True Confessions of a Technical Artist
© December 03, 2014
I have a confession to make: when it comes to gear, I can get biased. I mean really biased. I have found myself at times in the past locking myself into what "I know" to be the best and right choices for gear and insisting that my choices are better than other people's choices. Chances are, you too have suffered from gear bias. If you've ever thought or said to someone, "I'd never use 'brand X' because they only make junk," then you too have gear bias.
The funny thing is over the last 5 years or so, I've really had to pay more attention than ever to this gear bias and have had to make a conscious effort to lay that down and be open to new possibilities. I'm not saying that I still don't have my preferences, but more than ever I'm open to new possibilities and I'm willing to try new products and give them a shot. In fact over the last 5 years I've flat out had times where everything I thought I knew turned out to be wrong, because it turns out that sometimes manufacturers change. And sometimes manufacturers that I've not trusted for years really surprise me and come out with a product that becomes a go-to piece of gear for my recommendation list.
Two years ago Behringer began shipping the X32 digital sound console, and I along with most of the audio world knew it was going to be a piece of junk. While this might be a harsh generalization, for many of us we thought if it was a Behringer product, it would be cheap, knock-off junk. The challenge with the X32 is that the feature set was so amazing, so robust, and the price was so good, that we couldn't dismiss it. And I'm so glad that many of us took the chance to check it out.
Packed Full of Features
The X32 digital audio console is probably the best bang for the buck in audio today, and that feels like weird thing to say. But the console is packed full of features like:
- 40 inputs and 25 Mix Busses
- Motorized Faders
- LCD Scribble Strips
- 7" Display
- Sends On Faders
- 8 DCA groups
- On-board Real Time Analyzer
- Over 50 on board plug in effects
- Digital Snake with remote stage boxes
- Personal Monitor mixers
- iPad control
- And Much More?
Despite such an impressive feature list, at a list price under $3,000 "I knew" this console would be junk. When I first walked up to one of these desks I expected it to feel cheaply made (it doesn't), and I expected the interface to be hard to use (it's actually quite intuitive). And I certainly expected it to not sound good (but it does). As I dove into the X32 two years ago, most of what I thought I was going to hate about it turned out to not be true. I was impressed with it and frankly, two years later, I still am. For the money, I still believe it's one of the best bang for the buck consoles you can buy.
Over the past 18 months we've not only sold the X32 to customers across the U.S. through our Retail Sales Group, but we've also been specifying and installing the X32 for our smaller projects through our Systems Group. For the many smaller churches we work with, a 32 channel digital console with moving faders, digital snake and personal monitor mixers for under $7,000 is an amazing value, and the X32 delivers on performance too. And with a 3 year warranty and a pretty good track record for reliability over the past two years, Behringer has forced me to once again rethink my biases and be open to new gear.
The Behringer X32 may or may not be the perfect digital console to meet your needs, but at such an aggressive price point and with a now 2-year track record of success there's no room to be biased against it as a viable 32 channel console option. Our team would love to talk to you about whatever your needs are and whether the X32 or one of our other great small format digital consoles makes sense for your application. Give us a call, we'd love the opportunity to serve you.
Church Relations Director
Duke has over 14 years of experience as a technical artist, trainer and collaborator for ministries. Duke travels around the country for CCI Solutions and is available to help your ministry. Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions.