Be aware when using a digital mixer via WiFi...

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Crowder, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,062
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    I used my XR-18 based system for a parking lot party over the weekend. I have the mixer mounted in a rack with a my Furman PL-Plus and a rack drawer, and a Netgear router installed in the back. I never use the internal WiFi of the XR-18.

    I always have my laptop along for primary mixer control. I set it on top of the rack and connect to the Netgear network, and boot right up. No issues.

    My Netgear network is password protected and always works flawlessly for connecting to the mixer. What I never considered the possibility that my *laptop* might choose to connect to a different network!

    Turns out that the building beside the parking lot had a strong open network that didn't require any password to join. At one point during a band's set, my laptop decided to hop on that network, which meant that it was disconnected from the mixer.

    The singer went to start singing a song, and nothing came out of the mic. ARRRRHGH! It only took me a second to figure out what was going on, but then I had to get back on the right network and reconnect with the mixer to get the sound happening again.

    I was impressed with the poise of the very young band...they just kept jamming on the intro until I told them the PA was back up, and they went right into the song without a hitch. But what a surprising and embarrassing situation for me.

    I had an ethernet cable in my drawer, so the first thing I did was hard connect my laptop to the router. That will be my first move each and every time I use my system in the future. Then I went to the network preferences and moved the Netgear network all the way to the top. I deleted the other network to prevent a reconnect. I made sure that my computer should prompt me before changing networks, and that ethernet connections were always prioritized over WiFi.

    ****
    FWIW I'm still amazed by what a small, portable system is capable of doing circa 2017. I sold my sub and tops last year after I quit the band I was in, but I kept my XR-18 rack and three K-10's so I'd still have a small system.

    I used my K-10's as monitors and rented three EV ZLX12's from a buddy and ran two on sticks and one in front of the center of the stage. I'm not a fan of the ZLX's but they did the smallish job pretty well. We weren't trying to throw sound a hundred feet or anything, and as long as you stayed near the stage area the sound was balanced and clear.

    Not having a sub isn't ideal, but this event isn't a concert, it's a chili tasting with some music off to the side. I volunteer my gear and services so the event can raise more money.

    This little video I took of a kid dancing doesn't have any vocal content but at least you can hear the band mix. This was shot from my side-stage mix position, I wasn't even out front.

     
    gigsup, Gasp100, HoboMan and 2 others like this.
  2. orogeny

    orogeny Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,234
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Yardville, NJ
    nice mix
    how did the vocals blend in?

    if you're not a fan of the zlx, next time swap and use the k10s for your mains and the zlx for monitors. love me a k10.
     
    Theorist likes this.
  3. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,062
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    The vocals really popped. I had no trouble getting them to sit right and be clear and intelligible. The only thing I don’t know how to do is get the intros and such to come out as clear and strong as when the performers are singing. Very few amateurs understand you have to use good vocal technique when speaking too.

    I considered the K10’s as tops but without a sub...I dunno.
     
  4. Giga

    Giga Member

    Messages:
    421
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    I *think* that unchecking the “ask for a connection” button solves this, at least in Apple world. Each time I power on my router in a new venue my phone and Ipads are already connected to it when I open them. Never ever did either one connect to another network.

    Thanks for the heads up anyway !

    Giga
     
    Papanate and Crowder like this.
  5. Unnecessary

    Unnecessary Member

    Messages:
    2,700
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
    Weird. I've never had a computer automatically change networks unless something happened to the original network, and even then I've never seen a computer/phone connect to a new network without prompting.
     
    Crowder likes this.
  6. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,062
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Right? That's why I never worried about it. Not sure what happened, but I'll take precautions from here on out.
     
    Unnecessary likes this.
  7. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,371
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    Thanks for the heads up. I haven't had it happen at a gig yet but I have had it happen in reverse at home. My laptop has switched from my home internet router to my rack mounted router for my XR18.

    I did do a gig once where I usually ran sound from the stage using our bass player's PA with his XR18. I wanted him to learn how to use it so I let him be in charge that day. He got everything going with his XR18 but during soundcheck he couldn't get anything out of his Keyboards. No signal at all. He was totally freaking out and eventually we just started playing and skipped the keyboard songs for that set. During that first set I asked him to make some volume adjustments on instruments and NOTHING was changing in the volumes out front and we were way too loud.

