Review: Behringer DEQ2496 Equalizer

Category: Preamps

I mostly listen to classical music, but occasionally everything except rock pop and rap.

I am a sucker for spatial sense, and an effortless sound during loud passages. Note the elaborate subwoofer system and many watts of amplifier power.

Intermodulation distortion drives me nuts. Unfortunately this is often from mics used for vocalists, and can't be eliminated on playback.

I have just installed this unit, and it replaces nothing.
When set flat, or with its BYPASS mode engaged, I can detect no change in sonics. Its purpose is room equalization, and its effect will be whatever the benefits of room equalization are.

I did not go shopping for an equalizer: I have three channels of pure analog parametric equalization capability. What I wanted was a RTA, and this is one of few available other than Pro units costing several grand.
It costs only $340, and the associated mic and cable will set you back another $70 or so. It was my intention to bypass this unit once I determined the appropriate settings for the analog equalizers, but I now think that this is probably unnecessary, but it remains an option for digiphobics. This Behringer model uses 24bit 96KHz AD/DA converters, and I think some Floating Point processors for the DSP job. Very impressive. (An older model is being sold off cheap: it has less resolution). The unit has many capabilities beyond the EQ and RTA functions, but it would be worth the money for the RTA alone. You can download the owner's manual from the website. It looks complicated, but once you have the unit and play around with the controls is it all very easy. It is ruggedly built, (as prosound equipment must be) with well laid out controls, and, IMHO, an attractive addition to the equipment rack.

I auditioned the unit in the 2-channel bypass mode of the prepro.

This is a very nice toy, and cheap enough to gain easy spousal approval.

Associated gear
Denon 2900 with Underwood mod
Rotel 1066 PrePro
Ashley electronic crossover
3 CarverPro ZR1600 power amps biamped for front speakers
3 Magneplanar MG1.6
3 multidriver custom subwoofer systems

Similar products
The common scuttlebutt is that this product is for woofers only, to keep it out of the main signal path. Are you using the product full range?

I agree it looks a bit forbidding at first, and I've seen the unofficial help websites, as well as Newform's guidelines.
Suits_me...I bought this thing as a RTA only, and noone can fault it in this role at this price. I can still bypass it in favor of my analog parametric equalizers, but at least on first listening it sounds fine full range. Where is this "common scuttlebutt" to be found? Are you sure that we are talking about the same unit? The older model DSP8024(currently selling for $180) has the same functions, but runs at a sample rate of only 48KHz, and sports 31 bands for RTA and EQ instead of 61.
The "common scuttlebut" for use as a Bass equalizer is for the Behringer Feedback Destroyer Pro DSP1124A (or its predecessor the DSP1100). Also fyi, the DSP1124A is now being replaced by the FBQ2496...
All of these units operate as feedback killers for PA system but they also include "digital" parametric equalizers. That equalizer is what some are using to perform Bass equalization. The belief is that "digital" equalization has less (no?) discernable detrimental effect on the LOW frequencies as opposed to the rest of the audio spectrum.

That being said (and to add to the confusion), conceivably, they could also be used the same way as the DEQ2496.
M297904...It appears that Behringer has replaced all their digital processors with 96KHz devices, instead of the 48KHz units used in earlier models. It was out of a slight concern for high frequency performance that I spent the extra $150 for the DEQ2496 over the DSP8024. 19.2KHz is as high as most folk can hear, and well beyond my hearing, and the 96KHz sampling rate is five times this frequency. And 24 bits equals the resolution of the best source material.

Believe me I gave this some thought, and I do have pure analog parametric equalizers if I want to use them. The reasons I offered this review are (1) Excellent RTA and (2) Parametric equalizer, dispite being digital, sounds fine. I realize that I am not being PC :-)
Is this thing clean enough to be left in-line with the rest of the system? I know you say you can't hear a difference in sonics switched in and out, but when the volume is at 11 there's no additional noise - ie the S/N's pretty darn good?
I've spent a lot of time and money playing with the acoustics of my room, and think there's not a lot more I can accomplish in room treatments, so I may want to play with one of these to wring the rest of the performance of my system.
The mike you mentioned assumedly has a response curve the unit knows, or you can use what you want and it compensates?
Snofun3...This thing is clean as clean can be. Too many specs to quote, but S/N is 113 dB, and THD is 0.007%.
Go to for all the details. Some room treatment is a good idea, but an active equalizer is much more effective for room resonance below 350 Hz or so. Also, the RTA will enable you to quickly and accurately evaluate changes you might make in passive room treatments.

