Behringer DEQ2496 - worth using in hi-end system?

I am considering trying it in a digital chain. I want to correct for room and any system internal dependencies. I am tired of using cables as tone controls, there has to be something better to make those minimal changes.

I am looking for opinions and short system desriptions.
Try search in A.A there are some info about them.
Absolutely worth using. Mine replaced a z-Systems RDQ-1 in this system: Theta Miles > Monarchy DIP Classic > Behringer > Benchmark DAC1 > PS Audio PCA-2 > Bryston 3BSST > Paradigm S2 & ACI Titan subs. Used with digital I/O, it is completely transparent to my ears, great for fine-tuning system response.
I have two of them, for front left and right and surround. They do a better job than the parametric I have on the center front.

I am suggesting to people that they buy one thinking only of using it only as a spectrum analyser. (That way you don't need to come to terms with the audiophile sin of puting a digital device in your signal path). After you hook it up, and see how bad your room response is, you will inevitably activate the auto equalization process, (just as an experiment of course). This is, in a word, "neat". Now listen to some music. You will never look back.
Thanks for the tip Eldartford.Going to go shopping,Bob
Thanks, I will try it. When you think about it it costs as much as a decent interconnect but the potential gains may be worth thousands. I am just afraid about their reliability, there seems to a lot of quality problems as of recently.
I bought one recently for the following system:GNSC modified Wadia 850 / Atma-Sphere MA1s or Pass Aleph3 / Talon audio Hawks + a set of 4 Entec LF20 subwoofers. The system is very highly resolving. The Behringer when used full range and set flat was very transparent, but not completely invisible. There was a very slight loss in dynamics and a very slight loss in resolution. But these losses were very small, especially compared to the losses that might be introduced by a pre-amp. I have tried only 2 pres in my current system - my beloved old standby Classe CP-35 and an Audio Research SP-25 MkII. Both were far more colored than the Behringer, the classe reducing dynamics and the AR causing a loss in resolution of vibrance. I say this not to badmouth either pre-amp, but to show how good the Behringer is. I am currently using the Behringer only on the subwoofers, because when applied to the entire signal, the main speakers get overdriven by mid bass (which needs boosting in my setup). I have been enjoying the music much more now than I have in a long time. I would recommend this product to all but the very best system / room combinations.
Thanks Honest1, thats a very valuable input. My system is also very resolving and I would only be trying to boost some upper bass regions. Do you use the analog in/outs or just digital path?
I have only used the analog path, since I don't have dig ins & outs. Also, i was thinkiing about this today, I also used the balanced outs form the Wadia into the DEQ, but had to convert the balanced outs of the DEQ to RCA to go into the subs and amps. I used a cheap converter from guitar center. I don't know how much this affected the sound, but I do know that interconnects can have a significant on the sound. So, as minimally as the DEQ affected the system, if you run digital in and out and / or use good cables (esp. balanced all the way thru), your results would probbly be better than mine. What is your system like?
Eldartford, from your comment "I have two of them, for front left and right and surround", I assume that you don't have digital speakers, and that you are using the analog inputs of the DEQ, therefore the DEQ first does a A/D conversion, then D/A after equalization. How much does this double conversion affect the sound quality?
Smeyers...The A/D and subsequent D/A can be switched in and out using the BYPASS switch. With the EQ set flat, I hear no difference.
On 9/21/05, racarlson wrote:
Mine replaced a z-Systems RDQ-1 in this system: Theta Miles > Monarchy DIP Classic > Behringer > Benchmark DAC1 > PS Audio PCA-2 > Bryston 3BSST > Paradigm S2 & ACI Titan subs.

Wouldn't it be preferable to put the Behringer before the Monarchy DIP? I think the DIP is a good piece, and I would want to give it the last shot at reducing jitter before the signal goes to the DAC. I'm thinking of trying the Behringer in a system with a Monarchy Upsampling DIP and a Northstar DAC.
Jayboard: Don't think about it any more. They're a killer bargain. My room is extensively treated with bass traps. You still have some frequency peaks and dips especially in the bass. The DEQ 2496 is wonderful.

If you use the auto eq function be sure to make a curve as you don't want true flat from 20-20khz. This will sound thin and bright. In the real world you'll want the lower end bumped a db or two say to 300hz and from about 2khz up a slight rolloff. This will sound more real. It uses the graphic eq for the auto eq function.Then you can use the parametric equalizer to fine tune. This piece is the tweak of the decade as far as I'm concerned.
Warnerwh...When I do autoequalization I use the "ROOM CORR" feature. This rolls off highs at 1 dB/oct. I agree that this sounds better.
I have not used the parametric EQ. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that there really is only one equalization "engine", (the DSP floating point chip?) and that Graphic and Parametric are just two ways of talking to it. With 1/6 octave resolution on the graphic control there does not seem to be much advantage to using the parametric.
Eldartford: I just used the parametric to fine tune. The 1/3rd octave graphic eq is good but with the extra tweaking of the parametric after the autoeq I've been able to make the sound a tad better.

