced output at two different levels (indicated by that push button). Or go analog in and out in which case the signal is digitized, processed and then converted back to analog. I tested both modes.

Note that my review is limited to performance of the product with respect to its input and output. I cannot review the functionality for which you should seek other reviews. Nor can I test the millions of combination of various processing modes.

Behringer DEQ2496 Ultracurve DAC Measurements
Let's feed the unit balanced digital input ("AES") and see what comes out of the XLR analog output:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out DAC Audio Measurements.png


As noted, this is in high output mode as it should be for XLR output. If I feed the default 0 dBFS (full amplitude digital) to it, the output shoots above 11 volts and clips. Strangely, there is no volume control on this unit so the only way I could adjust the output was to reduce the digital input as you see. I ran a sweep though for both output levels to see performance at different output levels:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out DAC THD+N vs Level Audio Measurements.png


For output to consumer devices, best performance is at just 0.8 volts which is not optimal. Switching to full output level remedies that producing optimal output at 4 volts.

Intermodulation shows early saturation but this is due to fixed high output voltage:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out DAC IMD Audio Measurements.png


If I could set the output to 4 volts, the knee for the curve would be much farther to the right.

Last test I ran on the DAC was linearity which looked pretty good:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out DAC Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Behringer DEQ2496 Ultracurve Analog In Measurements
To make sure none of the processing was impacting the performance, I enabled the bypass mode and got this result:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out Analog In Audio Measurements.png


This is stunningly good of course. But I suspect it is completely bypassing ADC and DAC. Turning on the pipeline but not adjusting anything gives the true performance:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out Analog In Pipeline On Audio Measurements.png


The ADC is basically costing us a couple of dBs which makes sense.

Signal to noise ratio is decent for intended use:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out Analog In SNR Audio Measurements.png


ADC/processing sample rate is programmable. Using the default 96 kHz produces this:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out Analog In Frequency Response Audio Meas...png


Testing distortion relative to output level produces this measurement:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out Analog In THD+N vs Output Level Audio M...png


While a lot more expensive, we see that the Minidsp DDRC-88 outperforms the DEQ2496.

Finally, I ran the distortion relative to frequency and was disappointed by the results:

Behringer DSP Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 AES Input XLR Out Analog In THD+N vs frequency Audio Meas...png


Some rise with frequency is to be expected but nothing this steep. In some sense than our 1 kHz tests resemble the best case situation.

Conclusions
For the intended pro/live sound, the Behringer DEQ2496 does the job as it likely has lower distortion than any pro amp you use. For audiophile use though, it only manages to get 15 to 16 bits of clean dynamic range relative to distortion. That does the job but I hope we strive for better.

Overall I am neutral on Behringer DEQ2496. Performance could have been worse so for the price and application, it seems to be OK.

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

Appreciate any kind donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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RayDunzl

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#2
I have one, and use it for digital S/PDIF input/output.

Never even tried the analog section.

The price has gone up a bit, $100 or so.

It's an old device, Maybe as old as 2003:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Behringer+DeQ2496&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS778US778&biw=1045&bih=954&sxsrf=ALeKk02Yi76WA4mDOAwR0_BCYb-oWLs02Q:1603490388513&source=lnt&tbs=cdr:1,cd_min:,cd_max:12/31/2004&tbm=

Mine wouldn't save settings, when I got it, later, Audio Buddy bought one and it would restart randomly.

Both required reseating the antique ROM chip - bent legs on mine, don't know on his.

Stable ever since, like 8 years ago.
 

solderdude

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#3
Bought one 2 months ago for 233.- Euros. Seen it for 245 Euros as well (Thomann).
This seems to be the normal price in Europe.

Mine is the DEQ2496 though.

Read some comments about failing devices (in various ways) and hope mine keeps working.
It is a Behringer though so cheap segment and decent performance.
 
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#4
I'm looking at maybe getting a Behringer CX2310 crossover, I wonder if it's reasonable to expect similar performance to this - they're almost good enough which for the price would probably be okay for me. Sadly Behringer doesn't seem to publish detailed specifications anywhere I can find it.
 

sergeauckland

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#6
I've had one for about over 10 years now, and it's worked flawlessly. I use it analogue in to AES-EBU out to feed the DCX2496 which I use as a crossover only. The DEQ does EQ and level adjustment as it has input gain controls in the menus. Its menus are not particularly intuitive, but as a 'fit and forget' unit I only had to learn it once...and have now forgotten it.

I've never used the analogue outputs so can't comment, but in line with other Behringer products, they measure 'adequate' rather than SOTA, and adequate is all I need.

S
 

RayDunzl

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#7
Inside:

Thursday, ‎April ‎26, ‎2012, ‏‎19:09:10

1603493988067.png
 

milosz

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#8
I have used the DCX2496 which is a digital crossover unit likely of related electronic design. I used it to cross over to a subwoofer at 45 Hz from a channel for a woofer that went to 200 Hz. It worked well for that. I have also used one of these DCX2496 as a three way digital crossover for a tri-amp speaker and it worked "OK" in that use but I went to a DEQX instead which immediately sounded better, but the DEQX has a sophisticated measuring and correcting algorithm which is absent in the Behringer so while they are both 3-way DSP crossovers, comparing the Behringer DCX2496 to the DEQX is a little like comparing apples to oranges.

