Got it figured, thanks anyway.
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You should be able to play a (any) CD from beginning to end, and, using the METER display which logs the peak level, see a peak level for the whole CD at about -6dB, or less. (That's dB down from CLIP). Most of the time the -20 dB green LEDs should be lit. Don't make the mistake of reducing the signal level so much that the 24 bit A/D and D/A are underutilized.
Nuguy and Eldartford
You guys are smarter than I am because this is exactly my problem and despite reading the manual at least twice, I still cant figure it out.
I am using a cheapo Creative Labs USB interface which then goes optical out into the Behringer.
For a bit of fun and experimentation, I am using the same cheapo box to go simultaneously RCA out into a Musical Fidelity tube buffer, which then goes into the analogue inputs of the Behringer.
I don't yet understand how to fix the following:
1) I can switch the inputs from the optical to the RCA using the I/O switch, but their levels are very different with the optical input being at least a few DB louder
2) In both cases, I am pegging the clipping lights on the meters
Any suggestions on how to adjust the input (or output?) levels for
a) best sound and to
b) avoid maxing out the meters
would be a big help. Don't know if optical in is a bad idea, but for now, I dont have another DAC to use my Hagerman USB to coaxial SPDIF device, so I am hoping to get some decent sound out of the Behringer.
Thanks for this or any other tips with this fun toy.
CW, Push the Utility menu button and look for the Gain Offset control.
I am thinking that the Gain Offset value would be saved in different memory presets, so you could use memory presets to associate different gain settings with different sources.
I've played with different gain settings, but now I just let the red lights flash. They tug at my conscience a little bit, and I am concerned that hifi-savvy visitors will think I'm a loser, but I simply do not hear any distortion.
In a thread many months ago where this topic came up, someone said that the signal that most pro gear would send into the equalizer is of lower amplitude than that of consumer gear. Beats me.
Thanks - I have just played with a bit as well....
....and for me, it seems that cranking it up into the red clipping zone definitely increases distortion.
So maybe this is the solution to my problems here.
Still, I cant seem to get the LEDs very far below the clipping zone.
I also dont understand why optical out to optical in would introduce "clipping". I thought power amplifiers "clipped", not source devices?
Any additional detail or menu navigation tips greatly appreciated.
I wanted you to also know that I can relate to the existential angst which results from any sightings of the red clipping light.
But I am determined to fix my levels before any hi fi savvy guests visit my house, as I really don't think I could otherwise live with myself as an audiophile.
Will report back with any additional findings.
Still, I cant seem to get the LEDs very far below the clipping zone.
Many modern pop CD's are recorded at -3 to -6 db from maximum. [Read about CD Loudness Wars or got to Bob Katz digi domain for an explanation why engineers do this]
Therefore you will often be close to clipping...try reducing the OVERALL GAIN so that signal levels in the digital software are well below clipping. There is NO loss of signal by staying well clear of clipping. You will not be underutilizing your DAC. You have a 24 bit DAC - this is way more dynamic range than you need or your speakers are capable of....just turn down the gain there will be abolutely NO detrimental affect on the signal!
Note: Make sure the Max switch is in the correct position for analog signals.
Cwlondon..."Line level" (analog) for pro equipment is higher than the usual for home audio equipment, not lower. The potential problem is that home audio equipment will provide a less than optimal signal input to the pro gear (for example: the DEQ2496). Clipping is not an issue here.
In the digital world clipping just means that all the bits are used up. Sixteen bits set is the largest value that a CD can represent, and if the analog signal goes above that the digital signal stays "stuck" at 16 bits. (Actually it's one "sign" bit (+/-) and fifteen bits of value).
Obviously the CD has a 16 bit clipping level, and if the digital input scaling is bit-for-bit you will not clip in the DEQ2496 no matter how close you come. I do remember that the DEQ2496 "CLIP" indicators light up a bit below clipping (3dB or so) and it is possible that a CD may have been made right up to clipping. The DEQ2496 would only be affectes by actual clipping, not a close call. Unlike analog equipment performance of digital does not deteriorate neat to clipping.