I just spent the day playing with it. WOW!!!! I never realized what room equalization can do. And the RTA (61 bands) is infinitely better than a test disc and a RS meter. And the automatic equalization process is fascinating to watch. You can do Left and Right channels separately, so they each have their own equalization. In my case this made a big difference. The LF equalizer that I was using before (Audio Control Richter Scale) had ganged controls.

The usefulness of the RTA continues to amaze me.
1...I have explored the effects of different SW crossover frequencies.
2...I discovered that one of my six subwoofer drivers got wired up backwards (recent wire rerouting).
3...I discovered that the rear speakers had a large LF (below 200 Hz) boom. (Ported...what should I expect). Like many rear speakers, mine are not optimally located: they are high up in a bookshelf alcove. The boom itself was not that noticable, because you are never sure what ought to be coming out of the rear speakers, but it seriously disrupted SPL matching between front and rear speakers. I fixed the boom using my old LF Richter Scale equalizer, readjusted the SPL balance, and the improvement was large.
4...The parametric equalizer that I am presently using for the center front speaker has five bands plus high and low shelving filters, but, dispite about an hour of work, it does not enable the flat response that the DEQ2494 achieves in about 90 seconds of completely automatic room equalization.

I tell you guys, buy one, even if it is just to measure how your speaker placement and room treatment is doing. I expect that after you hear your system with the EQ in you won't want to bypass it.

If this isn't enough, the price is down to $300, and even $250 for B stock.
Just to clarify, I am less interested in full range eq than I am in bass eq as a given, so I am more wary of putting anything like that in an analog system unless its restricted to the low end.

The problem with quoting specs and asking about noise at high signal levels with digital devices is that it misses the likely problems of the unit, if any. As others have pointed out, analog is montonic, digital is diatonic. So digital's sonic artifacts, if any, would happen more at low signal levels than at high. Analog's distortions usually increase as signal levels decrease. Of course, most music is relatively quiet.

I'd like to own one, or an rdes, in my preferred, restricted application. Thanks for the review and follow-up.
Suits_me..."Monatonic" is a term applied to digital A/D converters, meaning that an increase in analog input always results in an increased digital output (it never "falls back"). I think you must mean "continuous".

You would need to hear it with your own ears, but this is not your father's digital gear. And the way it makes all your other gear sound better is the payoff.
I have one myself and I wish i had 2 more!
The automatic roomcorrector, pinpoints exactly the acoustick problems of your room.
When all these acoustical problems are compensated, a lot of details emerge. They were masked by the resonace of the room.
At first the sound is flat! Well that is because of the enourmous inpact of all the walls ceiling and floor. But when used to that sound i don't want to bypass the equalizer.

example of my PCset
With this formula i tried to predict the effect of my room.
L = c/f = 340 [m/s] / 200 [1/s] = ~ 1.7 m

The walls 1.50 (left) 1.60 (Right) = 226hz & 212 & 125 & 121
Ceiling op 2.10 = 160hz
floor 1.30 = 261hz
opposit side 5.00 = 68hz

It was perfectly show by the Roomcorrection.
(the atocorrection was disabled below 80Hz)
Screendump is made with
A midi program to remote control the deq2496 (stil under development)

Regards, Seoman did buy a second one for my rear channels. In addition to generally improving the sound by eliminating all the room resonances, I found that level matching of my multichannel system was much improved. Apparently the response humps were throwing off the SPL measurements. I find that the autoequalization works fine for the LF range right down to 20 Hz.
That's just what I have in mind.
My center and Sub don't match at all. ;)
I'm not shure if I want to spend so much on my sub and center. 't gives so little extra. 4channel dts sounds just fine!

