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  • Audio Interface and Controller vs Behringer x32

    Hi
    I currently own a Scarlett 18i20 and am using my iPad or faders on a Novation SL MKII to control Ableton Live and Logic. I'd love more control over the faders and more general DAW control from my hardware.
    I've been looking into getting a Behringer X32, hoping this may make my Scarlett 18i20 redundant and act as a controller at the same time. The first concern is the price and the size, but it looks like it ticks a lot of boxes for me. Does it provide all the DAW control you'd get from a standard MIDI controller? I was even considering a SSL Nucleus for its feature set but again the price is ridiculous. The yet to be released Behringer X-Touch looks intriguing but only has 9 faders.
    I really want to be able to use 16 faders at once for some of the projects I'm working on, and all the controllers I've found seem to only have a maximum of 8. Having got used to the display on the SL MKII which shows me what the faders are controlling, it would seem a step back to be moving a fader and not see what it's doing on the hardware. Is there a controller under £800 that I've missed that ticks my boxes?
    The other thing I've noticed about the X32 is that it doesn't seem to have 1/4" inputs on the back apart from the AUX channels. Is plugging a guitar into a mixer a thing of the past or do they expect you to have 1/4" to RCA cables or some kind of adaptor? When recording into the X32, does it act in the same way that a Scarlett 18i20 would in terms of getting the input levels right without clipping etc?
    Thanks in advance
    Steve

  • #2
    The Behringer X32 is a digital mixer for live bands. Its not a recording interface. All it will allow you to do if mix more mice onto the same track. Its not a multi channel interface, nor is it a controller. You could sub mix several mics into its busses and send the busses to the scarlett, but from your description, that doesn't seem to be what you need. Plus you're just adding a piece of gear on the front end that really isn't needed.

    Once the tracks are recorded, that's where you need a controller if you want hands on mixing capability. I don't think the Behringer has that capability unless you run all your tracks out of the DAW, through the Behringer then back into the DAW. Allot of losses occur when converting back to analog then digital again. The Behringer does have good preamps, but that's not going to halp with the conversion losses. Its got an expansion slot for USB/Firewire/ADAT but I didn't see what that does.

    What you want is a Midi controller that lets you move the faders within the daw program so the files remain in a digital form instead of converting them back to analog. You can buy them cheap enough depending on the DAW program you use. I bought one of those Korg NanoKontroll controllers for $30 new and it lets me mix up to 24 tracks, 8 channels per bank. Its got 8 faders and you toggle over to the other tracks. You can also assign the faders to do anything you want like operate effects units or run the mixing busses. Then you can save those settings and simply click on the file to recall the settings you want. This particular controller only works with certain DAW programs however which is the case for many of them. I run Sonar which is one of the DAW's it works with. I think it works with Cubase and a few others too. Not sure if Ableton is on the list but you can look. Other Controllers are DAW specific. Cakewalk has one they sell optimized for Sonar. Presonus stud used to be for Pro Tools only. M-Audio also made one that was pro tools specific I believe. Some are universal and have a wide range of drivers. I'd check the Ableton site and see what controllers thay advise using instead of buying hardware that's incompatible which would force you to buy a different DAW program to use it.

    You don't need to run more then 8 channels at a time mixing. Many even have less. You don't have that many fingers, and switching to the other banks is a simple push of the button. Then you can use automation to record the fader movements and when you play the music back its like having motorized faders.

    Comment


    • #3
      You can very much use an X32 as a midi controller under Mackie HUI and some others. It can also be a recording interface to record digitally out, and be a mixer of your tracks without going through A/D, D/A,. Still might only be 8 controller faders, I don't quite know. But 32 inputs with nice preamps, good A/D
      Last edited by witesol; 08-06-2014, 10:44 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        ^^^ I checked the manual and on line. Apparently the interface card that lets you record is an accessory for the mixer and has to be purchased separately (or in a package if they sell them that way. Its an additional $300 above the cost of the board so instead of paying $1600, you wind up paying $1900 for the full setup.