    During break I went over to his laptop and he had never connected to the XR18 (even though I asked him several times to check the connection when he couldn't get his keyboard to work).
    Very frustrating but at least we got it working.
     
    Crowder likes this.
  8. 335guy

    335guy Member

    Messages:
    5,230
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Hey. I don't own an XR18, but have a question. That mixer has an ethernet port in it, right? So, if you're using a laptop right next to the XR18,

    then why wouldn't you, or anyone for that matter, just use the ethernet port on the XR18? And when you did connect via the ethernet cable, why plug it into the router and not the mixer itself? Yes, I do understand that with wifi, it gives you the ability to roam around with a tablet and mix, but I'll assume you don't do that with a laptop ( but IDK, maybe you do ). One thing that would be very cool for Behringer to do with that mixer is to allow one to use wifi AND have a laptop engaged with an ethernet connection simultaneously. It appears that the way it is now, one needs to choose one or the other.
     
  9. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,062
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Right, the port on the XR-18 is either/or, and not super reliable in either mode in my experience. I use my laptop for as my main control device, but I also carry an Amazon Fire tablet for making little adjustments at FOH. It wasn't much use under the blazing sun on Saturday.
     
    335guy and HoboMan like this.
  10. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,371
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    As Crowder said, it's either/or on the built-in wifi but using and external router gives you both. When I run sound from stage I use a laptop on the stage but I also use my tablet to go out into the audience area for soundcheck.

    I use an external dual band router and have always used wifi at every gig (about 4-7 a month) and have never had an issue.
     
  11. jmoose

    jmoose Member

    Messages:
    3,772
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, NYC metro
    Always take the hardwire connection when you can! Always!

    Wifi is great when it works but will grind things to full stop when very quickly when its not, and some mission critical pieces are just not worth risking a gig over. Hey, just last week the guys at the pizza shop had problems running cards because the card reader was wireless and it kept dropping connections. After a few minutes of that I gave 'em cash, wanted to get home with my food.

    When you first power up at any gig, and especially at a new spot take the extra 30 seconds to verify that all network settings are correct and it hasn't reverted back to searching for open and previously known networks for whatever reasons. Its not uncommon for devices to revert to default settings, and especially more so if there have been any system updates on any of the pieces involved.

    As for people who say they've never had something switch networks automatically, I have some doubts... either they never leave the house or when they do they aren't going to areas with lots of network congestion. Places like airports are awesome for testing that out.

    Even in my own house the phones and especially the iPad love to switch to whatever network has the strongest signal, or will switch if there's a momentary dropout even if I tell it not to! The home network actually has at least 4 connection points not including the printers. There's a main dual band router and then to cover areas with weak signal, there's a repeater which is its own dual band network.

    Crazy that these days you basically need to be an IT cat to run audio gear, and or have friends that really know their way around but that's reality.

    Sounds like you have a good small system to handle a moderate sized event. Maybe obviously not every show needs subs and big whomping cabinets. I have a similar rig that I put together after getting burned out calling in favors to borrow & rent stuff when smaller shows came up, which is really only a handful of times a year. Ended up with a pair of smackie thump 12s, Alto 10's for wedges and replaced the mixer a couple months ago with a new Presonus AR16 which is an analog desk.

    Probably the biggest event I do is a small festival/large private party every year for about 200-300 people. Its a big area, food & beer tents... fireworks and a "Burning Man" style totem, bunch of people camping in tents and even that small rig throws really far. There's no chest pounding low end but it not needed, or even really wanted. The one year I brought subs there was also some discussion afterwards about the overall music level!

    My general feeling is that if a given show needs more horsepower then what I have on hand, maybe we should just call a sound company and get a real rig.

    FWIW I did consider a digital mixer for my bar band system, but I ended up going with the analog Presonus for a few reasons. The big one, obviously is that all the controls are right there. Grab a knob or a fader, push a button and get results without having to deal with screens or anything like that. I wanted to have the confidence that I could walk away from the mixer and anyone else should be able to run the desk without needing a lesson on how to run it.
     
    pbmw and aleclee like this.
  12. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,371
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    Some good advice here but I will say say that if you're wifi craps out it will not grind things to a full stop (on the XR18). The mixer will continue to work with whatever settings are in there. I sub on guitar with a band that has had the battery run out on their tablet during a gig. We finished the set, no problems.

