I guess it is fairly obvious that Eq cannot be used as a replacement or substitute for acoustic treatment. No Eq will kill side or overhead reflections or flutter echo.
On the other fully effective treatment below 100Hz, requires enormous space, cost, and effort. So much that it is rarely achieved in my experience.
Viewed in that light, the two techniques should work together not be asked to spar.
jim, I would be just as reluctant to introduce poor quality electronics into a high end chain. I certainly won't be using any Behringers anytime soon.
But many of us have primarily digital systems, typically a DAW, or streamed or HD based HiFi. I have found Digital Equalisers to be amazingly good.
I prefer the software MDW to Massenburg's Hardware Eq.
Even with much cheaper Dig Eq's, I have never heard distortion, and certainly not compression.
There are other factors at play. Speakers are imperfect. A little touch up with a transparent Eq can straighten things out without any downside. Many manufacturers are now using DSP for this reason, plus the crossovers can be made more transparent.
Similarly one can chose a Target or Preferred Listening Curve using DRC. This is much more sophisticated than attempts using on board speaker eq, and is a no brainer with passive speakers.
The Hi Fi world often uses language foreign to the practicing pro. Reading some of the more far fetched PR
for the product I use, I could become sceptical.
However, switching in DRC has a dramatic effect on stereo image, width and depth perception. It may be doing this by removing some midrange peaks in the speaker, or the room. But it certainly is better. I have a simple A/B path switch at the listen position. Engineer and Hi Fi friends, visiting my White Room, have universally chosen the DRC sound over non.