World Music Supply | New and Improved The Behringer P16 Powerplay System

Hi guys Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you your usual dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I get to take a look at something that complements a previous review quite well, in this addition of New and Improved, I get to talk about the Behringer Powerplay P16 series of personal monitors. Designed to work in conjunction with the X32 mixer, the whole Powerplay series is designed to give each individual their own custom mix, no matter where they are, and no matter what they need.

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

One of selling points of a lot of mixers as of late, was that you could work monitor mixes from on stage via an iPad, but this does something negative as well, it’s only useful if you are using the traditional floor wedge style monitor, if you’re using in ears, then you are way out of luck. The other problem with this is, you can’t just have your sound man run onstage mid show and start tuning your monitors just because you aren’t 100% happy with the way its sounding, it’s just not practical.

The P16 system works by allowing each individual their own private mix that they can adjust to their liking. This is ideal for dozen upon dozens of different mixing situations, and the most commonly advertised one is using it onstage. Just think about it, you can now tune your own in ear mix without having to worry about yelling at the sound guy, or hoping they get it just right, factor in the limiter and gate on the mixer and there is no more worrying about ear damaging sound levels on stage ever again. The Cat 5e cables used to connect the system can be run very long distances without negatively effecting sound quality, so you can still have your mixer way out front so the soundman can do his job, and now you are free to do yours, except now with a perfect monitor mix.

The I/O Section of the Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

The I/O Section of the Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

But let’s not stop at simply using this for stage, because a system like this is as versatile as the X32 mixer it is designed to work with. In my review of the X32 mixer, I mentioned that it is sort of a Jack of all Trades, its great for live work, for studio work, you can use it for theaters and plays, you can use it for houses of worship, it just is designed to do anything you want it to, and the P16 system is designed to do all of that and more. In most professional recording studios, they have had little boxes like these for years, but the problem was the price point was well out of the way of everyday people like you and me. So most of us have had to deal with using splitter jacks to hook multiple sets of headphones up to our computers or mixing boards to try and give everyone the ability to listen back during recording, and that never works because not everyone wants to hear the mix the same way. Suddenly with the Powerplay system, and the X32 mixer, you can now have real, pro level studio equipment, at about the price of renting a studio long enough to make a decent demo.

Imagine using this for theatre work, most people who have ever had to do musical work, know what its like to wear those little skin colored headset mic, and a set of in ears, all wired up to you. I know the annoyance of having to sit and work the mix out on these at the beginning of the night, and hope that no one gets louder, or softer as the night goes on. You could actually set an entire arsenal of these up back stage, and if at any point during a scene change, someone is unhappy with how their mix sounded, they could go back and actually tweak their levels before going back out on stage, pure genius.

The Behringer P16-1 16 Channel Rackmount Personal Monitor

The Behringer P16-1 16 Channel Rackmount Personal Monitor

Or what about houses of worship? Now I’m not talking little four piece youth bands, or a solo singer with an acoustic guitar, they already see how the P16 system could benefit them. Let’s talk about the giant groups, with 15, 20 musicians all up on stage, with a few dozen singers all up there, all at once. What about them? For years they have either had to just listen really hard, and do their best to fall into where they need to be, or just go by muscle memory, and hope it sounds good. Not anymore, you can set the entire P16 system up as a permanent installation, and now everyone can have their own private mix, all of them can hear just what they need to hear to do their job, and when you can hear yourself better, you can perform better.

As you can plainly see, the P16 Powerplay is just like its companion the X32, designed for anything and everything you could throw at it. It does a job that almost every musician needs done, at a price point that isn’t out of the range of possibilities for most working musicians, and the entire system is well within the combined budget of a band, theatre or house of worship. For all of these reasons, from its affordability, its simplicity, and the fact that it does a job many of us have needed done for ages, the P16 Powerplay system earns itself a definitive 10 out of 10.

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

The Behringer P16-M 16 Channel Personal Mixer Station

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World Music Supply | New and Improved The Behringer X32

Hey guys Brian from World Music Supply here again to bring you the usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, sorry for the lack of an update yesterday, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather as of late but luckily that’s all over and done with. To make up for the lateness I figured I would make it up to all of you, with a new addition of New and Improved, feature the Behringer X32 digital mixer. There have been a lot of new digital mixers hitting the market the past few months, from the Line 6 StageScape, or the Mackie DL1608. The key difference between the X32 and these two mixers however, is while the StageScape and DL1608 have taken mixing towards a more touch screen interface, decreasing the reliance on knobs and sliders, aiming on a more live friendly mixing situation; the X32 keeps the giant banks of sliders and knobs, but adds iPad interaction into the traditional mixing format.

