Behringer XR12 X Air by audibell
This is not your usual physical mixer. It is the smallest of the three XR series interfaces, mountable in a 2 RU rack space or plonked on the floor as a stage inputs box. It is controllable with mixer software by a PC, 2ft or 150 feet away, connected by a CAT5/6 cable or a tablet, iOS or Android, connected to the internal or external wifi. It is surprisingly robust and so far reliable.
Unboxing presents the unit, a pair of rack ears, an IEC power cable and the slim but basic manual. The "real" manual is online at http://behringerwiki.music-group.com...._Introduction
The build quality is robust, regardless of its $250-ish price. It has the smooth and black-slate acrylics feel of its bigger cousin, the X-32 console. Two chrome-finished rack "handles" on either side function very well as strain relief for the power and ethernet cables (not the mic cables) End cheeks are rubberised so the unit sits face-up or face-horizontal on floors or glossy tabletops. Thrust the whole thing inside a bin-liner/trash-bag on a rain-swept stage.
Buttons, knobs & faders
There is only one knob and no faders on the front face, which knob controls the headphones. This is more useful if you are sending the headphones 2-mix to a camera operator or a lobby mix, just don't solo anything if you do.
There are four coloured lights on the surface: on/off is solid orange; ethernet Remote is yellow, solid for nowt and fast winking for "connected" at the computer end; USB port is red On, then Off at first connection and then, solid red for record or playback.
There is no LED/LCD display on the unit. All visuals are on the lap or desktop display, which is size configurable.
The metal casing is very sturdy and well-able to take the comings and goings on a small stage; the power switch is a large rocker. There is no fan or internal noise. The XLRs were ZWEE and Chungheng - my Switchcrafts clicked home without wiggle or flimsy. The USB port position exposes the USB stick to sideways forces, so I placed some velcro just above the power switch, "stuck" the tiny but 32GB stick there and ran a shorty to the input port, for house music mainly.
This might be the first time you will run a mixer with a network cable, so at 30cents/foot, making a 150ft snake is economical & lightweight.
The XR series mixers are using an implementation of the X-32 software, and if you can run an X-32, you will be up and running in minutes; if you are not, then there will be about a week's worth of video-watching, wiki-reading and trial and error. Especially if you are coming from all-analog, or even the PreSonus ana-digi-log mixers. Configurable busses, sends tap-points, FX faders that work or don't work depending on which buss is selected, all require a proper understanding of current mixing technology. Once you grok this, all the other "big-boy" mixers out there will make sense too, so kudos to Behringer for making an entry level mixer so relevant.
Try the X32 channel presets here <X32 "Artist Preset Collection"> found in
Forum\ BEHRINGER Digital Mixers\ X32 Family\ X32\ Resources .
These work in the XR series so try these to begin; Save and Load for later.
Scenes (the whole mixer setting) and channel presets can be saved to the controlling PC and/or the USB stick. Experiment & backup often.
I'd like to write about the software but that's a whole other undertaking in itself, more so because features differ slightly between the iOs, PC and Android versions. DO check out the YouTube videos, write notes as you watch and all will eventually be revealed. If the XR is your first digital mixer all these options can be quite overwhelming but keep watching and operate the software beside you until what you see online, is what you get local.
Connect Wired first: operate the software in the PC Setup, LAN as DHCP and the switch on the box to ethernet. Press CONNECT, PC > MIXER, Continue.
Next, Connect Wireless: change switch on box to Access Point, do not re-connect on PC. On tablet, join the XR-Air network (named in Access Point SSID). Open XAir app and when blue line fills up, touch and connect.
The 2-trk recorder function is also a 2-trk playback, for 16bit 44.1kHz CD-type files only. No MP3s, so load the USB with named CD tracks/folders.
Plug in the USB drive. In Setup:Audio/Midi, ensure Clock Rate is 44.1
Touch "Recorder" tab, between Routing and Setup, touch-select a folder, then a track and press the usual transport buttons. The playback comes in on the AUX channel and goes out on the Main.
If the gain-staging is done properly and the gates, EQs and compressors are operated carefully, it sounds very good thru JBLs. If the sound source is poor to begin with, it will reproduce that very well, too. The pres don't hiss unless you make them. With gates and graphic EQs, I was able to quickly stop toms and accoustics ringing. If you want subs-on-aux, you'll only have one aux remaining for wedges. So, tri-amp.
Not a lot. This is a 4 pre-amp, 12 inputs total, stage box with really useful & modern software mixing/processing. You don't need to carry graphics and reverbs but you probably need an 8-channel mic amp to fill up the other line-level inputs. I used two different ones, both with ADAT outs for splits. A short XLR-TRS snake & 1RU rack-box for the pre completes the rig.
Who needs this? with only four mic amps, it is limited, so I guess DJs. If you want to dip your toe into large console-type processing and routing though, this is a way to do it without spending a few thousand dollars to find out if you can handle all-software stage mixing. Adding extra pre-channels is trivial. The XR16 and 18 have more channels and the 18 has multi-track recording. I can imagine the XR18 being a workhorse/backup in smaller clubs. Small mixer jobs with speakers-on-sticks would work efficiently, too.