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Analysis paralysis for new digital mixer

sbrollins76

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
551
I play in a four piece cover band as a hobby. We play out occasionally and run our own sound, usually from stage, although sometimes we manage to rope someone savvy in to help out. I currently have a Yamaha MG12XU mounted in a slant-top SKB mixer case with a power conditioner and drawer for mics, cables, etc. It works pretty well for us, but it's big and heavy and a PITA to move and store. It's also a bit limited on monitor options, and I'd like to be able to give all of us a more personal monitor mix. We’re also thinking of running the bass and possibly an additional acoustic guitar direct, which would max out our preamps on the mixer and leave us no options if we want to mic amps, drums, etc.

I'm thinking about getting a digital mixer to simplify things. I've started using my iPad while performing for charts and lyrics, so I'm not so concerned about having physical faders anymore since I always have a device I could connect with me. Where I'm running into trouble is deciding which mixer to buy. I'm primarily considering the Behringer XR18 (and/or the Midas MR18 if there’s a clear quality difference) and the Soundcraft UI24r, but I’m having a difficult time deciding between them. Pros/cons for each seem to be the following:

Behringer/Midas:
  • Pros:
    • Smaller
    • Cheaper
    • All the inputs are combo jacks
    • MIDI
  • Cons:
    • Flaky WiFi according to reviews
    • Different apps for control depending on device
    • No physical controls except headphone volume
Soundcraft:
  • Pros:
    • Newer/better WiFi
    • AFS on all output channels
    • Can be controlled directly with monitor/keyboard/mouse
    • More channels/outputs
    • Physical control of main output level
    • Standard control interface via web browser
  • Cons:
    • Bigger/heavier
    • More expensive
    • Half of the inputs are XLR only
On paper, it seems like the Soundcraft is the winner, but it would be nice to save a few hundred dollars if possible. Based on searching around here, it seems like there are a lot of you happily using the XR18. Does anyone have experience with the Soundcraft, or better yet, both? I would love to see some real-world feedback.
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
12,677
I own an XR18 but would get the Soundcraft if I were doing it over. Functionally I’m perfectly happy with the Behringer but its dependence on an app nags me because I know that when B stops supporting the app, my mixer will become a doorstop.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,084
I've used the XR18 for the last two years or so. Here are my thoughts.
  • The WiFi isn't great, but mounting a small/cheap router in the rack with the XR18 was easy and completely solved the issue. If you wanted to rely on the internal router for band practice or whatever, it works absolutely fine for that. It's just vulnerable in a crowded environment. I doubt the Soundcraft or any other mixer would be much different.
  • The XR18 does have combo jacks on every channel, but only the first two are Hi Z. Not sure if that matters for your use, but if you're thinking of plugging a bunch of instruments straight in, you'll still need some DI boxes.
  • The XR18 sounds great and the feature set is incredible. It's super easy to record in multitrack. The preamps are great. My band sounded way better with the XR18 than the PreSonus I bought initially.
  • ALL THAT SAID...over the long term, not being able to control the mixer without a device connected is a pain. Sometimes your device isn't charged. Sometimes you want a laptop handy to really dial into the settings quickly and easily, but all you have available is a pad app where you have to change from screen to screen to screen to get what you want. For gigs, I ALWAYS want a laptop connected. I'd run with just a small pad for band practice, but never ever for a gig.
I'm replacing my XR18 and my small A&H analog mixer with a QSC Touchmix 8. I'm not in a band right now and the XR18 has been sitting in its rack in my garage for months. I may sometimes miss having a couple of extra channels, but I know I will survive.
 

sants

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,251
They are both nice but I can’t recommend the UI24 enough.

Ability to hook up a touch screen monitor via hdmi gives you a permanent surface without worry of connection issues.

Ability to record 20 tracks as well as the stereo out simultaneously to a usb stick is fantastic.

Another plus is you are not specific device dependent. Anything that connects to the internet can connect to the Ui24.

