Behringer X32R IEM Rig - Easiest / Best / Lightest Split Solution for Any FOH?

  1. #31 by Craig Fowler on 2 Weeks Ago
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    Those 21 signals listed back on page2 of the thread will fit into the X32 Rack's IO, providing that the keys and trax go into the AuxIns. These sockets are TRS, so if they're being fed from the ART TDI\KT DI boxes, they (the KT ones) output on XLR, so you will need a few adapters if you go the KT instead of the ART. Depending on what the Bass DI and wireless vox RX output, you might need to use the Rack's TB preamp for one signal, providing you've got a spare bus, you can go TB preamp>bus>channel. The only caveat is if that preamp needs adjusting you need to go to the TB section of the remote control app and do it there, instead of on the channel itself. Mixing Station Pro might be able to help the workflow with a custom layout. That said, if this is to be an IEM rig for the one band, the preamps shouldn't need too much adjusting after the first couple of gigs if people play consistently, so it could be a non-issue.

    The SD8 was been included in the discussion because of the stage placement flexibility it provides (though that me be moot due to the analogue snake requirements,) and because it provides actual preamps instead of just line-level inputs like the AuxIns on the console. For your list of 21 signals on p2 of the thread it looks like the X32Rack's own IO will suffice... just... you're probably 1-2 signals away from capacity, depending on what does and doesn't need actual preamps.

    Also, +1 to what Spence said about the 6RU Rack. The X32Rack is 3RU, each of the 3 ART S8s will be 1RU each, which fills the case. Given the internal patching from S8s to the X32Rack's preamps\auxIns, and then a snake tail from the S8s to FOH, you're going to have a lot of cabling in the rear of the case, which (depending on how deep the case is) won't leave a huge amount of room for a wifi router and its transformer. Also, even if you did manage to fit the router in there, given how much cabling is there in close proximity, I'm not sure how well the wifi router's antenna would work, unless it was on an extension outside the case.

    I'd be thinking about using a 6RU case instead of the 4RU, and moving the wifi router to the top. The 6RU case would give you more flexibility if later you decide you do want everyone on stereo IEMs, and will allow you to run full 1RU antenna combiners, a switch for managing the G3s etc. If you don't plan on using the extra 2RU immediately, a 2RU padded draw for holding IEM RXs\buds\the wireless mic\spare batteries could be a good idea, or just use the space to coil the snake that connects the 2 cases.
  2. #32 by Mike Via on 2 Weeks Ago
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    Lol. mic channel DI channels, keys, trax -- all of these are the same, right?? This is too much for a dad to figure out in his limited, spare time...

    Funny, from my point of view, several of you are saying slightly different things. I prefer Spence's conclusion that, even with the extra mic that we both think should be omitted, our inputs should fit w/in the capability of the X32. I have no clue if the "click track can be fed separately to the stereo Trax at (or close to) Line level?, but I hope so...

    I don't love a plan that requires us to purchase several individual boxes like the ART box that Richard suggests, unless this also resolves the need for a 2nd house snake. I'd prefer to have all wires for FOH run from 1 location. If I am following all of you correctly (which has a 30% chance of being correct), using an SD8 for the front line mics only helps reduce inputs for the X32r, and does not mean that the house is going to be happy to take a spit off of the SD8 because it isn't analog. Correct? So, I'm not sure I really see the benefit of the S8.

    Re the WiFi router inside the 6U case - I agree, but was thinking that it would travel inside the case but, upon set up, it would be thrown on top of the cases.

    Paul -- you say it is a matter of opinion about getting closer. REALLY?? OK, ok. I hear you. Can you just build the thing and send me a payment plan?

    MV
  3. #33 by Spence Woodford on 2 Weeks Ago
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    - Mike Via wrote View Post
    Lol. mic channel DI channels, keys, trax -- all of these are the same, right?? This is too much for a dad to figure out in his limited, spare time...
    I feel for you, especially if this is your first foray into this 'world'...

    As ever, both Craig and Paul have given excellent advice, so take what you can from each of them. Re: line vs mic levels and balanced vs unbalanced, line vs mic determines the voltage that is applied (mic is about 1,000 times smaller than line, which is about 3 times larger than 'Aux', but Aux and Line can be thought of as being similar enough). Typically, line level signals will be 1/4" jacks, whilst mics will (almost) always be on XLR connectors. As has been mentioned previously, 'balanced' signals are essential to ensure signal integrity over long distances, so you should aim to keep unbalanced cables as short as possible (or not have unbalanced signals at all, if your equipment can do it). The 'Aux' inputs on the X32 can accept balanced or unbalanced signals, so that gives you some flexibility in how the signals arrive, but they must be at Line (or 'Aux') levels - feeding them with mix level inputs will not work.

