Behringer X32 Update

I last updated about the use of the Behringer X32 digital sound board back in September.  So today I am reporting on its use and quality over the last 1/2 year.

The Behringer X32 is sold as a 32 channel digital board.  As you may know, at North Ridge, we switched from a 48 channel Allen & Heath ML4000 and that we have a mono pa system.  The X32 is secretly a 38 channel board.  This is due to the 6 additional “aux inputs” on the back of the board.  These show up in the “AUX IN/USB/FX RETURNS” tab of the console.  These aux inputs are a line level input and have a gain adjustment of +/- 12 dB.  Because our system is mono, I am able to sum the Left and Right outputs of our CD player and computer into mono to take up one channel each.  For some stereo systems, you may have to use an external sub console for combining your audio/visual needs into a single pair of Aux In’s of the board.  Some Kramer Video switchers include audio switching internally, so this is another valid option.

The two most common questions that I get about this console are:

  • How does the console sound?
  • How is the quality of the console?

The sound of the console is very clean and clear.  In comparison to our analog Allen & Heath ML4000, I much prefer the X32.  The transients seem a lot more clear.  I was able to notice the largest difference on the clarity of our choir during our traditional service.  I could for the first time hear the pronunciation of the words they were singing.

Equalizers on the console are beautiful sounding.  It takes very little adjustment of the gain to notice the adjustment you just made.  The 800×480 TFT display gives you a graphical representation of the EQ, which for volunteers who haven’t spent the last 5 years perfecting their ears to discern frequencies, really enjoy.  I have had a lot of techs come to me and mention that EQ’ing a channel is much easier to understand with the graphical representation of it.

The built in compressor and gate give you a good handle of the dynamics of each channel, in combination with sub groups you can keep a very consistant level out sound in your venue or house of worship.

As far as specs go, the delay of the console from the XLR input to the balanced outputs is 0.7ms.  This is one of the lowest delays in the industry.  At a sample rate of 48 kHz, it has a frequency range of 10 Hz to 22 kHz at 0 dB to -1 dB over the spectrum.  Lastly it has a typical analog input to analog output dynamic range of 106dB.

Next question is about quality.  I purchased two consoles, one for each of our main rooms at North Ridge Community Church.  Both consoles have been consistant and flawless with no apparent problems at all, aside from the accidental routing issues from time to time which is a operator problem ;-).

The faders on the console are very solid feeling and the motion is very fluid.  Rotary knobs do not have a lot of slop and are a good size for fingers.  Changing pages on the console from channels 1-16 and 17-32, all of the faders flip very quickly and accurately.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the purchase of our two X32’s.  Training has been aided with my YouTube videos which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/kd7qcu.  Any sound tech that has mixed on an analog console can be brought up to speed on the X32 in about 30 mins to an hour.

Would I purchase it again?  YES!  In fact with the new X32 Producer is a rack mountable version!  So, I would love to upgrade our mobile system to have this.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Also if any of you are in the Phoenix, Arizona area and would like a hands on tour of the X32, drop me an email and we can set up a time.

Large Format Audio Console vs. Behringer X32

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Just posting some photos of the difference in size that our old Allen & Heath ML4000 48-Channel board compared to the new Behringer X32.

What is great is that I have removed 14au of gear by upgrading to the Behringer X32.

Sound quality between the two is night and day. Without the gates engaged the noise level of the ML4000 us much higher than the X32. Also the clairity of the audio is amazing. The slightest adjustment with the eq is noticed quickly. With use of the gates the system is so clear now.

I am blown away by this mixer.

Behringer X32 Digital Audio Console

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At North Ridge Community Church we have two main rooms that we use for different things. We have our large room, the Worship Center, and then we have our smaller multi-purpose room, the Ridge Cafe. Both rooms introduce some issues as far as mixing goes.

The Ridge Cafe’s mix position is up on a elevated balcony which is intertwined with AC ductwork, AC units, Electrical conduit and condensation lines. You actually have to duck under these to get to where the board is. Whenever mixing here the best way is to mix via the headphones and then go downstairs and compare.

Worship Center has an elevated audio/video booth against the back wall. It is a clear line of sight to the stage and speaker cluster but is not in a accurate position of where the speakers are hung.

When deciding on what board to get we wanted to have an iPad app to be able to mix from. That way our audio techs could walk around within the congregation to get an accurate position to hear their mix.

Next priority was being able to save and recall scenes with flying faders. Being that our rooms see a lot of different ministries, the multi-use function of the room required each ministry to have their own board setup to facilitate their needs.

Consistency and ease of training was also a big requirement at the church with all of the volunteers. So having matching boards or at least same manufacture would help this a lot. We wanted to have a sound tech train in one room and be able to cover a position if needed in the other.

With those requirements the boards we were to select from included the Yamaha LS9, PreSonus StudioLive, and most resently the Behringer X32.

I ruled out the StudioLive as it does not have flying faders. Having the ability to recall scenes for our different ministries at the church. One thing I loved about the StudioLive is the ability to record the 24 individual tracks at the same time to a computer digital audio workstation, DAW.

The next board, the Yamaha LS9, at around $6-7k, had a higher price point. However, this board included flying faders and the ability to save and recall scenes. The board did not have the ability to record more than just the stereo bus.

I decided on pulling the trigger on the Behringer X32 for some of the following reasons:

- 32 mic in, 6 line in, 16 mix buses, 6 matrix mixes, LCR or LC+R setups, AES/EBU output, 16 assignable balanced outputs
– Flying faders
– Ability to save and recall scenes (up to 100 scenes per show currently firmware 1.08)
– Up to 10 iPads can connect to the board at one time with the xicontrol app (also a monitor mixing app for the iPhone is in the works at Behringer)
– AES50 digital snake will allow remote stage boxes (Behringer S16) to add additional patchable inputs to the X32.
– Record 32 separate tracks to a DAW over USB 2.0 or FireWire
– Compressor, gate, adjustable low cut, 4 band fully parametric eq, and channel delay on each channel
– Adjustable delay on the control room speakers and headphones

The list keeps going of how flexible this board is. Also the X32 interfaces with the Behringer P16 which is Behrimger’s version of the Aviom personal mixer. So on to of the 16 buses the X32 also gives you 16 assignable outputs specifically for the P16.

All of this comes in at the price point of $2899. I was able to purchase two X32’s for the price of one Yamaha LS9. The flexibility that will come with adding the Behringer S16 16 input/8 output stage boxes that transfer over the AES50 protocol, will be huge for my church.

With any company/product/console reliability is a large concern. Behringer has their 3 year warranty on the X32 so that makes me feel a lot better about the purchase and the fact that Midas was the majority of the design for the X32 almost alleviates the concern. But only time will tell.

I have a bunch of videos on the Behringer X32 on my YouTube channel which you can find at http://www.youtube.com/KD7QCU.

If you have any questions on the board please watch the videos or post below. After mixing with the board for the last 3-4 weeks I am blown away by how awesome this board is. Uli Behinger an his team has really found the right design for this!

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