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  • X32 Rack Review (My perspective)

    So after a long (very long) wait, I am finally the proud owner of an X32 Rack which will be retiring my venerable MixWiz and a total of over 100lbs of rack and rack gear ..... and a really nice 100 ft reel snake

    So for those of you who are looking at getting the X32 Rack .... or really any of the sister products, here is a review of my experience getting up and running .... so far:

    My background:

    I am an electrical engineer and am very familiar with software, firmware, and hardware development from low level automotive controllers to large scale multitier server systems. I have been playing in a band and doing sound for my band (and some others as favors once in a great while) for around 30 years.

    My setup:

    4 piece band with 2 guitars, bass and drums. The drums are Roland TD10 vDrums. Monitoring is performed with a Furman HDS6/HDR system which has 4 mono inputs and one stereo input. The entire band uses IEM's. The FOH is powered speakers DSR112's over PRX618S-XLF's.

    Functionality needed:

    • 11 channel input (5 drums, 2 guitars, 1 bass, 3 vocals)
    • DCA control for Vocals, Guitars, Bass and Drums
    • 4 mono bus mixes for lead guitar and vocal, rhythm guitar and vocal, bass guitar and vocal, drums
    • Stereo output of main mix into monitor (which is where I get my vocal reverb in the IEM mix as well)
    • Multi-track recording of shows to a laptop
    • Multi-track playback to create scenes for FOH mix
    • MIDI scene changes from FCB1010
    • iPad remote mixing for virtual sound check
    • iPad remote monitoring for input levels through gig
    • Stereo recordings direct to USB for backup if no computer is available for recording
    • Hard wired laptop control as the primary backup for the iPad in case of wireless issues
    • Mute of EFX between songs for speaking
    • Playback of iPod music for break music



    On the door step
    The packing was very good (shipped in 2 days for free from Full Compas).

    Out of the box
    It looked great. I plugged it it and it started up. So far so good.

    Connecting to PC and iPad
    Ok, things got a little hairy here. 

    First, the instructions that come with the X32 Rack are purely worthless. They could have saved the paper. I configured my new router from my computer to have an SSID I could remember, and a password that hopefully I will remember. I disconnected the router and hooked the router to the X32 Rack.

    I did a quick windows ipconfig command to figure out what my PC network setup looked like. I adjusted the X32 to the appropriate settings ..... and nothing.

    Things to note here. It is silly that the default subnet mask of the X32 is set to 0.0.0.0. It should be 255.255.255.0 by default. This works in nearly all situations that your normal non-network IT person is going to see (most surely any musician using this gear!). 

    So .... nothing happened. ..... hmmmm.

    A quick search on the internet and I found that the X32 must be connected to any port BUT the internet modem port of the wireless router. OK. Connected! Woot! This is the kind of information that a little picture and a couple of examples would have greatly helped.

    Ok, so I transferred my X32 Edit settings to the Rack without any issues.

    Connection to the iPad .... also .... no issues.

    Operation of either the physical unit, the iPad, or the PC program resulted in instant results on the other two. Very good sync and low latency.

    First signal test

    I plugged in a microphone and put on some headphones. Adjusted the plate reverb and delay to a pleasing level (I didn't touch either effect for any settings). Nice. Great sounding clear vocal with really transparent efx. I was genuinely very very pleased.

    Playback of recorded multi-track through Reaper
    So now I was eager to put some real multi-track recording inputs into my new mixer and see what my band would sound like through it. This is really the big test for me.

    I plugged in a USB cable to my computer. Windows XP (yea I know) promptly loaded a driver ..... then stated that the hardware had a problem!

    Hmmm. So I go onto the web and locate the Behringer youtube video of using an X32 with Reaper. In the video, I learn that I have to download some X-USB drivers and an ASIO driver.

    I download the drivers and try to install them ..... but they wont install because now the computer can't see the X32 and the driver wont install without it ..... errrr.

    I un-install whatever windows so graciously installed incorrectly for me and re-booted.

    I ran the ASIO driver install and the X32 X-USB driver ..... except a couple of things go wrong. First ...... the ASIO driver wasn't happy with my motherboard on-board sound driver (which runs as a service). I got a popup every 2 seconds until my screen was nearly covered (took me a few seconds to find the service and shut it down).

    The next thing that went wrong was that my anti-virus software tagged the X32 X-USB driver install as a threat. I accidentally hit the wrong button and whatever file it was trying to install got left out.

    When I went into Reaper, the ASIO driver showed up, but no channels were available to use (pulldowns for inputs and outputs were blank). 