I end up dialing in my system to sound best with anything it may play. Recordings having the huge sound variation they do makes one setting a compromise but I feel it's not worth having multiple settings as I'm not that much of a perfectionist.

I bought the thing used from another audiophile who had it for four months. 150 bucks with a mike and I'm way happy. These things are a necessity even in a well treated room imo.
Warnerwh...I thought the graphic eq was 1/6 octave like the RTD because I could watch the individual 1/6 oct displays change in a way that looked independent. But checking the manual I see you are correct. Maybe I will fool around with the parametric eq and see what it can do for me.

I agree that using an equalizer to fix recording-to-recording variation usually isn't worth the hassle. That's what tone controls are for.
Eldartford: The bass is where the parametric can be where it really shines as you can tame the room modes at the exact frequencies. Also Behringer doesn't recommend using the auto eq mode for any frequency under 100. Didn't try it that way though anyway. Thanks again as you're one of the people who made me think about trying one. What a great tweak. People pay more for cables.
Warnerwh...I don't know why they discourage autoeq below 100 Hz. It seems to work for me. However, your point about the parametric at low frequency is well taken. In fact you are supposed to be able to calculate the frequencies from the dimensions of your room.
Jayboard - I tried it both ways, and preferred the Monarchy ahead of the Behringer. All is not equal here, though, because by putting the Monarchy first I am converting formats to AES/EBU prior to the Behringer. It would be interesting to try adding another Monarchy or similar after the Behringer. My guess is that where a single one works best is system-dependent.

Eldartford - I suspect you're right that there is a single EQ "engine" with graphic and parametric interfaces. I use the parametric for two purposes - to remove a particular bass mode, and I've set up two bands that I occasionally use as bass and treble controls for particular recordings. I don't have any tone controls elsewhere in my system.

Finally, let me echo the others - this thing is an amazing value. I like mine so much I bought another for a second system.
In the middle of this page is a place to get modecalc. It will tell you where your room modes are at. Just punch in the dimensions of your room.
Racarlson, Thanks very much for your response. All systems are different, but for now your experience will do nicely as an excuse for me not to go to the trouble of trying my DIP fore and Aft of the Behringer DEQ. That, and the fact that if I want to place my DIP after the DEQ, I'll need to get another cable or an adaptor. I'll monkey around with that variable some other time. For now, the DIP must go before the DEQ.

As it is, the DEQ gives me plenty of ways to chew up my time. As a toy, this machine certainly excels. All this power--can I use it responsibly? Bwah hah hah hah hah!

I performed the autoeq for 100hz and up, as recommended. But I also did a separate autoeq trial for only the frequencies below 100 hz. This matched up with my Radio Shack meter analysis pretty well (thank goodness). I ended up making up a parametric eq curve to do this bass correction job rather than use the Autoeq process' graphic eq curve, mainly because I trust my calculations of the frequencies of bass standing waves in my room, and the para eq lets me target them more precisely.

I also severely cut levels for low frequencies beyond my monitor speakers' abilities, thinking it can't hurt to save the downstream equipment from doing work that won't have a hifi payoff.

So far, the results are good and certainly worth the costs, which include postponing getting those corner treatment thingies for my living room that I came _this_ close to buying before I succumbed to digititis. An open, transparent sound is something I prize, and countering an excess in a couple of midrange and lower treble bands helped in that department. Bass improvement is noticeable, too, although (oddly?) I care more about the midrange/lo-treble correction than I do about the bass.

Unlike some folks who have posted here, I will be using my DEQ for other tone control purposes. The first extra was programming a loudness contour for quiet hours listening. Then, there are those albums I really like but simply can't stop wishing they were recorded differently (maybe 30% of albums I own?). For example, with an MFSL recording of Dr. John's Gumbo I picked up recently in mind, I made a brightness booster. I made a warmth preset that mildly boosts bands in the 80 to 300 hz range for some thin-sounding recordings I have. I'll probably end up with one or two more of these tone-control presets.

I really like the flexibility of saving different graphic equalization presets. You can program different presets, like the "tone controls" modules I mentioned above, and apply them additively as you like. So, I have my basic room correction curve as my default setting. Late at night, I can "add" my loudness contour to that if I want. If I decide to play Gumbo, I can "add" my Gumbo brightness module. And so on.

