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It's been around a year since the Behringer X32 Digital Mixer was released, we reviewed it in Summer last year. If you already saw our multi-part review, you'll know that we were impressed. The features to price ratio was an eye opener, and it seems buyers agree, the X32 range has been a big hit for Behringer.
With V2.0 Software available for the entire range, Behringer have added a number of new features and user suggested tweaks, these are on-going as development continues. Here's what we discovered with v2.02.First up, we should note that it's a free download, installation is simple, put the .update file in the root of a USB drive, hold the access button and power up, the process is under way.Of course it goes without saying that you should backup everything before you do anything like this. But what's good to know is that your old presets will load, so you won't lose any data.
What Does It Do?
There's actually quite a lot of new stuff here, I'm not going to be able to go through all of them.
Channel Spill - the ability to use the group faders on the Compact and Producer as additional channel faders. Holding two layer assignment buttons simultaneously lets you run ch 9-16, 17-24, 25-32,Aux 1-6, Effect Returns and USB.
RTA (real-time-analysis) on all EQ sections and outputs - this is really handy for visualising frequencies for EQ processing and room tuning, can be switched pre/post EQ and also set to spectral view which looks like the sort of ghostly blobs you see in iZotope's RX.
Console Lock - press the home button for 2.5 secs and it will lock all the board, if you hold down additional buttons, it acts as a sort of pass sequence so you can customise the lock/unlock sequence.
EQ band bypass - as well as overall bypass/reset, you can reset each individual band undo/redo style. While we're on the subject, EQ is now also available on all effect returns,
Devices/Effects - plenty of new effects and processors which makes takes advantage of the on-board DSP nicely. First up - the inclusion of various classic compressor/limiters:
Fairchild 670, stereo and Mid/Side Modes, LA2A, Urei 1176, as well as some Pultec EQ EQP-1a and MEQ5 emulations. Vintage Room Simulator (QRS) - addition of Freeze - love this, for SoS reverb layering it's great. Additional Lexicon 480L algorithms Rich Room, Rich Chamber, Rich Plate, Quad Delay, Dual Sub Octaver, Roland Dimension D, Edison Stereo Field Controller and a Multi-band Compressor.
Routing - now possible to access XLR outputs directly without using channels or groups,
MIDI Control - perhaps one of the bigger changes, is the ability to access Fader, Mute and Pan via MIDI controllers both transmit and receive. MIDI can be accessed over Card (USB), MIDI I/O, and the soon to be implemented RTP Midi (Midi over ethernet). Additionally there's X-OSC - which allows for OSC commands to be wrapped in Sysex strings (not been able to test this) but apparently lets you access deeper parameters.
Patch Snippets - a new macro patch format with a high degree of granularity, down to specific sections of individual channels, inputs, outputs. These can be recalled from within a Scene.
MIDI control is accessed by Program Change:
CH01 - Scenes 0-100
CH02 - Snippets 0-100
Ch03-06 - Cues 1-500
There are many other tweaks features that are related to split control of remote mic amps and P16 integration, as well as pre and post tap points for outputs, but I don't have either of those accessories so cannot test. I should also mention that the iPad app was not compatible with V.2+ but Behringer tell me that a new version is about to be submitted to the App store and should be online shortly.
Honestly, I can't see any reason not to upgrade if you already own an X32. The new features genuinely make for a better operational experience, especially if you own a Compact. I'm hoping that the RTP MIDI comes online soon, that's going to really open it up for long range MIDI control - especially for X32 Rack and Core units. And it's good to know that Behringer are also committed to ongoing development. The genuine excitement I got from the product developers about an OS update at NAMM was great to see - you can tell that they are enjoying expanding the capabilities of this already impressive desk.
As far as I'm concerned, it's another bunch of compelling reasons to consider owning an X32 if you are undecided. We still have the issue with integration and clocking from external DAW systems which makes it less than perfect for studio use, but it's still a very heavily featured desk for the price.
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Compact, desktop, analog, semi-modular - whats not to like?