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Behringer XR18 - any tips for new user?

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[this has been cross-posted with the Facebook XR18 group - so apologies to anyone reading this twice]

 

Hi everyone... Have just picked up a secondhand XR18 for our 5-piece band (keys, gtr, bass, drums, samples/loops with 3x vox) and am very cautiously making my first move away from analogue mixers. Will be using it in rehearsal for the first time next week and for a couple of gigs in a month's time.
 
I think I've got most of the basics clear in my head: have got inputs labelled and grouped, basic monitor mixes assigned to a couple of the auxes, couple of snapshots saved, external router all up and running, fixed IP, Reaper properly set up to record etc etc.
 
I was just looking for some advice about the FX. We aren't going to be using any heavy duty "creative" effects (well, not just yet) so I was thinking about just having a couple of reverbs - one for the mains and one for the foldback. Is this the sort of thing that people do - or should I be having a compressor and/or a graphic EQ on there too? Would really appreciate some real world experience of how people are using the effects for small club gigs... Many thanks!

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First thing I would do is get an external router.  Ours occasionally failed to connect using the inbuilt WiFi, which caused a major panic once just before we were due to go on!  We thankfully had the old mixer in the car but was a bit of a faff to change everything over. Reliability has been great since we hooked up an external router and have never looked back.

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There is an eq, compressor and gate on each channel strip. I started by adding these into the mix by choosing the relevant preset for each different type of instrument (vocals, different drum types etc). Works very well. I would strongly suggest unitising the high pass filter set to 50 Hz on every channel to prevent low end boom. This really cleans up the sound and allows you to push the speakers more. Regarding effects, I tend to add a little vintage reverb to the vocals and snare drum. Flat eq works for us for the global mix with all the eq tweaked on each channel strip.

Edited by mr zed
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I had put a 50Hz high pass on the vox and overheads (actually 51Hz as my mousepad thing wouldn't let me get to 50) but I'll have a go at applying it across the board.

 

Other things I've just done (and would appreciate hearing any strong opinions on):

-added all the drums to a DCA group for quick global adjustments

-added everything other than the samples/loops and the walk-on music to one mute group, and the looper to another mute group (so we can mute the instruments at the end of the last song but have scope to leave a loop going for a while afterwards).

-added the appropriate noise gate presets to the vox, kick and snare channels (but anticipating having to tweak these)

-added two reverbs, a delay and the stereo combinator to the FX rack - possibly at the recommendation of the FB group and/or extensive Googling...

-made sure that the all the buses highlight the channel strips in bright yellow to avoid possible sends-on-faders confusion

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No problem with all you have done - you may find that you don't need to tweak the presets for the gates - the settings work very well indeed. Sounds like you have an excellent understanding of the XR18 and what it can do for you. They are a fantastic bit of kit. Hope you really enjoy using it!

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I’ve been using the XR18 since it was first released, wonderful piece of kit and I love mine. Everything you’ve done seems sensible, and drums in a DCA is something I recommend to other XR users. 

The only thing I’ve found can be problematic is if like me you mix from the side of the stage whilst playing, quick adjustments are a little more tricky as the virtual faders don’t react as instantaneously as physical faders and this is why I’ve added an x-Touch to mine.

There is a very useful user forum on the musictribe site I’d suggest you join if you haven’t already. 

Welcome to the family 😎

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I do like the look of that X-Touch... Might be one for the Ebay watch list though as I've spent up on the mixer itself and the next thing we're looking at is IEMs - have recently finished the 70+ page thread here on that topic.

 

Thanks for all the pointers - no doubt I'll be back here with a list of queries after our first rehearsal attempt with it.

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Set up monitor mixes for everyone.

Then spend time to really teach them how to connect to the device with their phone or tablet so that they can only pink torpedo up their own mix.

Best way to stop the continual "I need more me!" requests...

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43 minutes ago, 51m0n said:

Then spend time to really teach them how to connect to the device with their phone or tablet so that they can only pink torpedo up their own mix.

Good luck with that. The guitarist would rather complain about the mix then do it himself :D

Remember with group effects like reverb you are doing a submix which can trip you up later, so you have 3 vocals going to reverb, and the reverb slider up in the mix and you are trying to turn someones vocals out but still hear them, remember it is coming through the reverb! Obvious I know, but caught me out near the beginning.