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

While talking about mixers might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I know the pain of having to sit behind the board and try my hardest to get a good live mix for all parties involved. This job is never easy, from attempting to mix monitors from 40 feet away, judging what needs turned up and down from a singer whose yelling from across the room. This is why I liked the X32, it has everything you could need for any application, with 16 fully motorized sliders, dozens upon dozens of built in effects, Firewire/USB outputs and of course, iPad support via the remote app and the use of a standard wireless router, you can own a room with this, mixing the stage monitors from on stage, and the room monitors from your perfect little mixing booth, with all of the effects you could ever need.

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

Sitting down with the X32 to try my best to completely understand it in the short amount of time I had to review it, the first thing that needs to be mentioned, is that the new Midas designed preamps sound absolutely fantastic, with a very pristine, very clear sound to them. The motorized board was lightning fast, and was down right fascinating to watch when you control them via an iPad. The next really interesting feature was the scribble strip, which on most mixers is where ever there is enough room to lay down a piece of tape so you can write down what instrument is on which track. On the X32 however, there is a tiny LCD screen for each track, which shows an equally tiny picture of what instrument is on that track, with a little picture of a bass drum, a persons face for vocals, a guitar etc, as well as text to remind you what it is, and color coded lights all to help you keep everything straight. Add in the fact that each individual track features a limiter and gate, as well as a level meter so you can see which tracks are spiking at any one time, and you quickly have one of the most impressive mixing consoles to hit the market in years.

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

The Behringer X32 32 Channel Motorized Fader Mixer Console

There are some features of the X32 that make me think it was designed as the jack of all trades when it comes to mixers, which is a refreshing change of pace. There are dozens of features that make it seem like an amazing live board, from the bright LED lights, the scribble strip and the use of an iPad so you can mix anywhere in the room, but there are also features that make me believe that this mixer was designed with recording in mind, like the USB and Firewire outputs, the dozens of effects, its ability to link up with the P-16 monitoring systems, and last but not least the 32 bit floating point DSP. All this together creates a mixer that is designed from the ground up to do everything, from huge rock concerts, church worship groups, tiny clubs, and even budget conscious recording studios. With the X32, it doesn’t matter what you need a mixer to do, it will get the job done, and that’s why the Behringer X32 gets a solid 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | Randall Signature Combo Amplifiers

Hey guys it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, and today I get to bring you three cool little combo amps from our friends over at Randall. The combos in question are all signature models, which are all patterned after their larger, higher wattage brethren. The three I got to test today are the Kirk Hammett Signature KH15, the George Lynch signature LB15, and the Nuno Bettencourt NB15.

Now lets be honest, these amps are only 15 watts, running through a 6.5 inch Randall Jaguar speaker, these amps are not designed to compete with a band, and they certainly aren’t designed for stage use. These are practice amps, but what I’ve found out over the past few years, is “practice amps” tend to make great recording amps. The point of a practice amp is to get a good sound, but at a very low volume, and while this is great for jamming out in your bedroom, it’s also a great feature to have in the studio. Using a simple set up of a single SM57 and a cheap little USB Mixer, I was able to get what sounded like a giant 4×12 version of these little amps, all with the signature tone of their namesake intact.   

The Randall KH15 Kirk Hammet Signature Series 12 Watt Guitar Amplifer

The Randall KH15 Kirk Hammet Signature Series 12 Watt Guitar Amplifer

First up was the KH15, which to my understanding was based around the swappable preamp modules that were featured in his signature amp head. The KH15, and for that matter all of the amplifiers in today’s review, features a three band EQ, a clean channel, an overdrive channel, a boosted overdrive channel, and lastly a master volume. I was a really big Metallica fan when I first started playing guitar, and as such I have my fair share of Metallica licks memorized, and while the tone of this little amp wasn’t 100% accurate, it was as close as an amp can get that won’t set you back a few hundred, if not a few thousand dollars.