    Funny, from my point of view, several of you are saying slightly different things. I prefer Spence's conclusion that, even with the extra mic that we both think should be omitted, our inputs should fit w/in the capability of the X32. I have no clue if the "click track can be fed separately to the stereo Trax at (or close to) Line level?, but I hope so...
    I believe that the X32 Rack can provide all that you need but, as both Paul & Craig have pointed out, you are right at capacity - no room for anything else or any failures.

    I don't love a plan that requires us to purchase several individual boxes like the ART box that Richard suggests, unless this also resolves the need for a 2nd house snake.
    The ART (or KT) boxes will not remove the need for a 2nd snake, but one box WILL be required if your keys and/or Trax and/or bass does not provide balanced signals. Those boxes convert unbalanced to balanced signals, which will be required to feed FoH. You could convert the signals at source and feed everything with balanced signals (best technical solution - lowest noise - but may require additional kit/cases close to your instruments), or feed the unbalanced line level signals to the rack and put the converters in there (maybe less additional kit, but possibility of greater noise in the signals).

    ... I'm not sure I really see the benefit of the SD8.
    The SD8 is there to provide additional (mic level) inputs should you need extra inputs. If you are 100% sure that won't be required...

    Re the WiFi router inside the 6U case - I agree, but was thinking that it would travel inside the case but, upon set up, it would be thrown on top of the cases.
    That could work, but could result in damage to the router, especially travelling with the snake, which would be BAD!

    Happy to provide as much help as I can - I know I needed lots of help (and still do) when starting out...
  4. #34 by Craig Fowler on 2 Weeks Ago
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    What Spence said.

    The electronic components inside the mixer are designed and manufactured to work best when the signals running through them are at a specific voltage (what we call "line level," which is usually close to 1 volt.) If you feed a the mixer a signal that is too far below line level, you won't hear anything; the signal is too weak to be useful, and all you'll get is hiss and noise when you try to put it through a speaker. If you feed the input a signal which is too strong, the electronics can't cope, and you end up with distortion\clipping, and in extreme cases, you can melt something and cause permanent damage to the hardware. This is why you don't plug the output of an amplifier into the input of a mixer. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put 1/4" *outputs* on amplifiers is a numpty.

    Some things you plug into the mixer, eg CD players, ipods, samplers etc, have line-level (~1volt) outputs, so they can feed the line-level inputs on the mixer, and all is well.

    However, things like microphones typically output a voltage a fraction of line-level (we call this level "mic level,") and can't be used by a mixer. In order for the mic-level signal to be used by the mixer whose components are designed to work best at line-level, we need to boost that mic-level signal up to line-level. This is what a preamp is for. It takes a low-voltage mic-level signal and boosts it up to line-level. Now that that mic level signal has been boosted up to line-level, the mixer can work with it. The amount by which it boosts is controlled by the preamp's gain. This is why setting the gain properly is important; too low and you get not enough of the sound you want and too much noise/hiss etc, too high and you risk distortion/clipping/damaging something, potentially your ears.

    The X32Rack has 16 preamps built in (on XLR, +1 talkback preamp, but we'll ignore that for the moment,) which are built to cope with either mic-level or line-level signals. For mic-level signals you boost the gain to bring the signal up to line-level. For signals that are already at line-level, you leave the gain alone.

    The X32Rack also has 6 line-level inputs (on TRS,) which can only cope with line-level signals (not mic-level signals.) If you plug a mic-level signal into one of these TRS inputs, it won't work. The mic-level signal will be too weak for what the input socket is expecting, and you won't be able to work with it (although the aux channels have a level adjustment, it's a digital trim, not a preamp gain.) This is important because looking at your input list on p2 of the thread, you've got 15 signals that will require a preamp to boost the mic-level signals from those microphones up to line-level so the mixer can use them, so you're using 15/16 of the X32Rack's preamps. That's ignoring the bass, the trax, the keys, and the rx from the wireless mic.

    Then we get to the bass DI. Depending on whether that DI is active or passive, it may need power to function, which means either a battery or sending +48V to it from the mixer. (Assuming the DI is active and requires phantom power) the console's line-level TRS sockets don't provide phantom power, only the console's XLR sockets do, which means the bass DI must also go into a preamp. Furthermore, even if the DI didn't need +48v because it was passive, (or that 48V came from the FOH console instead of your IEM rig,) chances are the signal the DI is outputting is too far below line-level for the TRS inputs on the X32Rack to use, which means the bass DI needs a preamp anyway.

