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Author Topic: Mixing in the digital age.... (brief review of a Behringer XR18mixer)  (Read 2852 times)

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Offline Nick's Picks

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Behringer?
are you kidding?   That stuff is crap.
Yup...that's all I ever hear.   That bad reputation has kept me from buying their gear.   
The few items that I have played with were never unsatisfactory to me.  Cheaply built...but not bad sounding..which is where it counts.
a year ago, I purchased a new model mixer from them..can't remember the model.   It had a built in SD recorder that would dump all of the channels to individual PCM tracks.  Very handy...but I ended up returning it because the build quality was junk (it did sound nice though) and I figured I'd break it within months of use on the road.  It was $700..so I opted to keep my money instead.

So now they have a new family of digital mixers that incorporate WiFi access points in the mixer itself.    Free software to control it is available for MAC/PC/Linux/Android.
Again...$700.   I shopped around and got one for almost $100 less.

quick specs / observations.
- TINY...smaller than a shoe-box.   16 x XLR inputs and two aux inputs for a total of 18.  It's about the size of your standard XLR snake head.
- USB 2.0 18 in x 18 out for recording (came with a copy of Traktor)
- WiFi access point allows 4 devices to connect.  I'm using my android phone and tablet.
- slick ass software.  no burps, no latency.    Easy to figure out.
- a zillion effects, emulated "classic rack mount gear" going back 40yrs.
- super easy routing of signals to mains / USB / AUX / BUS
- set it up.....and SAVE the config.   play that venue again...load the previously saved setup and you're off and running.
- mix from stage, or have someone mix for you by handing over your phone for a few minutes. 
- solid construction.  Metal chassis...rubber mounts on the edges.  The only moving part is a headphone amp volume pot.

My first impressions are very favorable.
the preamps (designed by MIDAS...and their logo is stamped on the box), sound fantastic.  Super quiet and clean.
The effects are all HQ.  not crappy at all.
Recording / mixing / routing is easy.   I can set it up for a live performance and route spot mics or ambient mics to a separate BUS and send it to the USB out and not the mains....or route to the AUX outs and multi-track w/my DR680.
The software didn't crash at all in 10hrs of running time.   In fact, it hasn't even hiccuped once.

I envision that after owning this for a few months, I'll have all my regular venues and studio setups "saved" where I can just turn it on, load a setting and go.

So far, so good.  No...in fact, this thing is quite literally FUCKING COOL.

LMA recordings and what-not


Live music: hauling around a Marshall stack whose output will get squeezed through a single SM57, then mangled by a Guinness-soaked mixer and shoved through suspicious-smelling power amps into a pair of grungy cabinets whose best days were before they left the factory, all of which are under the control of an engineer who would much rather be at home watching television.

Offline cybergaloot

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Behringer seems to be trying to improve their quality. A friend of mine bought the smaller version of this unit for podcast interviews and is very happy with it. He is a serious podcaster and also a musician and he knows sound quality so I respect his opinion on this.
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Walter

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. Will Rogers


MICS: Line Audio CM3, CA-11 (O & C), CA-14 (C), CAFS, Studio Project C4 (O,C, HC), Studio Project LSD2, ADK-tl, ADK-A6, ADK-5.1, MXL 603S, JM-27s, Sennheiser e600 Drum Pack, Avantone Drum Mic kit, Shure MX393S
RECORDERS: H2, DR-40, R16, R-44, HD24, DR-2D, DR-44WL, Denon DN-500R
PRES: CA-UGLY, CA-9000, UA-5, Art USB Dual Tube Pre, Focusrite Platinum Octopre (X2)
STUFF: Patchbox I, Patchbox II, ZED-22fx, ZED-24, Soundcraft Si Impact, TOA D-4 + 2X D-4E, M-Audio MobilePre, compressors, Alesis MultiMix 8 Line Mixer 
PLUS: Gaffers tape, lot's of gaffer's tape! And cables, lot's of cables.

