2. Mixer and IEM Setup

We exclusively use our X32 rack for all routing and mixing purposes, including five independent stereo IEM mixes. We also use it as an audio interface with up to 16 digital input channels and 8 digital output channels within our DAW via Behringer X-USB expansion module in the X32 extension slot. The colour marked areas in the table below represent all analog inputs (orange) as well as the yet unmentioned digital (blue) and internal (yellow) inputs. The table also shows their sources as well as their corresponding channels in the X32. All shown signals are used for our IEM mixes (pink) and either a rehearsal mix (green) or a live mix (purple).

We will explain the difference between the last two and also show how we can switch between them in no time using the internal X32 routing functions. We use the X32-Edit software on our MacBook Pro for routing, editing and mixing our live and our rehearsal mix. For our IEM mixes, we use our mobile devices with the app mixing station. At times, five devices are simultaneously operating their individual mixes via the WIFI function without problems, which is very smart and handy.

With linking channels in the X32, we’re creating dedicated stereo channels for stereo signals. The X32 is panning those channels automatically hard left and hard right and is linking both faders.

2.1 X32 input setup

2.1.1 X32 analog inputs (orange)

As you can see, the first 16 channels are corresponding to the physical order of our input-/split panels and their paths to the physical inputs on the backside of our X32 (see paragraph 1.3 for details).

2.1.2 X32 digital inputs (blue)

Our song arrangements often contain multiple layers of guitars, synths, keys and effects. In order to perform our songs as close to the original arrangement as possible, we’re relying on backing tracks, providing all necessary additional layers.
We assigned each instrument/signal, coming from our Logic Pro X session, running on our MacBook Pro, to its own input channel using the Behringer X-USB card outs (channel 17-24), marked blue in the table. Therefore a separate output is defined for each Logic signal (details will follow in part 4). To get everything tight and synced, we’re playing to a click track, coming from our Logic session too, via card out 6 to channel 22.
All backing tracks (guitars, keys, synth etc.) in our Logic session are leveled and matched to our live guitar sounds coming from our Kemper Profiling Amplifiers. All those tracks are sent via card out 1 & 2 to channel 17 & 18. We’re also using a midi master keyboard (M-Audio Code 49), to perform live piano and live synths through stereo VST plugins, hosted in our Logic session. Those signals are sent via card out 7 & 8 to ch 23 & 24.
We’re routing our crowd mic through Logic and programmed an automation for this mic to mute it during songs. This way, we just hear the crowd in our IEM during song breaks. Therefore we created a track in Logic which utilises channel 10 of the X32 as an interface input. The automated signal is sent back to the X32 via Card Out 5 which is assigned to channel 21 for IEM tweakability.
In case our drummer is not available for rehearsals, we’ve assigned another linked stereo input (channel 19 & 20) via card out 3 & 4 to drum backings, hostet in Logic Pro X, too. A detailed explanation of the creation and implementation of all mentioned signals above will follow in part 4.

2.1.3 USB recording (yellow)

We’re regularly using the USB recording function of the X32, to evaluate and store rehearsals and sessions. We’ve assigned channel 25 & 26, to level the recorded playbacks in all potential mixes. To record a session, we just need to put a USB stick to the X32 and press record. Usually we record our rehearsal mix, as shown in the X32-Edit screenshot in paragraph 2.2.2.

2.1.4 Multitrack recording

Because we’ve set up the X32 as an interface, we’re able to multi track all channels in real time in our Logic session. This is actually great for analyzing and leveling signals, or saving them for post production.

2.2. Mixing in the X32

In the following paragraphs we will distinguish our rehearsal- (green) and our live mix (purple), as well as our IEM mixes (pink). The graphic below shows the first screenshot of our X32-Edit settings with all input channels. All output channels will be shown in a second screenshot in paragraph 2.2.2.

As you can see we’re making use of the internal channel compressors, noise gates and EQs, especially on kick, snare and toms, to place them properly in our IEM and rehearsal mix. Snare and toms are also sent to a dedicated drum FX channel (bus 15), with an X32 internal reverb on it. Toms and overheads (OH) are panned according to their physical position on the drum kit, for a nice stereo image. 

All analog signals (orange), except bass guitar, are eq’d, to sit in the mix properly. A low-cut at 90hz is added to guitars, to remove unnecessary bottom end. Backing tracks get low-cut at 35hz. We will not discuss the settings of the effects in detail since this is a very broad topic and depends heavily on the kind of music you’re playing, the used equipment etc. If you are interested in our settings, check the link to our X32 scene in paragraph 2.4.

We’re not using any DCA groups or matrixes.

2.2.1 Rehearsal mix (green)

We utilize the main mix of the X32 as our rehearsal und recording mix. This way we’re able to control and mix everything inside the X32 to our liking and send it directly to the PA in our rehearsal room, even if we’re rehearsing just over IEM most of the time. Crowd mic and click are set to -∞dB in the mix and are therefore not present in the USB recordings or the PA, but are still audible and tweakable in our IEM mixes. When we rehearse, we map the main mix to XLR out 1 & 2 of the X32 (see the graphics in paragraph 2.3).