A question: I notice that the clipping indicator flashes more than infrequently when monitoring the equalized digital output, even when it's the DEQ's Autoeq equalization curve that's in effect. It doesn't flash at all when the equalization is flat (as one would expect). I can't hear any nasty things happening. Any thing at all to pay attention to here?

This has been an informative thread. Thanks to all who have posted.
Jayboard...You can certainly use multiple EQ curves to suit different recordings. It will be a bit of work to set this up and keep track of which curve goes with which recording. Not worthwhile for me.

You should figure out why the clipping indicator flashed. I have NEVER seen mine flash dispite the fact that I run a relatively high line level feeding out to low gain power amps.
I agree with Eldartford but a remote control to change curves may make it worth while. It's unfortunate that so many recordings were poorly done.
Yes, a little "work" to set up, but not so much trouble to use. I probably will only have a treble boost, a bass boost, and a warmth boost as tone controls. (Those boost modules can function inversely as cuts, since the DEQ allows you to subtract preset eq curves, as well as add them.) I know which recordings are in serious need of general help in those areas; I'm not going to fine tune an eq curve for each one. And I can easily enjoy the variety of tonal approaches that most of my albums present without treatment other than my default room equalization.

A remote control to manage the presets and the Compare and Bypass functions would be outstanding.

The flashing of the clipping indicator is kind of puzzling. I'm using the DEQ only in its digital stages. I should see if different sources change this behavior. Right now I've got an Airport Express feeding a Monarchy DIP that plugs into the DEQ. The DIP boosts the digital signal. Could this be too much of a good thing? I'll experiment tomorrow.
Sounds like you're having fun, Jayboard. The flashing of the indicator when eq is switched in is because the boosted bands go beyond "digital zero." You can adjust gain of the eq module ("gain offset" in the utility menu) to prevent this - I have mine set to -2dB - but I don't hear any problems when the clipping indicator flashes occasionally. Probably there is a safety margin built in, since this is designed for pro use, and many pros use occasional "in the red" as an indicator that they've set the maximum safe level.

I believe the DIP boosts the voltage swing of the digital signal, not the the digitally-encoded level itself, so I don't think that is the issue.

Remote would be great, as would a few other conveniences (e.g., level control on the analog input, coax input, more inputs), but then I suppose the price would go up ..
OK guys...I give. Where does one buy one of these things? I saw the reviewer at enjoy the said he has seen these things at 50% off list price "on the street".

Thanks for the help.

I got mine at Don't forget you need the mic and a cable for the mic.
Any pro music shop has them. Best prices are probably found doing a google. Like the above guy states you definitely want the ECM8000 microphone. While you're waiting to get it being as nobody else has mentioned it, download the manual and read it a couple of times.

This thing has way more power than one needs for home stereo. Also if you use the auto eq function you are able to set the curve and the amount of adjustment you're allowing the Behringer to do. You don't want to go over about 5-6 db imo of boost and cuts and less is better. Also you want the curve set so the lower end say to 300 or so is boosted a couple of db and the high end over say 2khz has a gentle slope going to 20khz. This is what sounds most natural to most people. Once the auto eq finishes you can use the parametric equalizer to fine tune if you like. The 31 band graphic eq is what is used in the auto mode.

This is the best tweak for the money made imo. For only 300 with a mike if anyone knows of something even close I'd like to know what it is.
I figured a digital gain control was in there somewhere, but I could not find the little devil. Thanks for pointing out where to look, Racarlson. Still have not heard any digital clipping nasties. You're probably right about a built-in safety margin, but I may as well dial in a little more.
O.K. guys I just ordered a unit so I'm hoping that when I get it this weekend you folks can help me with any questions I may have. I have downloaded the manual and this unit appears to have many excellent features, I'm looking forward to the room correction feature.
I bought the DEQ as an experiment and tool more than actual system component. I tried it as just digital EQ and it worked great but i really had no use for it. As a DAC it sounded promising, it had a good presence but was a little strained.

I recently borrowed a low end BPT power conditioner from a friend and out of curiousity plugged the DEQ to it and run it as a DAC again (with full bypass). Now it sounds great, good musical detail and presence, good tonal balance, no strain. All the detail I want but not fatiguing at all. Those AKM dacs really are something. I would even dare to say I preffer it to Benchmark which definetely wasn't the case without the power conditioner.

It is a keeper no matter what you upgrade to later on. My music doesn't need eq but movies can definetely use it.

The only con that I can think of is the high (pro) output volume. Reducing the gain below -2dB causes loss of life in music.
Spraglow...The equalization is not, for the most part, for the music. It's for the room. If your room is perfect you are a very lucky guy!
Would it be possible to put this unit between your preamp and amplifier in balanced mode? Some people seem to cite the fact that it should only be used in the digital domain, why is that?

Connection-wise, yes.