Offline Life In Rewind

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We have the X32 at work - I think its great.

Even better, the musicians love it - and have noted how much better everything sounds.
Audix M1280/Avantone CK-1/APEX 435/Altec 626A/TEAC ME-120/Sony ECM-999PR/Sony ECM-MS5
TASCAM DR-70D/Tricorder

Offline Gutbucket

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Cool.   For my use the smaller XR12 looks very interesting, except I need 6 (or more) AFL outs, rather than just 2.   

To get the necessary outs it looks like I'd need either:
XR18 (6 XLR aux outs + 2 XLR main outs);
XR16 (4 XLR aux outs + 2 XLR main outs);
X18 (6 TRS aux outs + 2 XLR/RCA main outs) - this is the one intended for desktop use with an integral dock for the control tablet, rather than a break-out/rack-mount type stage box.

Assuming the AUX outs can be configured as individual AFL channel outputs.

I've been having a hard time finding an inexpensive small format mixer with 6 AFL channel outs.  If have channel inserts at all, they are always PFL.  Was considering modifying a small line mixer to get what I need, but maybe a digital mixer is the way to go if I can configure it to do what I want it to.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 04:59:26 PM by Gutbucket »
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline ~Jon Stoppable

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I want a digital mixer so bad!  Getting rid of the control surface entirely in favor of wireless is a clever way to save costs too.  Digital solves so many problems, like the mixer in the wrong place, or the EQ points being limited, fixed, and poorly chosen, recall, totally flexible routing, etc.

Regarding Behri, their quality has improved in the last 10 years, and now that they figured out how not to get fined by the FCC I wouldn't avoid their gear  ;D  The also don't just copy other people's stuff so much anymore but have a lot of their own designs now.  They had a lot of bad karma from that in the past.

I just did my kids' ES production with the school's little Behri mixer which is now four or five years old with no trouble.  It's not the mechanically strongest bit of kit ever but if you don't beat the crap out of your gear it wouldn't scare me.

Offline Nick's Picks

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yea, this thing offers a TON of features for such a small unit and price point.
the 6 AUX sends can be AFL's....fwiw.
I think there are 8 BUS's in total.
LMA recordings and what-not


Live music: hauling around a Marshall stack whose output will get squeezed through a single SM57, then mangled by a Guinness-soaked mixer and shoved through suspicious-smelling power amps into a pair of grungy cabinets whose best days were before they left the factory, all of which are under the control of an engineer who would much rather be at home watching television.

Offline Nick's Picks

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tonight I'll be working the multi-tracking / recording aspect.
I'll report back...
LMA recordings and what-not


Live music: hauling around a Marshall stack whose output will get squeezed through a single SM57, then mangled by a Guinness-soaked mixer and shoved through suspicious-smelling power amps into a pair of grungy cabinets whose best days were before they left the factory, all of which are under the control of an engineer who would much rather be at home watching television.

Offline cybergaloot

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I have a Behringer headphone amp that sucks but I have some compressors that are ok, and ADA8000 that is fine and a couple of patchbays that are fine also. Oh, an a couple of DI boxes that seem to do what they are supposed to do as good as other low end DIs. I've been told that their stuff made in Germany is for the most part ok, its the Chinese stuff that gave them a bad name but that seems to be improving. However a friend who is a manager at Guitar Center says the reason GC quit carrying Berhinger was the volume of returns. I think what it boils down to is doing some research and reading user reviews.
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Walter

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. Will Rogers


MICS: Line Audio CM3, CA-11 (O & C), CA-14 (C), CAFS, Studio Project C4 (O,C, HC), Studio Project LSD2, ADK-tl, ADK-A6, ADK-5.1, MXL 603S, JM-27s, Sennheiser e600 Drum Pack, Avantone Drum Mic kit, Shure MX393S
RECORDERS: H2, DR-40, R16, R-44, HD24, DR-2D, DR-44WL, Denon DN-500R
PRES: CA-UGLY, CA-9000, UA-5, Art USB Dual Tube Pre, Focusrite Platinum Octopre (X2)
STUFF: Patchbox I, Patchbox II, ZED-22fx, ZED-24, Soundcraft Si Impact, TOA D-4 + 2X D-4E, M-Audio MobilePre, compressors, Alesis MultiMix 8 Line Mixer 
PLUS: Gaffers tape, lot's of gaffer's tape! And cables, lot's of cables.