The clean tone was majestic, which I honestly found strange as when you hear Kirk Hammett, the first thing that comes to mind certainly isn’t sparkling Fender like clean tones. All things considered this amp sounded great just as a practice amp, but it also sounded pretty awesome when I had it all mic’d up running into my simple recording rig. This amp starts to have far more of that classic Black album style Metallica vibe once you flip it into the overdrive channel.

The overdriven tone had none of that annoying fizz that you can sometimes get from smaller speaker equipped practice amps, instead you were awarded with lots of tight sounding, barking, Metallica esc grind. Running through a barrage of Metallica riffs, this amp sounded almost perfect, especially through the recording rig, where the tiny 6.5 inch speaker suddenly sounded like a full 4×12 set of roaring speakers. Switching over to the boost channel, and of course cutting back the mids a great deal resulted in an almost exact replication of those classic mid scooped tones from those beloved early Metallica albums. For its ability to react and sound far bigger, and far bolder then you would expect it to, the KH15 earns itself a 10 out of 10.

The Randall LB15 15 Watt George Lynch Combo Guitar Amplifier

The Randall LB15 15 Watt George Lynch Combo Guitar Amplifier

Next up is the LB15, which is based on the Lynch Boxs circuitry, and the result is just amazing. The clean sound was just gigantic, with lots of head room, and sparkling high end, with just then enough mid cut to help you get through the mix. Recording with this amp was great, because tiny little mic tweaks really transform the sound, with all of the tones sounding smooth, and musical.

This held true more so when I switched it to the overdrive setting, as I was able to get what sounded like totally different amplifiers by slight tweaks of the microphone, which I think had to do with the large harmonic content being driven through such a small speaker. This actually was a good things, and pulling the mic back a foot or so, or using two microphones gave me dozens of very useable, very heavy tones.

No matter what you feed this little amp you always get a very Lynch style tone, with those tight lows, thick midrange, and piercing highs which create Dokken esc bite and power. Fans of George Lynch will no doubt love this little amp, but so will fans of recording with littler amps, or people who have to record in a home or apartment as even though it sounds massive, its all at a level that won’t get the cops called on you. For all of this power in such a small box, the LB15 easily scores itself a 10 out of 10.  

The Randall NB15 Nuno Bettencourt Signature Practice Combo

The Randall NB15 Nuno Bettencourt Signature Practice Combo

Last up in today’s rundown, is the NB15 which modeled after Mr. Bettencourts unusually designed, and fantastically voiced line of Randall amplifiers. While its two tone grill cloth might make it seem otherwise at first, this little guy features the same 6.5 inch Randall Jaguar speaker as the other amplifiers in this review. Its voice is a different in many ways from the other amplifiers in today’s review, as its clean channel is far less pristine then the other amps thus far, by this I mean that this amp features a much warmer sound, as opposed to the sparkling clean tones that the LB15 and the KH15 featured, the NB15 had a much warmer, and low end focused sound.

This was great in all honesty, as I was able to comp thicker sounding jazz lines, and warmer sounding country licks, not to mention swirly chorus tones without taking everyone’s head off with a ton of high end, which can sometimes happen with smaller speakers.  Overdriven this little guy had a very 80s sound, with tons of focused, soaring lead tones on tap, and when used in conjunction with Nuno’s signature guitar, this set up sounded almost identical to anything he did with extreme, or solo, which was truly surprising.

On the boost setting the NB15 was just piercing, able to comp a giant roaring lead tone, in a package that fits in a back pack, and isn’t loud enough to wake up the whole neighborhood, so just like its brothers in this little series of signature amps, the NB15 also earns itself a very well deserved 10 out of 10.

World Music Supply | New and Improved

Hi guys it’s Brian here with World Music Supply and today I’m here to talk to you about some new and improved pieces of gear coming soon to World Music Supply. For our very first installment of New and Improved I’m going to talk about two innovative mixers that are about to shake up the market.

The Mackie DL1608

The Mackie DL1608

First up to bat is the Mackie DL1608, which is by far one of the most unusual, and innovative mixers I’ve seen in years. First and foremost it should be noted that this isn’t your average mixer, because what it is, is an iPad dock, with the ability to function in tandem with the iPad as a powerful mixing surface. The Mackie handles the input and output sections, while the iPad functions as the controller of the DL1608, by allowing you control over your faders, each complete with a dedicated graphic EQ, Effects and dedicated compressor for each channel.  The DL1608 also has 6 aux sends alongside the standard left and right, each with a graphic EQ and dedicated compressor, meaning this machine can really do it all.