    One more full uninstall, reboot and re-install and WOOT sound is going into my X32 Rack from multiple channels from Reaper! Cool.

    This process was horribly filled with ways to mess up. A little documentation would have been a HUGE help. If the process was going to be so easy to mess up, it would have been good if there were at least warnings on how to avoid the "gotcha's".

    Scene Control
    Ok, either I am doing something wrong ..... or something is simply broken.

    I could not find any way for me to transfer the scenes I had stored on the PC with X32 Edit. I can sync the console with any scene at connect, and then save that setup as a scene on the X32 Rack, but I can't just send a bunch of scenes down to the rack. This is a pain.

    The X32 Edit program can not be used to setup MIDI program changes to use for each scene. It simply doesn't work. You can ONLY do this directly ON the console.

    Once I saved a couple of scenes on the console, I had no problems using the iPad app to change from scene to scene. Scene changes happened very quickly, and I could do it within a song and not hear any side effects or drop-outs when the scene changed. Nice.

    Tomorrow I will hook up my MIDI controller and see if I can get it to switch scenes that way (this is going to be my normal method of work flow while on-stage at shows since I mix from stage).

    Sound quality and usability
    Once I had sound going into the console, it took me under 5 minutes to get a great sounding mix. With a few more minutes, I was able to solo each track and tweak the channel eq to my liking.

    The resulting sound was superior to what I could do with Reaper with the same tracks. This is mostly due to the superior efx in the X32. Great job on these Behringer.

    Stereo recording
    This really could NOT have been any easier to do. Stuck a USB stick into the front of the unit and turned on the recorder. Wow. How great a feature.

    Sadly, I am out of town next week for business and wont be able to play with the entire band for REAL until 2 weeks...... figures.

    Anyway. Hopefully this is useful to someone. I am going to put together a video on my setup complete from unboxing to the first gig.

    With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

  • #2

    Keep this info coming. I have a full sized X-32 coming, primarily for me to play around with and explore deeply. While I am NOT an IT guy, I am also an EE and pretty up to speed on Win 7 so we will have to see.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

    Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

    Comment


    • Art Flood
      Art Flood commented
      Editing a comment

      OneEng,

      Great to see you have finally got your hands on one. Its been a long time in the planning and I really hope it does all you want and more.

      Really good to hear that it sounds great - hopefully the other stuff will just be teething problems.

      Can't wait to hear how it goes at your next gig.

      Cheers


  • #3

    I received my Rack as well.

    I am still going through the thought process/configuration of how I am going to use it as an in-ear rack.  I may need to pick up another S16.

    The plan is to keep my existing rig of X32

    Comment


    • Gregidon
      Gregidon commented
      Editing a comment

      LittleWiggler wrote:

      I received my Rack as well.

      I am still going through the thought process/configuration of how I am going to use it as an in-ear rack.  I may need to pick up another S16.

      The plan is to keep my existing rig of X32


  • #4

    Hey Guys,

    As you are familiarizing yourselves with the X32 series, let me know if our team of Product Specialists or I can answer any operational questions. We are always here to help.

    Also, we have a number of upcoming webinars in November addressing some interesting topics.   The webinars are structured as a User Group with a 30-minute open session at the end for live demos.   

    http://forum.behringer.com/showthread.php?1735-BEHRINGER-Webinars-November-2013

    Best Regards,
    Joe Sanborn
    Manager, Product Support
    MUSIC Group
    BEHRINGER

    Comment


    • #5
      For those of us that mix from stage, a feature that would prevent clipping while preserving as much of the mix as possible would be very nice. It would have to be able to be over-ridden on a channel basis IMHO.
      With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

      Comment


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        OneEng wrote:
        For those of us that mix from stage, a feature that would prevent clipping while preserving as much of the mix as possible would be very nice. It would have to be able to be over-ridden on a channel basis IMHO.

        Yeah, I can see the virtues of such a feature, but I don't think I would want it unless it could be overridden.

        I can also see where it might be counterproductive in mix-from-stage situations.   What's the point of turning up your stage volume if the mixer is only going to crank it back down again? 

        Sometimes these sorts of idiot-proof self-correction features are more trouble than they are worth.  I certainly don't know that the X32 NOT having it puts them in "head up their arse" territory.


    • #6
      Lets see, first post, selling off Yamaha digital consoles because the X-32 is showing up on riders?

