Hands-On Review:Extraordinary value in world-class, pro mixers
by Hank Schwartz
Behringer started designing studio gear about a decade ago. In that time they've grown into a leading international vendor of high-quality, affordable audio mixers. Today you'll find Behringer Eurodesk consoles and Eurorack mixers on stages and in top studios around the world, not to mention countless home studios. From the powerful Eurodesk MX9000 48/24- channel inline 8-bus console right down to the compact Eurorack MX602A 6-channel 2- bus console, Behringer has a world-class mixer to fit your musical needs and also fit your budget.
No matter what your level of musical production, you'll need a mixer to connect your multiple sound sources. You'll also want flexibility in routing certain signals to different outputs depending on whether you're going to tape, live sound for audience, or stage monitoring for performers, or even all three at once. When mixing down a multitrack recording you'll also want to hook up a couple of headphones; feed multiple effects units; monitor all signal levels; and insert compressors, noise gates, and other outboard audio processing gear you may use.
The Behringer Difference
You'll find tons of mixers on the market, so what's the Behringer difference? In a word, it's value. Behringer works smart to bring you mixers of comparable or better quality than competing brands but at a fraction of the price. Compare and you'll see the difference. And that extra value spells opportunity for better sound: When you can afford a 20-channel Behringer mixer for the price of a competing 16- channel model, those additional channels will let you mic up an entire drum set, for example. That's value your audiences will really hear. In addition, you'll see new lower prices on the Behringer gear from Musician's Friend now that they buy direct from Behringer USA!
For super entry-level value, Behringer's Eurodesk 4- and 6-channel Compact Mixers are easily affordable for small home recording projects. They use the same quality components as Behringer's professional mixers. These professional models fall into two families, Eurodesk Mixing Consoles, and Eurorack Mixing Consoles. Here, we'll focus on both.
Eurodesk Mixing Consoles
When your live music or recording projects require continual adjustment and frequent changes to the mic and other music sources you plug in, you'll do best with a mixing console, where most controls and connectors are topside for easy reach.
Behringer offers a great range of Eurodesk models for any project and budget, from the top-of-the-line 48/24-channel MX9000 to the midrange 28-channel MX3282A down to the 20-channel MX2442A. Each channel in a Eurodesk model features servo-balanced, ultra-low-noise mic pre-amps based on conjugate-pair high-current transistors. This gives you entirely natural sound with almost no distortion and massive headroom. Add extreme bandwidth (5Hz to 100kHz) and you get massive audio gain reserves.
When you're mixing, you need as many aux sends as you can get for effects loops, monitor routing, and other things. Eurodesk mixers are outfitted with enough aux sends to give you the flexibility to master just about any live or recording situation. On stage and in the studio, the Eurodesk gives you the prefader sends for monitor mixes and post-fader sends to feed effects units. And with bus routing, you can assign any combination of channels to any of the subgroups and control the sum level with a single subgroup fader. The Eurodesks also come equipped with super-wide-range EQs for creatively shaping your sound. And there is a low-cut filter for cleaning up low-frequency disturbances. This extremely steep filter (rated 18dB/octave) at 75Hz removes low frequency noise without robbing your sound of its warmth.
During mixdown, monitoring individual signals is key for getting the perfect sound adjustments. And Behringer's monitoring capabilities let you operate with surgical precision. A Solo function routes the channel's output signal to the solo bus and mutes all other sources useful for adjusting an individual mic's output trim or checking in on a single channel. The solo signal is only present at the control room and phones outputs, so you can access the solo function live or during mixdown without affecting the main mix output.
Eurodesk consoles are built to last with sturdy steel shell-design chassis and extra thick fiberglass circuit boards. You can count on these Behringer mixers to hold up in tough situations.
If you prefer your mixing console neatly packed in your rack, Behringer has a variety of rackmount solutions for you. From the 32/16-channel MX3242X and the 10- channel MX1804X with built-in digital effects to the compact 6-channel MX602A, there's a rack mixer for you. Behringer's rack-mount mixers come equipped with the same studio-quality components as their high-end desk console cousins. That means the diminutive 6-channel, 2-bus MX602A Eurorack incorporates the same quality standards as the top-end MX9000 Euro-desk. That includes the same quality EQs, ample aux section, and more. The MX-3242X and MX1804X even come with a 24- bit digital effects processor built right in. It includes 32 high-end effects (reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, etc.) that are perfect for recording mixes, live applications, or monitor mixes.