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Author Topic: Behringer X32 Rack Review  (Read 15705 times)

Luke Geis

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Behringer X32 Rack Review
« on: February 07, 2014, 03:41:15 am »

So I just got the X32 Rack this afternoon! I have been searching quite some time for a stealth rig to take to weddings, small bar gigs and corporate events that require small channel counts with extreme versatility. I have found it! The Behringer X32 was initially not on my short list of things to have simply because I was more interested in something that more resembled a S.A.C. style system. The X32 Core was more up my alley. But Realizing no matter what, I would have to have some form of an input pre-amp devise, I came to realization that the X32 Rack was more what I wanted. The next closest thing on my short list was what is now known as the Behringer X18. Basically a briefcase sized Mackie 1608 clone with many more features including built in WiFi! Again reality struck when I realized I would have no ability to expand and I would have to set it on top of something. Hmmmm....... Things are starting to add up. X32 Rack is the most cost effective all in one system I can get with full expansion up to 48 input channels! So I order it to accommodate an upcoming gig I have. It arrives in nice packaging, with stickers and a useless " Quick Startup Guide "...... No cd with firmwares, drivers, or any other useful info; only a short booklet that will barely get the best of us in line to fully utilize the thing......

Aside from the lacking instructions, it is a very nice looking and functional unit. I am quickly on line looking up which drivers, software and files I would need to make complete use of this 3 Space rack unit I now own. Not too many thankfully. The X-USB drivers and the X32-Edit software is all you need. It is troublesome to install the X-USB drivers, but I did figure it out with a computer restart and re-install. The X32-Edit is solid and trouble free! First things first, make sure that you set the IP address on the X32 Rack unit to your needed points. It comes loaded with a typical 192.168.0.X address, but it has no submask, or gateway address initially. As soon as you nail that in the X32-Edit software as well as the I-PAD X-32 Edit APP connect right away with rock solid performance. Now that I can talk to the unit it is time to move forward.

It comes basically pre configured for the everyday user. I quickly set it up for my needs to accommodate aux fed subs ( off the mono bus ), which is linked to the L-R out fader and fed directly from a separate fader on the channels of my choosing. This is great because there is now no need to eat up a Buss Mix. Next I set my Busses to the desired Pre-Post Fader/Eq settings and was ready within minutes to make noise. The initial setup and running of the X32 Rack is very basic and easy. Next is making it talk to my different DAW software's.

This part is not as easy. Making it talk channel to channel on a DAW of your choosing is pretty straight forward. The return of the channels back to the X-32 is more complicated if you want to do virtual soundcheck. You have to go to the routing tab click on home and select the banks of returns which will be fed to the respective channels. It works in banks of 8 and they must correspond of course. This is not as straight forward as it sounds unfortunately. Channels 1-8 must be on card 1-8 ETC. ETC. which seems to make sense, unless you changed the input source of the channel. That's right.... If you sourced an auxiliary channel to a main channel it is more difficult to have it come back to the same spot. The DAW will take the input, but to bring it back on the same X-32 channel you have to go back into the X-32 and re-route the channel back to it's standard configuration. I'm not a virtual soundcheck extraordinaire, so I of course had to go through a bit of a learning curve. I may still have it wrong in explanation, but I was at least able to make it work as desired somehow?

I have worked with the X32 Desk before and was familiar with most of it's functions. It is a good sounding desk with great features and FX! The overall manipulation of the desk is not as easy as I would like. The menu's are a little weird and not as distinct as one might imagine. I am used to my Yamaha LS9-32 of course too, so perhaps I have some bias? In either case navigation through the menu's is easy enough to get what you want, my only gripe is that some of the features between the I-Pad APP and the PC software are not aligned. Each one has something that the other doesn't. Not too big of a deal, but I would imagine the PC software to have the full gambit. I still have more to go through, but finding a tap tempo key for either side has been elusive thus far. Also the USB interface on the front for recording and playback is really only good for recording. It is highly picky about format for playback through the USB ( the one on the front, not the X-USB recording card on the back ). It records fine and is easy to set up, but don'y even bother trying to use the USB port to play back pre-recorded media. It will likely not work unless it is Wave audio and 44.1khz. The playback of recordings made through the USB play fine however and are trouble free in transfer to your DAW software.