There is a online demo of the Ui24 yiu can play with. You can download the xr app to your iPad and play with that as well. I was for app based interfaces the GUI of the xr and x series stuff until I used the Ui24. Once I got used to it I wish all interfaces were like it.

In terms of flexibility the Ui24 is capable of routing and other functions of full size consoles. For example, linking channels ( can be even or odd), changing to a matrix, run aux fed can all be done with with a quick screen tap. Auxes can be linked to master bus which is a nice touch. Copying and pasting settings is a breeze. These may not be a big factor to most but the capability is robust if you need it.

I have a Midas DL32 stage box and could switch to Midas m32 core but I prefer using the Ui24. It gets used on 90% of my gigs now.


You should be able find a ui for $800 or less if you look and the mr18 even less.

I would go with the Midas mr18 over the xr18. The warranty is better. Breaking it down I’m guessing you can get an mr18 for roughly $100 more than the xr.


I don’t think you will be disappointed with either. As mentioned, most connection issues can be resolved with an external router. My Ui24 has been very stable even in crowded places using the internal WiFi set to 5ghz. Don’t expect to go more than 30ft or so with any of these units.

Either of which you mentioned will be great. Lick the one that meets your need the best. I’d check out the Mackie dl line too. They are also very nice.

PM if you would like some prices or have any questions.
 

wcraven

Member
Messages
233
Ive used the Xair daily for a couple years now. Its probably the best bang for your buck but hooking up a wifi router is a pain; the built-in is most definitely garbage. The UI is pretty intuitive but pales in comparison to the QSC touchmix app. Behringer/Midas doesn't seem too worried about updating it often either. I can't speak for the Soundcraft but the A/B'ing the Xair with the QSC, the pre-amps were noticeably better out of the touchmix
 

Hallogallo

Member
Messages
6,487
Just a quick note in one general difference between Soundcraft and Midas that may or may not matter to you, but it was something I noticed when I was shopping around for a board a couple years ago.
When Soundcraft states their mixer is 16 channels they mean 16 mono channels AND some stereo channels.
When Midas says their mixer is 16 channels they mean 8 mono channel and 4 stereo channels.
This formula extends to the larger boards too.

Not a big deal, but just make sure you realize the difference when comparison shopping.
 

sbrollins76

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
551
Thanks all for the excellent comments and advice! I was leaning toward the UI, and it’s sounding like that might be the route to go. I know I could run an external router with either, but I’d prefer to avoid that if I can so I have the flexibility to run the new mixer either in a rack or as a stage box. It sounds like that’s not really an option with the Behringer/Midas. I’ve been in touch with my Sweetwater rep for prices on all of these and they’re willing to deal to some extent on all of them.
 

sants

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,251
Thanks all for the excellent comments and advice! I was leaning toward the UI, and it’s sounding like that might be the route to go. I know I could run an external router with either, but I’d prefer to avoid that if I can so I have the flexibility to run the new mixer either in a rack or as a stage box. It sounds like that’s not really an option with the Behringer/Midas. I’ve been in touch with my Sweetwater rep for prices on all of these and they’re willing to deal to some extent on all of them.
The xr/mr can be run the same way. They make rack ears for them.
 

sbrollins76

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
551
The xr/mr can be run the same way. They make rack ears for them.
Sorry, that wasn’t very clear. I meant I’d like something with usable internal WiFi, which sounds like isn’t really an option with the Behringer due to the 2.4GHz limitation. Part of the reason I like both of these is the option to use it in a stagebox format, so I don’t always have to haul around an entire rack full of stuff.
 

