Soundcraft UI24r ot Berhinger X32 Rack mixer

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Greenerpastures
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Hi everyone

I am interested in one of the above mixers,
I will be hard wiring it to a laptop, along
with using it via WiFi, and either allow for this.

Am just wondering which you would all go for.
Either one has enough I/O for me.
Either one has good enough app support,
Build Quality seems similar on both,

Right now am leaning toward the UI24 for the following
reasons,
It has built in multi track recording,
It has no deeply interactive controls for kids to
play with thus they can not mess up the settings too much.
The on board processing is fine for me.

I know the Berhinger has more onboard options,
but I am happy with what Soundcraft have on board too,
I would also need to spend extra to get the Berhinger
with on board recording, the card is 200.00 on its own.
I know the Berhinger has been out a long time now and
has proven its self to be reliable, especially in the
rack mount version, no slider to replace.

What I do not know, is how reliable the UI24r is, its not
out that long, but the company seem to have sorted the pre amps,
and the Wireless end seem better too, though I will hard wire it also.

I would like to hear your opinions on what you would all go for
if either would suit your requirements, I know of no one in my
area who has the UI24r yet so can not try one, they will all be like
me in that regard, no one wants to be the beta tester that paid for
the privilege.

Thanks for looking in, hope to hear your opinions and experiences.

Greenerpastures
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Is anyone using either of these mixers,
it would be good to hear your opinions
and experiences.

Thanks

Greenerpastures
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Is everyone asleep, I have not been outside today,
maybe there been a global kidnapping, of UI24 and
X32 users, I must draw the curtains and see if anyone
is alive.

seablade
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Sadly this is a case where I will recommend Behringer over Soundcraft.

The Ui24 was purchased by Harmon (Now Samsung) as they purchased a different company. It is noted for some noisy preamps and other things that you normally wouldn't associate with Soundcraft, as it was more they purchased a company with an almost complete product and threw the soundcraft name on it. Unless they have released a new hardware revision on it since it came out (I haven't seen any evidence they have, but maybe I missed it) I would suspect these problems are still there.

The x32 has been used by many users, and even a search in this forum will probably turn up results using it with Ardour. It isn't outstanding, but isn't bad (Which is unusual for Behringer honestly).

paul
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@Greenerpastures: the Ardour web forums are not a hive of bustling activity. You will often not get rapid answers to questions here. Our user base just isn't like that.

IRC is a better place for instant turnaround on questions, but has the disadvantage that you're speaking to a more defined crowd and anyone not paying attention when you ask your question may as well not be there.

Greenerpastures
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Thanks seablade.
The UI24r is only out a year, and is a complete new product, if the marketing is to be believed.
It would need to be as the UI12 and UI16 were exactly as you mention, noisy and with connectivity
problems, they had nothing to do with Soundcraft until Soundcraft bought the company that made
them and put their own paint on them, it would be suicide for Soundcraft to make this new UI24r and not
clean up the mess the originals left behind.
I shall research more as I have not found pre amp problems with the new UI24r, a few connectivity issues
that can turned to be attributed to user neglect, not scanning for channels that are not congested, connecting
to the wrong channel, either 2.4 or 5 G, or too much distance for the signals.
If I am correct both the Berhinger and the UI are made in China, I had no idea Samsung produced any of their
products in China, are you sure Samsung are involved.

I like the Berhinger too, but I do not hear anyone saying the pre amps are good, they say they are not bad,
while the Midas versions seem to have cleaner pre amps and a slightly higher output, as noted by people
who own both the X and the M version.

The thing that I like most about the UI24r is its interface is easy to use, though I actually do not
like the looks of the GUI I can live with that.

Regardless, thanks for commenting.

Greenerpastures
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@ Paul, its only my sense of humour, if I get a response or not
am as happy as the day is long.

Greenerpastures
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Thanks seablade.
The UI24r is only out a year, and is a complete new product, if the marketing is to be believed.
It would need to be as the UI12 and UI16 were exactly as you mention, noisy and with connectivity
problems, they had nothing to do with Soundcraft until Soundcraft bought the company that made
them and put their own paint on them, it would be suicide for Soundcraft to make this new UI24r and not
clean up the mess the originals left behind.
I shall research more as I have not found pre amp problems with the new UI24r, a few connectivity issues
that can turned to be attributed to user neglect, not scanning for channels that are not congested, connecting
to the wrong channel, either 2.4 or 5 G, or too much distance for the signals.
If I am correct both the Berhinger and the UI are made in China, I had no idea Samsung produced any of their
products in China, are you sure Samsung are involved.
Soundcraft now even support the Chinese language on the UI24r, I wonder why.

