Good Quality 2 x 15 Channel Graphic EQ
If intending to buy
a used FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro Graphic EQ, it may be worth getting a new one instead.
Used ones are relatively uncommon and so appear to hold their value well at around AUD $150 to $200. As such there is not a lot of money saved chasing a used FBQ1502HD. A new one, on the other hand (at around AUD $250), comes with a full three year warranty.
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The Behringer FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro is a useful, affordable, stereo 19" rack mount Graphic Equalizer solution when a lack of rack space is an important consideration. Being a single Rack Unit (1RU) means there is only space for 15 EQ bands per channel, making the frequency spread essentially 2/3 octave per band.
Being another 'No Frills' device from Behringer, there no built-in compressor / limiter or even true bypass.
The FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro has been a part of my rig now for around years without fail, with a daily run-time of 2 to 4 hours (approx. total).
Because everything goes through a PA, I generally employ it as a loudness filter to adapt the overall EQ depending on how loud I'm playing. E.g.: Boost lows an highs when playing quietly / rehearsing. This is also useful when recording because my effects are all set up for a relatively flat output. What I hear when I play is much the same as when I record.
While Behringer FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro equalizer is good enough for most studio and rehearsal situations, it may be somewhat lacking for live mix scenarios where weird room acoustics create 'interesting' feedback problems. For a main mix scenario, a 31 band Stereo EQ will prove far superior.
This unit does however use the Behringer FBQ system, which theoretically can assist in reducing feedback.
An important pre purchase consideration was a device that used minimal rack realestate, so larger 2RU and 31 band EQs were never an option. My preference would otherwise have been for a 31 band EQ.
At this time a fully digital EQ like the Behringer Ultracurve Pro DEQ2496 is on the cards as a replacement. It's the MIDI control and 64 presets that have my attention.
One of the features that helped decide the final selection was the FBQ1502HD's Sub Out option. For a small rig, having a ready made and frequency switchable output for an active subwoofer is a real bonus, as it allows for smaller/lighter FOH (Front of House) speakers to be used.
Because of the multi-stage nature of their design, Graphic EQ's have in the past been inherently noisy devices. Here's why:
- A signal enters through a buffer amplifier which feeds the filter stages.
- For each slider to have cut & boost there has to be a separate amplifier for that frequency.
- All of these amplified outputs are summed (added together) using another buffer/mixer amplifier.
- Which is followed by an output amplifier, where the final Gain (cut & boost) or Level adjustment (cut only) occurs.
- Additional features like Gain Switching (±6/12dB), Sub Woofer Output and High and/or Low Cut shelf filters are generally located just before the final output stage.
- A simple(?) 16 band Graphic EQ could therefore easily employ 20 amplifiers, double that for stereo output. (A stereo 32 band device will have close to 70 amplifiers.)
The use of low noise components and improvements in operational amplifier (Op Amp) technology have resulted in very substantial reductions in internal circuit noise (per stage). When multiplied across around 20 or more amplification stages, any such improvement is magnified. So today's Graphic EQ tech can be (it isn't always) substantially better than the earlier analogue Graphic EQ's.
Along with noise issues, there is also distortion. Distortion in Graphic Equalizers is most readily caused by boosting the bass frequencies and simply running out of headroom.
The solution is generally simple enough, rather than boost the bass, cut the highs. Keeping the bass frequencies close to or below the cent re indent (unity gain) will prevent most distortion problems.
And just FYI: Unless you like HF noise (hiss), don't waste your money on 'Vintage' Graphic Equalizers unless you know and/or trust the provided specifications. Many of the early Graphic EQs were horribly noisy, even devices made by reputable manufacturers.
The potentially better solution (admittedly a matter of diverse opinion) is of course just to go completely digital. This will allow for insanely precise frequency manipulation, while also offering the storage of preset 'scenes' to allow for quicker and even automated setup. That of course will come with an appropriately higher price tag (about 500% higher ;-)
So - back in the real world - where some people still insist that Anthropogenic Global Warming is somehow imaginary, despite more than 50 years of evidence to the contrary ...
FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro - FRONT PANEL
Each of the two equalizer channels consists of:
- Output Level Display (LED: green -20dB, 0dB, yellow +6dB and red Clip).
- FBQ Switch - activates FBQ feedback detection system (essentially shows frequencies that are peaking). When FBQ is Off all LEDs are lit.
- Range Switch for selecting ±6dB or ±12dB Gain per frequency band.
- Input Level Control -15dB to +15dB. Unity Gain at 12 o'clock position.
- IN / OUT Switch (not a true bypass).
- Low Cut Switch (25Hz, Switchable).
