Behringer P16I & P16M review......
ScoobyDoo555
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#1
31st March 2012
Old 31st March 2012
  #1
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Behringer P16I & P16M review......

Well, much to my surprise, my speculative order for the new Behringer P16I and P16M arrived yesterday.

For those who don't know, this system is a audio-over-cat5 monitoring system that connects to the "outs" of the Front of House console, converts the multi-channel audio into digital and sends it down a cat5/ethernet cable to a daisy-chained array of personal mixers - ideally one per musician. The musician can then mix their own monitors (either/or both IEMs and wedges)

It is designed to be Behringer's "answer" to the highly respected (and costly) Aviom personal monitoring system.

As a performing musician, I've been looking for a system like this, but couldn't justify the expense of the fantastic Aviom.

The concept of a Behringer device that did the same for a fraction of the cost was appealing..... but approached with some caution, as it could be argued that there are many items from this company that haven't met expectations.

I have to admit that I have been one of these cautious people. I've had quality issues with several bits of kit and I had my doubts that this new offering would be able to stand the perils of the live environment.......


To cut to the chase: I'm impressed. Rather than gush in, let me explain why:

The system predominantly comprises of

P16-I: this is the rackmounted interface

Looking at the front first, you're greeted with a 16 channel input array. Toggle switches are utilised per channel. There are 4 settings of +22dBu, +4dBu, 0dBu & -10dBv.
They work as selectable gain structure.

What is intriguing is that ADAT audio is available (up to 16 channels) - you can combine both analogue and digital inputs.

There are initially 6 ethernet ports to output the resulting signals to the P16Ms. Further devices (up to 48!) can be added through the use of the Behringer P16D (an ethernet switch)
Turning to the rear, it is nice to see that there is an IEC connector, rather than a wall-wart.
There are 16 x 1/4" inputs (balanced) and 2 x ADAT lightpipe inputs.


The build quality of the rack is VERY good - sturdy. No buttons are shaky or loose.

The CAT5 cable to connect the FOH to stage isn't very long (about 15m), but I don't think it's designed for "pro" environment. I'll be making a longer one with sturdy connectors (neutrik)

P16-M: this is the mountable personal mixer. (an additional clamp is available to attach to a mic stand, for example)

The downside? Wall-wart PSU :(
The rest is very simple to use:
16 "channel" select buttons with red select leds, and green activity leds.
Each channel is selectable, EQ (low, sweepable mid and high) and limiter is available, along with the usual mixer functions of mute, solo and pan.
Personally I found the EQ very weak indeed - you turn the controls and very little happens! :D

There is a main (mix) function as well, employing the same functions.

There is also a group function - which is brilliant. It works just like grouping on any mixer or even DAW. Press the group button, and press the channel buttons you want in that group - they highlight a solid red.
Selection of any of the channels in that group will result in the whole group being changed - for example, a "drum" group comprising of 8 channels (kick ,snare, hat etc etc), one of the channels will control the entire volume. Solo and mute also apply as well.

The presets of groups can also be stored in internal memories.

All the controls are MIDI-mappable too - so users of BCF/BCR2000 have better accessibility options.

I have to admit that the feel of this type of item is where Behringer's quality has always fallen short. Not the case this time around - it is very rugged and sturdy. You get a "feeling" that it would withstand a good beating!




The rear is a simple affair. Wall wart!! BOOOOO!!!!!!
Cat5 input and thru.
MIDI IN for external control - going to try and set this up with my Kronos....

Audio (Line) Out L&R - for connection to wedges, IEM transmitter packs.

Headphone out - suitable for IEM output. I've got a set of ACS T1s turning up in the next couple of weeks, but my existing IEMS sound great*
* subjective opinion!!

All outputs are available at the same time.








So, how does it sound? IMHO, very good. Aside from the EQ which doesn't sound good or bad - as it doesn't do very much!! :D

There's plenty of space under the channel selectors for say, a P-Touch generated label - certainly not big enough for the usual masking/scotch tape.


So where's the catch?

It boasts low latency of under 1mS.....
Built VERY sturdily
Easy to use.
Does what it says on the tin.
CHEAP - UK prices are
P16I - £167 ($267)
P16M - £138 ($220)
P16D - £107 ($171)

Downside?
The P16m is wall-wart powered.
ineffective EQ.