    With the bass DI plugged into a preamp for one reason or another, you're now sitting at 16/16 of the X32Rack's preamps used, with the trax, keys, and wireless mic RX needing to be plugged into the console's TRS sockets. Given you're at 16/16 preamps occupied (and 5/6 TRS ins also occupied,) that means that if you want to use another mic-level signal, (eg you want to do KI+KO, or 2 mics on the snare, or an extra tom, or a guitarist decides they want to go stereo, or an extra vocal\mc mic,) you've run out of preamps (since Paul insists on not using the TB preamp, and I defer to him.) Also, you've only got room for 1 more line-level signal on the TRS ins. If you have 2 more line-level signals turn up, eg the keyboardist gets another keyboard, you use a drum sampler\click\metronome etc and you want stereo, that will be a problem (especially as you can't move a signal off TRS onto XLR, because you've already used all 16/16 XLR preamps.)

    To sum up, that particular 21-channel input list on p2 of the thread will work with the X32Rack, but only just; it's pretty much at capacity. Any more input signals and you'll need to think about additional stageboxes. Saying the "the X32Rack has 22 inputs (16 XLR + 6TRS,) and my input list is only 21 channels, so it's all good" only works sometimes. You got lucky given the split of how many signals need a preamp vs how many don't. If those 21 signals were all microphones, the X32Rack would not have had enough preamps, and it wouldn't have worked.

    Re those KT and ART balancing boxes referenced by Richard and Spence:
    As previously discussed, unbalanced signals are subject to EMI, and can only travel a short distance before they pick up too much interference and can't be used. This normally wouldn't be a problem if you only have a short distance to run, eg the Keyboard's (which is on the stage) unbalanced line-level (or close to it) outputs into the TRS sockets on the X32Rack (which is also on the stage.) Balanced signals can run for hundreds of meters without a problem.

    However, you're talking about using a splitter to get signals to FOH, which could be a long way from the stage. This distance will certainly be too long to run an unbalanced signal. They keys might hit your monitors ok without one of these boxes, but the unbalanced signal that makes it to FOH will have too much interference on it to be useful. For this reason, you need to balance the signal coming out of the keys (and the trax, and anything else that is unbalanced.) This is what the KT\ART boxes suggested by Richard and Spence will do. If you really wanted you could run keys and trax unbalanced straight into the X32, then take direct outs from the X32 (which are balanced) and feed them to FOH, thus negating the need for the KT\ART balancing boxes. However this "solution" puts the FOH operator in the position of being subject to your preamp (or trim, as is the case with the TRS sockets) adjustments, which is exactly what you were trying to avoid by using an analogue split in the first place.

    In any case, based on your input list on p2, you need a 19 channel snake to feed FOH (as the only inputs not needing to go to FOH are the crowd mics.) 19 channel snakes are hard to find, so you could go with 2x 8ch + 1x 4ch, or 3x 8ch, or just get a 16x4 and reverse the 4 returns.
  5. #35 by Spence Woodford on 2 Weeks Ago
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    - Craig Fowler wrote View Post
    ...looking at your input list on p2 of the thread, you've got 15 signals that will require a preamp to boost the mic-level signals from those microphones up to line-level so the mixer can use them, so you're using 15/16 of the X32Rack's preamps. That's ignoring the bass, the trax, the keys, and the rx from the wireless mic.
    That's another reason why I'd get rid of the second lead vocal mic - it frees up another mic preamp (as well as avoiding duplication and potential confusion at FoH as to which Lead Vocal they should be muting/adjusting).

    If you really wanted you could run keys and trax unbalanced straight into the X32, then take direct outs from the X32 (which are balanced) and feed them to FOH, thus negating the need for the KT\ART balancing boxes. However this "solution" puts the FOH operator in the position of being subject to your preamp (or trim, as is the case with the TRS sockets) adjustments, which is exactly what you were trying to avoid by using an analogue split in the first place.
    If the trim was deliberately left at 0dB (i.e. Line level in = Line level Out), would the FoH operator notice/know? Would there be any real issue with that? If FoH applied +48V, would that cause the X32 Rack any problems? Not suggesting that this is the preferred approach (I think we've established that it probably isn't), just trying to understand more... If it isn't a problem, then only 16 channels would need analogue splitting, thereby avoiding the need for a third splitter. Was that the sound of Paul blowing a gasket...?