I like the Berhinger too, but I do not hear anyone saying the pre amps are good, they say they are not bad,
while the Midas versions seem to have cleaner pre amps and a slightly higher output, as noted by people
who own both the X and the M version.

The thing that I like most about the UI24r is its interface is easy to use, though I actually do not
like the looks of the GUI I can live with that.

Regardless, thanks for commenting.

dsreyes1014
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I installed an X32 Rack for our church and strictly use a hardwired PC with 27" touchscreen running Remix OS with Mixing Station X32 Pro or dual booted to linux with X32 Edit 3.2. It's pretty solid with no big problems at all. Not a big fan of Behringer but you get a lot of functionality for the money which is more than enough for anyone starting out. We record straight into Ardour on a different PC and can remember only a couple times Ardour crashed during live recording. Running for about 6 years this way and its pretty solid. If I had to do it again I'd replace everything with MOTU AVB interfaces. Much better quality hardware to me but that's just in a different class all together. I'd recommend the X32 just because it's been running pretty strong these past few years for us and never really had any major issues.

seablade
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Hmm interesting on the new preamps on the ui24r, will have to look more into that.

Real quick as I am calling it a night here, Samsung owns Harmon now, who owns Soundcraft, that is the tie in.

I would be curious to know if the ui24r USB interface is class compliant or not, haven't found a confirmation on that yet.

Seablade

Greenerpastures
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Thanks seablade, if the UI24 is keeping that company, then I doubt we will
see a repeat of the UI 12 and 16 issues. There ought to be some good components
available at low cost, and designers to work on the product.
Here is a link to some images showing the inside of the UI24r,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/767675356717196/permalink/874111706073560/
Maybe those in the know will be able to determin if the chips and components
inside are anything to write home about.

Greenerpastures
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Hi dsreyes1014, thank you for posting.
I does seem a lot of people are happy with the X32, it has more features than the UI24r too.
I like that edit app, I run it on windows, and it works great, the UI24 app is just quicker to
jump around in the event of an emergency.
I know this is the wrong place, but I just discovered a way to record from any mixer
into reaper using what ever app you use to control your mixer.
https://community.ardour.org/node/15533

If you need the track template that sets the above up in reaper let me know.
If you care to comment on the pre-amps in the X32 I would like to hear your opinion,
can you get a clear defined solo vocal, and speech.

Greenerpastures
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@ seablade, no idea if its class compliant, but I have seen a youtube video
where I saw one connected to reaper, 34 ms delay, if this is the best it
can do then I would not worry if it would connect to Linux or not.
It is definately no studio class mixer at its price point.
It can connect to a mac via core adudio, if that means
it is has to be standard compliat then it seems it is.

@ dsreyes1014, there is an extension card that you bolt into the X32 that allows
multi track recording to an SD card which is slotted into the extention, it also retains
the USB B slot for connecting to a DAW, so you have redundency.
That card costs 200.00 euro around here.

MaxDamage
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Hey there!
We've just finished a 3-day recording session with the Soundcraft UI24r directly recording to Ardour 5 with a standard USB-B cable (that I obtained from a Canon scanner from the stone age) onto a HP Elitebook 8470p (i7-3520M,12GB Ram, 2xSSD-drives) with KXStudio using all of the 20 input channels simultaneously for live recordings of drums, guitars and bass. We didn't apply the latest firmware update, but used version 1.0.7.

To me personally, this thing is an awesome revolution. All of our previous recordings were made with 2 daisy-chained Edirol FA101 (Firewire) and an analog Soundcraft FX16 with a ton of patch cables allowing for 16 inputs simultaneously. And the ui24r is just so much easier to set up and a lot more reliable. No additional need for obscure Firewire express-cards that have this one particular Texas Instruments -chipset, no connectivity problems at all and no complete freezes on occasional xruns (xruns did occur though).

We've just plugged it in and everything worked out of the box. Though the user interface of the ui24r takes some time to get used to because it has an abundant amount of functions and sub-menus to dig through and the routing is not very intuitive, recording itself was without any hassle, especially when compared to the mess you have to get used to when trying to do this with Firewire.

