Review: Behringer Ultramatch Pro SRC2496 A/D/A & Sample Rate Converter

The Behringer Ultramatch Pro SRC2496 is a Sample Rate & A/D/A Converter that allows you to transfer digital audio between devices with different sample rates, formats, or interfaces, and remove dropouts or jitter from digital media. The various digital outputs can be used simultaneously, allowing the unit to also serve as a digital signal splitter/patchbay. The SRC2496 also provides up to 24-bit/96 kHz A/D/A conversion, making it what could be the most affordable stereo A/D/A converter on the market.

Analog Connections

The SRC2496 boasts an impressive collection of inputs and outputs. First, there’s a pair each of balanced XLR input and output jacks. These connections are used when utilizing the SRC2496 as an Analog-to-Digital (A/D) and/or Digital-to-Analong (D/A) converter. A pair of balanced 1/4″ TRS plugs would have also been welcomed here, but for the price, I won’t complain. However, if you plan to use it with unbalanced gear of any kind, you’ll need to buy or solder your own cable with XLR Pin 3 shorted to Pin 1, as noted in the user manual.

The analog inputs allow you to connect up a piece of gear with analog stereo outputs, two separate single-channel mic preamps, or perhaps a dual-channel mic preamp (which is how I’m using it). The analog outputs can be connected to any other analog gear, but the most likely candidate would be to a mixing console, monitor controller, or directly to a pair of active studio monitor speakers. To round out the analog connections, there’s even a headphone output on the front panel, which is useful for monitoring the unit’s output over headphones if active monitors aren’t available.

Digital Connections

The digital inputs and outputs include a choice of 3 connectors: XLR, RCA, and Toslink. It’s important to note that these connectors are for DIGITAL signals, even though they use some of the same connectors (XLR & RCA) as common analog gear. It’s also important to use cables that are specifically designed for DIGITAL audio, rather than trying to use a regular old XLR microphone cable or analog RCA audio cables. Each of the digital inputs and outputs will send or receive either a professional-format AES/EBU signal, or a consumer-format S/PDIF signal. This makes the unit extremely flexible in terms of matching up disparate pieces of digital audio gear. Synchronization with other digital devices can be achieved in one of three ways: by utilizing the unit’s internal clock (making it the “master”), clocking to an external source via the digital input, or by clocking to the dedicated Word Clock input (provided via a standard BNC connector).

It’s worth noting that when using the unit as a D/A, it can only be synced to the digital input signal (“Dig In”). The BNC Word Clock input can only be used when using the unit as an A/D converter. In fact, when you choose to sync to the Word Clock input (you choose “External” for the Clock source), the digital outputs of the unit are muted. This caused considerable confusion for me when I first hooked up the unit, as I was trying to use it as an A/D/A, and clock it to the Word Clock input. After discovering this little nugget of information in the manual, I set the clock source to “Dig In”, and all was good.

A/D Conversion

I bought the SRC2496 to use primarily as a 2-channel A/D converter that would allow me to utilize the S/PDIF input and output of my recording interface (an RME Multiface), thereby freeing up a pair of my both my analog input and output channels. To set things up, I connected the analog outputs of a dual-channel mic preamp (an ART MPA Gold) to the XLR analog inputs of the SRC2496, then connected the S/PDIF output of the SRC2496 to the S/PDIF input of the interface. I also connected the S/PDIF output of the interface back to the S/PDIF input on the SRC2496 in order to also use it as a D/A converter, and to clock the SRC2496 to the RME Multiface, which is set as the Master.

I’ve been very pleased with the results so far. I’ve used it for recording vocals, acoustic guitar, bass, and clean electric guitar, and the unit adds no audible noise or distortion to the input signal, even when adding a considerable amount of gain for weaker signals. The SRC2496 provides clean, quiet A/D conversion, just as you would hope for when recording any such sources.

D/A Conversion

The SRC2496 has also gained considerable popularity as a D/A converter, especially among the consumer audiophile crowd. Many have reported that its performance compares favorably with D/A converters costing many times its price, making it a real bargain as a bang-for-the-buck D/A converter for a home theater or stereo system. I also tested it as a D/A converter in the control room of my studio, setting the stereo output of my DAW to the S/PDIF output of the Multiface, which in turn sends the digital output to the SRC2496. The analog outputs of the SRC2496 were then connected to my monitor controller, and then to my studio monitors.

Again, the unit provides clean conversion, adding no audible noise or distortion. I did a few listening tests, comparing it with an analog output pair on the Multiface with the SRC2496, and could tell no real difference, save the fact that the SRC2496 seemed to send a slightly hotter ouput signal, requiring me to turn the volume down slightly compared to the Multiface’s analog outputs.

Sample Rate Converter

Since I’m not using the SRC2496 as a Sample Rate Converter, I can’t really speak to its performance in this specific area. However, I can say with confidence that if I ever need a Sample Rate Converter, I’m certain it will be more than up to the task! The range of controls and connections found here leave little doubt that it’s a very capable unit in this regard, as well.


Behringer has built its business on providing highly useful pro audio gear for the studio and stage that boasts a boatload of features and a price/performance ratio that leave their nearest competitor in the dust. The Ultramatch Pro SRC2496 is no exception, providing an incredible package of features that would be welcomed in any studio or home theater system that’s mixing and matching digital gear with different sample rates or connections, or needing another two channels of quality A/D/A conversion.

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Ultramatch Pro SRC2496

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