[CLOSED] Review: Behringer X-Air XR18

Okay guys, since saturday, I own the Behringer X-Air XR18 console. It’s a 3U rack mixing console that is controlled via iPad, Android or PC software.
The coolest thing, however, is the ability to act as a audio card with 16/16 Channels.

I managed to configure mAirlist to use three pairs of the channels for Players a and B plus Cartwall.And it just works.
I know this is not Torben’s effort, as this is how the soundcard is presented to mAirlist and therefor the soundcard drivers determine what is possible, but still it’s awesome to see this work almost without any cables (the only ones are Microphone plus a stereo channel from the Skype PC).

The only thing that DOESN’T work is autostart/hot start/fader start, this is not a D&R console. Still, it’s amazing how much I can achieve without an external, third party sound card.

Anyone can confirm this?

I happen to have purchased one of these some weeks ago, as I wanted to check if it could emulate a full-featured broadcast console, maybe with the help of some MIDI scripts.

Regular fader start should be possible via MIDI, have you tried? The only thing is that this kind of mixing console (meant for live music mixing) use a different concept, with mute buttons instead of ON/OFF or START/STOP; this might be irritating for someone who is used to a broadcast console. So with the default app that comes with the XR18, it may feel a little “strange” to use it as broadcast console.

Another thing that broadcast consoles do is turning off loudspeakers when you open a microphone. This will be much more trickly. I still need to dig deeper into the MIDI protocol, but I haven’t seen any parameters to mute outputs or busses yet.

I don’t know … for me it’s just a stagebox with a mixer emulation on the tablet to do without the FOH - or the compact mixer on the edge of the stage.

Actually, I can’t recognize the productive benefits with mAirList.
You need two applications: 1.) mAirList and 2.) the remote control software.

What is the meaning behind it? How would you like to work with mAirList? For what purpose would that be thought?

Maybe @shorty.xs has an idea from his practice … I cant’ think of any right now.

To me, this has enourmous benefits. I don#t need a second soundcard, because I have two appliances in one.
And yes, I need two application sfor controlling and mAirlist, but I don’t mind this. Really, to me, it’s a huge leap from my previous console, an old Yamaha MG124C.

Ah, the “good old” Yamaha MG 12/4 (first), MW 12C USB (second) and the following 124 series with the “one-knob-compressor” on channels 1-4.

Still good devices; especially regarding its flexible routing makes it look like a good long-time investment (AUX 1 & 2 pre / post switchable = perfect for mixminus purposes) for growing demands.

Is the Behringer software prepared for different AUX buses etc.?
Imho it was built for small (and fast to set up) gigs.

I had the luck to work on a QSC TouchMix - quite interesting, but unfortunately no real (!) multi-channel I/O. Those devices might be good as a sub-mixer to send their main outputs to one channel of the broadcast console (e.g. special events, a band or many guests in the studio / at a location), but as a stand-alone for serious broad- or webcasting? :thinking:

… which isn‘t a broadcast console, either.

Am I right, you operate the XR18 via a fully virtual interface? So how would you execute, say, a crossfade with it?

Curious regards


And your next question:

“Why are you even operating mAirlist when you are not using a proper console.” I’ve heard this before, okay?

I think I will close this thread right here. It seems that “unconventional” usage of mAirlist is frowned upon by its “proper users”.

Not sure about the “proper users” (whoever that may be); but speaking for myself, the developer, I do appreciate this kind of creativity. It’s actually “in the spirit” of mAirList.

I think @Tondose’s and @UliNobbe’s point is that if you are going to use it for broadcast, you will want to have some kind of hardware interface to control it, not only a touch screen of some kind. Having hundreds of hours of experience as a radio presenter, I agree with them. The advantage of hardware faders over a touch UI is that you can operate it without looking at it, while e.g. holding your text in the other hand and reading it. Even moving your head down to look at the touch screen while speaking will move your head away from the microphone and have a negativ impact on the quality of your broadcast.

