Behringer DEQ2496: Ease of Use

I am intrigued with the possibilities of the Behringer DEQ2496 in tweaking my Avantgarde Duo/BAT system, which is in a large rectangular living room (which would quickly become my "bachelor pad" if I attempted acoustic panels). Only problem is that I am not an engineer, and configuration of the Behringer appears daunting.

Can anyone comment on how "user-friendly" this unit is? For the money, it would seem worth a try.
I owned one. I would suggest buying a used DEQ2496 and trying it yourself. One person's difficult is another person's easy, and vice versa.

They retain their value very well...especially if purchased used. Be sure to get one with the ECM microphone and mic cable, otherwise you won't be able to utililize the room correction module.
The Behringer DEQ2496 is a great little box for the money. A friend of mind borrowed me his for 6 weeks and I will surely get one for myself.

It is not too difficult to use, but then I have a Physics Ph.D. :). It has many options and trying all out will take its time. What I enjoy most is the capability to do real time room measurement. This really helps in setting up speakers and integrating a sub. Also, it works well as a decent DAC.

One comment though: An equalizer is no substitute for room treatments. Room treatment will treat standing waves and reflections for listening anywhere in the room. An equalizer cannot compensate for listening positions or speakers placed a standing wave node. Also, ideally the equalizer will only correct the response for one particular seating position.

Finally, I can detect some negative effects of even mild equalization circuit in my system.

Well worth it for measurements and as analyzer for room treatment. The DAC is a nice feature too.

Finally, I can detect some negative effects of even mild equalization circuit in my system.
I did, too.

Well worth it for measurements and as analyzer for room treatment.
Yes, indeed.

The DAC is a nice feature too.
I was not impressed with the sound of the DAC.
I found it to unacceptably degrade the sound in my system and what it did do to flatten response was not that beneficial in my room. Taking it out, the sound was more natural, smoother and more transparent. I concluded that flat response was beneficial but not that important and adding another dithering stage was likely the problem.

When using the DEQ, it is useful to be aware of one particular point. In digital, it is accepted that dithering can be beneficial but that more than one stage of dithering inevitably degrades the sound. So if you insert the DEQ2496 you add a dithering stage. Redithering in the DAC that follows it will therefore mean it has been done twice. Whether you can avoid that depends a bit on how your DAC works and on matching the bit length of the output of the DEQ and the bit length your DAC uses immediately before conversion to analogue.
FYI, RAM mods these unit. You can find out more about it on their web site.
Tvad, to qualify my comments on the Behringer some more:

Finally, I can detect some negative effects of even mild equalization circuit in my system.

I did, too.

The main problem is when you use the Behringer for frequencies above 150 Hz. Using the PEQ (parametric equalizer) feature alone and in small amounts for the few peaks below 100 Hz worked much better. The Auto-DEQ is fairly useless. Interestingly, inserting the DEQ or PEQ feature for low frequencies introduced some high frequency grain/glare. For use as DAC, I got the best sound in bypass mode.

The DAC is a nice feature too.

I was not impressed with the sound of the DAC.
What transport did you try for the DAC? I tried both a CDP (Audio Aero) and DVD player (Pioneer DV563) as transport (using S/PDIF) and the sound of the Behringer Internal DAC was slow, congested, and lifeless with little resolution.

On the other hand, just driving the Behringer with an Apple laptop and Airport Express (optical out) worked quite well. I got a very quick detailed sound, with maybe a little stringed high-end. In fact the sound was faster and more direct and lifelike and in some ways got even close to the Audio Aero in that combination. And the Prima is no slouch with respect to details. The DAC did not have the body and rich detail of the Prima, but the fast, direct sound was very impressive and enjoyable.

Overall the Behringer seems to be very sensitive to the digital signal it is fed and might prefer even the optical input.

Everyone commenting about the audio quality of the DEQ2496 should be sure that it is operating at an appropriate signal level...not down in the mud. This signal level is a bit higher than the typical "line level" of consumer audio equipment. 24 bit digital devices don't buy you much if you only tickle the lower ten bits!

I have my system set up so that when I play a CD from beginning to end the peak (maximum) signal level (which the DEQ2496 logs and displays) runs 3 to 6 dB down from CLIP. Average level (the green LEDs) runs about -20 dB most of the time during play. When set up this way, the output of the DEQ2496 needs attenuation for input to my power amps.

Once I realized this requirement there was significant improvement of audio quality.
Edaltford - good point. I run the Behringer fully open and attenuate with Endler attenuators down to regular levels.
If anyone can hear any less transparency using just the Behringer, not it's dac, I'd sure like to know how. I have a very resolving system and cannot hear any degradation whatsoever.

The point is that most people are not using it properly. If you cause digital clipping then you will hear degradation. That's why there's an adjustment. It depends on how much equalization you use to where you want to set the gain. As long as there's no clipping it's pretty impossible to hear this piece doing something wrong when it's being used entirely in the digital domain.
Warnerwh...Clipping would be obvious, from the Red LED flashing, and from the Peak reading saying "CLIP". Digital clipping can occur in the input A/D or the output D/A, but not in the digital processing which is implemented by a floating point device.
there's no clipping it's pretty impossible to hear this piece doing something wrong when it's being used entirely in the digital domain.