    ... or just get a 16x4 and reverse the 4 returns.
    I'd be tempted to do that, or even buy the multi-core cable and connectors separately so that the individual tail lengths could be optimised based on where the snake 'body' would be connected to the case and the individual inputs needed to go. But then I am something of a cable nerd...
  6. #36 by Paul Vannatto on 2 Weeks Ago
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    - Spence Woodford wrote View Post
    Was that the sound of Paul blowing a gasket...?
    I'd give them about 6-8 months into performing. Then we'll see if I'm just blowing a gasket or not.

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  7. #37 by Spence Woodford on 2 Weeks Ago
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    - Paul Vannatto wrote View Post
    Then we'll see if I'm just blowing a gasket or not.
    I meant no offence! I was recognising that the latest 'solution' goes even further against what you have been promoting (i.e. increased functionality/redundancy) and would therefore cause you a(n even) higher level of exasperation, possibly enough to blow a fuse/gasket (or, in extremis, go postal)

    I'm caught in two minds here - I can definitely see the advantage of having some room for growth and 'future proofing' capability, but I also see an opportunity for a highly-optimised, light-as-possible, lower-cost solution that wrings every last bit of functionality from the X32 with nothing spare. Given that Mike has suggested he's bank-rolling this, I'd probably also be looking to this latter position right now. Assuming that there isn't a problem with the unbalanced Line In > balanced Direct Out approach that Craig flagged (trying desperately to deflect some of Paul's ire ) it is also possible that Mike could go with this 'minimum solution' now and add a second flight case comprising an SD8 and an additional splitter downstream. I haven't considered all of the implications of that, but I'd be surprised if it required very much in the way of hardware changes/reconfiguration, especially if the accompanying 2nd snake was long enough to reach a FoH stage-box located at the rear of the stage.
  8. #38 by Paul Vannatto on 2 Weeks Ago
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    - Spence Woodford wrote View Post
    I meant no offence! I was recognising that the latest 'solution' goes even further against what you have been promoting (i.e. increased functionality/redundancy) and would therefore cause you a(n even) higher level of exasperation, possibly enough to blow a fuse/gasket (or, in extremis, go postal)
    Have no fear Spence. I've stated my case (based on a gut feeling and lots of experience - which hasn't let me down yet) and I'll leave it at that. Only time will tell...

    The thing is none of us has even mentioned one of my soapboxes - that of backup. If you use your setup at capacity and something goes wrong (Murphy's Law), what happens next? If I'm paid to provide a service and don't have a plan B and something goes wrong...

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  9. #39 by Craig Fowler on 2 Weeks Ago
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    If the trim was deliberately left at 0dB (i.e. Line level in = Line level Out), would the FoH operator notice/know? Would there be any real issue with that? If FoH applied +48V, would that cause the X32 Rack any problems?
    If whoever is mixing monitors doesn't touch the input trim, then no, FOH wouldn't notice. However there are still 3 potential problems:

    The FOH operator is stuck with the level (particularly the SNR) coming out of the X32Rack, and working that into their own gain structure. That level and SNR may not be optimal for their specific preamps (and this could change venue-to-venue.) Although FOH could increase their own preamp gain to boost levels on those channels if required, they also boost whatever noise is coming from the keys\X32Rack. If the OP did use the ART\KT boxes and the splitter, they take out the noise profile of the unbalanced run from the source to the X32Rack, and any noise from the X32Rack itself, which means a cleaner signal for FOH. Depending on a few factors, the difference between the two setups may not be audible, or it may be an unusable signal at FOH, and it could vary from venue to venue (eg how much interference the unbalanced keyboard\trax runs pick up before they hit the X32Rack.)

    The FOH console could inadvertently send +48V to the X32Rack's TRS output sockets. TBH I'm not sure how the X32Rack would cope. It might be fine, it might not. I've seen examples of both.

    You lose the ground lift option on those channels between FOH and the stage (or even between the sources and the X32Rack.) With transformer isolated splits\those ART\KT boxes, you have a ground lift option, which is useful if the stage and FOH don't share a common ground, (remember, the OP might be playing in many different venues.) If essentially using the console as a splitter, then a 50/60Hz hum could make it to FOH.

    Although use the X32Rack as a splitter for a few channels reduce the need for a 3rd splitter, the OP would still need a 19-channel snake to get those signals to FOH.
  10. #40 by Robert Lofgren on 1 Week Ago
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    I have checked with the tech crew and the TRS inputs and outputs on the x32 are protected against normal phantom power put onto them.

    Obvioulsly this should be avoided in the long term, but otherwise you should be safe.

    If the trim was deliberately left at 0dB (i.e. Line level in = Line level Out), would the FoH operator notice/know? Would there be any real issue with that? If FoH applied +48V, would that cause the X32 Rack any problems?

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