When you want to add a digital console to your recording setup, two clear favorites are head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. The first products you’ll want to review are the Midas M32 and the Behringer X32.
Although it seems like you’re comparing two items from different brands, both Midas and Behringer are owned by Music Tribe.
Midas brings a more robust reputation to sound engineering needs, which is why both brands now work together in the Music Tribe family. When you purchase the Behringer X32, you’re getting a console that uses the same preamps as the Midas M32.
Music Tribe even named the Midas M32 so that the name sounded similar to the Behringer X32.
When you know the crucial differences between these two products, it’ll be easier to determine which one can best meet your needs.
Midas M32 vs. Behringer X32
The most significant difference in the Midas M32 vs. Behringer X32 debate is the preamps. The X32 offers ones that Midas designed, whereas the M32 uses the actual components from the brand. You’ll see noticeably better higher gain levels, improved build quality, and more accessibility with the M32.
The issue that comes up most often when comparing the Midas M32 with the Behringer X32 is the price for both units. You can save about $1,800 if you shop for the X32, which is a significant savings to consider for new sound engineers.
That’s why the Behringer X32 is often the console that musicians love to hate and hate to love. It’s popular because it offers 32 microphone preamps, 16 XLR outputs, about six aux inputs. That means you’re ready for almost anything with this 25-bus design.
When you look at the Midas M32, Music Tribe incorporated the best basic components from the X32 to create this digital mixer. Once they had the foundations correct, the company expanded it by using carbon fiber construction, genuine Midas professional preamps, and reduced latency.
You’ll discover that many of the components tend to be the same when making a direct comparison of the two consoles. Your choice involves whether you prefer an entry-level installation or something better.
What Is the History of Music Tribe as an Organization?
Music Tribe used to be called Music Group. Instead of it being a formal sound engineering business or manufacturer, it is a holding company.
The company’s headquarters are currently located in Makati, which is part of the metro Manila area in the Philippines.
Uli Behringer currently serves as the chairman of the holding company that oversees numerous audio-based brands from the past. He is the founder of the Swiss audio equipment company for the X32 that began business in 1989. In 2007, Behringer was the 14th-largest creator of music-related products in the world.
The company’s sales network reached 130 countries by 2007, including a direct marketing presence in ten of them.
As of 2018, virtually all of Music Tribe’s manufacturing processes are in Zhongshan, China. Their new complex incorporates dormitories and factory buildings for up to 10,000 workers.
The holding company portfolio includes CoolAudio, Midas, Behringer, Bugera, Klark Teknik, TC Electronic, and Tannoy.
■ Behringer Has a History of Legal Issues
What has led Behringer into trouble at times is its unlicensed production of equipment recreations from other companies. In 1997, LOUD Technologies (formerly the Mackie company) accused Behringer of trade dress and trademark infringement. The lawsuit asked for $327 million, although the court rejected the claim.
Aphex Systems sued Behringer earlier for a similar issue where the court awarded DM690,000 as a penalty.
Roland Corporation and Peavey Electronics have also filed lawsuits against Behringer for patient infringement.
In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States fined the business $1 million, claiming that 50 items from its catalog were not tested for radiated emissions limits.
Even under the Music Tribe banner, Behringer published a mock video that critics said had antisemitic themes include. They issued an apology and removed the content the next day. It is crucial to point out that all of those comments were only allegations.
■ Midas Has Manufactured Audio Consoles Since the 1970s
When audio engineers need live sound, they almost always use Midas equipment. The company uses Linux at the core of its digital consoles, including the M32.
After the British invasion of the 1960s, electronic music gave rise to the progressive rock of the 1970s. That’s when Midas Amplification got its start on Stanhope Street. It only took a few years for the new company to go on tour with Supertramp, leading to a surge of interest in audio engineering equipment.
The PR40 series (PRO40) line was launched in the 1980s to offer more modules and facilities to increase the live sound capacity of the equipment. In 1986, the XL console seemed to be the next innovation for the industry, but it would end up running the company into financial trouble.
That’s when Klark Teknik purchased the company’s assets. The final PRO40 board to be manufactured came from their facilities.
In 1990, the brand would reestablish itself with the XL3 board, offering a product suitable for front-of-house duties. It would be a path that would eventually lead to the digital dawn of audio engineering equipment in 2003.
The Midas M32 launched in January 2014 at the Winter NAMM event in Anaheim, California. It’s primarily based on the Behringer X32 and its massive success, including sharing most of the same operating system.
