Review of the Behringer MX9000
48/24 Dual Input 8 bus Analog Mixing Console
Why go with an analog console these days? You might wonder with all the really hot digital mixers out there. If you are doing a stand alone multi-track, like an ADAT or tascam multi track recorder, digital mixers make lots of sense. But if you are on a computer sequencer, consider that today, sequencers like Logic, Cubase SX and Sonar have "built in" digital mixers. So do you really need two digital mixers? It's overkill. But lets say you have one of these sequencers and you have a few mics, a few synths with multiple outs, or just plain old guitar, bass and drums. If you go "mixerless" you will endlessly be repatching stuff to get it to audioland. An 8 bus analog mixer gives you the flexibility to patch it all together. Plus there IS something to be said for tweaking a mix with real knobs, instead of mousing around, staring into a cathode ray tube. If you have hardware FX boxes you can add reverb all day and your CPU will not hiccup once.
The MX9000 has been around for years at much higher prices. Until recently, the street price was in the mid-to-hi-teens. Now it's in the low teens. Unlike the Mackie 8 bus mixers which the Behringer emulates, the MX9000 has a built in meter bridge, which is an expensive add on for other boards. It has TWO inputs for gooseneck little lights--I like that. 8 busses. Tremendously useful for mixing a bit of this, a bit of that, and creating a whole new audio track. MIX B tape returns gives it the flexibility of 48 audio channels. There's a flip switch which allow you to put the B channel on the fader. And yes, you can have the fader and the MIX B sounding simultaneously on each of the 24 channels, each with there own level, pan, and EQ. Not even the Mackies gives you EQ on MIX B. That's enough for all you synths, your multichannel audio interface, FX, tape machines, mics whatever. This is a BIG board. 37" wide, 29.5 " deep. It's heavy too--70 lbs. It's solid steel. Nice layout. The knobs are well spaced where you can actually turn one without touching others. The size, the metal, the lights, the meters and the sound gives you an altogether total mixdown experience. This board has the feel of a console, not a small plastic toy.
How does it sound? It's good. I can imagine better sounding boards, but those put you in either the small 16 channel hi quality bracket, or the $3500 plus bracket. The preamps have switchable phantom power on groups of inputs so you can run both you condensers AND your dynamics at the same time. The eqs are very effective, the bass can get strong and it will sweep mids like a good analog filter. The sends and returns and MIX B have plenty of gain. You can use the MIX B inputs for front and center instruments, these are unbalanced inputs, but not weak ones. The mic/line inputs are balanced, so are the master outs. But it is no problem using unbalanced line level gear on these--it works just fine.
It works wonderfully with my 8x8 delta 1010. The 8 busses feed right into the delta so any track at the mixer, by pressing a bus button, is automatically routed to the delta where the track can be recorded as audio. As your studio expands you can put different processors on each bus. Get it? A bus optimized for recording vocals with compressors and vocal processors, another for guitar, chained to stomp boxes, one for synths, another for dry stuff you will effect later. You also can do analog bounces of your sequencer tracks and not mess with file selectors, cpu overloads, etc. Easy to do. Just route the audio interface out 1-2 to the MX, send it down bus 3-4, add some FX if you want, and record it back in to the audio interface.
And you can expand it with another board if you want. This is very cool. For example, I connected by Alesis Studio 32 to my MX9000 and the sends and busses of the Alesis are merged with the sends and busses of the Behringer. This gives me 80 channels at mixdown NOT counting the combined 10 stereo returns. I have all my older gear connected to the Studio 32--lots hissy synths, old tape decks, grooveboxes, cd players. Assigning any of these to bus 3-4 on the Alesis pipes it right through to bus 3-4 on the MX9000, and right through to the delta 1010 input 3-4
The best thing about the MX9000 how much you get for the price. If you have lots of gear to connect, record bands, or just want a discrete audio channel for all your tracks from your midi and audio sequencer, this board rocks. I give it the coveted Tweak's Pick Award.
All the best,
Rich the Tweak