For the recording session we controlled the ui24's internal interface with a second laptop (connected via LAN-cable) and a tablet (wifi) to set mic gains and channel routing and separated the first laptop for recording to the DAW exclusively. The usb-connection was rock solid, although we did encounter quite a few xruns in almost regular intervalls. I cannot tell if this was due to insufficient hardware on the DAW-side (e.g. laptop-cpu, hard-drive) or if this was a flaw with the ui24 itself. Nevertheless, the xruns that occured in some of the best takes we've recorded surprisingly didn't break the recorded take. Whenever that happened with our previous Firewire setup, the recording was simply unusable due to significant lag. With the usb-connection to the ui24, the problems with xruns were barely noticeable.

Additionally, we now use the ui24 as a device to record our regular rehearsals with up to 14 tracks on a usb-key. The internal buffer of the ui24 is pretty reliable when it comes to secure a constant recording to the usb-key although on some occasions, where we wanted to record a live gig and where the ui24 was also the live mixer for the concert itself, recording rarely dropped out due to the buffer being exhausted.
For me, when recording to a usb-key, it's a charm to start/stop and control the preamps with a tablet in hand while sitting at the drumset. Awesome. Our sound engineer uses the ui24 mainly as a device for FOH-mixing and he is pretty happy with the fact that he can walk around the venue with his Samsung tablet and control the sound that way.

Besides the complexity of the sub-menus, another downside of the ui24's browser-interface is the fact that it always behaves like a touch-optimized tablet surface. This takes a short time to get used to when using a mouse (no right-click, scrolling via left-click a and drag, context-menus via long-press left button).

I can't say anything about the preamps besides that they sound nice to my ears and didn't cause any irritating ground noise.
And, well, I didn't test any other device in that category so far, but for the many applications we use the ui24 for and for the unbelievable low pricing, I fully recommend this device.

Greenerpastures
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Hi MaxDamage, thank you for putting in so much time to explain your experience with the UI24r.
You have just about expressed all I have read in other places.
Your Xrun's sum up what I assumed would be the case, I do not see any information
regarding the processing power of the UI24r and this had me thinking there was a reason it was
not mentioned, but in all honesty I do not need a unit that has the core of a much more capable
machine inside, if I did I would know to look else where.
It would however be interesting to know what format and bit depth you were recording to
USB stick in, and the same information regarding what your DAW was trying to process.
You can get shielded USB cables too, though it may not be the reason for drop outs, it helps with noise.
Were you using an external monitor connected to the UI24r, this does impact the performance of the unit,
Soundcraft have stated this, and it should be a good indicator of the limited processing power on board
the UI24r, but as not many such mixers have this facility, then I can only assume if they did they too would
suffer similarly.
I have played around with the online demo of the GUI, I had Five Browsers opened on various Android
emulators, which are slower than the real thing, and none of them were slow in any way, I had it running
on in the main computer environment at the same time for comparison and not problems at all.
The only Android emulator that shows the panel on the right hand side of the GUI in full, as opposed to all
the rest of the emulators is AMI DuOs, the other emulators cut off the bottom two buttons and half of the home
button, which means you need to assign similar views / functionality to one or two of the configurable buttons
further up the screen.
At first I really disliked the GUI, because I tried more DAW like GUI 's first, from Presonus and Berhinger.
but I soon got the hang of it, I find it real easy, the settings that are a click or two deep are the ones you
will not be using much, if at all after set up, there is also multiple ways to get to where your going,
and the configurable buttons on the right side panel are super easy to customise.
It is reliability that am after most, I have backup recording scenarios if the on board ones show
signs of trouble, but in all fairness, how many mixers at this price can pull off FOH and record
Multitrack at the same time, it is a big ask, I wonder if people have managed this using the
X32 with the extension card that allows recording to SD card, and if they had Xruns.

In any event, I appreciate your commenting and thank you for it.

Seb
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Oh and for the record, of course Samsung (they are one of of our major customers) manufactures plenty of stuff in China.

dsreyes1014
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@Greenerpastures: I'm really not a big fan of the preamps on the X32. I definitely think that you can find better quality pre's on the Soundcraft mixer. I'd be shocked if the X32 sounded better. When I a/b'ed tthe preamps from my MOTU Ultralite AVB and the X32 with the same mic, same pa system, and no processing on the signal, my MOTU Ultralite AVB preamp just sounds better to my ears and all the other ears there present with me when I did this test. Again in a different class all together.