Got to admit - Behringer COULD be on to something with this, as on the surface, if you're after (and able to use) a personal monitoring system, I would certainly look at this.
#2
31st March 2012
Old 31st March 2012
  #2
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Mats H's Avatar
 

Very cool! Would be nice to try this one out some day. I've been creating mixes for the musicians with my UFX but it would be nice for the them to do their own balancing when needed
#3
31st March 2012
Old 31st March 2012
  #3
drake.ch
 

Maybe the EQ is on purpose because the sends to the system should already be mixed and should only need slight "tone control" on stage, if at all.
#4
5th April 2012
Old 5th April 2012
  #4
Gear interested
 

I just purchased this system for our praise team at church. I will let you know more after we set it up and test drive it. Thanks for the in depth review Scoobydoo. That was the decision maker for me.
#5
6th April 2012
Old 6th April 2012
  #5
Gear interested
 

The doc on the Behringer site says that the P16-M is powered by the CAT-5 from the P16-I (or -D). The wall wart is needed only if the "thru" CAT-5 output is sent to a second (or more) P16-M, and then those all need external power.

Does it not work that way?
ScoobyDoo555
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#6
6th April 2012
Old 6th April 2012
  #6
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Thread Starter
TBH, I've just connected it using the wall-wart, as I'll probably be daisy-chaining.

I'll have a play tomorrow with the kit and see if it does exactly that.

Dan
#7
6th April 2012
Old 6th April 2012
  #7
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoobyDoo555 View Post
TBH, I've just connected it using the wall-wart, as I'll probably be daisy-chaining.

I'll have a play tomorrow with the kit and see if it does exactly that.

Dan
The doc says only #2 - n of the daisy chain need the wall wart - #1 (directly connected to the P16-I or -D are powered by the CAT-5 buss. Hopefully it works that way.

When I order the system, it's to replace my old Furman HDR-6 system. I'll run a cat-5 to the center of the rehearsal space to a P16-D, then one CAT-5 to each P16-M. There is a player (Keys) at the edges so I'll run the second CAT-5 from the P16-I to him. I'll be able to utilize the CAT-5's I already have run for the Furman system, so no net new wiring (huzzah!).

Eddie O
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ScoobyDoo555
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#8
6th April 2012
Old 6th April 2012
  #8
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Thread Starter
Yeh, I'm running a single Cat5 from FOH back to the stage, probably to a switch (doesn't need to be the P16D - will know more about this when I have a play next week!), then out to the various P16Ms....... up to 9 "M"s......

As a plan b, I can run wall warts for each band member if I daisy chain.

OR I can use all 6 outputs on the P16I, and share/daisy off one or two P16Ms....

Nice to have a load of choices though

Dan
#9
7th April 2012
Old 7th April 2012
  #9
Gear addict
 
Bibster's Avatar
 

Well, maybe not just *any* switch, but a PoE switch will do I presume. If at least they did follow some standards...
ScoobyDoo555
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#10
7th April 2012
Old 7th April 2012
  #10
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Thread Starter
Agreed! Not just ANY switch :D
Will sort a suitable one out!
#11
28th April 2012
Old 28th April 2012
  #11
Gear interested
 

I'm really glad to have found this thread and see that someone, somewhere in the world has actually received their P16! I've been faithfully tracking this system since the 2011 NAMM and have had our system on order for several months now. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be making it over to the US for some reason.

So anyway, I too am very curious about when the power supply is required. Is it indeed only needed on unit #2 when daisy chained thru unit #1 and unit #1 essentially never requires a power supply?
ScoobyDoo555
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#12
28th April 2012
Old 28th April 2012
  #12
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Firstly, an update- used it in both a studio AND live application now. Faultless.
You are correct - only psu needed is on the 2nd mixer NOT the 1st.

Haven't got a P16d but you could run wall-wart free with this device too......

SHOCKER: Behringer make something GOOD! :D
#13
22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
  #13
Gear interested
 

Awesome

Got my P16-I, M and the stand mount a couple weeks ago as well as a new pair of Shure 425s (trying to save what's left of my hearing.)

Really impressed with it so far.

Only complaint is the stand mount is a bit wonky to put together. I'm using the option where it clamps on to the side of my mic stand. The grip on the nut to attach it to the mixer base is essentially non-existent. If you don't have it tightened properly (which is impossible by hand) the mixer will slip-n-slide on the mic stand mount.