Sound quality wise, it is a great sounding unit. It is quiet, has plenty of gain and the FX sound really good. Better than the LS9 even! It is super flexible and has expandability. I can control it reliably from an I-PAD and leave the unit on stage with less worry of beer spills and funny folk who think it's cool to ask " what will happen if I touch this knob"? It is not without it's caveats, but what is? It can do 10X more than any other 16 channel analog mixer in less space and with just as good of quality. Id this unit for everyone? Absolutely not..... You must put faith in running a show entirely from either, or both an I-PAD and PC and rely solely on your ability to navigate through the two software's. A well prepped engineer will have no problems with quick setup, recording and running of an event with this machine. Those not so akin to running a system totally from software, you may desire the other X32 platforms that are available?

I have had this unit for all of 6 hours and have completely utilized pretty much all of it's features. I have recorded, played back the recordings, re-configured it's in's and out's and even made a couple presets to start shows with. The FX are nice and there are a lot of them! I am happy to own this unit and take advantage of it's features! I give this unit a 9 out of 10 for overall performance. It has it's downsides, but once worked through, it's a breeze. Here is a quick bullet point of pro's and con's:

Pro's:

1. Small, powerful and fully expandable.
2. Solid running software's that allow full use between the two platforms.
3. 32 tracks of record and playback with virtually any DAW.
4. Highly configurable out's and in's to suit many needs far beyond conventional analog desks of this size format in a 3U space.
5. Really nice FX with full control over all parameters.
6. up to 22 inputs ( not including the Talk Back mic which can be routed to a channel ) built into the unit with a possible 14 outputs.

Con's:

1. Not the easiest drivers to install.
2. Virtual soundcheck will take some playing around with to fully understand and utilize.
3. The software's are not equal and you will likely need both to have 100% control.
4. The unit itself will be worthless to actually try and navigate with, meaning don't even bother unless you have the X32-Edit sotware APPs to run it.
5. The USB port on the front is only good for recording, don't even bother trying to do playback through it.

I will be sure to update as I get more use with it. Take care, thanks for reading and hope you all have a wonderful day.

Thanks,

Luke Geis.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Behringer X32 Rack Review
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 01:50:43 am »

So after almost 3 years of ownership, I am still in love with this thing. It has paid for itself many times now and every time it goes out I get someone who is perplexed by the fact that I can mix the whole band from and I-Pad app and that the mixer is not visible!

I have worked out, as many have by now, how to navigate the entirety of the desk with only the I-Pad app and or my HTC One ( that's right, my phone.... ).  I have had not so much as a hiccup from the app and regularly run the entirety of the show from it. I have been working a lot lately with a 7 piece band with 7 monitor mixes and have no problem keeping up with them. It can be done folks. Now that the I-Pad pro is out, I may look into using that for the much larger screen!

If you haven't already considered the X32-R and are in the market for an expandable and stealthy digital mixer, this is the one. Short of having the WiFi built in it is perfect.
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Geri O'Neil

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Re: Behringer X32 Rack Review
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 12:57:08 am »

The iPad Pro was definitely worth the money, especially with older eyes.

Ever since the Gateway, Motion Computing and Lenovo tablets kinda fell by the wayside (for some) and the iPad had apps written for it, I've wished for a large version of it.

I do very little live sound now, but I make extensive use of the iPad Pro while using an XR18 for my band stuff (if we need anything bigger than the XR18, someone else handles the audio duties on my personal X32). We do IEMs and the iPad Pro has been very helpful taking care of the monitors for the players. I just wish someone could come on out with the Pro holder. For the time being, it sits on a music stand.
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