Behringer Tube Ultra Q. Use it or forget it?

Some people may have trouble deciding which EQ to buy if they are on a budget. I faced this problem a few years ago, as I was on a tight budget but needed a parametric EQ for mastering. For mastering processes, a parametric EQ is basically more suitable than a graphic one, so my options were limited. In the end I settled on the good old Behringer EQ. In terms of features, this unit has everything I need, so I was happy to be able to do everything as I had planned. However, the more I used it, the clearer it became that this EQ was not designed for that.

Although it does the job, it unfortunately really intrudes on the sound and I mean that in a bad way. Using the Warmth coils gives the tubes an extra flavour to the input signal, but while on my Behringer compressor this effect is definitely nice, here it really detracts from the situation. Perhaps a tube change might solve this, but the factory tubes tend to detract from the beauty of the signal, so I've decided to leave that aside.

The EQ causes strong phase distortion in the low and mid-bass, so much so that this is where the EQ for mastering purposes ends. Otherwise, it's a decent tool for sound if there are no significant changes in the signal. It's natural for these devices to have some phase distortion, but here it was noticeable on the stereo sounds. However, if the modification is not additive, so you want to reduce certain frequencies, it works quite well.

The unit is therefore completely unsuitable for mastering purposes. There was a reason to use it 20 years ago, but nowadays a used Dbx graphic EQ handles phase distortion much better.

However, there is one area where I have found the device makes sense. I find it useful for recording vocals, as the signal path here is mono and the mid-high, high ranges are well handled by the tool. Would I recommend the device to others? I find it suitable for guitar, vocals, but there are a few million devices today in 2022 that are suitable for all of these. So basically I wouldn't recommend it. Find another device instead!