Offline 2manyrocks

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Some have posted at GS that they have found it necessary to use an external router to avoid drop outs.  I think I ordered the xr12 back in October and watched the expected ship date slide and then slide again.  Apparently, now in stock overseas. 

The xr 18 is supposed to multi track 18 channels via USB and is be directional so it could be used for playback of up to 18 backing tracks. 

What makes the xr unique is PC, Mac and android comparability. 

Gutbucket-you can download any of the apps for free at this link and see if the routing options do what you want.  http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/Xr18.aspx/

« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 07:23:42 PM by 2manyrocks »

Offline Gutbucket

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Thanks.  May do that just for kicks.   I'll need to wait for the price to drop on the larger ones before I can justify the expense for the additional in's and pres I don't need.    The pricing of the XR12 is attractive, but it won't work since it lacks the physical outs. 

Many inexpensive computer audio interfaces suffer the same issue- plenty of inputs, not enough outputs.
volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values | numeric values > voltages > vibrations > virtual teleportation time-machine experience

Offline Life In Rewind

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Re: Mixing in the digital age.... (brief review of a Behringer XR18mixer)
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2016, 10:21:03 AM »
I ordered the XR Air 18 - should be here today...

Building a smallish PA system...but of course I will also record with it...!

I've used the X32 at work for a few years - so I know the Behringer model

Was really on the fence on going full blast with one of the X32 models - but this was too attractive for the scale of gigs that I might do.

No snake...just run of CAT 5/6

Seems like this model has been out long enough without any serious disaster stories...

Will report back later!
Audix M1280/Avantone CK-1/APEX 435/Altec 626A/TEAC ME-120/Sony ECM-999PR/Sony ECM-MS5
TASCAM DR-70D/Tricorder

Offline Nick's Picks

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Re: Mixing in the digital age.... (brief review of a Behringer XR18mixer)
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2016, 09:58:19 AM »
update...
I ended up ditching it.   Way too much of a PITA to use live w/o a dedicated sound guy running the show.
LMA recordings and what-not


Live music: hauling around a Marshall stack whose output will get squeezed through a single SM57, then mangled by a Guinness-soaked mixer and shoved through suspicious-smelling power amps into a pair of grungy cabinets whose best days were before they left the factory, all of which are under the control of an engineer who would much rather be at home watching television.

Offline Life In Rewind

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Re: Mixing in the digital age.... (brief review of a Behringer XR18mixer)
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2016, 10:41:34 AM »
update...
I ended up ditching it.   Way too much of a PITA to use live w/o a dedicated sound guy running the show.

I can believe it. Easy to for a guitarist to poke a fader on mix surface...much harder to find a focus on small screen, make sure you're on the right screen, click, adjust...etc.

For sure - Im always going to have a backup analog mixer with me for "break glass" situations...

Audix M1280/Avantone CK-1/APEX 435/Altec 626A/TEAC ME-120/Sony ECM-999PR/Sony ECM-MS5
TASCAM DR-70D/Tricorder

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Mixing in the digital age.... (brief review of a Behringer XR18mixer)
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2016, 07:31:23 PM »
There is a learning curve with these.  The soundcraft ui GUI is very intuitive.  The xr edit PC software has a steeper learning curve, IMO.  The other thing is setting up a good external router to enhance connection reliability. 

Once you get it set, the ability to recall setting is very cool and a real timesaver. 

But ...there is a learning curve.


 

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