        Oh and the expansion card only allows recording at 24/44.1 which kind of sucks. Even though many do record at that rate, I'd like the option of recording up to 24/96 when needed. Its still cool that unit can add that card though.

        http://www.fullcompass.com/product/4...FSMV7AodbBUA6A



        The other USB port that comes with the stock unit is for downloading updates, drivers and playing back music from a laptop or recording two tracks to a USB stick. The other network jack will act as a an audio hub if you have an S/16 ultranet unit instead of using snake. That again is something you have to purchase separately for another $900. Again it would be a good item for a studio control room setup. http://www.behringer.com/assets/S16_P0AJA_S_EN.pdf

        The midi option to use it as a controller has one paragraph in the manual. It says "it will work with many popular DAW programs". I'd want to know exactly what programs and not just buy it based on that vague statement. It doesn't say whether it needs the extension card for that function, but I wouldn't put it past them.

        Behringer is one of the worst companies at making you "think" you can do all these things only to find out the truth is buried in some text some place where no one would think of looking for it. Its not that they are the only company that does this, but they have the scam down to an art form.
        Last edited by WRGKMC; 08-06-2014, 01:16 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Comes stock.... X-USB
          A versatile powerhouse of a live console, the X32 also provides robust studio functionality. Record and play back up to 32 tracks, which run on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 operating systems or Mac computers via USB 2.0 connectivity. X32 supports 44.1 and 48 kHz sample rates at 24-Bit, allowing you to record up to 32 tracks of live audio directly to your computer for mixing down later. Take advantage of X32’s built-in FX engines to augment your DAW’s plug- in collection, or to free up valuable computer resources. X32’s recall capability makes it easy for both project and professional studio engineers to stay organized by storing projects as scenes, either internally or externally on a USB stick.

          DAW Ready—MIDI Plus Mackie Control* & HUI* Protocols

          Thanks to its onboard MIDI ports, the X32 console can function as a high-level, large-format control surface, similar to Mackie Control and HUI, and integrates seamlessly with most popular DAW platforms. X32’s motorized faders can be used to send position information to the onscreen DAW faders, while each bus’ mute and solo buttons control their onscreen counterparts. This powerful control surface relationship, which functions bi-directionally between the X32 and your DAW, allows you to work more quickly and attend to the finer nuances of the overall mix. After all, mixing with your hands puts you in “touch” with your project, providing a level of finesse that can mean the difference between a good recording session—and a work of art! Or, would you rather use a mouse?

          Last edited by witesol; 08-06-2014, 03:27 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            The other thing I've noticed about the X32 is that it doesn't seem to have 1/4" inputs on the back apart from the AUX channels. Is plugging a guitar into a mixer a thing of the past or do they expect you to have 1/4" to RCA cables or some kind of adaptor?



            You'd use a DI box. Few mixers have instrument inputs (I can't think of any, but there are probably a handful).


            When recording into the X32, does it act in the same way that a Scarlett 18i20 would in terms of getting the input levels right without clipping etc?
            In that you turn the input gain down until the signal doesn't clip, yes.


            Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
            ^^^ I checked the manual and on line.
            This is right on the front of the product page:
            • 32 x 32 channel USB 2.0 audio interface, with DAW remote control emulating HUI* and Mackie Control*
            Oddly enough, a couple months ago, you tried to tell someone else that the X32 could be used as a multitrack recorder:

            http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/...-to-start-with

            And in that thread, I told you that the X32 could be used as both an interface and a controller, but NOT as a multitrack recorder.

            -Dan.
            Formerly known as: IsildursBane and DanBAP

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by witesol View Post
              Comes stock.... X-USB
              A versatile powerhouse of a live console, the X32 also provides robust studio functionality. Record and play back up to 32 tracks, which run on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 operating systems or Mac computers via USB 2.0 connectivity. X32 supports 44.1 and 48 kHz sample rates at 24-Bit, allowing you to record up to 32 tracks of live audio directly to your computer for mixing down later. Take advantage of X32’s built-in FX engines to augment your DAW’s plug- in collection, or to free up valuable computer resources. X32’s recall capability makes it easy for both project and professional studio engineers to stay organized by storing projects as scenes, either internally or externally on a USB stick.

