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Tag: Product Review

Ecco Pro filtered tank

Eheim Ecco Pro Canister Filter Review

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With the upcoming build of my 90 gallon aquarium, I have been using my 30 gallon tank as a bit of a testbed for exploring different filtration methods. Thus far I have implemented an under gravel and a homemade sump.  Both have worked quite well. In this article, I will share the results of using the Eheim Ecco Pro canister filter. 

Ecco Pro

For three decades I have turned to under gravel filters as my filtration method of choice. Though incredibly simple, I will always contend that, when properly set up, the under gravel filter is a fantastic choice.

The sump was not your traditional sump, it was made from a 5 gallon bucket. I posted details on it in this article. It took some fiddling to get it, but in the end, it did the job it was supposed to do and kept the water a lot more clean than the under gravel filter. However, the wife was not a fan of the running water noise it produced, so back to the drawing board. 

While visiting my parents, I took a look at my father’s fish gear cabinet. There are things in there that have not been made in decades! It is a treasure trove, and in the corner of that pile, I spotted an Eheim Ecco Pro canister filter. I had found my next filter to test!

The hoses were missing and it was covered in thick, crusty, dust. My father did not know if it worked. I brought it home, disassembled it, and cleaned it up. When I first popped it open I was pleased to find it had three media compartments, which still contained Eheim’s glass beads. The Eheim Ecco Pro is a small canister, which gave me pause, 30 gallons is not a big tank, would this provide enough filtration?

Ecco Pro Media Baskets

The Ecco Pro is an outside-in filter, meaning that water comes into the canister around the outside of the media baskets. It is then sucked up from the bottom and through the middle of the media baskets. Water then gets pushed out the top via a return pump, and back into the tank. 

With filtration, there are three components that go into every system: mechanical, biological, and chemical. Unless you are an advanced fish keeper, they should also go in that order. When I looked at the order in the Ecco Pro baskets, I noticed the biological filtration was before the mechanical. Not only that, but Eheim’s own manual also shows it that way! For an otherwise great product, this misinformation disappointed me. Not to worry though, the baskets are highly configurable. I simply swapped in some of my own filter floss and moved the biological filtration later in the stack. 

Ecco Pro Sink Test

The Ecco Pro has been running on the 30 gallon for a couple months (as of the writing of this article). The numbers on my water test kit are consistently on target. The pump is nearly silent and there is no water flow noise, a big plus for my wife. I was able to use some common hose that I picked up at the local hardware store for cheap. 

Ecco Pro filtered tank

Would I use a canister filter on the 90 gallon tank? Yes, but not an Ecco Pro. 30 gallons is the max I would consider using it on. 

Do I recommend the Eheim Ecco Pro canister filter? Absolutely! It is a great unit, quiet and compact. The Eheim glass bio-media works well. Just make sure you put the mechanical filter in front of the biological or the biological media will gum up real fast and become ineffective. 

Link to manual

Check prices on amazon. 

Would I buy it again? Review of the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD Audio Interface – Plus 2x bonus gear!

Back in the day Behringer was not known for particularly high-quality audio, so when I went to upgrade my audio interface you could say I was more than a bit skeptical of the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD audio interface. To say that I have been pleasantly surprised would be mild. I am blown away by the clarity of the audio that comes out of it little unit.

Picked up this little unit for XX dollars on Amazon. This model has two inputs with double as XLR and TRS. The preamp’s are brilliant. There are two outputs for left and right on the back, and the headphone jack on the front with independent volume control can be used to monitor inputs, or the outputs.

Most of the time I am performing live with the U-PHORIA UMC202HD, and thanks to the flexibility of this unit I am able to bend and twist it in ways I never thought possible. Let me give you a brief overview of my setup.

Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD diagram

Typically, musicians run the sound out of their instrument to the sound board, and then the sound board returns their sounds in a monitor channel that allows them to create a mix of the band for monitoring. If you run a shared monitor send it can get dicey as musicians always want to hear themselves higher than the rest of the band. Having spent many years in this exact scenario, I came up with clever solutions to allow me to hear myself, which usually involved several pieces of equipment to create a mix between my instrument directly and the sound system monitor send. The U-PHORIA UMC202HD allows me to not only send a signal to the house, but also to mix and monitor the system at the same time. All from one box!

How do I do it?

The venue I play at runs mono- they get the left channel out from the U-PHORIA UMC202HD. The monitor send get plugging into input 2. In my software, Mainstage, I set up an audio track that uses input 2 as it’s source and pan that track all the way right. Then I simply plug some in-ear headphones into the front headphone jack and viola! Full independent control of my own volume versus the monitor mix. The output to the house is controlled by the main volume knob and the headphones are independently controlled with their own level.

Eventually I will write up a full tutorial on how I have this configured, but for now I will tell you that it is the best thing since sliced bread. I went from carrying a bag of equipment, to a laptop and the audio interface. Gigging has been greatly simplified.

But Ben, how does it SOUND?

Simply put, it sounds like a device many times its cost. The clarity is astounding! Sound comes out rich and full, faithfully replicating whatever I throw at it. And the noise when nothing is playing is simply non-existent. My venue has terrible ground loop issues that cause major hum. My prior setup always had issues, bad enough that I put a sound gate on the end of the chain, and so did the sound board. The U-PHORIA UMC202HD is completely silent! Even with the volume cranked there is no noise in the system. It also eliminated several potential ground loop issues since it is powered from the laptop itself.

I prefer Mainstage for….pretty much everything. It has a great set of preset sounds and it is super easy to create your own. The U-PHORIA UMC202HD integrates seamlessly. Just plug it in and the inputs and outputs show up right away. The input volume knobs on the U-PHORIA UMC202HD help regulate the incoming monitor volume, and the selector buttons let me bump the signal up or down, depending on what is coming from the house.

Would I buy it again?

In a heartbeat! This is definitely a device I recommend to anyone needing a kick-butt audio interface and is on a budget. In fact, there are models with more inputs and I am contemplating getting one and using it to manage all the devices and audio sources in my office!

Final conclusion

Do not let the low price fool you, the Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD is a great piece of hardware. It allowed me to replace at least 5 pieces of equipment! I would definitely buy it again and heartily recommend it to all you readers.

Bonus #1 – Make speaker level sends safe!

Running a speaker level, or amped, send into the U-PHORIA UMC202HD could be disastrous for both the unit and the computer connected to it! To get around that I carry a Rolls PM52 Headphone Tap. It takes in a speaker level send and gives you a knob to control its output level, making it perfectly safe for headphones, or the audio interface.

Bonus #2 – Direct Box for interfacing the sound system

Most sound systems want you to convert your signal to XLR for input to the sound system. The Radial Pro line of direct boxes cannot be beat! They will send a clean smooth sound to the system that is as close to what is in your ears as it gets. The cases are also a highly durable metal.

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