• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Behringer MODs DCX Upgrade Review

Rate this upgrade:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 1.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 18 15.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 68 57.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 30 25.4%

  • Total voters
    118

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,645
Likes
240,766
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review and detailed measurements of an upgrade for the venerable Behringer Ultra-Drive Pro DCX2496 by Behringer MODs. An upgraded unit was sent to me for testing. The upgrade itself costs £138 in UK and £115 outside UK.
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DCX Upgrade Review.jpg

The board fully upgrades the existing DAC board:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DCX Upgrade Board Close-up Review.jpg

I like the clear notations on every subsystem. And the fact that the company has included measurements to show efficacy of the upgrade -- rarity!

Note that unlike the stock unit that goes up to some 10 volts (clipped) the upgrade's max output is about 4.5 volts. I am told by the designer, Simon Ashton that this is to make it more compatible with hi-fi equipment.

Behringer MODs DCX 2496 Upgrade DAC Measurements
Note: for this review I found the high and low pass menu options and defeated them (they didn't impact the measurements of either units). Let's start with our usual Dashboard with the unit configured to accept AES/EBU balanced digital input:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC Measurements.png

The stock unit had a SINAD of 94 dB. Here, one channel goes up to 96 and the other to 99 dB. Distortion amount is not changed a lot but noise has gone way down:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC Dynamic Range Measurements.png


You can see the same in how the upgraded board maintains its SINAD much better at lower output levels:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC THD vs Level Measurements.png


Company's testing shows much better IMD distortion and I can verify the same:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC IMD Measurements.png


Multitone is improved by similar amounts:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC Multitone Measurements.png


Here is the stock version (was missing in the original review so I measured it last night):
Behringer Ultradrive HD Pro DAC Multitone Measurements.png

You can see the increasing sidebands as frequencies increase which is missing in the upgrade.

Linearity and jitter are more or less the same:

Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC Linearity Measurements.png

Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC Jitter Measurements.png


There must be more out of band noise to cause the upgrade to have similar THD+N vs frequency (wideband measurement):
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC THD+N vs Frequency Measurements.png



Behringer MODs DCX 2496 Upgrade DAC+ADC Measurements
In case you are using the unit as analog in/out, as with the stock unit, I measured the unit in this configuration. Here is our dashboard:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro ADC Measurements.png


This is 3 to 4 dB better than the stock. Sweeping the levels you see the superior performance yet again:

Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC THD vs Measured Level Measurements.png


Once more, IMD distortion measurements show the most gap relative to stock version:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro DAC IMD Measurements.png


Same for noise performance:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro ADC SNR Measurements.png


Finally, wideband measurements show the same performance:
Behringer MODs Ultradrive HD Pro ADC THD vs Frequency Measurements.png


Conclusions
The Behringer MODs upgrade clearly takes performance of DCX2496 by a full step or two higher. This is most visible in noise and IMD distortion tests. The former is important as you make trips in and out of digital domain. Last thing you want is substitute response errors for hiss and noise when deploying EQ.

As a side note, Simon was a joy to work with. Original plan was for me to do the upgrade and Simon volunteered to send me a fully upgraded unit. And even created a video on how to configure the Behringer for full pass through mode.

The only negative is that the upgrade is a bit involved so you better read the instructions to make sure it is for you.

I am going to recommend the Behringer MODs DCX upgrade.

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

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
Last edited:

holbob

Active Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
291
Likes
513
Location
Lincoln, UK
Thank you amir. Much more useful than the plethora of SMSL/Topping dac and headphone amps carbon copy reviews.
 

phoenixdogfan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
3,333
Likes
5,230
Location
Nashville
Doesn't have a USB input, so if you wanted to use it digitally off a PC, you have to use something to convert the USB into SPDIF like the SMSL PO 100, and then convert the SPDIF into AES/EBU like the Canare transformers. Price of the unit is $350+price of the mod kit is another $140 USD+there is sweat equity of doing the DIY mod. Comes to over $500, and, in the end, won't be as performant as most current DACS.

When you consider that a brand new MiniDsp Flex 8 is $599, and does everything this does with two more output channels. and has the $199 option of adding Dirac Live to it, and will almost certainly have Sinads from all eight of its DAC channels exceeding 110 db, I don't see why this modded Behringer would be an option unless someone wants to tinker.
 