              DAW Ready—MIDI Plus Mackie Control* & HUI* Protocols

              Thanks to its onboard MIDI ports, the X32 console can function as a high-level, large-format control surface, similar to Mackie Control and HUI, and integrates seamlessly with most popular DAW platforms. X32’s motorized faders can be used to send position information to the onscreen DAW faders, while each bus’ mute and solo buttons control their onscreen counterparts. This powerful control surface relationship, which functions bi-directionally between the X32 and your DAW, allows you to work more quickly and attend to the finer nuances of the overall mix. After all, mixing with your hands puts you in “touch” with your project, providing a level of finesse that can mean the difference between a good recording session—and a work of art! Or, would you rather use a mouse?

              I found sweetwater does sell it with the card.

              http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/X32 Instant compatibility with major DAWs
              Behringer X32 digital mixer comes with the X-USB recording card, which lets you record your tracks straight into your DAW. How convenient is that? Right out of the box, you get compatibility with ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Studio One, and nearly any other ASIO or Core-Audio compatible DAW!



              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DanCostello View Post
                [/COLOR]


                You'd use a DI box. Few mixers have instrument inputs (I can't think of any, but there are probably a handful).


                [COLOR=#333333]

                In that you turn the input gain down until the signal doesn't clip, yes.




                This is right on the front of the product page:
                • 32 x 32 channel USB 2.0 audio interface, with DAW remote control emulating HUI* and Mackie Control*
                Oddly enough, a couple months ago, you tried to tell someone else that the X32 could be used as a multitrack recorder:

                http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/...-to-start-with

                And in that thread, I told you that the X32 could be used as both an interface and a controller, but NOT as a multitrack recorder.

                -Dan.
                And I told you it could. Apparently there are several versions of this unit ranging in price from $1400 ~ $2800 being sold. This one comes with a built in card that allows you to run it as a stand alone recorder. Apparently the cards that can be plugged into this unit can be swapped out to meet different needs. This makes sense to me. Why would they sell the cards separately otherwise?


                I kept finding different results when I was goggling up the same unit coming from different sources. I believe you can buy the base unit with or without a card, then purchase either of the cards you need for the unit. I did read a reference to "other" card options while reading specs in the manual.


                This one comes with the 16 channel stand alone card for live recording.
                http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-X32-.../dp/B008R7F382

                "Built-in expansion port for Firewire/USB/ADAT card* featuring standalone 16-channel recorder or other networking interfaces"

                This one comes with the 32 channel card for studio recording with a DAW.
                http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/X32

                As I said, this company doesn't make it easy to decipher their options. They don't say jack on their site and you have to buy through their dealer networks and hopefully figure out what's going on.

                I've found severl different cards for the same port.

                This one is for networking audio data over

                ~~Behringer X-Dante 32-Channel Expansion Card For X32 Digital Mixing Console
                http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...G&Q=&A=details

                This one is for mult tracking with a DAW.
                http://www.fullcompass.com/product/4...FeRj7Aod-DUAYw

                This one is for ADAT systems and Tosslink.
                http://www.sweetwater.com/store/deta...FQQT7AodskcAkA

                This card is for recording capacities of the mixer through the MADI or AES10 protocol
                http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...G&Q=&A=details

                Last edited by WRGKMC; 08-07-2014, 02:19 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

                  And I told you it could.
                  I know what you told me. You're wrong.

                  Apparently there are several versions of this unit ranging in price from $1400 ~ $2800 being sold.
                  Yes, and the differences are primarily in the amount of i/o and the size of the control surface.

                  This one comes with a built in card that allows you to run it as a stand alone recorder.
                  No, it does not. The description on the Amazon site (which is the only place I've seen that phrasing used) is incorrect.

                  You can view all of the option cards here:
                  http://www.behringer.com/EN/Category/Mixers.aspx?s=G950

                  Additionally, the cards are described at the very bottom of the main X32 overview page:
                  http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/X32.aspx


                  Apparently the cards that can be plugged into this unit can be swapped out to meet different needs. This makes sense to me. Why would they sell the cards separately otherwise?
                  I believe the XUF card was an option when the X32 was first released; they have since released cards for other interfaces (e.g. USB only, Dante, etc). It appears from the web site that the X_USB is now installed stock/by default:

                  Optional Expansion Cards

                  The X32’s expansion slot provides flexible and expandable connectivity for many different applications. A wide array of X-Expansion Cards can easily be used in place of the pre-installed X-USB card to release the power of X32 into existing MADI*, Dante* and ADAT networks. Fully compatible with these widely available audio protocols, the X32 delivers a seamless integration in digital live sound, recording and broadcast environments.