I have to use slip-joint pliers to get it nice and tight, and again to loosen it after the gig.
ScoobyDoo555
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#14
22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
  #14
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Thread Starter
Yeh - I didn't bother with the stand clip as it looked rubbish for the money: looking to fabricate some more sturdy affairs at work.

With the IEMs my only twitch is that they may not be loud enough at the P16m - might have a play with the gain toggle switches at the FOH as they could be too quiet for the application. ie turn em up!! :D
#15
22nd May 2012
Old 22nd May 2012
  #15
Thank's for review ! Can't wait to get mine
#16
27th May 2012
Old 27th May 2012
  #16
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PMoshay's Avatar
 

I got a complete system recently and can concur, this system is fantastic! Highly recommended..........great work team.
#17
29th May 2012
Old 29th May 2012
  #17
Gear interested
 

Can you mix adat with analog inputs?

For example inputs 1-8 on adat-A and 9-16 analog?

Even better, 1-4 on adat-A, 5-16 analog. With analog 5-8 overriding the adat input?


We have a mobile rig based on an ULN-8, 2882 and Mackie 800R. It would be great if we could use the 2882's adat output as well as the analog from the ULN.

Last edited by cult45; 29th May 2012 at 02:11 PM.. Reason: more info
ScoobyDoo555
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#18
29th May 2012
Old 29th May 2012
  #18
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Thread Starter
Yeh you can mix adat with analogue, but from what I've tried ONLY in banks of 8:

eg, 1-8 ADAT
9-16 Analogue

OR

1-8 Analogue
9-16 ADAT


I haven't tried it with alternative combos, but I would be (pleasantly) surprised if you could do this. There seems to be nothing in the manual about this.
#19
29th May 2012
Old 29th May 2012
  #19
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Thanks for the report. I've been happy with the Behringer HA8000 for almost a decade now... and, as noted, it is one of a very few products from this company that seems to last.

I will point out, however, that when we needed 10 mixes for our HOW IEM system, with a $3,000 budget, about 18 months ago, the StudioLive 24.4.2 was our choice for a dedicated ears mixer. The desk cost us $2,800, and we bought a couple of eBay iPads (controllers) for an additional $400. It seems now that about 80% of the players who frequent our rotation have either iPads or iPhones, and have downloaded the control software, so iPad sharing is getting rare.

The Behringer system looks like it might be a good alternative, at about $2,700 total for 10 mixes... but the drop from 24 to 16 input channels and the 10 additional CAT5 wire runs from the switch to the mixers would still be a deal breaker for me. Yes, I'm the guy who spends 10 minutes after Sunday morning rehearsal straightening, coiling and taping any additional loose runs to the deck... so it just might be my inner "Felix" showing... and the 24.4.2's additional (copious) abilities as a 24ch FOH mixer and recording/tracking desk kind of seal the deal. Add to that, even if the iPad/iPhone net goes down, the mixes remain "as set" since they reside in the 24.4.2 itself. If a P16-M dies (or power is lost), doesn't the mix go down as well? In sum... I think it remains the "right" choice for our situation, even had the Behringer gear been available 18 months ago.

Still, in all, as we expand and beef up the stages in Youth and Children's areas, this might be just what the physician specifies...

HB
#20
29th May 2012
Old 29th May 2012
  #20
drake.ch
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
Thanks for the report. I've been happy with the Behringer HA8000 for almost a decade now... and, as noted, it is one of a very few products from this company that seems to last.

I will point out, however, that when we needed 10 mixes for our HOW IEM system, with a $3,000 budget, about 18 months ago, the StudioLive 24.4.2 was our choice for a dedicated ears mixer. The desk cost us $2,800, and we bought a couple of eBay iPads (controllers) for an additional $400. It seems now that about 80% of the players who frequent our rotation have either iPads or iPhones, and have downloaded the control software, so iPad sharing is getting rare.

The Behringer system looks like it might be a good alternative, at about $2,700 total for 10 mixes... but the drop from 24 to 16 input channels and the 10 additional CAT5 wire runs from the switch to the mixers would still be a deal breaker for me. Yes, I'm the guy who spends 10 minutes after Sunday morning rehearsal straightening, coiling and taping any additional loose runs to the deck... so it just might be my inner "Felix" showing... and the 24.4.2's additional (copious) abilities as a 24ch FOH mixer and recording/tracking desk kind of seal the deal. Add to that, even if the iPad/iPhone net goes down, the mixes remain "as set" since they reside in the 24.4.2 itself. If a P16-M dies (or power is lost), doesn't the mix go down as well? In sum... I think it remains the "right" choice for our situation, even had the Behringer gear been available 18 months ago.

