The ULTIMATE YouTube & Streaming Mixer – Behringer Xenyx x1832USB Review

Almost exactly 5 years ago today, I received
the Behringer Xenyx x1832USB mixer to use and learn. A colleague I was working with at a radio
and broadcasting internship bought me one to figure it out and master it for their live
broadcasts. At the time, this beast of a mixer seemed
way over my head and a tad overkill for my needs, but over the past 5 years I’ve gained
a pretty solid understanding of its inner workings and I’ve finally started to grow
out of it. I have a new mixer I’ll be setting up in
its place, so it’s time to give this ol’ boy a review, isn’t it? Tired of hiding behind giant microphones during
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more fun, today taking a look at this bad boy, the Behringer Xenyx x1832 USB mixer. Despite its size, this is actually a “small
format” mixer. It features 14 inputs, the first 5 of which
can be XLR or 1/4″, with the “award-winning Xenyx pre-amps” for your XLR mic inputs. Supposedly these are… good? …but I personally
have not been a fan. To be fair, my experience with bad pre-amps
is limited, but I’ve always had to use external pre-amp tools with this mixer for most of
the mics that I’ve used. So you’ve got 6 mic inputs with XLR or quarter-inch,
channel inserts for those inputs – allowing you to route them out to separate effects
processors and back – then 8 more inputs lined up as dual quarter-inch inputs for stereo
or mono via the left channel. The 6 mic inputs have a gain knob for the
pre-amp and a built-in compressor knob. All inputs have a level adjustment pad for
+4db or -10db. All inputs also have… all of these other
knobs. You’ve got a 4-band EQ for high, high-mid,
low-mid, and low frequency tuning, aux sends controls – which I never got working well
– FX application levels, left-right stereo panning, and a mute button. Flexible output options are available, as
well. You’ve got your standard phones output up
top, then on the back you have Main Outputs available in XLR and Quarter-inch, sub-mix
output via quarter inch, and a “Control Room Out” via quarter-inch. This is a 2-bus mixer, meaning you have a
main mix and a sub-mix. I use this HEAVILY for streaming and inspired
my primary interest in learning audio mixing for streams and information that I regularly
use to this day. I have mine set up as a spaghetti monster
I wouldn’t wish on anyone, which is why most of the footage is of it extracted from
my setup… hard to decode here. So for each input’s fader, you have 3 switches
– Solo, Sub, and Main. “Solo” sends the signal to what is essentially
a “soft mix” of sorts – it only goes to the headphones and control room out for you
to hear. If you want to hear and monitor a source,
“Solo” needs turned on for it. “Sub” and “Main” are for the sub-mix
and main mix, respectively. I utilize this to create a main mix of all
of my input sources together – something I don’t use all that often anymore – and a
sub-mix with just my microphone inputs. I use this sub mix as my primary input in
Windows. This way, I have a clean, microphone-only
input to my PC that I can record and send to VOIP apps like Discord, Skype, etc. without
the people I’m chatting with hearing an echo of themselves. Then, if I need a full mix-down for live streams,
I have that running in, as well – though I mainly just mix to headphones for me to hear
and capture main mix sources in software anyway. The issue with this kind of setup is that
for every different mix you send to a single computer, you need a unique Line-In port on
the PC. Which… virtually none have. So since 2013 or 2014 when I decided to handle
it this way, I have been utilizing both the motherboard Line In port on my PC and a PCIe
sound card – the Creative SoundBlaster Z. Main mix feeds via dual quarter inch to 3.5mm
cable into one and sub mix into another. This also then gives me the benefit of having
two output channels – line out from the motherboard and line out from the sound card – both which
get routed into the mixer. The main PC out handles all of my PC’s default
sounds – desktop use, games, videos, etc. The second output from the PC has VOIP apps
manually assigned. This way I can balance my game sound and chat
sound, for example, for me a LOT better – and keep them separated in OBS since they are
now running to two physically different devices, without the need for Virtual Audio Cable,
VoiceMeter, etc. This has been very handy. Annoyingly, however, the SoundBlaster Z ALWAYS
defaults to 5.1 surround sound, instead of stereo, upon reboot – which can cause Discord
to not want to output to it. I’ve never really found a fix for that,
which is why I’d like to move away from using it. To get around this, I’ve been using the obvious
solution in front of my face. Most computer monitors have a headphone output
jack. So I simply have routed one of my monitor’s
headphone jacks to a mixer input, and that serves as the output device for my VOIP calls
from Discord and Skype. That way I have a separate volume fader on
the mixer for me, a separate device to map in OBS Studio, and I don’t need a second sound
card. Just about everyone can do this! The FX slider also allows you to map which
tracks it plays to, and then you can turn up FX levels per device. So I have FX set to only apply to my microphone