Detailed Comparison of the Midas M32 vs. Behringer X32
When you look at the Midas M32 and the Behringer X32, a few differences stand out when you get beyond the optics.
For the Midas M32, it’s the shaper angle that the console provides as a working surface. This design element makes it much easier to access your bus controls, equalizer, and other controls. It saves you from the numerous headaches that sound engineering creates when you don’t quite get the settings right.
When you take a closer look at the Behringer X32, you’ll find two crucial differences.
The first is the X-USB interact card. That makes the console compatible with almost every popular DAW you might be using at home or in the studio. DP, Pro Tools, and Studio One are all potential options.
There is also a significant weight difference between the X32 and M32 consoles. If you select the Behringer option, you have a rack-mountable board that can go almost anywhere to help with your mastering needs. That’s not something you’d always be able to do with the Midas equipment.
If you’re wondering what console the better choice for your needs in the Midas M32 vs. Behringer X32 debate would be, here is a direct comparison of each point.
|Midas M32 Console||Behringer X32 Console|
|Preamp Sample Rate:||96 kHz||48 kHz|
|Dynamic Range:||112 dB||106 dB|
|Dimensions:||35.1 x 24.1 x 10.1 inches||35.4 x 20.9 x 7.9 inches|
|DAW Control:||Yes (via Mackie Control or HUI protocols)||Yes (via software)|
|Weight:||75.8 pounds||45.4 pounds|
|Main Display:||7-inch TFT LCD with 900 x 480 resolution (262k colors)||800 x 400 (6-Bit Color)|
|Channel LCD Screen:||128 x 64 LCD with RGB Color Backlight||128 x 64 with RGB Color|
|Frequency Response:||20 Hz to 20 kHz at 0 dB to -1 dB and a 48 kHz sample rate||10 Hz to 22 kHz at 0 dB to -1 dB and a 48 kHz sample rate|
|Power Supply:||100-240 VAC auto-ranging (50/60 Hz) +/- 10%||100 to 240 VAC, 50/60 Hz|
|Warranty:||3 years||3 years|
What Are the Pros and Cons of the Midas M32?
When only the best equipment will do for your home studio, investing in the Midas M32 is often worthwhile. Although it won’t rival the $100,000 systems found in professional recording venues, you can still take advantage of its unique capabilities to produce authentic audio.
You’ll receive 32 Midas preamps with this investment, delivering the precise sound you want with just a touch of warmth. Here are some of the other pros and cons to review if you’re looking at the M32 today.
|List of the Pros of the Midas M32||List of the Cons of the Midas M32|
|• The M3 comes with an impressive array of plugins and effects so that you can accomplish almost anything with its sound engineering setup.|
• It comes with an intuitive interface that allows most people to get to work right away on their recordings.
• The exterior uses a carbon-fiber body that has enough durability that it could get passed down to the next generation of artists and recording specialists.
• With the 32 Midas preamps included with your purchase, you’ll earn dividends on this investment with every recording you send through the mastering process.
• It delivers a highly reliable result that works well in the studio or for outdoor venues. You can even take advantage of its features for a live audience.
• The sound quality output is exceptional due to the advanced technology and components found inside the console.
|• Although the M32 delivers lots of power for your recording studio, it isn’t the cheapest option available. |
• The X32 is significantly less expensive for those who are on a budget.
• The console lacks any semblance of portability. Once you have it installed, that’s where your studio will be for the foreseeable future.
• It is an overpowered console for anyone who doesn’t need the versatility of indoor, outdoor, and live performance assistance.
• The M32 offers a steep learning curve to the average consumer, delaying the ability to use the equipment after its installation.
• It takes time to complete the routing you need for different venues, although you can save the configurations to save time after.
Product Features of the Midas M32
When you need help with sound engineering principles, the Midas M32 is standing by to deliver an outstanding result. Here is a closer look at the features you can expect when selecting this digital mixer to serve as your primary console.
■ Sound Reinforcement Features of the M32
This area is where the Midas M32 delivers an outstanding result. Transparency comes through with authenticity with minimal harmonic distortion included in the mix. It also provides a significant common-mode rejection ratio.
The analog tech you’ll find from Midas is almost beyond compare. Even though it only has 32 mic preamps, it can still replicate an entry-level recording studio experience.
■ Multiple Software Applications
Although you’ll need to connect to your DAW through an appropriate software connection, you’ll receive a 32-in and 32-out USB 2.0 audio interface to use. That means you can record live, use it for the studio, and manage most other sound engineering needs.