Also microphone groups are useful. Well, muting groups. 

 

On 03/08/2019 at 11:28, JPJ said:

The only thing I’ve found can be problematic is if like me you mix from the side of the stage whilst playing, quick adjustments are a little more tricky as the virtual faders don’t react as instantaneously as physical faders and this is why I’ve added an x-Touch to mine.

Is it good? I was looking at one of those. I use the iPad app obviously, but sometimes when you are playing it you try and quickly jab at it to take something down and it doesn't respond well enough. The XTouch was quite expensive but looks quite appealing, especially as you can use it on a computer as well. Does it connect easily enough to not be another hassle when you are setting up?

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23 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Good luck with that. The guitarist would rather complain about the mix then do it himself :D

Nah its really easy, it just takes a little while...

You say "here's your monitor mix <insert band member name>"

Band grooves...

They say "I want more <themselves normally>"

You say "Connect like this if you want to change it"

They say "No you do it"

You say "Nope, I've done yours, now I am busy doing <insert one of several bajillion other things you need to do>, if you want to change it the only way to do that is own it matey"

They say "Whinge whinge whinge, grumble grumble"

Repeat at every gig for the next 2 months then it goes quiet because a) they are used to it and b) they really love it.

Edited by 51m0n

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I'm just about certain I'll be pressing checkout  on an XR12.  I've been playing with the software on my laptop for a coupe of days, and this thread has been really well timed. 

Its a bit over the top TBH as we are only intending on vox and bass going through this at the moment.

I'm not intending to get a separate external router, and was hoping to use my laptop with an ethernet cable as backup in case the wifi fails - is this viable?

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I'd really be thinking about saving up a little more and going for the xr18. I know you don't have a high channel count (at the moment) but the xr18 has more functionality and will give you more usable outputs for monitoring.

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5 minutes ago, jimmyb625 said:

I'd really be thinking about saving up a little more and going for the xr18. I know you don't have a high channel count (at the moment) but the xr18 has more functionality and will give you more usable outputs for monitoring.

And, if not mentioned already (apologies if so), the XR18 allows individual track recording.  Ideal for doing live demo clips for promo purposes. 

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2 hours ago, Nicko said:

I'm not intending to get a separate external router, and was hoping to use my laptop with an ethernet cable as backup in case the wifi fails - is this viable?

Yeah, that's absolutely possible, but that wifi will fail pretty promptly so you'll want your cables ready to go in an emergency. If you've got the space then just go wired all the time (I would if I could!)

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2 hours ago, Nicko said:

Its a bit over the top TBH as we are only intending on vox and bass going through this at the moment.

I'm not intending to get a separate external router, and was hoping to use my laptop with an ethernet cable as backup in case the wifi fails - is this viable?

It is viable, if you have it. I went on for over a year until the first time the wifi failed, although bear in mind it isn't a binary - one day you turn it on and it doesn't work. no it is working fine and then half way through your gig you can't really control it any more, some changes occur, some dont etc. Too many phones in the area.

My external router was £15 and is slightly smaller than the mains plug, but never had any trouble with it.

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An xr18 is good enough to record an EP on. All these tracks were mainly recorded on the xr18, with some percussion overdubs on some other tastier kit. The 4th track is live in a pub no overdubs or editing at all...

https://mistersuperjuice.bandcamp.com/releases

Edited by 51m0n

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18 hours ago, jimmyb625 said:

I'd really be thinking about saving up a little more and going for the xr18. I know you don't have a high channel count (at the moment) but the xr18 has more functionality and will give you more usable outputs for monitoring.

Its quite a lot more expensive and, although theres more flexibility on monitoring I honestly can't see the justification for it.  I'm personlly not sold on the need for a wifi enabled mixer in the first place since we are paying for a lot of functionality that none of the band have any idae how to use effectively.  The plan at the moment is that we will utilise a floor monitor, plus a wired IEM for me as I'll be losing my bass cab and going full DI.  If we need more monitoring I think it likely the guitarist and singer who are eneretic on stage will want wireless IEM so a single monitoring channel, one wireless monitor and three headsets is the most likely end point.

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2 hours ago, Nicko said:

Its quite a lot more expensive and, although theres more flexibility on monitoring I honestly can't see the justification for it.