I don't understand why the homecinema proccesors lack a desent graphic or parametric tonecontrol. All the hardware is there but all reciever/prossecor bilders don't have a clue about soundproccesing and use a prefab DTS/DD chip. Wich must be cheap and lack any feathers.

Regards, Simon
No, I don't mean "continuous," despite my typo. I'm following either Bob Carver or Nelson Pass, but can't remember which. Anyway, the point is about distortion behavior, not gain. Analog distortion is highest at highest levels. Digital distortion is highest at lowest levels. The nomenclature may have been peculiar to whichever designer pointed out this difference....
Suits_me...In a digital system, quantization error (Plus or minus half a bit) is the same for small signal as for large, so if you express it as a percent of the signal it is maximized for small signals. Just to be "Fair and Balanced" hum and noise, and in the case of vinyl, surface noise, which afflict analog circuits more than digital, is also constant, and if expressed as a percentage of signal would also be maximized for small signals. I cannot hear any problem when my digital recordings go through quiet passages, but with vinyl, for most if not all people, quiet passages are a problem...well a minor annoyance.
I should mention I have heard excellent sounding digital systems.

This does not mean there are not both theoretical and practical problems with digital, some of which we have touched on. Digital volume controls can be quite bad, for example.

Analog also has drawbacks. You mention surface noise for vinyl; I might mention arm resonance.

But, limiting the discussion to distortion, it rises with rising amplification in analog, but rises with decreasing amplification in digital.

I think it's worth keeping in mind, given the nature of most music.
Suits_me what are you talking about? I just need clarification :)

So you would rather have distortion on the louder parts than on the quiet parts?

quiet meaning to me low in level, harder to hear?

Suits me a 24 bit digital system goes way beyond just about any analog system let alone an LP. If you're trying to educate Eldartford then you may want to stop and make sure you got your facts right. The man does his homework pretty thoroughly.

DEQ2496 is not perfect but what is for the money it costs? There are digital equalizers available that are even better than the Behringer but they cost more too.

I've been using a bunch of EQ's and crosssovers and have been working with AtoD converters to take LP to Digital before the EQ which allows you to maximize the signal before the EQ. If you want you can email me more info about your application, so we don't hijack the thread
Suits_me...Whatever...But I must take note of your comment about digital volume controls. If you think that they work by "dropping bits" you have been sucked into a common falacy. A properly-designed digital volume control works like a stepped attenuator (which everyone knows is superior to a pot), except that the mechanical switch contacts are replaced by electronic switches. But there are pots that a good too. We waste too much time arguing, often in a dogmatic way, about details of little importance.

Cinematic_syst...I saw a writeup on a miniaturized A/D that mounts with the phono pickup right on the arm. It does the RIAA equalization with a digital filter. The sampling rate was several hundred sps. Experimental at this point. But, why bother?
Hey Eldartford,

Well people have records and the A/D often have compression and limiting that keep records from clipping the digital circuitry because the at the basis of Suits_me argument is the one thing he has right. Its about the music and since I have nearly 2000 records, its something I have to deal with for my personal setup I'm afraid.

As many of my clients have LP's too, its a necessary evil....still ;)
>A properly-designed digital volume control works like a stepped attenuator

Well, properly designed. It is even hard to find properly designed analog volume controls. I think the remark about drawbacks of digital volume controls holds.

And yes, of course, all other things being equal, I would rather have a component with lower distortion at lower amplification levels if I were listening music. That's because music is quiet most of the time. This is such an obviously true generalization that I wonder why the questioning. The question of signal to noise ratios is technically different from that of distortion products, although it is certainly another valid consideration.

Anyway, I'm thinking of trying some of the new, cheap digital stuff - I own the ex-111, which has no low end response stock, although you would never guess this from the online raves - including maybe the Behringer.