The Mackie DL1608

The Mackie DL1608

The most fascinating thing to me was that you have the ability to plug the mixer into a wireless router, so you can then unplug the iPad, and walk around the venue, using the iPad to wirelessly control the mix from within the crowd.  You can even walk onstage and tune each monitor to the corresponding musician’s personal taste, which is something that is light years ahead of almost every other mixer on the market. You can even run up to 10 iPads per DL1608, meaning that you can have a few friends sitting backstage running a continuous monitor mix, while you and a few more friends walk through the crowd tuning the main mix to perfection. The benefits of a system like this to smaller venues like bars and clubs is immediately appreciable, us musicians might never have to deal with muddy monitor mixes and frustrating sound engineers might finally find some relief from having to run around the venue to see if everything sounds okay.

The Mackie DL1608

The Mackie DL1608

The actual Mackie DL1608 console uses 16 boutique-quality Onyx Mic preamps, and the power and performance of 24 bit Cirrus Logic® AD/DA converters, allowing this mixer unparalleled sound quality. It also includes a PadLock™ feature so you can lock the iPad down for a more permanent installation, as well the DL1608 features a Kensington lock to help protect the iPad from theft, and finally it’s also capable of being mounted on an optional rack mount kit to help keep it in place.

iPad running the Mackie DL1608 control App

iPad running the Mackie DL1608 control App

Overall I think the addition of the iPad connectivity gives the Mackie an edge over almost every other mixer on the market today, and it’s certainly more powerful then any in it’s price range. The ability to mix a live venue while walking through the crowd is unheard of, and being able to mix monitor mixes on stage, this thing could be a real game changer for smaller venues, the days of having to struggle with poor mixes in bars and clubs might be over with the introduction of the Mackie DL1608. For everything it’s worth, the DL1608 is amazing, and its innovative ability to mix while walking through the crowd, on stage, or even both at the same time is really exciting to me. It is for these amazing features that the Mackie DL1608 gets a 10 out of 10 hands down.

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

Next up on the new product list is the Behringer Xenyx UFX1604, and for what the Mackie DL1608 does for live mixing, the Xenyx does for live recording. By now most of us have a mixer or some other interface hooked into our laptops, or our desktops. We probably own some type of recording software, and for the most part, you track one track at a time, like most “bedroom recording studios” do. Now while this is great and all, if you’re like me, you know the hassle of having to try and track a band in a studio like this. The problem comes from the fact that most of these “studios” are made in either a spare room, or a bed room, places you can’t typically fit 4-5 guys, a load of amps, and a drum kit.
 

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The idea behind the Xenyx is to allow all of those cool recording functions, without having to bring along your laptop to either your practice space, or your shows. You simply plug a flash drive or a portable hard drive in the back of the console and it tracks all 16 tracks as individual recordings onto the drive. So you can worry about mixing them later on when you get home, all you have to do is plug the flash drive into your laptop, export the tracks into pro tools or cubase or what have you, and then you just edit and mix your band. Did someone mess up during a song? But other then that the mix is great? Well no problem, just plug the Xenyx into your computer, using either USB or Firewire, and you can just retrack the part that was messed up.

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

The Behringer XENYX-UFX1604

        Behringer has made reliable, great sounding, dirt cheap mixers for a long time now, but finally, a firewire/USB analog mixer/recorder with ultra low-noise, high headroom that can export all of your music discretely to a flash drive. The Xenyx also features “Planet Earth” connectivity, which means this mixer can be used world wide. For its amazing flexibility and versatility, walking the line between powerhouse mixer, and amazingly convenient recorder, the Xenyx also gets a 10 out of 10.

So here we have two awesomely powerful mixers, with two very different innovative designs, one is a mixer that you can pick up and carry around, effectively giving you the ability to mix a venue from any area within the venue, while the other allows you to record your whole band from anywhere with the simplicity and reliability of a thumb drive. Now with mixers like these, you finally have the opportunity to perform and enjoy your music the way it was meant to be enjoyed, without all of the hassle and headaches. Now thanks to us here at World Music Supply, you too have this opportunity, because both of these amazing mixers are available for pre-order now at Worldmusicsupply.com.