That being said, some people might be OK with a touch screen. Or there might be situations where the disadvantages are neglectable, like in a non-self-op show for example.

But the good thing about your approach with the XR18 is that you can actually have both:

  • A touch UI (with the provided app, or a custom one that someone may develop)
  • A physical UI my attaching a MIDI controller to it

And after all, the XR18 is not much different from modern broadcast consoles when it comes to overall design - a rackmount IO+DSP unit, plus an interface of some kind (hardware or touch).

The only difference is that the mixing engine is targeted at a different use case, so it is not clear whether it has all the features we would have in a “real” broadcast console. See my post above.

So please continue to explore the possibilites, and share your experience with us. Whatever some people might think or say about it :wink:

Absolutely no offense intended, I apologize. You can operate mAirList properly with no UI whatsoever, using only the standard keyboard. It just depends on your skills of programming and finally using it.

To me however, having broadcast hours over hours on a reasonable radio station, operating a console via a virtual Interface just doesn’t make sense (either you have a console in your hands or you don’t), so I just wanted to know which benefits you see in doing so.

In other respects I agree with @Torben

Clarifying regards


In my opinion, that’s not the point. Many stations / broad- or webcasting places do not use “real” broadcast consoles.
It depends on a) what they broadcast, b) from where they broadcast and c) what kind of hardware is available at the location where the stream comes from.

However, mAirList is very well prepared for many different whatever-casting scenarios.

My question on this special piece of hardware was / is: What could be the special use (meaning: benefit) for it in combination with mAirList?

From my point of view with additional experience in preparing small stages for mobile gigs: I think this is a quite interesting part of small stage tech - but what’s the role of mAirList right here?

Sure, it is.
But, looking from this point of view, I also would be very much interested to see mAirList integrated in a dj setup with 4 CDJ-2000NXS2 players.
Or any other dj-console, emulating 2 or 4 cd-players working together with a software.

mAirList’s first idea is: Broadcast. Anything else: Yes, why not - but is that worth the effort?

What I wanted to express is, that if he has had the (non-broadcast-) Yamaha before, he may well get accustomed to the (equally non-broadcast-) XR18.

Explained regards


Well indeed I was thinking about a quite similar setup, like @SaschaSchroeder is trieng to setup.
With the Advantage, @Torben mentioned

I’m looking for a portable setup, that is quick to setup without much wiring but still have a typical broadcast like setup. I prefer hardware faders but it should be possible with OSC Touch Controllers as well. So I came across the XR18 or if you don’t like the “B” Brand (like me) you can do the same with a Midas MR18.
The Soundcraft Ui24 can’t be controlled via MIDI directly, otherwise it would be another option.

I would not use the Mixer to actually mix the Audio from mAirlist but have only 2 Audio Channels coming from mAirlist a master and a PFL. All Volumes can be controlled in mAirlist via MIDI already, so no need to send it to the mixer first.

The Idea, that I have in mind is blocked by a proper MIDI controller, that is completely free programmable. The X-Touch Extender would be a perfect match (2 of them), but it is designed to work on propritery protocols with the XR18 or X32. They work pefectly together out of the box, but no chance to modify the mappings. To use some faders for the XR and some for mAirlist. Even though the LAN connectivity for MIDI would be a great feature.
Maybe it would work to use an X-Touch Compact or the older BCF2000 (still relatively expensive and rare to get).

So far I was just playing with the ideas and researching the technical documents.
I read somewhere that the Controller Apps for the X32 had the option to be maped to a local MIDI Controller. I guess this feature is no longer there, also I’m not sure if it was/is also available for XR18.

By the way, the WiFi on these Mixers is horrible, I worked on a Soundcraft Ui16 and an XR18. It is absolutley not reliable. You need to run your own wired Network with the Mixer and have a dedicated WiFi Accesspoint. So there is a reason why Thomann has bundled almost all digital mixers with a 4 Antenna Dualband WiFi Router.

EDIT: The icon Platform-X Controller looks interesting as well but also no information about MIDI-Mapping and MIDI on USB Only, no MIDI-Ports.