I doubt it is a high end device, but it's cheap and we'll see.
Eldarford, I noticed that the Behringer DEQ2496 has a digital output on the back. Do you know if this allows it to feed a room-corrected signal to an outboad DAC? It would be great if the DEQ2496 allowed you to use it purely for digital equalization while offloading the DA conversion duties to the DAC of your choice. Thx!
Oxia...Yes. It can do that, if you think your outboard DAC is better than the one built into the Behringer. A more sensible thing would be to use the digital output directly into a digital power amp that makes provision for digital input.
Was wondering if you Knew anything about the DCX-2496...these are on sale at $250 shipped right now.

Was thinking about using one of these as a stereo X-over between my Pre and amp? I'm using balanced cables so this seems to be one idea that would save me a cable change while still giving stereo sub option.

Have you done any reading on the DCX-2496? It seems that the big difference between the DEQ-2496 and the DCX-2496 is an added X-over? Am I wrong?

Sogood51...The DCX2496 is obviously of the same family as the DEQ2496, and I would expect it to be a fine unit. I considered it, mostly because it can do three channels. However, it has many features that are not relevant to home audio, and it looks a bit complicated to set up. For a crossover, I believe in the good old L-R 24 dB design that is easily implemented in analog circuitry. I bought a 4-channel Ashley X/O, and am very happy with it. Marchand electronics also sells good basic crossovers, at reasonable cost. I have used their stuff.

The DEQ2496 is functionally different. It is a more capable equalizer. It gives you a 61 band real time display as well as the equalization functions, graphic and parametric. It also has an automatic equalization feature (using a mic that is purchased separately). This is neat.
It is only 2 channel.

Go to the website, where you can download the owner's manual, and decide what to do.
Thanks Eldartford, I found the Ashley and Behringer manuals...I'll compare price and features.

Modifications are offered by Reference Audio Modifications (RAM) that are claimed to yield superb sonic characteristics to go with the superb digital functions. Only problem is that the full treatment will set you back about $1200.
Yikes... $1,200! That's a ton of cash considering the cost of the unit. Do the mods only effect the analog portion, or the digital as well? Do they have a website?
Smeyers...Go to
The "basic" mod ($400) would be the usual analog things like Op amps, capacitors, diodes, etc.

Superclock ($295) would affect the digital stuff. The basic power supply changes will also help digital, but they offer a further power supply upgrade ($225) targeted at the DACs.

Finally, for the "ultimate" you get exotic Swiss-made audio transformers, connected directly to the DACs for the outputs, ($600).

If you bought everything the damage would be $1520. Add the cost of the stock Behringer and microphone ($350) and you are up to $1870. But this is still a low cost item in the world of high end audio.

Don't forget that the DEQ2496 sounds darned good in stock form. One consideration which is important for best results is to make sure that the signal level going through the DEQ2496 is high enough to benefit from the 24 bit digital converters. I suggest that users get this right before investing many bucks in modifications. The DEQ2496 has LEDs to indicate input signal level so it easy to tell how you are doing in this regard. The typical home audio power amplifier gain will need to be reduced using its level control, or if it has no level control, by fixed attenuators.
Anyone with a speaker system that has significant energy below 60 Hz could probably benefit from a PEQ. (it will be the very rare exceptional setup that does not have ultra-LF bumps).

This Behringer DEQ2496, when properly implemented, seems like one of the best value solutions.

Speaker choice and placement, room design, and room treatments will probably remain the first step to balanced sound (a PEQ does nothing to reduce reverb as it simply reduces the primary signal). However, given the practical limits to what can be achieved in a room for ultra-LF, a PEQ seems to work wonders in restoring balance to the sound (eliminating overly strong room modal frequencies that kill clarity in the rest of the bass and lower mid range ).

Great review.

With the prevalence and preference for subwoofers and full range speakers...a PEQ might become a standard piece of gear in a few years. At some point, someone will undoubtedly develop algorthims to help cancel certain reverberations through clever adjustments of ultra LF signals on 6.1 systems. (with speakers placed close to all four walls it ought to be possible to do something clever to further reduce at least two of the room modes at the listening position).
Hi Eldartford, I'm late to this forum, but I want to thank you for the excellent info. I need to tame some bad room resonances. The DEQ2496 sounds like a great solution. I downloaded the manual, but couldn't find the info I'm looking for.