I had a XR16 and upgraded to an X18, purely because I wanted the multichannel recording. If you don't want that then you are right, there isn't much to be added.

2 hours ago, Nicko said:

 I'm personlly not sold on the need for a wifi enabled mixer in the first place since we are paying for a lot of functionality that none of the band have any idae how to use effectively. 

Well, it is a self selling thing. When it comes down to it, most people who buy one don't have an idea how to use it effectively before getting it (apart from the weirdos that reseach these things). However, you will find it becomes pretty clear pretty fast and as you are saying that the band want to go iem, you will see those results pretty quickly, so it is mostly about how many aux outs you have, one for each person / monitor.  I wouldn't cope with wired but it is true it is cheaper.

What we have is for a 4 piece is me and the guitarist have wireless iem, drummer has wired one (he isn't going anywhere) and the singer is trying to get used to the idea. The drummer only has his vocals and my bass in his ears, I have most things, especially vocals, but mostly my vocals and a bit of bass. The guitarist has mostly the guitar and some of the other things.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

I had a XR16 and upgraded to an X18, purely because I wanted the multichannel recording. If you don't want that then you are right, there isn't much to be added.

Well, it is a self selling thing. When it comes down to it, most people who buy one don't have an idea how to use it effectively before getting it (apart from the weirdos that reseach these things). However, you will find it becomes pretty clear pretty fast and as you are saying that the band want to go iem, you will see those results pretty quickly, so it is mostly about how many aux outs you have, one for each person / monitor.  I wouldn't cope with wired but it is true it is cheaper.

What we have is for a 4 piece is me and the guitarist have wireless iem, drummer has wired one (he isn't going anywhere) and the singer is trying to get used to the idea. The drummer only has his vocals and my bass in his ears, I have most things, especially vocals, but mostly my vocals and a bit of bass. The guitarist has mostly the guitar and some of the other things.

 

 

Thanks, this is all usefull stuff, even though I count as a weirdo having downloaded not only the manual but also the software 🤓

In our recent gigs we borrowed PA and monitoring was only for the vocals.  The guitarist isn't currenty intending to go to the desk at all (a mistake IMO), so we actualy ony have 3 inputs being used and limited scope for monitoring mixes. 

Although this is supposed to be a band purchase they seem to have even less idea than me, even though I have made it clear I'm not taking responsibiity for setting up the PA.  The 12 chnnel works for us at the moment, and their lack of interest in future capabiity may well come back to bite them later on, I agree.

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What tablets does everyone use to control these?

I've now bought a Kindle and a Samsung tablet second hand - neither of which had 5Ghz functionality (despite being advertised as such), which is, of course, the main advantage of using an external router.

I just want a cheap tablet 8" - 10" screen, 5GHz wireless compatible - doesn't seem too much to ask...

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Band just invested in one of these - ordered today in fact. Glad I caught this thread - it's been a very useful read. Thanks all.

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10 hours ago, burno70 said:

That your band mate? Love it.

Yeah baby 🤩🤩🤩

Thanks very much!

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16 hours ago, Nicko said:

In our recent gigs we borrowed PA and monitoring was only for the vocals.  The guitarist isn't currenty intending to go to the desk at all (a mistake IMO), so we actualy ony have 3 inputs being used and limited scope for monitoring mixes. 

Yeh, that is how it starts. You will find it quite frustrating that you cant use IEMs effectively if the guitarist isn't going into the desk so he will eventually at least stick a mic in front of the amp. Which is a pain as the volume levels change at every gig.

My bass goes into the PA, but doesn't come out of the PA, but it gets into the IEMs and any recordings that way.

16 hours ago, Nicko said:

Although this is supposed to be a band purchase they seem to have even less idea than me, even though I have made it clear I'm not taking responsibiity for setting up the PA.  The 12 chnnel works for us at the moment, and their lack of interest in future capabiity may well come back to bite them later on, I agree.

I don't think the issue will be the 12 inputs. Unless the drummer is plugging the whole kit in we dont' get near the 16 in the X18, the issue is the aux outputs. I couldn't use the XR12 as it only has two aux's. I was ok with the xr16 as it had 4, which gave us one monitor for each person, and the X/XR 18 has 6, which is handy in my second band where there are 5 of us.

Good luck with the no responsibility for setting up the PA thing!

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