Behringer USB Mixer – The XENYX X1204USB 12 Channel Mixer
The Behringer USB Mixer lineup just got better – The Behringer UFX Series mixers boast superb functionality, with an easy to use approach that makes even these versatile mixing beasts functional to beginner engineers. The first thing that made me want to get my hands on this is the compressors. I kept reading about this “one knob” functionality that was supposed to make dynamic compression as easy as using a volume fader or panpot. I was a little bit hesitant at the concept – figuring that “one knob” also meant a severe limitation. Putting my skepticism aside, I finally picked one of these USB Behringer Mixers up to do a review on, and possibly even add it to my mixing arsenal.
USB and Firewire – That’s how modern mixers should be!
The fact that the UFX1204USB allows you to utilize USB and Firewire is just a bonus. I’d like to see this incorporated in a lot more recording gear – especially audio interfaces. I’ve noticed that the mixer is often advertised as a “Behringer USB Mixer” (just noticed I’ve been calling it that myself too), but it definitely is compatible with FireWire.
Some Other Features of the Behringer USB Mixer “XENYX X1204USB”
4 professional level compressors with easy to use “one knob” technology, 4 class A microphone preamps each with their own 48v phantom power switches – not to mention it’s a complete 12 channel mixer / interface with built in equalizers and multi-effects processing.
Quality Equalizers: “British EQ” - (Makes me think of The Beatles for some reason)
As we all know (or should) in the audio engineering field, the British consoles of the 60s and 70s were an essential part of the sound we now know as “Rock n’ Roll”. Clearly Behringer had this influential technology and sound in mind when creating the XENYX X1204 mixer, because not only do they describe the equalizers simply as “British EQ”, but they’re referencing the iconic “British Invasion” in their description of these EQ’s on their website. They claim the channel EQ on all the Behringer USB XENYX mixers is based on the same circuitry, and I’d agree that they allow you to reproduce a very similar warmth and character.
The 3-band EQ with “semi-parametric mid control” let you really pinpoint the frequency center, and apply 15db of gain or reduction. The UFX1604 also has an expanded 4-band Channel EQ with sweepable Hi and Low Mids, which allows you to shape the frequencies even more precisely.
Compressors: “One Touch” Simplicity
Compression was my least favorite thing to learn in audio engineering and music production in general, and as much as dynamic range compression in all forms (exciters, limiters, gates, etc) is an essential part of getting your mix right, I still to this day am not real thrilled to mess around with ratios and thresholds. I’ve got the fundamental concepts down – I even understand the math behind compression – But it seems like I’m never quite applying compression and achieving the exact results I’d like. With the simplicity of the Behringer XENYX Mixers “one touch” compressors, it’s really never been so easy in my opinion. Regardless of the fact that one touch means a little less control over every little tedious aspect of compression, you get pretty great results with very little work (to say the least) using these compressors.
XENYX X1204 12 Channel Behringer USB Mixer
Overall I’ve been pretty impressed with both the functionality of this mixer for the price, and the performance and results of it’s built in mixing “toolbox”. If I had to apply a rating to it, I’d say 4.5/5. It’d be nice to have the 4-band EQ included in the X1204 model, but I’m sure that they couldn’t provide it for such an affordable price if it was. If you’re looking for a great compact mixer then I’d highly recommend buying the XENYX UFX1204 Behringer USB Mixer.