Thanks for all your help on this device as usual.
I am working my way through the various features and menus and getting more comfortable with it.
What is more interesting is the following:
I tried the RTA function on a couple of occasions, but my audiophile roots weren't quite comfortable using the EQ - I suppose my natural aversion to "tone controls".
Also, I really liked the sound of my ATC SCM7s for my desktop setup and tended to use the parametric EQ only as more of a loudness contour for lower level listening.
Recently, however, I ran the RTA, and then tinkered with the results a bit, in general rolling off the highs just a bit more, and increasing the bass just a bit to help these small monitors out a bit.
With these settings which were probably 75-80% RTA derived and 20-25% tweaking by me, I have been listening to the same ATCs for a few days.
Last night, I pushed the bypass button I was floored ?!?! by the results.
Suddenly, the speakers sounded very lifeless, less detailed, unsatisfyingly rolled off in the bass and very congested and nasally sounding in the midrange.
Only a few days ago, I couldnt imagine describing these speakers in this way.
So I am starting to wonder:
Either 1) we audiophiles are all completely insane re "straight wire with gain" nonsense and 2) this Behringer EQ is not only a revolutionary device but also the bargain of the century
Tweaking tone controls 1) can create euphonic coloration and 2) one's ears adjust very quickly to this, and listen through to the speaker.
In this argument, if someone secretly bypassed the EQ I would still enjoy my monitors and not necessarily miss the EQ.
Whatever the case, this continues to be some of the most fun I have ever had for $299 bucks. And I have had a lot of fun in my life.
I was in the same situation. I always thought the shortest signal path was the best and that if at all possible, you shouldn't mess with the signal. But I had read several reviews saying what a bargain the Behringer was and how you couldn't believe the difference until you heard it. So I figured I'd buy one, play with it for a while, but ultimately sell it and go back to my simple, cd player to pre to amp set-up.
You probably know where this is heading. My DEQ isn't going anywhere! I really couldn't believe the difference "room correction" made, more detail, more life, less congested, etc.
My brother-in-law owns a studio and an A/V conference support company, when I told him about the difference it made, he said "heck ya, you've got to correct for the room. I don't know why you audiophiles don't get that".
Every once in a while I think about removing it, then I hit "bypass" and can't believe how crappy my system sounds without it.
Anyone who asks, I say "you have to try it". But I've found most audiophiles don't want to put an "equaliser" in their system. But I'll keep spreading the gospel.
In my case, "correcting for the room" is curious:
* I just made significant changes to the room with acoustic panels (I suppose it used to be even worse?)
* In this system, I am listening to small monitors in a "nearfield" configuration
Is it possible that my EQ curve is adjusting the curve of my speakers more than the curve of my room?
In any case, it really is a surprisingly big difference.
Mark Levinson could put the chip in a big heavy case with red LEDs and sell it for $30,000.
Cwlondon...According to Rives Audio, who qualifies as something of an expert on room treatments, you can't do much that way below 350 Hz or so. This is why they developed their PARC equalizer.
Of course it may also be that you have set up a frequency response curve that you prefer over flat. This could be related to your speakers/room, your ears, or just a personal preference.
I may have to give you my CC details for the ongoing tech support.
I had tweaked an EQ curve from the RTA which sounded really good, but unfortunately lost it when I couldnt quite figure out the memory function.
In the meantime, I think I also screwed up some other settings.
So back to the drawing board -- is there a quick procedure for a full factory reset?
Cwlondon...NO!!! If you use a DAC to feed an analog signal into the DEQ2496, it will immediately do an analog to digital conversion. If you want to avoid the A/D and D/A converters of the DEQ2496 (completely unnecessary IMHO) you should feed digital into the DEQ2496, and take digital out of it and then run it through your outboard DAC.
As usual, I defer to you on the complexity of this device.
Re your humble opinion, if I am trying to stream bits out of a PC using WAV files and USB, you think the D/A converter inside the Behringer will hold its own against a Bel Canto/Benchmark/Lavry?