Greenerpastures
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@ MaxDamage, just wondering what read write speed your USB stick is.
other people have had trouble with slow write speed sticks, which makes sense.
As for Xruns, these need to be tracked down, when I first installed Linux and Ardour,
it worked well, then after an update and adding more software, I had a ticking clock,
Xruns even just sitting there doing nothing, something was clearly interrupting things
in a big way,
I stopped every unnecessary process I could find, to no avail, I had the exact same
versions of everything running on Elementary Linux on the same computer that
gave no trouble.
I eventually resolved the Xruns by re installing Ubuntu Studio, and using all the KXS
repos, no Xruns after that, just saying that it may not be your UI24 that is causing the Xruns.

Greenerpastures
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@ Seb, thanks for letting us know Samsung manufactures in China.
I know Berhinger does, and to be fair they have been doing so for so
long now that they will be well versed in the overall process, and thus
should have acquired a significant lead in this manufacturing environment
and associated best practices, if they can't produce a good product, then
I would imagine first timers would have some serious hurdles to overcome
and some hard learned lessons to digest.

Greenerpastures
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@ dsreyes1014
I would seriously expect the motu to sound better,
I did not look up the spec, but its an audio interface
and as such should be better, it is designed for recording through,
will be quieter, the unit would also have better bit depth and sample rates,
none of which are available on the UI24r, while such features would be nice
there is not much chance of this happening in the UI24r price range.

seablade
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@Greenerpastures

Sad to say that your expectation of what makes good manufacturing in China is a bit out of whack. The reason people don't like Behringer has little to do with the China manufacturing side of things (Though that is part of it) and much more to do with their business practices in the past. Along with this despite being a larger (In the audio world) manufacturer in China, their reliability until the introduction of the X32 was known poor at best. The rule of thumb for many of their products is still, if you need one buy two, because one WILL fail right before a show usually.

The x32 was a standout product from them, and one of the first that was a direct result of their purchase of Midas consoles. What this really translates into is that the x32 reliability is what the professional audio industry was looking for to start with, not that it is really better than anyone else out there but about par for the course. For Behringer at the time that was amazing. They have improved in recent years, I suspect more because of the companies they bought doing things closer to correct than they were, but there is still no small amount of hesitation associated with their name both due to quality, reliability, and business practices.

Seablade

seablade
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@Greenerpastures

Bit-Depth and Sample Rate these days don't have a whole lot to do with good sound. 24 Bit and 48kHz is all most people need and all many people use, in all honesty you won't hear a difference between that and 24/96 etc. when recording. In fact many audio interfaces and ad converters that advertise 24 bit, actually realistically hit around 20-22 bit these days IIRC.

Thomas Vecchione

Greenerpastures
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Hi seablade
In the FOH world especially where audience participation is happening
absolutely no one will find any difference in a system with high sample
rates and bit depth, air loss ensure this, I read somewhere about this,
so it is a waste of money having a studio grade system in this environment.

But for studio work, I think the higher bit rate and sampling will have a positive
effect, but I would suspect the majority of the public may not notice this.
I suppose for every situation and audience there are pros and cons, we just
need to know them to get the result we are after.

I am now looking into the QSC TouchMix 30, it seems well equipped with ports
and features, expensive though, it will may be worth it in the end.

MaxDamage
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@Greenerpastures:
No, no monitor connected to the ui24 yet. We've just used an old laptop and some generic Samsung tablet. Performance issues on neither devices so far.
The usb-stick recording was 16bit, 44.1khz, wav. (supports flac as well) I don't know read/write speeds of that particular stick but since the buffer was full, I suppose the dropout had something to do with a crappy usb-stick.
The daw recording was 24bit, 48khz. (or at least I told Jack to do so - I didn't find a setup for this on the ui24)

Xruns are a very common problem in my experience and I never figured out how to get rid of that. Plus, I got tired of installing and re-installing all sorts of linux distributions (which is about all you can do in the linux world, given that you're a regular user and not a programmer), so I got used to live with that. But like i stated, the xruns we ran into were far less concerning than they were with the past recording sessions through the firewire devices, so I didn't mind. And I guess you are right, it's quite reasonable that these xruns were caused by my system.

Greenerpastures
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Hi MaxDamage
Yes, Xruns were clocking up for me on Linux even doing nothing, and they are hard to track down,
the more you know Linux the better chance you have.
I think a USB stick with 40mb write speed is required, that should help keep
stuff out of the buffer.
When you recorded into Ardour, I am not too used this program,
but just ensure your project sample rate and bit depth are the same
on your track as in the project settings, there is a function in some
DAW 's that needs to be taken into account, if you told your project to
run at 96khz, and you somehow told the track to use 24, and had set
the project to over write track settings, you would be using the higher
sample rate, and putting more stress on your computer.
I experimented in other DAW 's and found that if I managed the resources
well then I had not problems, but small things like FX on a track even muted
seemed to take up resources, and removing them helped.