terickson

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
416
Can't comment on Xr18 vs Ui24, use a Touchmix. As a performer sometimes playing sound man, I find I often don't have time to change apps on my iPad when I need to address an issue on the board....an open controller close at hand is essential IMHO. Just another cost you may want to consider.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,278
I own an XR18 but would get the Soundcraft if I were doing it over. Functionally I’m perfectly happy with the Behringer but its dependence on an app nags me because I know that when B stops supporting the app, my mixer will become a doorstop.
I've heard people say this but not quite sure I completely understand.
The apps & software won't suddenly quit working, will they? The XR18 in it's current state is a great value and already lightyears ahead of my old analog mixer. As long as my free app & software continue to work in it's current state I could be happy for quite a while.
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
12,677
I've heard people say this but not quite sure I completely understand.
The apps & software won't suddenly quit working, will they? The XR18 in it's current state is a great value and already lightyears ahead of my old analog mixer. As long as my free app & software continue to work in it's current state I could be happy for quite a while.
I expect they'll support the app for a few more years. It'll continue to work on current devices for a couple years after that but app stores being what they are, there will come a day when you can no longer run the app on a new device and your old devices have croaked. When you can no longer run the control app, the mixer becomes pretty much useless. While your analog mixer is less useful today, it will continue to be useable until the electronic components fail.
 

mollydyer

Member
Messages
150
I don't care WHAT mixer it is, if it has onboard wifi it will NOT be as reliable or robust as a dedicated router. I have my X32 racked, and a router velcroed to the inside top/back of the rack ( so the antennae stick up ). Did the same thing with my x-air.

This lets me do a few things:

(1) More than just the X32 is on the network. The uTrack 24 and Artnet is on it as well.
(2) We self-monitor mix. We're a 3pc, but each of us has our own tablets to address our own monitor mixes... regardless of what's going on at the FOH.
(3) I statically assign ip addresses for EVERYTHING. The mixer is always at 192.168.0.100, the utrack is always at 101, my laptop is always on 102, tablets are always on 103, 104, 105. and so on.

So no matter WHAT mixer you get, if you want to use wifi, use a powerful, dedicated router. It's much more flexible, less prone to drop outs and a lot easier to manage.
 

mollydyer

Member
Messages
150
I expect they'll support the app for a few more years. It'll continue to work on current devices for a couple years after that but app stores being what they are, there will come a day when you can no longer run the app on a new device and your old devices have croaked. When you can no longer run the control app, the mixer becomes pretty much useless. While your analog mixer is less useful today, it will continue to be useable until the electronic components fail.
The XAIR (and X32) have very well documented OSC commands. When that happens, you WILL still have options. Mix Station runs on 'droid 4.0 and up, for example. (So does the Xair app). That version of 'droid was released in 2011. As long as the mixer is in production, there will be an app for it- so you'll continue to have LOTS of tablet choices - even used - to work from. And in a pinch, there desktop app will still work. So it's not gonna be a dead duck for a long time.

SO- lets assume they drop support for old oses when that os becomes 7 years old... Oreo just came out last august- so I think you're good until AT LEAST 2024 - and that's if they killed the product today.

Then you can swap it out for the new behringer x-brain 64... a 1u 64 channel mixer controlled telepathically.

K, I totally get what you're saying - but you could also say the same thing about a physical interface - what happens 5 years out when the faders on a traditional mixer - or the digitizer on your touchmix - craps out? It's the same obsolescence problem. You're screwed either way.

Bottom line- use what you like, and what works for ya. There's no right answer here.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,769
I’d like something with usable internal WiFi
why?

solid dual-band routers are like $40 now. that detail is not even worth worrying about.
I expect they'll support the app for a few more years. It'll continue to work on current devices for a couple years after that but app stores being what they are, there will come a day when you can no longer run the app on a new device and your old devices have croaked. When you can no longer run the control app, the mixer becomes pretty much useless.
so?

like @mollydyer suggests (i totally want a telepathically-controlled x-brain 64 :D) they'll be making something newer, better and probably cheaper by then.

also, we have the real-world example of the mackie DL1608, one of the first cheap digital ipad mixers (maybe the very first?). the thing came out six years ago and is getting pretty long in the tooth (the behringer XR-18 is eating its lunch) yet mackie is still selling them and still updating the software.