For the money I have found that every Behringer product I have used has worked OK. Not great, but offering good value for money spent. They really are intended for pro sound applications in modest systems, and they hit that mark squarely while being almost good enough for HiFi use.
 

Helicopter

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#10
Thanks for the review. The performance is on the high end of my expectations, and the pass through is a good feature I might use for phono while using EQ for a DAC.

I have been considering one of these for EQ because you can stay digital like @RayDunzl with s/pdif in/out.

I wish there were something on the market for hifi more stripped down without the analog converters and connections, smaller, and priced well. I am guessing PEQ will be included in more DACs and amps in the coming years, and that will work too. I really like the idea of a device like this that can go between a digital source and DAC and add PEQ without needing to go through ADC/DAC.
 

MRC01

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#11
I have one, and use it for digital S/PDIF input/output. Never even tried the analog section.
...
Stable ever since, like 8 years ago.
Same here. I use it for digital parametric EQ, with named presets for my speakers & headphones. Got it about 4 years ago, still works great.

I wonder if its pure digital section could be tested. For example, give it a known digital signal, pass it through and see if it modifies it. Add noise (it can dither 16, 20 or 24 bits, triangular or noise shaped) and check the noise profile. Apply a few parametric EQ bands and see if they cause any side effects other than the EQ itself.

All in the pure digital domain, of course, no A/D or D/A converters.

I speculate that it would have excellent performance for these pure digital functions; its weakness is the D/A and A/D converters.
 

LTig

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#12
I bought mine in May 2003 for €390. It's quite a bit cheaper now. I think it's one of the longest living Behringer products, in production for 17 years now and no end to see. Still its list of very useful features is broad and quite unique: 10 x parametric EQ, 31 band graphic EQ, feedback destroyer, stereo width, compressor/expander, 61 band analyzer with microphone input, auto EQ, ... whatever. It's like a Swiss army knive for fixing audio problems.

The analogue bypass uses relays which connect input and output if the relay is off so losing power does not mean losing signal as well.

There is a company which offers to exchange the ADC and DAC boards by better ones, but you lose the possibility to set the digital input gain.

I used it as DAC in my main system and to fix a room mode. After I got an AVP I mounted it in a portable 19" rack for PA purposes (GEQ, feedback destroyer). A few years ago it would not work and the cause was a leaked cap in the power supply. I replaced it and it worked again. :)
 
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#13
Thanks for the review!

I guess I will have to wait to find out if it has a cool methol upper end or a rich, chocolaty mid range. :)
 

StevenEleven

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#14
I’ve had one of these since about 2003 and treasure it. I‘ve used it for many things, from EQ and crossfeed for headphones, to digitizing LPs, to (currently) killing a couple of room modes in my listening room.

I am glad to see it measures in the acceptable range even under modern standards. Thanks so much for this test, @amirm . :)

Thanks also to the member who sent it in.

I learned a lot about audio just learning all of the capabilities of this device over many years.

Original cost for me was $300 so I’m surprised to see the price listed so high in the review.
 
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#15
I've had two Behringer DCX2496's fail.
1. DCX2496 #1 -Power supply died after 2 years 24 x 7 use. Unit was kaput.
2. DCX2496#2- DIsplay getting flaky after 5 years 24x7 use. Unit still working but you can't see the display very well at all.
Every rack mount piece of Berhinger I have used has been the hottest running gear I have ever used. Add the that the power supplies that go POOF with purple smoke...yeah, I know that pro audio gear has a service life and that bad products are part of the game but I just don't like Behringer's power supply issues.
 

MRC01

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#16
... Every rack mount piece of Berhinger I have used has been the hottest running gear I have ever used. Add the that the power supplies that go POOF with purple smoke...
Mine runs cool. Maybe that's because I use it as digital SPDIF in & out without the A/D or D/A converters.
 

BYRTT

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#17
Great thanks the review Amir :) have 4 times these units myself to manipulate guitar sounds but had also used two of them in paralell as active crossover units using their digital in and analog outs for a 2-way system, had mine since year 2006 and they heavy use AKM chip circuits, well now that could have changed over the years because know there is some firmware family changes that wont work in older units, mine use below year 2000 circuits..

ADC (main analog inputs) AK5393
DAC (main analog outputs) AK4393
RTA/Mic in AUX out AK4524 (Audio Codec 2ch ADC & 2ch DAC)
AK4114 (192kHz 24-Bit DIR with 8-1 Selector & DIT)
Analog devices DSP microcomputer ADSP-21065L
A7S Triscend configurable system on chip platform
 
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Helicopter

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#18
Thanks for the review!

I guess I will have to wait to find out if it has a cool methol upper end or a rich, chocolaty mid range. :)
With PEQ, GEQ, and decent performance, this thing is flavored like the rack of 20 spices they sell at Samsclub around Christmas. You can get any profile you want as long as you have modest expectations.
 
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Every rack mount piece of Berhinger I have used has been the hottest running gear I have ever used. Add the that the power supplies that go POOF with purple smoke...yeah, I know that pro audio gear has a service life and that bad products are part of the game but I just don't like Behringer's power supply issues.
I have a CX3400 Super-X Pro analog Xover that ate it's power supply. It's one of the original linear PS versions before they switched over to the SMPS versions. The four capacitors that they put across the PS diodes went from capacitor > resistor > ash and took out the toroidal Xfer's thermal fuse. I built a new supply and replaced the Xfer and it's still going. See schematic below:

cx3400.png
 
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