The setup allows you to plug in a flash drive into the USB port to start your recording. It also includes the motorized faders, converters, and onboard processing so that you can mix and record with convenience.
The M32 excels with the high-res faders in the studio here, ensuring that any unwanted sounds can disappear. If you’re using it for a live performance, you can turn down those vocals or instruments that don’t sound great.
■ Improved Ergonomics
When you want to create the perfect audio mix in a short time, you need to have a comfortable console with an intuitive design that makes sense. That’s what you’ll get when working with the Midas M32.
Virtually all of your controls are in the center-front of the console. They’re all within easy reach, allowing you to insert the deeper functions with relative ease.
When you add in the combination of carbon fiber, aluminum, and steel for the exterior and internal components, you’ll have lots of stability to reduce bumps and errors.
Although the design is heavier than what some home studios or venues might prefer,
What Are the Pros and Cons of the Behringer X32?
If you’re trying to create a home studio for your recording needs, the Behringer X32 provides excellent results for most audio genres. Once you hook the system into your preferred DAW software, you can produce everything from LPs to podcasts with this equipment.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Behringer X32 you’ll want to review before settling on this digital mixer to meet your needs today.
|List of the Pros of the Behringer X32||List of the Cons of the Behringer X32|
|• It provides a lightweight and portable option for your home-based recording studio so that you can set things up almost anywhere.|
• The X32 shares the same firmware as the M32, allowing some users to have an instant familiarity with the operating system you’ll be using with this equipment.
• You’ll have all of the inputs and outputs needed for home sessions while creating professional results in the mix.
• The console delivers accurate audio representation and profiles so that each recording feels authentic, even if you’re making a stereo or surround sound mix with the board.
|• Since the preamps are Midas-inspired instead of being an original product, the audiophile quality of a mix can come into question with this equipment.|
• The overall construction and quality of the equipment aren’t as good as other digital mixers, with the preamps delivering 50% less than the M32.
• It isn’t always easy to understand how to proceed with sound engineering principles because of the product’s general layout.
• It was once a top-of-the-line product, but the X32 hasn’t seen as many updates as other boards within the audio engineering industry in recent years.
■ A Key Point to Consider About the Behringer Warranty
If you decide to purchase the Behringer X32 for your sound engineering needs, you’ll want to think about the warranty structure.
Although you can receive a 3-year warranty with your product, you must register it within 90 days of purchase. If that doesn’t happen, you forfeit the protections that come with this advertised guarantee.
You’ll want to watch the fine print. Some products can require registry cards, including the Behringer X32, for U.S. customers. Is the likelihood of making a claim worth the disclosure of your personal information to the company?
If you’re talking about a flash drive or something inexpensive, the answer is probably a firm no. When you buy the Behringer X32 and want the entire three years of protected coverage?
The answer is probably in the affirmative.
Full warranty protections don’t require registration to have the benefit included with purchase, which is why most companies offer limited guarantees instead.
Features of the Behringer X32
When you look at the Behringer X32, the first thing that stands out is the 16 new FX plugins you get for your investment. You’ll get digital networking, the classic analog gear you want, and plenty of additional features that make it a worthwhile investment.
■ DCA (Digitally Controlled Amplifier) Groups
The DCA groups on the Behringer X32 provide users with control over several signals simultaneously. This setup allows for the efficient management of your audio signals without causing them to get mixed into your subgroup bus. You’ll get eight to use.
This feature includes a single fader that controls several sections, including the backup vocalists, percussion mix, and your horn section. It’ll even influence your FOH mix while having the individual buses remain unchanged and consistent.
It is an idea that improves the digital mixer’s flexibility while keeping sounds directed to their respective areas efficiently.
■ The Inclusion of Motorized Faders
The Behringer X32 provides 25 100mm long-throw motorized faders to help you with the primary mix. They’re designed to help you produce multiple functions while keeping you informed of the work. Almost 100 different scenes are storable in the unit, and you can have them leap back to life almost instantly.
It’s a convenient feature on the X32 that enables you to sort assignments or separate fader sections to determine input, bus, or group availability.
Even if you’re not at the same venue with your board, you’ll discover that this feature does an excellent job of saving time during your sound checks.
■ TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) Display
Although the weight of the Behringer X32 encourages portability, this feature is what makes it possible. The 7-inch TFT display has enough brightness and contrast that it functions in virtually any outdoor environment. Even if the sun offers tons of glare, you’ll still see what you’re doing.