Can the unit be isolated to the LF signal if you're biamping? Or does it need to look at the whole audio spectrum to function correctly? My speakers crossover at 500 Hz with second order filters. The majority of the resonances I need to tame are between 30-250 Hz. So, in theory, it should work with just the LF.

Where does it connect in the signal path if you're biamping? I have two outputs coming from my preamp.

How many and what kind of microphones did you use?

As an aside, Behringer should improve the looks. This thing looks like it belongs in a teenager's bedroom.
In case anyone is reading this thread, here is how I answered Mingles by E-Mail. (He had contacted me directly because his posting seemed to have gotten lost).
First of all, you shouldn't assume that only the LF needs equalization. If you are truly biamping (using an electronic crossover) the equalizer would go between the crossover and the LF power amp. If you are just using two amps you can put the equalizer in between the preamp and the LF amp.

Unless you run the whole frequency range through the Behringer the automatic equalization won't work. It would be trying to fix the awful HF roll off caused by the crossover. The autoeq is particularly good if you are biamping because it will clean up any gain mismatch and any anomalies of frequency response around the X/O frequency.

One mic is all you need...use the Behringer one made to go with this unit. Don't forget you need to buy a mic cable also
A couple of clarifications that might help others considering the use of the DEQ2496.

The Behringer mic is the model ECM-8000. It is readily available from Behringer dealers on-line, not particularly expensive (~$50) and is reportedly a superb mic for recording acoustic music as well due to the wide, flat frequency response.

There is a work-around for the problem of the Auto EQ trying to offset the affect of the crossover. When setting up the AEQ, you can select each individual frequency that you want to equalize. In the manual, they recommend that it not be used for lower frequencies (the reason I bought it), but these bands can be manually added to the spectrum that is automatically equalized. It seems to work fine on frequencies all the way down to 20 Hz.

You can not only add or remove individual frequency bands in 1/3 octave increments, but you can also change the starting level and width of each band (although I haven't experimented with that).

There doesn't seem to be any reason that you couldn't put one in each signal path between the electronic crossover and the amp and equalize each band of your biamp/triamp setup.

One "characteristic" that I don't fully understand yet is when using the AEQ, as it runs its level adjustments, I always seem to end up with two or three bands that the automated adjustment seems to not fully adjust. They are not together and appear to be randomly distributed. These end up being ~3dB lower than the rest of the spectrum, while the rest appear to be within +-1/2 dB. This is probably not noticeable considering that the bass peak caused by room acoustics that the DEQ2496 is compensating for was as much as a 14dB rise at 100Hz.

Also, you will need a mic stand to position the mic approximately where your head would be when in the prime listening position.
Jcfergus, thank you for this useful information. What are the dimensions of your listening room in feet, and at what frequencies does it have bass peaks? Do your speakers boom without an EQ?
Thanks for this thread.
I live in Paris and will buy an DEQ 2496 to-morrow to equalize my sub+2mains for hi-fi system (which is a part of a 5+1 system with an onkyo SR875). I will install the 2496 between the digital output of my CD-audio and digital input of the Onkyo. I will compensate some bumps (25hz and 45hz) due to the room. All the precious information I just read in this thread confirm the best advice I collected.
I would be pleased to exchange experience.
The control interface of the DEQ2496 takes the cake for being the worst I've ever used. It works, but it's not intuitive. Be prepared to go through the instruction manual not once, not twice, not three times, but many many times. It's part of the reason why I'm pulling it out of my system.
Maybe you've gone through it too many times! :) Seriously there are many features in the unit which make the interface a bit complex, but once you spend a little time to understand it, it is really a non issue. For what you are getting and the low cost of the unit, I think it is very worth it to learn.
Mingles...Just because the thing is capable of so many different functions (it won't prepare your tax return) you don't need to do them all. Some which are valuable for a live performance setup have no application to home audio.
My units (I have three for a multichannel system) were set up once (actually several times) and once set I never need to touch them.

I agree that the instruction manual is complex, but that just reflects the unit itself. I have found that once I get the hang of it operation is quite straightforward.
Can this thing be remote controlled by a midi device? The literature seems to suggest it can.