- Operational Frequencies with ±6dB or ±12dB Cut / Boost per band:
25Hz, 40Hz, 63Hz, 100Hz, 160Hz,
250Hz, 400Hz, 630Hz, 1kHz, 1.6kHz,
2.5kHz, 4kHz, 6.3kHz, 10kHz, 16kHz.
The EQ sliders are detented at the cent re location to simply locating the Flat position. All the above controls are duplicated for the right channel and at the far right is the Power Switch. One of two channels is shown below ...
FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro - REAR PANEL
The Rear Panel layout of the FBQ1502HD groups each channel's inputs and outputs together, rather than having all inputs and outputs grouped (which I would have preferred).
Each Channel of the FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro comprises of an XLR plus TRS input option and an XLR plus TRS output option, all I/O connections are balanced. [TRS is 6mm (1/4") jack].
Between the two I/O groups sits the XLR Subwoofer Output with a selectable cut-off frequency from 30Hz to 200Hz. This is a feature that really should be industry standard ;-)
At the far left a DIN power socket completes the back panel.
- Compact and readily affordable 1RU Rack Mountable.
- Lit LEDs on level sliders are useful in low light scenarios.
- Balanced sub-woofer output with an adjustable crossover frequency from 30 to 200Hz differentiates this EQ from similar models from other brands.
- Very Low Noise (quite an achievement).
- Adequate Headroom and Level Adjustment.
- No Limiter - Some similar 1RU equalizers (and other Behringer models) come with Peak Limiters or compressors for each channel.
- Slider travel is extremely short with all 1RU devices, making accurate setup difficult.
- Rear panel layout is for the designer's convenience, not the user's convenience. By having TRS input and output jacks next to eachother, mistakes will be made!
A better layout would have been Out 1, Out 2, Out Sub - In 1, In 2.
A little more space between individual channels would also help. It's hard enough messing around at the back of a rack without having I/O connections that are needlessly jammed together. Another fine example of designers who don't have to use the gear in the real world.
All new and registered Behringer products come with a 3 year limited warranty. The catch of course is that the product should be registered within 90 days of purchase and the warranty is not transferable upon resale ... and you have to jump through their hoops, which is to say they try to put you off from doing this [Warranty - Please go here].
The FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro is really best suited to simple set & forget situations.
The 1RU size means that the individual frequency faders don't have a lot of travel and are therefore fiddly to adjust at best. This is an issue for any 1RU Graphic EQ device, not just this model. It does mean though that the quality of the sliders becomes more critical for continued good performance.
If regular EQ changes are required, two 31 band x 2RU EQ units would be much easier to work with.
Once again there is nothing spectacular about the Behringer FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro. It is a relatively straight forward, low tech, analogue, 1RU workhorse graphic EQ, designed to require minimal space and money. The build quality of the one I have is very good and there have been no issues with its use.
The FBQ1502HD does a fine job for what it is, but as the final component in the chain before the PA, it could be improved by adding a compressor/limiter (as per DBXIEQ15-M).
Behringer FBQ1502HD Ultragraph Pro Specifications
||10Hz to 30kHz ±3.0dB|
|Frequency Range||10Hz to 200kHz +0/-3dB|
||22Hz to 22kHz > 94dB @ +4dBu|
|Distortion THD||0.008% @ +4dB input 1kHz Unity Gain|
||Typ. -90dB @ 1kHz|
|Audio Inputs (L/R)|
||RF Filtered, Servo-balanced XLR and 6mm (1/4") TRS|
|Impedance||40KΩ balanced & unbalanced|
|Max Input Level
||+21dBu balanced & unbalanced|
(Common Mode Rejection Ratio)
||Typical. 55dB > 40dB @ 1kHz|
||Servo-balanced XLR and 6mm (1/4") TRS|
|Sub Woofer||balanced XLR|
|Roll-Off Filter Section|
||12dB / Oct., Butterworth|
||@ 25Hz, switchable|
||Analogue 15 band|
|Frequency Range||25Hz to 26kHz in 15 2/3 Octave sreps (ISO)|
||±6dB or ±12dB Switchable|
|Power Consumption||18 Watts|
|Supply Voltage||AC - 100-240V~ 50/60Hz|
|Weight:||1.7 kg (3.7 lb)|
|Dimensions:||Width: 482.6mm (19")
Depth: 217mm (8-1/2")
Height: 44.5mm (1-3/4") EIA - 1 U rack mount type
- Features - 6 / 10 (just better than adequate ;-)
- Ease of Use / Interface / Rear Panel - 7 / 10
- Build Quality - 7 / 10
- Durability & Reliability (after years or approx. run-time) - 10 / 10
- Value for Money - 8 /10 (compares very favourably to similar devices)
- Overall Average Score ... 7.6 / 10
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Incept Date: Wizard - 190424
Last Update: Wizard - 200429