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Digital mixer choices - Behringer XR18, RCF M18


lemmywinks
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At a bit of a quandary after a band reshuffle, guitarist owned pretty much all of the PA (now sold) and is now sailing around Greece so we need to replace what was a very capable and fantastic sounding PA. We have some active speakers and a sub to tide us over but will need a new desk before we do anything. Previously we used in ears and the two new members joining us would like to go that route as well, we will all be on wired in ears and everybody will want to control their own monitor mix. We did have the Mackie DL32r so were spoiled a bit really as we could have separate stereo mixes, I realise this probably isn't going to be possible with our current budget.

 

So basically we will need the following:

- 10 inputs

- 5 monitor sends

- Compatibility with Windows, iPad and Android (main mix will be on a 12.5" Windows tablet)

- Reliable wireless for 5 (possibly 6) different devices

- Have a pretty reliable app.

- Ideally be £500 or less.

 

Essentially I've looked at the Behringer XR18 which seems to do everything we need in terms of interface and compatibility, however I've heard the app isn't the best and the connection is temperamental. What is the extent of these issues, is it likely to be the odd niggle or is it going to be a long term PITA? I like that everything is XLR which will mean we always have spares and easily link cables.

 

Also seen the RCF but have been put off by the use of jack sockets, however I heard the wireless signal is rock solid. 

 

Leaning towards the Behringer at the moment as it seems to be a better fit, is there anything else worth looking at? Budget can go up if needed I think.

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The Behringer plus an external router will do everything you need and be under budget. The internal WiFi i is definitely patchy as a router but works ok as a client. Mine is wired to a router on gigs, and I switch to WiFi client when I'm at home. 

 

Mine lives in a 4u rack with a music player and a Mikrotik router, all 3 pieces of gear are amazing ime. IMG_20180601_182901.thumb.jpg.2fca9d57643f2bf5c978a2e038d72843.jpgIMG_20190219_163650.thumb.jpg.8867de3fee30345230a7f96c9ca38c95.jpg

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Nice one thanks @Jack, it does look like the most appealing option. Might seem like a stupid thing to prioritise but everything being XLR makes things much simpler for me. 

 

Is this like the router you have?
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/173086514136?hash=item284cc29bd8:g:jL4AAOSwsABaVJxR

 

Also is it fine with multiple devices like that? Planning to do the actual mixing on a large Windows touchscreen device but have a smaller one mounted to my bass stand for any mid gig monitor changes, would make a total of 6 devices connected.

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That's the one. It's great but to be honest I wouldn't buy the same one now (hence me being nonspecific) as it's 2.4ghz only. I haven't upgraded because I've never had a single dropout to be fair but 2.4 is filling up fast and I'd want 5ghz these days. 

 

The most devices I've ever used at the same time has been 4: a wired laptop, 2 tablets and a phone. It was rock solid. I'm a pretty big computer nerd anyway as it's my other hobby, so I knew Mikrotik had an amazing reputation. The other side to the coin is that mixing really isn't very taxing. The free router you got with your broadband can easily handle Netflix, video gaming and zoom calls all at once in a house with walls, what's a few commands (not even any actual audio) on a 5m^2 stage compared to that? It's actually baffling how they managed to get such a crappy router in the Behringer. 

Edited by Jack
Clarity
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16 hours ago, Jack said:

The other side to the coin is that mixing really isn't very taxing. The free router you got with your broadband can easily handle Netflix, video gaming and zoom calls all at once in a house with walls, what's a few commands (not even any actual audio) on a 5m^2 stage compared to that? It's actually baffling how they managed to get such a crappy router in the Behringer. 

 

This. It’s the main reason I’ll likely go for the RCF over the Behringer when I eventually invest in a digital mixer.

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We were having the same issue few years ago. We heard that Soundcraft 16 and 24 have different mic preamps, so we bought the Ui24. Good choice, there are never too much channels.

We had a strange issue with the wireless. It nearly worked every now and then. One colleague said that the IEMs have to be further away from the desk. 1 m / 3 ft was enough and now the system is reliable.

Cheap, light, functional and has a nice set of presets like comp, eq and so on. Learning curve is quite short because 3 out of 4 singers can use it already, after three years!

The rack is a must, buy a short one.