      I just looked at the last 30 riders that I received and I see the X-32 exactly zero times, I see "no Behringer" almost exactly the same number of times I see the LS-9 and I see the M-7CL about 15 times. Incidentally, I haven't ever seen a PM7 and since I serviced and did frame up rebuilds of the pm series in my shop, and have owned a few, I just have this twitchy, shilly feeling about this if you know what I mean.

      If I have misread the intent, I appogize in advance. Same if your sound company happens to be in las Vegas.
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

      Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

      Comment


      • JWSound
        JWSound commented
        Editing a comment

        agedhorse, i dont work for behringer nor do i get paid by them (i wish i would). I am an engineer and work as a freelancer for this rental company. I am not a pro like you guys here and I seem to have screwed up the model name... it's a pm5d, not 7...  shame on me...

        I have absolutely seen the X32 on riders that came in. A bit surprised how you welcome new folks here...

        J       


    • #7

      Another update...

      Setup Reaper to record (a quick couple of clicks on the routing tab of the X32 to change the inputs from the card to the normal inputs for 1-8 and 9-16 since I was getting my input from previously recorded single tracks.

      The X32 worked great, my Core 2 duo 2.33Ghz ancient machine had no problem running both X32 Edit and Reaper recording 16 channels simultaneously at 44KHz.  I did this over an older USB1.0 interface as well.  CPU utilization was low (fluxuating between 10 and 30%).

      I have an old (very old) AMD Duron based laptop that I am in the process of getting all the crap off of (including a bunch of malware and viruses) and am going to give this a shot too.  Kids have had the laptop so it was pretty gummed up

      With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

      Comment


      • LittleWiggler
        LittleWiggler commented
        Editing a comment

        My X32 Rack USB seems to not want to work with any of my PC's that the X32 Mixer works with.  I should note that this is is a physically different card since the full mixer ships with the USB/Firewire card and the Rack only ships with a USB card.

        It works as expected with a Mac, but no joy on 2 PC Laptops and 3 Desktops.

        I may have to send it back as well.  I have no output other than a buzz in the left channel of the headphone/monitor out.  I'll call support tomorrow.

        I did pick up another S16 to get this working however....

         

         


    • #8
      If its a continuous noise and not a single transient at power up and down, it's likely to be within the software, I may have misunderstood your original description of the noise.
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

      Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

      Comment


      • OneEng
        OneEng commented
        Editing a comment

        agedhorse wrote:
        If its a continuous noise and not a single transient at power up and down, it's likely to be within the software, I may have misunderstood your original description of the noise.

        It went away.

        The only difference I can see is that I had the routing setup to card 1-16 before and now I don't.  I will re-check and post my findings.  Now I only get a very mild click on startup and shutdown.


    • #9
      ...dave

      Comment


      • #10
        It will be very interesting to read your impressions Andy.
        ...dave

        Comment


        • #11
          Not so much the dark side as it seems like an interesting project.
          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

          Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

          Comment


          • #12
            Thinking of delay and reverb but delay the return, not so much a pre delay, with a little regeneration as a thickening agent. I haven't looked in detail at the effects, this may in fact be included in some of the algorithms already (or close enough). Verb, delay and chorus combinations might also be condidered but not in a parallel way. I will have to delve into the real manual and I hope it's clear and detailed.

            My next task is to quantify working levels and any critical overload points. With the presonus they I tested a couple of years ago, there were significant differences between indicators and what was actually happening. This ment that if you didn't add an additional 3 or 4dB of margin, unexpected things happened. Any mistake in judgement that would have otherwise been covered up no longer was,
            -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

            Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

            Comment


            • RoadRanger
              RoadRanger commented
              Editing a comment

              There's no good reason why a modern floating point DSP based mixer should overload/clip anywhere except at the A/D and D/A converters. One of the Mackie dynamics presets is "No Clip" (a hard limiter up around full scale) which you should put on all the outputs unless using the comp for something else. It does nothing unless you are about to clip the D/A converter so there's no downside to using it. You can even lower the thresholds on the monitor sends while ringing out if you want to explore a bit without killing your ears.


            • OneEng
              OneEng commented
              Editing a comment

              agedhorse wrote:
              Thinking of delay and reverb but delay the return, not so much a pre delay, with a little regeneration as a thickening agent. I haven't looked in detail at the effects, this may in fact be included in some of the algorithms already (or close enough). Verb, delay and chorus combinations might also be condidered but not in a parallel way. I will have to delve into the real manual and I hope it's clear and detailed.

