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Author Topic: Behringer XAir-X18 Digital Mixer/interface  (Read 24 times)

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Offline MrHarryReems

Behringer XAir-X18 Digital Mixer/interface
« Opened on December 11, 2018, 02:31:17 PM »

When my band recorded our last album, we were using an 8 channel interface, which made us struggle with only 4 inputs to mic up the drum kit.  I was faced with a few choices for increasing the number of inputs for our next go around.  One option was to use an ADAT  channel strip for $400-$500 to add 8 more inputs.  Another option would be to purchase a 16+ channel interface, which get very expensive beyond 8 inputs. At the same time, my tired old back was struggling to haul our huge analog mixer in its flight case to our gigs.  I had been shopping for both a digital mixer *and* a channel strip.  That's when my research led me to the Behringer XAir-X-18.

The XAir-X18 is an 18 channel digital mixer that doubles as an 18 channel digital interface.  Two birds, one stone.  I'll be honest, I've been very leary of Behringer products in the past.  They haven't always been known for their quality, but I've been forced to admit that a lot has changed.  At this point, I find the X-Air such an important piece of gear that I don't know how I lived without it.

Initially, I was worried about the quality of the preamps, as I do a LOT of recording.  My previous unit had fabulous preamps, and I was very afraid that the preamps on the XAir wouldn't be up to snuff.  The pramps on the XAir unit are designed by Midas, which makes excellent quality gear.  My concern was that 'designed by' meant that it was something Midas would never put their own name on.  Come to find out that Midas released their own version of the rack mount XR18, which was simply a rebadged unit at twice the price.  I have found that these preamps, while a tiny bit bright, are also extremely clear.  While recording my acoustic guitar, these preamps were clear enough to show me a problem that was buried by the color of my old preamps.  In a back-to-back test, I could see the same range peaking in the spectrum analyzer, but it was much more clear listening back when using the Behringer.

Another great thing about this unit is that it is small and light.  Anyone who's been in this business for any length of time knows that easy to transport gear is a blessing.  Gone are the days of breaking my back hauling around a massive analog mixer.

In regards to features, this thing is loaded.  Tons of built in DSP such as EQ, Gates, compression, reverb, chorus, delay, etc, etc..  Tons of modeled effects.  If I were to list them all, I'd be at this all day.  It also has a 100 band graphic EQ/spectrum analyzer  that makes it extremely easy to ring out feedback in with pinpoint accuracy on a narrow frequency when playing live.

It also allows you to save scenes, so if you play a number of different venues, or mix for a number of different bands, you can save the settings for the band or venue and quickly reload it without having to set everything up from scratch.

I have to admit, however, that learning how to configure the routing was a chore.  I had to RTFM and supplement that with a lot of youtoob vids.  I do have to say, however, that if the device can do it, Behringer probably has a professional quality instructional video on how to do it on youtoob.  The vids were tremendously helpful initially in getting everything setup.

This unit does not come with a control surface.  You can use any IOS or Android tablet or phone to control the device by downloading and installing the control app.  As you can have more than once control surface connected at once, you can allow each band member to control his own monitor mix with his/her cell phone!  It comes with its own internal wireless router.  However, the internal wireless router is one of the weak points of this unit.  If you are in a large venue with a lot of smartphones, you can have issues with the control surface disconnecting from the internal wireless router.   While it's possible to use a wireless frequency scanner and set it to a channel with less traffic, the best solution is to plug a more robust external router into the ethernet port on the back of the device.

This is such an incredibly capable device that has SO many features, I'm sure there are some things I'm missing.  If anyone has any questions, feel free to post up and I'll answer as best I can.

 
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