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We used to use an external router with our old 16 channel Mackie so that isn't the end of the world, especially if it is just sat there working away in the back of a rack. We really don't need loads of channels and the 16 available with the Behringer is more than enough for us. The only thing lacking is enough aux sends for stereo monitors as we would need 10 for a 5 piece, unfortunately everything I've been looking at seems to come up short here.

 

Like I said we were a bit spoiled with out old PA, our guitarist had expendable income and I'm pretty sure he got aroused by ordering expensive new PA gear.

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Consider the RCF M20X, we migrated to this after using a M18 for a few years. High quality, features & functionality...intuitive...should cover all your needs plus 20 channel recording & playback for sound checks. We only use the router for individual in ear or monitor mix.

IMG_2308.thumb.jpg.7abec94063be5bc5a68d815e130034b4.jpg   

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24 minutes ago, BCH said:

Consider the RCF M20X, we migrated to this after using a M18 for a few years. High quality, features & functionality...intuitive...should cover all your needs plus 20 channel recording & playback for sound checks. We only use the router for individual in ear or monitor mix.

IMG_2308.thumb.jpg.7abec94063be5bc5a68d815e130034b4.jpg   

 

Looks fantastic (motorised faders!) but way over budget for the time being. We're basically starting over but with a few bits and pieces, once we have enough in the band kitty when it'll be a pair of 745s to take care of most gigs. After that we'll probably think about a more expensive desk.

 

I've had a play around with the X Air app, layout seems fairly comprehensive and not too dissimilar to what we're used to. 

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22 minutes ago, lemmywinks said:

 

Looks fantastic (motorised faders!) but way over budget for the time being. We're basically starting over but with a few bits and pieces, once we have enough in the band kitty when it'll be a pair of 745s to take care of most gigs. After that we'll probably think about a more expensive desk.

 

I've had a play around with the X Air app, layout seems fairly comprehensive and not too dissimilar to what we're used to. 

Totally understand...get all the band to chip in you will never regret the investment...BTW the router which we have run 6+ devices was £142

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I have the XR18, and although it's a bit of a learning curve, it's been great. 

 

However, and it's a big however, if you need mid-gig adjustments and you're playing continuously, it can be tricky. I've used it playing both bass and drums and if the singer suddenly decides to stand in front of the speakers resulting in howls of feedback there's no quick and easy way to just whip the faders down a touch. Likewise if something suddenly goes wrong (we were using ours in a band where I played drums, and the DI from the bass suddenly went mental - blasting through everything) it was VERY tricky while playing to try and mute a channel.

 

I have picked up the XTouch control surface which has native control for the XR18, but once you've done that you might as well get a hardware mixer with the faders etc! Now it means I just have two things to carry to the gig, rather than one! 

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Lots of experience with the XR18, with and without an external router. Without, it constantly disconnects, is patchy, laggy and fails to respond to commands on tablets. Slow and really messes with the overall experience of use.

With a decent router, the whole band accessed each of their IEM mixes on their own tablets or iPads simultaneously, no lag, delay or drop outs. Mutes happened immediately and the whole mixing process became a breeze! I agree with the comments regarding Behringer managing to get this small facet so incredibly wrong! 

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Whilst we are on this, If you don't mind me hijacking this a little, I'm after some Speakers for my PA. Ideally at least 1000watt each side, or some really really good speakers that are close to that.

 

Thinking Mackies? or Yamahas?

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1 hour ago, dand666 said:

Ideally at least 1000watt each side, or some really really good speakers that are close to tha


Ignore the “1000 watts” marketing speak. For the most part it means nothing as just about any bargain basement PA speaker these days can claim 1000 peak watts.

 

What’s your budget?

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Behringer XR18 with external router.

 

Why? Primarily because there's a nice upgrade path and you aren't just stuck with what you can get for £500.

 

For example -

  • Move people off auxes onto P16Ms (via the XR18s ultra net) as and if funds are available. You will HATE mono mixes once you've had stereo. If other people don't mind what they have never had, this may be a solution for yourself if you want stereo.
  • An X-Touch unit will get you physical faders, as faders are still better than tablet screens for quick changes.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

Behringer XR18 with external router.

 

Why? Primarily because there's a nice upgrade path and you aren't just stuck with what you can get for £500.