Still, in all, as we expand and beef up the stages in Youth and Children's areas, this might be just what the physician specifies...

HB
but the headphone amps and cabling?
#21
29th May 2012
Old 29th May 2012
  #21
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoobyDoo555 View Post
Yeh you can mix adat with analogue, but from what I've tried ONLY in banks of 8:

eg, 1-8 ADAT
9-16 Analogue

OR

1-8 Analogue
9-16 ADAT


I haven't tried it with alternative combos, but I would be (pleasantly) surprised if you could do this. There seems to be nothing in the manual about this.
Thanks for the swift reply. I see i need to manually set subscriptions on this board.

Even mixing input types in banks of 8 is great. Anything more is a bonus.

Last edited by cult45; 29th May 2012 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: ...subscription
#22
29th May 2012
Old 29th May 2012
  #22
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
but the headphone amps and cabling?
errmmmm... I'd like to respond to that, but i'm not certain I understand the question...
#23
30th May 2012
Old 30th May 2012
  #23
drake.ch
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
errmmmm... I'd like to respond to that, but i'm not certain I understand the question...
OK.

I am looking at the new behringer system simply because they offer a headphone amp solution where you can put the amp near the performer and run one cheap cable which takes power and audio.

The cost of their system is compatable to other systems where:

a) you have a power amp then distribute unbalanced stereo headphone level signals via xlr cables and splitters etc. at the performer you have just a passive volume control
b) you send line level stereo (balanced or unbalanced) to a headphone amp box near the performer which needs power from battery or hard power
c) other solution i can't think of?

i mean the behringer is even cheaper than these solutions in many cases and we're not even talking about personal mixing or whatever, just getting headphone mixes to people in an elegant way.

Your solution with the presonus mixer is concerned with the personal mixing side of things and doesn't consider the cabling to get to the performers from the mixer, or what headphone amp you use and how it's powered. Also you didn't include the cost of the networking box(es) needed to talk with the ipads.

So, the question is, what actualy is your solution (completely) and how much does it actually cost?
#24
30th May 2012
Old 30th May 2012
  #24
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
OK. ... So, the question is, what actualy is your solution (completely) and how much does it actually cost?
Ahhh... so... We already had the HA8000 (I think I mentioned that) since we went to ears in 2004 or so. We also already had the Radio Shack extension cables (TRS-miniTRSF) since we were using them with the HA8000. We always fed them back the eight returns on the snake we used in the movie theater we were in for 4 years (L/R/sub were channels 30/31/32, re-connectored)... then I converted them to XLRF to allow us to use the installed snake patch points (48x12 on three plates on the back wall of the stage) in our rehab of a warehouse in 2009. I replace/repair maybe one a year. We also already had the six pairs of Shure SE215s (and a supply of foamies) that are our "loaner" buds for those without their own buds or moulds. We also had the four channels and combiner of Sennheiser EW300 G2 RF IEM systems, donated to the ministry in 2009 (from a life on the road with a group you'd likely know).

Our choice 18 months ago was to go Aviom or go PreSonus. Aviom (there was no Behringer solution at that point) would have been $6,000 for six mixers, A-D and distro, limited to 16 input channels, and needing to still mix the four RF channels from FOH... or to go PreSonus 24.4.2 and get 24 input channels, 10 aux sends, recording/tracking capability, and its use as a small digital hybrid mixer outside the auditorium, if needed. It and two used iPads cost us $3,200 in cash. Oh... the WiFi router was the one from my ManCave, left over when I went to a Airport Extreme about four years ago. I don't honestly remember what it cost then... but it wasn't much.

Hope that helps. This stuff is all horses for courses... YM likely WV, and I was just hoping to share our successful move to personally controlled IEM mixes from stage. It worked for us.

HB
ScoobyDoo555
Thread Starter
#25
2nd June 2012
Old 2nd June 2012
  #25
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Thread Starter
THanks for sharing - sounds a very interesting and flexible system
#26
14th June 2012
Old 14th June 2012
  #26
Gear Head
 
ableton123's Avatar
 

Hello! I am really interested in this system. We are currently using seven Behringer MA400 monitors with mixes sent straight from the board to them. We essentially are sending tracks and AUX sends with gains almost all the way up on the board. And the amp all the way up just to be able to hear at reasonable levels.