Greenerpastures
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Hi seablade, I do not think my idea of what makes good manufacturing in China
is far off.
I know Berhinger had some ethical issues, I know they had poor quality producs
in the beginning, but as you said, they came up well with the X32, which is made
in China, they have been there for quite some time, they have learned very well
how to produce products in China, and it would not matter at all if Intel or Samsung
were supplying the parts, it is the putting them all together that makes the product,
and they succeeded well with the X32.
We in other parts of the world have had many years of a head start building electronic
components and devices with a high success rate, what Berhinger faced in China was
daunting, they had cheaper labour, and components, but skills take time to develop,
that is why I would now buy one of Berhinger 's flag ship models, I still would not touch
their lower grade stuff, but given time, they will improve it, or else loose out, there are now
many more competitors in the marked that can produce for similar costs, thus improve or
loose out, Berhinger left behind them a poor enough record, I believe this reflected the
difficulty they had in China, that they have now overcome. Their product concepts were not
bad at all, but their struggle to build their conceptions were problematic, they have learned,
they have learned the public do not want rubbish even at a lower cost.

dsreyes1014
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@Greenerpastures: Like I said in a different class all together. Wouldn't you want better quality if recording live performances though?

seablade
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But for studio work, I think the higher bit rate and sampling will have a positive
effect, but I would suspect the majority of the public may not notice this.

On the recording end of things, not really. 48kHz (Even 44.1) results in pretty much a perfect match with the exception of things in poorly designed filters that have a resonance before the Nyquist limits. 24 Bit is more than modern ADs can handle, so there really isn't any benefit to going to 32 Bit at all. I can make the argument that in processing you will hear more of a difference due to some of the alogrithms used in reverb and synthesizers as well as some mixing processes when dealing with high track counts, but in reality on the recording side I would be surprised if you could find people to pass the double blind test to prove otherwise (As would many other names on the topic).

That being said I still capture at 96k when I can, but I don't use that as a selling point very much anymore and it is more out of an abundance of caution than anything.

Hi seablade, I do not think my idea of what makes good manufacturing in China
is far off.

You misunderstand. My point wasn't that Behringer can't do this, it was they CHOOSE not to manufacture quality in favor of cheap, and had a track record of not manufacturing quality when they were clearly capable of better. Just because they have on some products doesn't mean they will on all.

Seablade

seablade
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When you recorded into Ardour, I am not too used this program,
but just ensure your project sample rate and bit depth are the same
on your track as in the project settings, there is a function in some
DAW 's that needs to be taken into account, if you told your project to
run at 96khz, and you somehow told the track to use 24, and had set
the project to over write track settings, you would be using the higher
sample rate, and putting more stress on your computer.

For the record, not possible in Ardour, the files are recorded at the bit rate and sample rate the session is created and run at. There is no seperate setting per track.

Seablade

Andreas1
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I use the X32 for a while and had discussions about the AD converter and the preamps. I recorded a 28 voices session with 48khz 24bit, when the adjustments of the singers were petty bad. I had to increase the Volume of some voices about 6 to 9 db and afterwards there was no audible increase of noise. So, the preamps and the AD converters can't be that bad. I you are in a professional studio environment, there might be an advantage with studio gear 5-10 times more expensive then an X32, but then you won't record with Ardour ( @paul "no offence") but with protools or similiar.
I use Ubuntu Studio (real time kernel) with an old I5 Laptop with USB2 and an external hard disk and never had Xruns. Ardour worked always with out any problems.

Greenerpastures
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Hi Andreas1, good of you to post your experiences.
There would be no audible increase in noise if you record at
a fairly low level, in fact doing so keeps the amps quiet, its when amps are
too high that the most of the noise gets into the mix, so you did well to keep the
noise as low as possible then raise the volume digitally, what were your Vocal
amps set at?, and maybe what mic's you used on Vocals?.
I do not mean to challenge what you say, but the small amount I used Ardour I
found it capable of producing fantastic sound, my gripe would be with stability
on Linux, and that has as much to do with Linux, maybe more, Linux is great
because of its ability to adapted, this too can work against it for there are simply too
many scenarios to test, Windows is Windows, Mac is Mac, they are a lot easier
to develop for and test on.