 

For example -

  • Move people off auxes onto P16Ms (via the XR18s ultra net) as and if funds are available. You will HATE mono mixes once you've had stereo. If other people don't mind what they have never had, this may be a solution for yourself if you want stereo.
  • An X-Touch unit will get you physical faders, as faders are still better than tablet screens for quick changes.

 

 

 

Oh dear lord yes!!!! When I left my last band I sold my P16M. The stereo mix we had was glorious through it and the built in EQ access for each channel and personal limiter was a god send! Perfect addition and I liked being able to turn a physical knob whilst playing, especially of my iPad happened to be hosting another app at the time. Imagine my misery going back to a mono headphone amp when I depped for the band (although different members and hardware) after lockdown. Russ is so right. Stereo mixes not only give your sound space but your concentration and therefore less headache inducing congestion when sounds collide.

Its great that it can be set up totally pre-fader from the main mixer too, so your mix is totally free of any other facets like unnecessary reverbs and effects, if that is appropriate.

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3 hours ago, dand666 said:

Whilst we are on this, If you don't mind me hijacking this a little, I'm after some Speakers for my PA. Ideally at least 1000watt each side, or some really really good speakers that are close to that.

 

Thinking Mackies? or Yamahas?

Add RCF to your list...there are some on BC....whats the budget

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Just spotted this and there's another thread somewhere where i went through the same decision. I've opted for the RCF M18. It sounds great and is so easy to use. the software is completely intuitive and the Router just works. I absolutely love it and can't see me regretting the decision to go this route. Nothing is ever more than 2 clicks away, the home screen is always available with a single click, The faders are twice the size of the Behringer ones on screen and adjustment when playing is made easier in that a single tap on the faders gives you a 1db adjustment.

 

The learning curve is really short, Half an hour to set up my duo (2mics 2instruments, a single monitor channel) then with my 4piece band I set up a mix in advance with 3mics 2, instruments, 3 drum mics and four monitor channels. all channels were labelled and both FOH and monitors were given a rough mix. That took 10 mins. When we rehearsed the mix only needed the minimum of tweaking, you have meters on everything and I just set it up as I would with the old analogue mixer. the point being is that it really is that easy.

 

My requirements were specific. I wanted something for a live band no bigger than a 5 piece. It needed to work first time, every time and be really simple so I could operate it without having to stop playing. For me I didn't need extra wires and boxes to sort out a design flaw with the router or obscure workflow patterns which would need to be recalled in my analogue brain mid song. With the RCF you have fewer options (but way more than any analogue desk I've used) you can only record the stereo mix and the software is flawless. It's a machine for live music. If I want to record 18 channels I'd be happy to go and buy the Behringer but I can't ever see me using it for live work over the RCF unless i join a much bigger band.

 

The Soundcraft looks interesting too but I do like gear where everything just works and someone has thought it all through. 

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3 hours ago, dand666 said:

Whilst we are on this, If you don't mind me hijacking this a little, I'm after some Speakers for my PA. Ideally at least 1000watt each side, or some really really good speakers that are close to that.

 

Thinking Mackies? or Yamahas?

As above ignore the 1000W claims they are nonsense. Probably not Mackies if you are contemplating new, they have had some reliability problems since they moved production and tehy aren't state of the art anymore. I prefer the sound of RCF to Yamaha they have their crossovers and DSP better sorted and probably use better drivers. The difference isn't huge though, both sound good and both have excellent reliability.

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4 hours ago, EBS_freak said:

Behringer XR18 with external router.

 

Why? Primarily because there's a nice upgrade path and you aren't just stuck with what you can get for £500.

 

For example -

  • Move people off auxes onto P16Ms (via the XR18s ultra net) as and if funds are available. You will HATE mono mixes once you've had stereo. If other people don't mind what they have never had, this may be a solution for yourself if you want stereo.
  • An X-Touch unit will get you physical faders, as faders are still better than tablet screens for quick changes.

 

 

 

Lack of stereo monitoring is the only thing that niggles tbh, 3 of us are from the old band where we ran a DL32r and could all sort our own mixes out easily. Shame there isn't something within budget that has 10 aux sends.

 

Would you say a pair of RCF745 cabs could handle bars and medium sized rooms without subs btw? 

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