Many people consider the A/D conversion being a weak link. The D/A conversion is respectable but no world-beater either. Therefore, it is best to be used in the digital domain, between a transport and a DAC.

You can download the manual from their website to learn more about its capabilities.
The AKM 4393 dac isn't that bad. An outboard dac for 4-500 dollars will definitely sound better depending on your system of course. The best thing to do is try it and see how you like it. I had actually been quite impressed that the dac in it is as good as it is. My preference though is for my Bel Canto DAC 1.1.
thanks. Issue is, I don't have any digital domain sources to place this guy inline with, and was wondering if it was worth my while to consider introducing this to my system.
As Warnerwh said, the best thing to do is try it and see how you like it. A couple thoughts:

The equalization/room correction feature may be so beneficial that it outweights some loss in ultimate sound quality.

This is an amazing piece of equipment. You can use it a DAC, an ADC, a sound meter, etc.

Given its relatively low price, it is really a fun gear to experiement with.
I am seriously considering getting one of these units. Would i be able to connect it in between my cd player and my integrated amp? I would like to use the dacs in my cd player. My integrated { Rowland Concerto has preamp outs.} Thanks.
Street, Yes you can put it there, but you would be taking your CDP's DACs out of a meaningful role, because the DEQ2496 is a digital equalizer, not an analog equalizer. The DEQ would convert the analog signal from your CDP to a digital signal, perform the equalization operations, and then convert the equalized digital signal back to analog and send it on to your integrated. The critical D-to-A function would be performed by the DEQ, not your CDP.
Thanks. I have a well regarded exempler 2900. Are the dacs in the behringer comparable? Does the quality of the cd player still have a significant role? I would hate it if i wasted the $$$ on a cd player if it wasn't fully utilized!
Streetdaddy...If you want to use the Behringer for all sources (not just CDs) you would put it in the Tape loop of your preamp. When you do this you can switch it in and out of the signal path and decide for yourself if there is any degradation in sonic quality, and if there is, does the room correction done by the Behringer more than make up for it.

If you only listen to CDs, feed the Behringer a digital signal from the CDP. The Behringer D/A are also "well regarded". But only your opinion matters.
If you use the digital out, your CDP will have no significant role. If you go the A/D - EQ - D/A route, you CDP will still have a significant role but may be hampered by the conversions.

I think many people want to know how exactly the A/D and D/A conversions degrade the sound. Please share your experience you do give it try.
I am only using the digital functions of the DEQ, so I don't know how its DAC performs. I also don't know how the DAC in your Exemplar performs. However, a lot of what you paid for the Exemplar went into providing a nice, tube analog output section after the DAC. If you used the DEQ to provide digital equalization and output an analog signal to your integrated, you'd bypass all that. You probably wouldn't be using most of what makes the Exemplar more than the Denon 2900. Unfortunately, it seems like going with the DEQ may not be very compatible with taking advantage of the Exemplar's strengths.
I found the DEQ2496 improves significantly with a dedicated power (I use 20A) or isolation transformer type conditioning (no filtering).
It shows significant differences between various transports: cdp, dvd, pc.
How do i hook it up to my tape loop? Not sure if my Concerto integrated has one, even.
Streetdaddy...If your integrated amp has a TAPE loop (TAPE OUT and TAPE IN rca connectors) it would be obvious. If it has PRE OUT and AMP IN connectors (probably connected by jumpers) you could put it there. If all else fails you can put it between your CDP and the amp, but then it is available only when you use the CDP.
I am looking at buying the one for sale on the gon now. I am also thinking of adding a puter to the behringer to my integrated.
Beware of using pre-out. I think there is an optimal range for the analog input. Outside of it, the quality of A/D conversion is going to be poor.
The Behringer has two digital outs, one Toslink S/PDIF and the other XLR AES/EBU. If my DAC has only coax S/PDIF in, is there a solution? Can I use an XLR-RCA adapter out of the AES/EBU to a coax S/PDIF cable, or are those two things incompatible? A Toslink to coax adapter seems an unlikely thing.
Drubin...A Toslink-to-Coax converter is actually reasonable. After all, there is one such device at the input of every unit that has a Toslink input. Of course it would have to be a powered device. I think I have seen one in a catalog somewhere, but I can't find it at the moment.
Drubin...An Optical-to-Coax converter can be found at item 180-961.

However, reading the DEQ2496 manual, I see that the digital output which is on an XLR connector can be switched between the professional format, AES/EBU, and the consumer format S/PDIF. You select the format using the I/O menu of the DEQ2496. It says that you can use an adapter to go from XLR to RCA for the digital output. Nothing is said about how this adapter is wired. I would get a standard balanced XLR to unbalanced RCA and give it a try.