Alt-Wrong

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
12
Likes
13
Location
portland, oregon
very cool idea for a review, Amir. thank you. i wonder if a power supply swap to a linear type would help some.
i use a SRC2496 to nice effect (which uses a linear), taking its dig. xlr out to feed the dig. xlr in on my Lavry DA11.
the 2496 becomes the digital input selector, which I then decide how i want to “treat” the signal before sending it on to the DA11.
this use case also avoids the DA11’s wonky input selection process.
FWIW, i have a stock DEQ2496, with ecm8000 mic and mic stand, as a package deal, for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
 
Last edited:

EJ3

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
2,188
Likes
1,707
Location
James Island, SC
Price of the unit is $350+price of the mod kit is another $140 USD+there is sweat equity of doing the DIY mod. Comes to over $500, and, in the end, won't be as performant as most current DACS.

When you consider that a brand new MiniDsp Flex 8 is $599, and does everything this does with two more output channels. and has the $199 option of adding Dirac Live to it, and will almost certainly have Sinads from all eight of its DAC channels exceeding 110 db, I don't see why this modded Behringer would be an option unless someone wants to tinker.
But IF you are already an owner of a Behringer DCX2496 (as I have been for many years) and have no need for anything other than stereo, it makes great sense.
 

EJ3

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
2,188
Likes
1,707
Location
James Island, SC
Doesn't have a USB input, so if you wanted to use it digitally off a PC, you have to use something to convert the USB into SPDIF like the SMSL PO 100, and then convert the SPDIF into AES/EBU like the Canare transformers.
Great reminder of great information here.
Thank you!
 

Ken Tajalli

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
2,073
Likes
1,851
Location
London UK
Thank you for the review.
Regarding UK pricing, by default prices in UK are VAT included. That is sales tax at %20 already included in the price for UK consumers.
Obviously, for non-UK sales, you can deduct it.
 

Rednaxela

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 30, 2022
Messages
2,125
Likes
2,752
Location
NL
Excellent review, thank you.

As a very happy DEQ2496 (digital in/out) user I find it hard to describe how utterly amazing these Behringer XXX2496 products are. Still to this day.

Traditionally their analog sections have been a bit of an Achilles heel and it’s great to have options for effectively addressing this should one feel the need.
 
Last edited:

Rednaxela

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 30, 2022
Messages
2,125
Likes
2,752
Location
NL
Doesn't have a USB input, so if you wanted to use it digitally off a PC, you have to use something to convert the USB into SPDIF like the SMSL PO 100, and then convert the SPDIF into AES/EBU like the Canare transformers. Price of the unit is $350+price of the mod kit is another $140 USD+there is sweat equity of doing the DIY mod. Comes to over $500, and, in the end, won't be as performant as most current DACS.

When you consider that a brand new MiniDsp Flex 8 is $599, and does everything this does with two more output channels. and has the $199 option of adding Dirac Live to it, and will almost certainly have Sinads from all eight of its DAC channels exceeding 110 db, I don't see why this modded Behringer would be an option unless someone wants to tinker.
Or unless someone does not do PC-based audio and/or prefers to have self-contained devices in their setup.
 

maty

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
4,600
Likes
3,170
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
Last edited:

sergeauckland

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Messages
3,460
Likes
9,155
Location
Suffolk UK
Excellent review, thank you.

As a very happy DEQ2496 (digital in/out) user I find it hard to describe how utterly amazing these Behringer XXX2496 products are. Still to this day.

Traditionally their analog sections have been a bit of an Achilles heel and it’s great to have options for effectively addressing this should one feel the need.
I use the DEQ2496 analogue in digital out, and the DCX2496 digital in, analogue out.
Simon modified both of mine many years ago, with what look like some prototype boards I think he was testing out. The measurements he provided, which I checked for myself, made a very significant improvement to the numbers, not that I could hear the improvement!

Sadly, the DCX had to be replaced when something failed on the main board after a number of years, but the DEQ is still working now some 12 years later, with Simon's mods.

I can also confirm that Simon is a great person to deal with, and his mini-monitors look really interesting for something that small.

S.
 

Tangband

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 3, 2019
Messages
2,994
Likes
2,798
Location
Sweden
Doesn't have a USB input, so if you wanted to use it digitally off a PC, you have to use something to convert the USB into SPDIF like the SMSL PO 100, and then convert the SPDIF into AES/EBU like the Canare transformers. Price of the unit is $350+price of the mod kit is another $140 USD+there is sweat equity of doing the DIY mod. Comes to over $500, and, in the end, won't be as performant as most current DACS.