if that's a good example of the life-cycle of these kinds of little mixers then that $600 is very well spent.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,278
I expect they'll support the app for a few more years. It'll continue to work on current devices for a couple years after that but app stores being what they are, there will come a day when you can no longer run the app on a new device and your old devices have croaked. When you can no longer run the control app, the mixer becomes pretty much useless. While your analog mixer is less useful today, it will continue to be useable until the electronic components fail.
The XAIR (and X32) have very well documented OSC commands. When that happens, you WILL still have options. Mix Station runs on 'droid 4.0 and up, for example. (So does the Xair app). That version of 'droid was released in 2011. As long as the mixer is in production, there will be an app for it- so you'll continue to have LOTS of tablet choices - even used - to work from. And in a pinch, there desktop app will still work. So it's not gonna be a dead duck for a long time.

SO- lets assume they drop support for old oses when that os becomes 7 years old... Oreo just came out last august- so I think you're good until AT LEAST 2024 - and that's if they killed the product today.

Then you can swap it out for the new behringer x-brain 64... a 1u 64 channel mixer controlled telepathically.

K, I totally get what you're saying - but you could also say the same thing about a physical interface - what happens 5 years out when the faders on a traditional mixer - or the digitizer on your touchmix - craps out? It's the same obsolescence problem. You're screwed either way.

Bottom line- use what you like, and what works for ya. There's no right answer here.
why?

solid dual-band routers are like $40 now. that detail is not even worth worrying about.

so?

like @mollydyer suggests (i totally want a telepathically-controlled x-brain 64 :D) they'll be making something newer, better and probably cheaper by then.

also, we have the real-world example of the mackie DL1608, one of the first cheap digital ipad mixers (maybe the very first?). the thing came out six years ago and is getting pretty long in the tooth (the behringer XR-18 is eating its lunch) yet mackie is still selling them and still updating the software.

if that's a good example of the life-cycle of these kinds of little mixers then that $600 is very well spent.
These replies makes sense to me.

At work we are running some old software that runs on Windows XP. If something happened to that XP machine I can go one EBAY right now and choose from hundreds of Windows XP machines currently available for sale.

The Behringer software works on Windows 10 and I feel pretty confident that Windows 10 will still be useable 10 years from now. For the $425 I paid for my XR18 I consider that a good investment.

And, as walterw mentions, in 10 years there will most likely be sometthing better and cheaper.
 

JamonGrande

Member
Messages
1,626
I recently had to get a new mixer because of the software issue: an update iOS left my first gen Presonus 16.4.2 rig hobbled. iPads updated to ios11 no longer worked with the app. Updated the app and it could no longer communicate with the Mac it was connected to (a requirement of the first studiolives). I couldn’t update the Mac studiolive software because the laptop was running an old OS. So my options became 1) update the laptop for ~$400 to get the system back to full functionality or 2) get a new mixer for the same amount (by selling the old mixer). I went w an X32 and have been slowly getting up to speed since.

But ultimately, one update to a device disrupted the whole rig I had setup and relied on. Beware of software updates!

Joe
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,278
I recently had to get a new mixer because of the software issue: an update iOS left my first gen Presonus 16.4.2 rig hobbled. iPads updated to ios11 no longer worked with the app. Updated the app and it could no longer communicate with the Mac it was connected to (a requirement of the first studiolives). I couldn’t update the Mac studiolive software because the laptop was running an old OS. So my options became 1) update the laptop for ~$400 to get the system back to full functionality or 2) get a new mixer for the same amount (by selling the old mixer). I went w an X32 and have been slowly getting up to speed since.

But ultimately, one update to a device disrupted the whole rig I had setup and relied on. Beware of software updates!

Joe
Was this a mixer software update or an apple operating system update?
Just curious because I've heard of apple updating products without user consent? I'm on windows and android and you can turn off auto updates and nothing will get updated unless you allow it.
 




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