                  Regardless, none of the cards have onboard recording capability. They are only interfaces.


                  This one comes with the 16 channel stand alone card for live recording.
                  http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-X32-.../dp/B008R7F382

                  "Built-in expansion port for Firewire/USB/ADAT card* featuring standalone 16-channel recorder or other networking interfaces"
                  The Amazon listing isn't even consistent with itself. Further down the page, it says it can function as a 32 channel interface.

                  I've used the XUF card to do 32 channel recordings, so I can confirm that it does do 32 channels and it most certainly does not record 32 channels to any sort of internal media or to a flash drive.

                  As I said, this company doesn't make it easy to decipher their options. They don't say jack on their site and you have to buy through their dealer networks and hopefully figure out what's going on.
                  If you haven't used a product and you're having a hard time deciphering the information about it that's available, why are you telling people about it and why are you engaging in arguments about it with people who have used it? If you're trying to help, you're not. Bad information is worse than no information.

                  -Dan.
                  Last edited by DanCostello; 08-07-2014, 04:46 PM.
                  Formerly known as: IsildursBane and DanBAP

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi
                    Thanks for all this. Glad it's descended into an argument!
                    I emailed Behringer to settle this and this is the reply I got. Let me know if this clarifies or contradicts what you thought:

                    >>>>
                    I wrote:

                    I’ve been discussing the specifications of the mixer on a couple of forums, and there seems to be some disagreement as to whether the mixer can act as a multitrack recorder. If you were to use the (built in or expansion) card for multitrack recording straight into the mixer, would you need another card to record multitrack into the DAW? If it can, some people are saying you need an expansion card? If you were to use this card would you be able to use the MIDI facilities that would be built into the USB card? Other people are saying that depending where you buy the mixer from, you might receive a different built in card. Can you use multiple expansion cards?

                    It is also unclear to me how I would plug in an instrument with a 1/4” instrument jack. Would I need a 1/4” to RCA adaptor or a separate DI box?
                    >>>>>
                    Behringer replied:

                    Not sure why there is confusion online as it is all very straight forward, but I will fill you in. All X32 mixers ship with at least the X-USB expansion card, you will not get a mixer that ships without a card, earlier versions shipped with the X-UF Card (USB and Firerwire). Both cards deliver 32 in and 32 out to the computer/DAW through the USB connection (or Firewire) without the need of any other expansion card. Midi data is also transmitted through the USB. ASIO drivers are available from the website.


                    There are 5 expansion cards available in total all delivering different I/O connectivity:http://www.behringer.com/EN/Category/Mixers.aspx?s=G950

                    For your 1/4 inch jack question, the main inputs are always XLR connections but all the X32 mixers and rack version (not the core version) have Jack aux connections. As this is a digital desk all inputs/outputs can be routed anywhere within the architecture so it is highly flexible, so no problem to use those inputs.

                    If you go on the X32 product page (any mixer/rack page), click the 'Downloads' tab and there you will see many pictures of the mixer including of all the connections.

                    http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products...oftwareContent

                    >>>>>>>>

                    What do you think now?

                    Thanks

                    Steve

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DanCostello View Post

                      I've used the XUF card to do 32 channel recordings, so I can confirm that it does do 32 channels and it most certainly does not record 32 channels to any sort of internal media or to a flash drive.


                      If you haven't used a product and you're having a hard time deciphering the information about it that's available, why are you telling people about it and why are you engaging in arguments about it with people who have used it? If you're trying to help, you're not. Bad information is worse than no information.

                      -Dan.
                      I likely mixed up the unit we used with this one.
                      http://www.sweetwater.com/store/deta...FSpp7Aod-BAANg

                      Its been several years since I played with that band but I know for a fact we recorded to a thumb drive because I took the drive to the studio mixed it. I apologize for the confusion, but I don't have to qualify my opinions to meet your approval sir. I don't intentionally make mistakes but I have no problem admitting when I have made one.
                      Last edited by WRGKMC; 08-08-2014, 01:54 PM.

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