How loud do these get? If you turn it all the way up is it near unbearable? Of the eight LED's how many are lit up when you are listening at a great level? This is my only concern and really the deal breaker.
#27
14th June 2012
Old 14th June 2012
  #27
Gear nut
 
Tone Grown's Avatar
 

thanks for the reports! been following this a long time as well! happy to know that it exists!!
#28
14th June 2012
Old 14th June 2012
  #28
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ableton123 View Post
Hello! I am really interested in this system. We are currently using seven Behringer MA400 monitors with mixes sent straight from the board to them. We essentially are sending tracks and AUX sends with gains almost all the way up on the board. And the amp all the way up just to be able to hear at reasonable levels.

How loud do these get? If you turn it all the way up is it near unbearable? Of the eight LED's how many are lit up when you are listening at a great level? This is my only concern and really the deal breaker.
I haven't used the Behringer MA400, just the HA4000 and 8000. We also use "real" IEM buds (not iPod buds)... Shure SE215s are the cheapest ($100/pr) buds we use. We provide fresh foamies for each use of the "house" buds.

Several players/singers use custom Westone/UltimateEars molds... none have problems with the drive levels they get from either Sennheiser G2 receivers or the HA8000 drive lines (custom molds seem to be 6-12dB more efficient than the SE215s). All are set up to average about 80% modulation on their indicator meters, and backed down (from the individual Aux channel's Output control) if the "peak" warnings are lit on either the Sennheiser xmitters or the HA8000 bar meters.

As with anything audio, good gain staging through the chain is necessary to avoid hiss (under driving the headphone amp circuits) or distortion (overdriving them). We also line check and re-set input gains as necessary for every active channel of the 24 inputs before rehearsal, helpful to us since we rotate singers and instrumentalists every week.
#29
10th September 2012
Old 10th September 2012
  #29
Gear interested
 

How about with long AES50 (Cat5) cable lengths?

It looks like the Behringer P16-M, P16-I, P16-D use AES50 signaling on CAT-5 cabling. The product manuals state the proper cabling is shielded twisted pair CAT-5 with a maximum length of 75m or 246 Ft. 1ms latency.

The AVIOM personal monitors use A-Net signaling, Cat-5, Cat-5e, Cat-6 or higher, un-shielded twisted pair and have a length limit of 150m or 500Ft. 800 micro second latency.

So, for those of you using the Behringer products, are any of you using cables longer than the recommended maximum length? What type of cable are you using? Did you use P16-D as a repeater?

Has the latency become an issue for you at this length?

Please feel free to describe your experiences.

I'm looking at personal monitors to use in a house of worship stage where there is no space for front of house mixing and the mix console is at the rear, upstairs. Currently mixing monitors from the rear and it is nearly impossible to make out hand signals regarding mix volumes. Microphone wiring to stage is by individual cable from stage jack to mix console - no snake. So, with no snake end at the stage, it is not convienient to tap into the signals and provide a inputs to a stage based / musician monitor mix solution.

If anyone knows of a good solution to insert between the stage mic and instrument jacks and the wires to the mix console, let me know. Because there may be room behind or underneath the stage for that. Some sort of 'buffer amplifier' or active / passive splitter arrangment to 'tap into' the stage signals, then send one to a personal monitor mixer system and also send to the rear of house for live mix and any remaining traditional stage monitor mixing.

End users / musicians have been reluctant to try any talkback or intercom system that might be purchased. Cable lengths may be near the max. or greater than the recommended for the Behringer. This is in an old, analog only, installation. Funds to replace current amps, mixers, snake, etc. would not be available.

Behringer is at the right price point. Aviom has not been within our price point in the past.

73, N0GMD
ScoobyDoo555
Thread Starter
#30
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Update.

Been using this system for a while now, and I still can't believe how good it is. It has revolutionised my on-stage monitoring. I still take an amp, but as plan b.

The "hardest" bit was wiring up the loom to work with the sniff on the inserts so it didnt interfere with the foh signal flow.
Thankfully, there's a degree of professional courtesy as like the engineer, my background is engineering and mixing,so there's also some trust

However, a fair few gigs later, and working strong.

Highly recommended.
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