devices – so when I unmute FX, my mic has the effects applied. The built-in 24-bit effects mainly include
reverb and chorus-style effects. You can change them up here by the LCD display. Below that, there’s another equalizer – a
9-band stereo graphic EQ that applies to the whole mix, based on your settings here. I used the onboard EQs and compressors at
one point in time, but mostly leave these off in lieu of separate hardware processors
such as the DBX 286s for my primary microphone. This board also has a virtual surround sound
control, which could be neat, but I always avoid, and a voice cancellation button for
running karaoke. You can also achieve more output routing via
the Mon Send and Aux Sends setups – as well as the “2Track” RCA routing – but I found
these to be overall more messy than just using a sub mix, and never put much effort into
figuring those out. Lastly, of course, this mixer has USB output,
buuuuuut I have honestly found that feature to be all but useless. It uses generic ASIO4ALL drivers, only sends
the main stereo mix to the PC, and overall was just way too quiet to be usable. In my original testing, even clipping the
main mix would be like -40db input to the PC, and then amplifying it up brought crazy
noise floor with it. No thank you. Plus USB audio just sucks anyway. Speaking of noise floors….. This mixer gots problems. I have spent the past 5 years trying to clear
up line noise issues with this mixer. At first, I blamed PC fan noise and spent
ages throwing up those crappy foam tiles and trying to clear up room noise. Then I blamed bad power and we added more
grounding pigtails to my outlets. Next, I got a bunch of those car-purposed
“ground loop isolators” for the 3.5mm runs – which helped a LOT. But over time there was still some high-frequency
hiss and etc. going on. I bought a power conditioner to run all my
audio gear from, bought a lot of those HumX per-plug ground loop fixers, nothing was a
complete fix. For basic audio run-through, the mixer was
totally fine – but post-processing and amplification brought up the hiss and noise a LOT. Nothing truly fixed my issues until I found
another Behringer product only just in January of this year – the HD400 Hum Destroyer. Running any inputs and outputs through these
boxes – 1 box per stereo pair of quarter-inch connectors, which got very expensive – fixed
my issues. But everyone I talk to in the audio space
says that that should not be necessary. The mixer itself – even with no inputs – has
some noise issues. It could be specific to my mixer – but I’ve
seen similar complaints from others about this mixer and about Xenyx products on the
whole, so I’m thinking either it’s a trend or a big quality control issue. With my mixer, as well, my 6th mic input shorted
out at some point. Whenever I was using direct mic inputs and
needed the phantom power switch on, the compressor light for that input would always light up
when turning it on and it would pop. Even without phantom power, that input just
doesn’t work and never really has. I’ve also run into issues where sometimes
I’ll go to record my microphone and one of the channels is totally glitched out and staticy. Usually the right side. This only happens with microphone inputs (even
though they’re mono) and I usually just have to power cycle the mixer or switch inputs
enough until it resolves. All of this seems to point to bad capacitors
in the mixer, a common problem with cheaper solutions. Back to good points, the mixer is compact
for everything it has, and comes with rack ears in the box to add to a rack-mount setup,
which is how I had it set up for a long time. There’s probably more to this mixer that
I haven’t learned or covered, but this is what I’ve gotten from it through my 5 years
of use for content creation, voiceover, streaming, broadcasting and so on. For $250 – though it was $300 when I got it
– it’s got a pretty good value going for it, I just wish the USB support was better
and that it didn’t have so much trouble with line noise. While the original plan back in May-ish when
I shot this review was to switch to the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 Firewire mixer that I picked
up, I’ve actually switched back to the Behringer. The PreSonus doesn’t have the same bad input
issues as this mixer, but it still needs hum destroyers to clear out high frequency bleed,
Windows keeps disconnecting the firewire audio device – a common issue with FocusRite USB
interfaces – and it is much more difficult to do convoluted things like sub and main
bus mapping, effects application, and it is even finicky about stereo sources. While I’m sure it’s a great mixer for many
uses, this Behringer X1832 mixer puts the controls I need right in front of my face
and where I need them. So I guess at this point I’m just ordering
a new x1832 or the x2222 which can be had for the same price, to swap in place. As always, affiliate product links will be
in the description below if you wanna pick one of these up for yourself. Despite its issues it has served me very well
for nonstop use and virtually 24/7 power-on time for the past 5 years, which is incredible. Very few pieces of gear last me that long. Hit the like button if you enjoyed, subscribe
for more awesome tech content, and I’ll see you next time.


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