              My next task is to quantify working levels and any critical overload points. With the presonus they I tested a couple of years ago, there were significant differences between indicators and what was actually happening. This ment that if you didn't add an additional 3 or 4dB of margin, unexpected things happened. Any mistake in judgement that would have otherwise been covered up no longer was,

              Hey Andy,

              Thanks.  So would you use the tap tempo on the delay to have the delay match with the beat, or make it short in order to "thicken" a vocal?

              I have found almost nothing useful in the manual  Considering the complexity of this device, the documentation sent with the unit is neary "completely useless".

              There are tons of YouTube videos where both Behringer and others have put really great info into.  Between these and forum posts, that is where I learned the lions share of what I know about the mixer.

              As for the working levels, mine has done pretty good.  The various monitor pages have been very helpful, and I have yet to encounter any digital clipping inside the X32.  OUTSIDE, I did.  I was originally sending the L/R and 4 mono sends to my IEM transmitter (Furman HDS6).  The L/R being post fader got too hot and the IEM mix sounded like butt  I looked all over the X32 internal monitors trying to find the problem (guessing that my issue was internal over-load like you are talking about) only to find that the little red clip limiters on my IEM sends were flashing wildly.  This is harder to see now since I keep the X32 Rack in the back of the stage out of the way, so it too a bit to get there.  It was driving me crazy.

              The fix for this was to use matrix mix busses for the L/R instead of directly routing the L/R to aux out 1 and 2.  I did the tap post pre fader, and now can adjust the hotness of the L/R going into the IEM by using a pair of matrix mix sliders.

              As an aside, I have found that the output of the X32 Rack is hotter than my MixWiz was.  I will likely end up lowering the sensitivity of my powered speakers as a result.  Right now, if I get to unity gain on my L/R X32 slider, I am maxed out and clipping on my speakers.  Not a big deal, and easily fixed.

               


            • Rob_H
              Rob_H commented
              Editing a comment

              agedhorse wrote:

              My next task is to quantify working levels and any critical overload points. With the presonus they I tested a couple of years ago, there were significant differences between indicators and what was actually happening. This ment that if you didn't add an additional 3 or 4dB of margin, unexpected things happened. Any mistake in judgement that would have otherwise been covered up no longer was,

              Did you do a write-up on this anywhere Andy? I would like to understand more of the details on this comment.


          • #13
            I find that I set all the q's to a useable nominal value (say between 2 & 3, and the freqs at another (useable) nominal value and store this as a template just as you would normalling an analog console. I also engage the eq module (comes bypassed on factory reset) and now I start from a known place every time.

            I prefer to hit the eq view button and use the encoders in the eq section.
            -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

            Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

            Comment


            • OneEng
              OneEng commented
              Editing a comment

              agedhorse wrote:
              I find that I set all the q's to a useable nominal value (say between 2 & 3, and the freqs at another (useable) nominal value and store this as a template just as you would normalling an analog console. I also engage the eq module (comes bypassed on factory reset) and now I start from a known place every time.

              I prefer to hit the eq view button and use the encoders in the eq section.

              Do you use the encoders on the left part of the board, or the ones under the screen?

              Also, rumor has it that the VEQ option works better than the PEQ setting.  Quite a few people have suggested that this be the default for the channel eq's.


          • #14
            I prefer the encoders on the left side of the display.
            -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

            Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

            Comment


            • dbMontana
              dbMontana commented
              Editing a comment

              Thanks(?) guys <WINK>!   I was trying to get my brain around what "Virtual EQ" might mean. 

              So VEQ is either "Variable sweepable EQ with a fixed Q" or "Vintage EQ with a variable Q but different filter algorithm (than parametric?)". I don't mean to be picky -- just curious as always.

              So AH, as trusted "Source of record" for all things EE and/or acoustic for this community, thoughts?


          • #15
            As long as you are very, very methodical and don't make mistakes it's a great feature. Unfortunately I don't always fall into this catagory. Mistakes get made no matter how careful you might hope to be.
            -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/Fender Musical Instruments Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

            Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie

            Comment


            • OneEng
              OneEng commented
              Editing a comment

              I kind of filed the built in cross-over feature in the "Interesting, but I don't need it" catagory.

              If I were still using my passive speakers, I might feel differently about it.  But still, Andy brings up a very good point.  When I DID run a passive rig, the cross-over was permanently wired to the amplifiers.  I only had to get it right once.  I suppose it was always possible to run the wrong speaker wires to the wrong place, but I made sure that my tops terminated in 1/4" while the bass bins terminated in speakon connectors making it impossible to get wrong.

              I really love the remaining flexibility of the channel and bus equalization though!



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