2.2.2 Live mix (purple)

Our live mix differs from our rehearsal mix, because we just send selected signals to FOH, instead of a full band mix. For micing the drum kit, three scenarios are possible:

  1. We leave micing the whole drum kit to the FOH engineer and ask for a full stereo drum mix via our dedicated stereo live return way for IEM.
  2. We leave micing the whole drum kit to the FOH engineer, but mic snare and/or bass drum additionally with our own mics and ask for stereo drum mix containing OH and toms via our dedicated stereo live return way for IEM.
  3. We mic the snare and bass drum on our own and offer FOH the splitted pre X32 signals via our outputpanel and ask for a stereo drum mix containing OH and toms via our dedicated stereo live return way for IEM.

The signal of the bass guitar is split pre X32 with the Behringer MS8000 (input-/splitpanel) and sent to FOH via our output panel (see paragraph 1.3 and 1.4 for details). To guarantee matching levels between live instruments and backing tracks, we decided to premix and sum all relevant signals into a stereo subgroup (bus 1 & 2, red box in the screenshot below). 

Therefore, we send live guitars (channel 1-4) as well as the backing tracks (channel 17-18) and live keys (channel 23-24) to bus 1 & 2. Bus 1 & 2 is then mapped to XLR Out 1 & 2 and sent to FOH.

Matching all levels is always a tough and long process, but the result is very satisfying and convincing. This way soundchecks are also shortened because we don’t need to check and level each guitar signal, live keys, backings and so on, but just:

  1. stereo live sum (pre mix of live guitars, live keys, backing guitars, backing keys, backing synths, etc.)
  2. drums
  3. bass guitar

With remapping either the rehearsal mix (LR, the brown box in the screenshot below) or the live mix (bus 1 & 2, the red box in the screenshot below) to XLR out 1 & 2, we prevent changing the settings for our rehearsal mix and IEM mixes. The actual switching between both mixes will be shown in paragraph 2.3.

Two alternative scenarios are to remap outputs are possible:

  1. work with different scenes for rehearsal and live situation
  2. utilize the spare XLR outs und busses 3 & 4

We think the benefit of our way is the reduction of working with scenes and the quick switch between the mixes with just few internal clicks (shown in paragraph 2.3) as well as keeping the spare outs clear for future extensions (e.g. live & backup vocals etc.)

2.2.3 Live mix (purple)

Our live mix differs from our rehearsal mix, because we just send selected signals to FOH, instead of a full band mix. For micing the drum kit, three scenarios are possible:

  1. We leave micing the whole drum kit to the FOH engineer and ask for a full stereo drum mix via our dedicated stereo live return way for IEM.
  2. We leave micing the whole drum kit to the FOH engineer, but mic snare and/or bass drum additionally with our own mics and ask for stereo drum mix containing OH and toms via our dedicated stereo live return way for IEM.
  3. We mic the snare and bass drum on our own and offer FOH the splitted pre X32 signals via our outputpanel and ask for a stereo drum mix containing OH and toms via our dedicated stereo live return way for IEM.

The signal of the bass guitar is split pre X32 with the Behringer MS8000 (input-/splitpanel) and sent to FOH via our output panel (see paragraph 1.3 and 1.4 for details). To guarantee matching levels between live instruments and backing tracks, we decided to premix and sum all relevant signals into a stereo subgroup (bus 1 & 2, red box in the screenshot below). 

Therefore, we send live guitars (channel 1-4) as well as the backing tracks (channel 17-18) and live keys (channel 23-24) to bus 1 & 2. Bus 1 & 2 is then mapped to XLR Out 1 & 2 and sent to FOH.

Matching all levels is always a tough and long process, but the result is very satisfying and convincing. This way soundchecks are also shortened because we don’t need to check and level each guitar signal, live keys, backings and so on, but just:

  1. stereo live sum (pre mix of live guitars, live keys, backing guitars, backing keys, backing synths, etc.)
  2. drums
  3. bass guitar

With remapping either the rehearsal mix (LR, the brown box in the screenshot below) or the live mix (bus 1 & 2, the red box in the screenshot below) to XLR out 1 & 2, we prevent changing the settings for our rehearsal mix and IEM mixes. The actual switching between both mixes will be shown in paragraph 2.3.

Two alternative scenarios to remap outputs are possible:

  1. work with different scenes for rehearsal and live situation
  2. utilize the spare XLR outs und busses 3 & 4

We think the benefit of our way is the reduction of working with scenes and the quick switch between the mixes with just few internal clicks (shown in paragraph 2.3) as well as keeping the spare outs clear for future extensions (e.g. live & backup vocals etc.)

2.2.3 IEM mixes (pink)

We use the app mixing station to adjust our individual IEM mixes via WIFI . Everyone is logging into his personal IEM bus and can adjust signals and channel layout to taste. 

The following screenshots are an example of personal IEM settings. Because all stereo channels are linked, the display of just one channel side is necessary.

2.3 X32 output setup

The following table shows our X32 output setup. We utilize all XLR outs and even the AUX outs for our live mix (red) and rehearsal mix (brown) as well as for our IEM systems (pink).

In the matrix shown below, bus 1 & 2, and therefore our live mix (red), is mapped to XLR Out 1 & 2. By just dragging the markers to “L” and “R” we can map the rehearsal mix (brown) to XLR Out 1 & 2. It’s that simple. If for whatever reason we can’t use X32-Edit we can do the same thing directly on the X32.

Last but not least, here’s our Aux out routing:

2.4 X32 scene

To give all Behringer X32 enthusiasts the chance to evaluate our setup, here is our current mixing scene, which can be opened, checked and edited in X32-Edit (v 4.1).

Download