    When I run sound from stage there aren't that many adjustments made after a good soundcheck. We'll dial a few things in during the first couple of songs but after that there's not much to adjust. I could shut my laptop off and finish the gig if needed (I wouldn't do that though).

    I really like that fact that our bassist controls his own monitor mix for his in-ears. When I sub on guitar for my friends band I bring my own powered monitor and control my own monitor mix instead of bugging the bassist to adjust my monitor for me. This is a VERY handy feature

    I just started playing with a new cover band and some of the members with be using in-ear monitors. We've already discussed that they will be controlling their own monitor mixes.
     
    Gasp100 likes this.
  13. 335guy

    335guy Member

    Messages:
    5,230
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    How does it give you both if it's either/or? Meaning, you might be hooked up via an ethernet cable to your router, but you're still using the wifi, correct?
     
  14. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,371
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    There is a switch on the XR18 that sets it to Wifi or Ethernet. If you set it to wifi you can't use the Ethernet and vice versa. If you use an external router connected to the XR18 (via ethernet cable) you now have the ability to connect thru the external wifi AND connect via Ethernet cable to you external router. You can connect multiple devices at the same time.

    I may not have chosen my words correctly in my post.
    BTW, I've never used the built-in wifi. I heeded all of the warnings about it's flaws and immediately bought a $39 dual band router that is mounted in my rack along with my XR18.
     
    Gasp100 likes this.
  15. 335guy

    335guy Member

    Messages:
    5,230
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Ok. I think I get it now. You're using an external router connected to the mixer via an ethernet cable. So then you can connect to the router by using both an ethernet cable AND wifi. Question then. What is the setting on the XR18? Is it wifi or ethernet? I'm guessing ethernet. So why in the hell did Behringer make their router so limiting? If a $39 router can be configured for both an ethernet cable and wifi, seems like Behringer dropped the ball on the router design.
     
  16. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,371
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    Yes, I just checked, setting is on "Ethernet".

    My understanding is that the built-in router is 2.4 GHz which is fine for uncrowded places. I've read reviews where people said they were having issues when a club would get crowded and many mobile devices on that same band would cause interference.
    Behringer probably put in a lower cost router for the $avings. $5 savings multiplied by 20,000 units sold can add up really fast.

    Even if you never used the wifi, the fact that you can use a single Ethernet cable as a 16 channel snake makes it worth the price alone. I keep a 50' Ethernet cable in my rack in case of emergencies.
     
    Gasp100 and 335guy like this.
  17. jmoose

    jmoose Member

    Messages:
    3,772
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, NYC metro
    This might be a newsflash but all of these companies, not just beringer are using whatever piece of tech they can get for the lowest cost. They aren't actually designing the router and wifi connections themselves.

    Anyone have any sort of home automation? Lights and whatever controlled by wifi with an app or by the Amazon lady? Same tech is in your light bulbs and your digital mixer.
     
    aleclee and 335guy like this.
  18. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,265
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    5868 ft above sea level
    Bingo. Put another way, the router is there to check a block on a feature list, not to provide a bulletproof connection to your laptop / tablet / phone.
     
    griggsterr and jmoose like this.
  19. jmoose

    jmoose Member

    Messages:
    3,772
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, NYC metro
    And unfortunately it doesn't matter if you spend $500 or $50k on a digital mixer. They all do the same crap. It's ludicrous.

    I'm not sure what desk they were using but a few years ago, Phish had some notorious problems with FOH completely cutting out. Huge arena or stadium show and the PA is gone.

    Talked to some friends, saw a few videos and it was just about minute each time it happened. You could count it with a stopwatch almost exactly. Obviously something was rebooting mid show... even at that level.
     
  20. griggsterr

    griggsterr Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,365
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Location:
    Midwest
    Then just keep using computers and networks, give it time it will happen.
     
    jmoose and Unnecessary like this.

Share This Page