Not sure - it depends what you mean by wrong....I agree in the sense of "distortion", however an EQ introduces phase effects....often inaudible but they can be obtrusive at extreme can even get "ringing".

Furthermore an EQ does not fix an imbalance between reverberant sound fields and primary a band aid it reduces the OVERALL sound field. Some microphone analyzer systems and software can distinguish reverberant from direct sound fields (the decay)....something our ears/brain can do to a limited extent (early coherent reverberation is added to the primary sound - so it helps us hear some details that might be "masked" with out the reverb).

Ultimately it is a balance in primary and reflected sound that allows us to hear the most details.....this is what makes some auditoriums excellent and others terrible for listening, and the same can be said for an audio system in a room. The PEQ does nothing to help restore this balance even though it is a great tool.
The Behringer is only 300 dollars. For that money I feel it's an outstanding value. It can't fix alot of things and I only make adjustments of 3db max. When pushing up dips I only go up 2db.

This isn't the cure all but for the money is a bargain. Also it's worth having just for the education. You'll find out how different your system can sound from worse to far better.

The TACT is the way to go if you have the money, which I don't. I also don't think the performance for the money would outclass the Behringer 15 times over. The music in my room is very enjoyable and spending alot of money like the price of the TACT isn't worth it to me. However it's an outstanding device. I've never heard one but can imagine.

The most important part of a system though I believe now is the room. It should be the FIRST priority before setting up a system. It's hard to imagine the improvement without a reference. As Robert Harley says "The improvements are dramatic". I agree.

Also what
Warnerwh...You keep corrections to 2 or 3 dB max? Reminds me of Bill Clinton's statement. "I smoked pot, but I didn't inhale" :-)

I suppose it all depends on the room and the speakers. Frankly I find it a bit hard to believe that a 2dB correction is worth the trouble. My rear speakers occupy alcove bookshelves, a horible place from the audio viewpoint. They need a lot more than 3dB cut at about 65 Hz.

You are right about the Behringer being educational. Also, FWIW, it's fun!
Not so hard to use. Though certainly far more difficult than the typical audiophile gear, which has been minimalist in nature for a very long time now.

I have mine on loan to a buddy right now, and my energy has been put into different areas for the last several months. My quick and dirty go of it over the summer showed that it purported itself quite well in my second system, where I (like most of us) have some notable room issues.

Reading the $300 price being brought up by Warnerwh, I just got a nice chuckle. We can barely buy a decent set of isolation points or an entry level interconnect for the same money. And, obviously, the potential of this device is far higher than a couple of brass cones. The main thing I need to do at some point is to determine if I come to the same conclusion as Tvad, Restock, and Redkiwi regarding the deleterious effects on sonics. Though even if it does, I've certainly made far worse purchases than this.
Trelja...If one is using the input A/D or the output D/A it is essential (for a valid evaluation) that the signal level be close to, but not over, clipping. This can be a problem with typical consumer audio equipment if the DEQ2496 is inserted in the TAPE loop. I have mine between preamp and power amp, with a lot of attenuation going into the power amp, so that the preamp output is high.

Also, note that RAM does upgrades to this unit which they claim make it the equal of the best DACs. About $1600 for all the bells and whistles (including transformer outputs). Of course the price of this upgrade removes the unit from the "dirt cheap" category, to the "audiophile inexpensive" category. If I find a grand laying around I may send one of my three units off to see what they can do for it.
I was wondering if I can use my CDP's dig out into the unit-correct and then dig out to my CDP's dig in. (MF Trivista) I do have to choose the dig in on the MF remote. I just don't know if the dig out from the transport keeps working when I do that. Any thoughts welcome!

Eldartford: With my room being fully treated the worst case is plus or minus 10db. With just small adjustments across the frequency spectrum I've found I can make a huge difference in the presentation of my system.

At 31.5 I have it cut 4db which is not the 10db it actually is. Also at 10khz I have it cut 3.5db. I'm guessing that you're cutting or boosting more frequencies than the target frequencies which is why I'm apprehensive to make larger cuts. As for boosts I don't want to push my speakers and amp too far although the amp driving my woofers puts out 600wpc and the amp driving the planar/ribbons puts out 500wpc into 4 ohms.

I don't think most people should start out making large adjustments. At least in my experience it has been easier to take my time. The few people who sell these pieces I'd suspect a pretty fair percentage didn't learn how to use it properly and weren't patient. Just my opinion of course.
Warnerwh...I understand your point of view. But consider that if you use the "Feedback Destroyer" to do the cuts the bandwidth can be 1/60 octave, and you wouldn't have to worry about affecting adjacent frequencies.

I am using maximum cut around 60 Hz for my rear speakers that are mounted in alcoves. It's the alcoves which seem to function as a resonant external part of the speaker the 60 Hz hump is not caused by the room at large. As such, I am correcting response of the speaker itself, so I don't get into the direct vs reflected sound issue. works.
Eldartford: Thank You! I didn't ever think about using the feedback destroyer. I forgot all about it. Now I'll have to use that also.