Now that might stir up some controversy around here.
Another interesting effect of this permutation - I therefore dont need to worry about paying up for the USB interface on the outboard DAC?
In the end, I would like the purest, least jittery, least "digital" signal coming from PC based WAV files, exported through USB (?) converted (I thought) through an audiophile DAC, and then have the option of tinkering and/or room correction with the Behringer.
From there, I would continue to use the pair of A500's as monoblocks for the time being, but consider an upgrade of the amps at some point in the future.
Thanks for your expert advice.
Cwlondon...You can bypass the A./D input converter, and the D/A output converter if you feed digital in and provide an outboard D/A converter connected to the digital output. Within the Behringer the EQ processing and other processing is done by digital algorithms using a purpose-designed (for music) 32 bit floating point module, so all the usual digital phobias don't apply.
Frankly I think that all the complexity and cost of your proposed setup is a waste. Although many audiophiles just can't accept it in a $300 piece of electronics, the A/D and D/A converters used in the Behringer are darned good. Unless YOU can hear better results with an outboard DAC, your money would be better spent on superior recordings.
My reservations regarding the build quality and long term reliability aside, I think the Behringer stuff is surprisingly good and certainly amazing for the price.
As described in other threads, I also think the DEQ is versatile, useful and a lot of fun.
So I have no problem accepting that I dont need an outboard DAC. In fact, I would be delighted to discover that in addition to all the EQing and processing power of the DEC2496, it is also a giant killer as a DAC?
Does this mean you would nominate the device for the myriad best DAC under $________ threads?
As usual, thanks for all help and opinions.
Cwlondon...If price is any consideration, the DEQ2496 certainly ranks high simply as a DAC, and the RTA, the equalizer, and all the other features can be considered a bonus! I am not going to tell you if it sounds as good or better than DAC X, Y, or Z, because the only opinion that matters for you is your own.
Regarding build quality and reliability I think these are better than average. I have three of them which have been performing flawlessly for several years. And, FWIW, if one should develop a problem I could buy a new one for less than the cost of repairing the typical audiophile unit.
Sorry I am a slow learner here....
* So if I go SPDIF into the Behringer and then SPDIF out into an external DAC....
I would have the option of leaving the EQ set to flat, thereby passing straight through the Behringer?
* Or I could use the EQ features but the signal would not go to analogue until it was output from the exteral DAC into my preamp or amplifiers?
* It seems the only argument in this scenario is that USB to optical out of the computer, and then optical in AND optical out of the Behringer is not "best practice" according to some? Here I was wondering about some of the new DACs which have USB inputs.
Eldartford, don't get me wrong - I am a fan of the Behringer components.
But as I continue to tinker with PC based music, I want to experiment with just how good I can get it to sound.
So although I see the DEQ 2496 as an invaluable tool for the EQ, I can't imagine its DAC for straight 2 channel would equal a Levinson # 30, ARC tube DAC, new Bel Canto or Lavry etc?
Maybe there is another solution to use both the 2496 and a high end DAC in various configurations with and without the digital EQ feature?
Oh....and Eldartford, excellent point on the cost of repairs.
Yes, I think I spent more on UPS, insurance, and packing alone getting my Levinson amp repaired than I did on the price of an A500?!?!?
I now have 2 with 2 more on order, havent turned them off and have used them every day with no problems.
As an update to this thread, I have just discovered how to RESET the DEQ 2496.
It is a very simple procedure:
1) Turn off the unit using the power switch
2) With the unit off, press and HOLD "COMPARE" and "MEMORY", located just to the right of the VU meters.
3) Holding COMPARE and MEMORY, turn the power back on....
4) You will be prompted to accept the factory reset, which you can accept by pressing the "B" button, which is just to the right of the MEMORY button.
Many people have discussed the steep and intimidating learning curve for this device.
At times, I have been resisted experimentation, while fearing that I would get lost within the multiple menus and not know how to fix a mistake.
I hope this quick and easy reset will help others learn more about the device and look forward to further discussion.