The most important component in your live band’s P.A. system is the mixing console. Without a mixer you’re not going to be able to mix your live sound properly when playing a gig. I’ve written a couple posts such as “You Need A P.A. System To Play A Gig” detailing how important having a good P.A. system is to the success of your band.
Today I’m going to talk about a budget mixer made by Behringer called the Eurorack UB2442FX-PRO. I know that many of you that have experience with Behringer equipment are rolling your eyes right now and I don’t blame you. Behringer has a reputation for cheap equipment that doesn’t always come with the best build quality. I know I’ve had my share of problems with Behringer equipment but at the same time I’ve been able to use Behringer products quite successfully in my studio and with my live band.
Let me start by making the disclaimer that you should buy from a source that will allow you to return defective Behringer equipment if you have problems. Musician’s Friend is very good with their return policies and I’m recommending that you buy this mixer from them if you decide you want the Eurorack UB2442FX-PRO.
The UB2442FX-PRO is loaded with tons of features at an unbelievably low price. As of today you can buy one for under $300 from Musician’s Friend. For that price you get a 16-channel board with 4 sub-groups. The 16 channels are controlled by 12 faders with channels 9/10, 11/12, 13/14 and 15/16 assigned in stereo configuration. The mixer also has 10 XLR microphone inputs and is equipped with phantom power. For a full listing of this mixers specifications go here: Behringer Eurorack UB2442FX-PRO Specifications.
As you can see when looking over the specifications, this mixer is loaded with features. It’s really a lot of mixer for such a low price. The features built-in to the UB2442FX-PRO are unheard of in this low price range. It was designed by Behringer in Germany and German companies have a reputation for quality. I agree that this is a quality design. So why is this mixer so inexpensive? Where the cost cutting happens is in the manufacturing. The UB2442FX-PRO is manufactured in China and the construction looks very nice but it is not what I would call heavy duty construction. By manufacturing the mixer in China and, I assume, using cheaper components, Behringer is able to keep costs very low.
I know a lot of musicians that have purchased this mixer and I’ve heard a lot of complaints about failing channels, dying faders and LED’s that stop working. Again, these are all signs of substandard construction. I’ve read reviews on the Internet from UB2442FX-PRO owners saying they never even moved the mixer off their studio desk, yet channels are failing. In my experience with the UB2442FX-PRO I have been using the mixer for a couple of years now and it is still functioning perfectly. I use it primarily in my practice studio but I have played several gigs with it as well. It has never failed me and the mixer is still working like it did when it was brand new.
Here’s a partial list of things I love about the mixer:
- +48 V Phantom Power for powering condensor mics
- 4 sub groups with separate outputs
- XLR as well as 1/4″ outputs
- Channel inserts and direct outputs from each mono channel (great for studio multi-track hookups)
- Main mix inserts
There are a lot of other options that I find extremely useful on the UB2442FX-PRO and the mixer is very configurable.
I have found one flaw in the mixer and I’ve noticed this on all Behringer mixers that I’ve used. The built-in effects unit is very noisy with White Noise and hiss. You can dial the effects down to where the noise is minimized but you can never get rid of it using the built-in effects unit. Luckily there are many Insert options on the individual channels as well as the main mix for adding your own outboard effect units.
Here’s the bottom line, in my opinion this mixer is an excellent buy. Is it an excellent value? Well, value implies high quality at a low price. This mixer is really medium quality at an extremely low price. You really can’t go wrong paying less $300 for a mixer with this many features. Even if a couple channels die, the mixer will be usable in a crippled state. But, it’s also extremely frustrating when your equipment gives you problems. That’s why I say, make sure you can return it and be ready to accept what you’re left with when the warranty runs out.
This mixer has been discontinued but I understand that there is still quite a supply of them. The updated version called the XENYX X2442USB is available at Musician’s Friend and they are priced to sell. If you remember that Behringer is a budget equipment line, I think you just may be pleased with the Behringer Eurorack UB2442FX-PRO. You can check out the User Manual here: Behringer UB2442FX-PRO User Manual.
UPDATE: The Behringer Eurorack UB2442FX-Pro has been updated and replaced by the Behringer XENYX X2442USB Mixer with built-in effects. The XENYX X2442USB adds valuable USB functionality to an already great mixer package. To purchase the XENYX X2442USB Mixer click the link below. You can still purchase the Behringer Eurorack UB2442FX-Pro on eBay and I have posted eBay listings below.
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