When you consider that a brand new MiniDsp Flex 8 is $599, and does everything this does with two more output channels. and has the $199 option of adding Dirac Live to it, and will almost certainly have Sinads from all eight of its DAC channels exceeding 110 db, I don't see why this modded Behringer would be an option unless someone wants to tinker.
Good analog stage in this modified Behringer. :)


Minidsp flex 8 has much less jitter, 8 channels, and an asyncronus USB input. This combined might be a sound advantage. A DIY:er with skills can make a pair of kick-ass 4-way active dsp speaker.
The digital stage in this Behringer is 20 years old technology with no xmos chip.

Anyway - Comparing this modified Behringer with a cheaper minidsp HD , I would get the Behringer.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: EJ3

JayGilb

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
1,383
Likes
2,354
Location
West-Central Wisconsin
The right link:

BehringerMods.com Instructions for modification of Behringer DCX analog inputs and outputs

=> [PDF] https://www.behringermods.com/DCXInstructions-Black.pdf
Looking at the instructions, this not a trivial upgrade and involves soldering and physical modifications.
Maybe not a starter project for a first timer, but would be a good weekend task for someone with some previous soldering skills.

Edit: I own an older DCX2496 that has some minor modifications and found the sound to be very clear and detailed.
These units and other Behringer products are know to suffer from ribbon connector problems as they age.
The older units used to have a PCMCIA flash memory card slot on the front where the user could save and load configurations.
s-l1600.jpg

Great review Amir - thanks.
 
Last edited:

peniku8

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
370
Likes
738
Doesn't have a USB input, so if you wanted to use it digitally off a PC, you have to use something to convert the USB into SPDIF like the SMSL PO 100, and then convert the SPDIF into AES/EBU like the Canare transformers. Price of the unit is $350+price of the mod kit is another $140 USD+there is sweat equity of doing the DIY mod. Comes to over $500, and, in the end, won't be as performant as most current DACS.

When you consider that a brand new MiniDsp Flex 8 is $599, and does everything this does with two more output channels. and has the $199 option of adding Dirac Live to it, and will almost certainly have Sinads from all eight of its DAC channels exceeding 110 db, I don't see why this modded Behringer would be an option unless someone wants to tinker.
Don't forget the converter to be able to control this unit over USB. This unit is a 20 year old digital box which nobody should buy new today, especially after Behringer increased the price from 270 to 370€ (!). It is a terrible value, especially considering that a DBX PA2 is only 100€ more than this now.
I wonder how Thomann's DSP 206 would perform. If anybody in Germany wants to send me one to test, send me a DM!
 

PeteL

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
3,303
Likes
3,846
Doesn't have a USB input, so if you wanted to use it digitally off a PC, you have to use something to convert the USB into SPDIF like the SMSL PO 100, and then convert the SPDIF into AES/EBU like the Canare transformers. Price of the unit is $350+price of the mod kit is another $140 USD+there is sweat equity of doing the DIY mod. Comes to over $500, and, in the end, won't be as performant as most current DACS.

When you consider that a brand new MiniDsp Flex 8 is $599, and does everything this does with two more output channels. and has the $199 option of adding Dirac Live to it, and will almost certainly have Sinads from all eight of its DAC channels exceeding 110 db, I don't see why this modded Behringer would be an option unless someone wants to tinker.
Depends on what you need. On Flex, You don't have enough output channels to implement a stereo two way cross over + sub(s), or 3 way stereo cross over. You don't have balanced IO, you don't have meters, you don't have rack mount possibility for the install and production market.I would think that most people that implement DSP or Xover with an external box like that want's all of their sources to go trough it, not just a PC, In the market targetted by this, USB don't add much value to the package. Wheter 110 dB+ of Sinad is a real life benefit remains debatable for most applications (this is not for headphones).

Edit: sorry you said flex 8 not flex. Well all those remains true except out channels, but flex eight have zero analog inputs, so even more limited in that regard.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: EJ3

bmwr75

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
32
Likes
62
I bought two of his modded Behringer units back when he was selling them under the AudioSmile company name. That might have been back in the 2000s. Generally happy with them.
 

ssashton

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2022
Messages
31
Likes
44
Thanks for your review Amir!

I'm Simon.

Your point about the wide-band THD+N is correct.

I had not seen the recent price hike on the stock DCX2496! I had better work on making a guide to upgrade the 'LE' version which is less expensive but has most of the good features.

Another thing I like about the DCX is that Room EQ Wizard includes the ability to simulate and optimise EQ for this model. So you can take advantage of that feature to flatten driver response or room modes without making 100 measurements every time you change a setting.
 

fpitas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
9,885
Likes
14,207
Location
Northern Virginia, USA
I'm glad his mods work, I have wondered. I do think it's disappointing that Behringer doesn't roll in similar improvements.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EJ3
Top Bottom