The innovative design has enough intelligence to control many of your functions, including routing, effects, or metering, with only a couple of buttons to manage.
■ Channel and LCD Scribble Strips
Your primary channel processing parameters are placed within a single section using the channel strip feature. That means the controls remain the same all of the time. With the optimized control illumination, you’ll get a clear status indication from almost any viewing angle.
This feature incorporates frequency shelving, preamp settings, and the parametric EQ, along with several others.
The X32 also comes with an automated control surface. It’s an inclusion that allows the audio engineer to have their hands free whenever it is required. You have access to 29 programmable strips to facility channel identification.
Users can add colors and icons to produce visual groups for similar inputs on the fly, ensuring immediate recognition occurs.
How to Choose the Best Audio Mixer
The modern mixing console combines and processes audio signals to route them to wherever you want them to go. Most devices offer some capabilities in this area today, although the Midas M32 and Behringer X32 are two of the best.
If you only need something minor for a one-off project, it might make sense to use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to manage this need.
Some DAW software options even include mixing capabilities today.
When should you consider an audio mixer like the M32 or X32? Most people with home studios and performing musicians find that the real faders, knobs, and buttons on dedicated hardware are easier to control than the software choices you can downloa
■ Advantages of Choosing a Digital Mixer
What is nice about the Midas M32 and Behringer X32is that you get elements of analog and digital mixing in one investment.
The primary reason why you’d want a digital mixer for your recording or live sound needs is its ability to deliver instant change. When you touch a single button, the pre-programmed routing or effects trigger faster than anything you could perform manually.
When the mixer has compatibility with software plugins to shape your final tone even further, there’s almost nothing that you can’t accomplish with this investment.
You’ll have instant control over the potential feedback from the unit, stopping squeals and howls when components get too close before they can even start. Automatic gating can silence your channels without having a signal passing through them.
Another massive advantage that you’ll get with modern digital mixers is the option to save and recall mixes. With the USB port, you can store settings from a past performance to create an instant setup. Some boards provide enough internal memory that you don’t need external storage!
You can save so much time with that feature. Even if you’re in a new venue, recalling a similar mix from a past performance can reduce how long it takes to get the sound checks right.
The one downside of a digital mixer’s versatility and flexibility is the time it takes to train on the unit. You’ll find that the learning curve is a lot steeper with this product compared to analog, even if you’re familiar with the process.
That’s why the user interface is more important to consider when shopping for products like the Midas M32 or Behringer X32. If you’re comfortable with the equipment, the rest of your needs will eventually fall into place.
Is Analog Still a Better Choice for My Needs?
Digital consoles like the Midas M32 or the Behringer X32 have more resistance to environmental noise. Even when you’re at a great distance, the transmission doesn’t face increased susceptibility to interference.
Analog consoles are a different story. If you’re in an ample space, the mixer can be pretty noisy. If you have a low-noise floor, it might be worth considering a more traditional approach to your audio engineering needs.
For starters, an analog console is significantly cheaper than the Midas M32 or the Behringer X32.
You will also see a similar setup when comparing all other options. Once you’ve learned how to work with your analog board, you can work virtually all of them without skipping a beat.
If you have problems with audio signal flow, the analog design makes it relatively easy to resolve those issues. Some people, especially beginners, find that the layout makes it possible to learn the board’s routing, fading, and mixing practices faster.
For most people, a digital mixer is the better choice. Analog soundboards are massive, which means they’re probably a permanent installation. If you want to customize your system by adding external effects, the price benefits disappear almost entirely.
Analog boards don’t have pre-programming benefits or the option to recall a previous sound. That means you’ve got to create something new every time you’re managing your audio needs.
Final Verdict: Is the Midas M32 or Behringer X32 Better?
For me, the decision on whether to buy the Midas M32 vs. Behringer X32 depends on several localized factors.
- Is your intent to set up a professional recording studio?
- Do you need to have live support for stage-based audio at indoor or outdoor venues?
- How important is it to use authentic equipment vs. “inspired” products for your sound engineering?
- What price can you safely afford with your current budget?
When you have a small venue or a home recording studio you want to set up, I’d recommend using the Behringer X32. Although I wouldn’t have said that a few years ago, the shift with Music Tribe has helped this entry-level system step up its game.
Although the X32 won’t stand up to the Midas 32 in an across-the-board comparison, the value you get for the lower overall price creates a deal that some musicians or audio engineering professionals cannot ignore.
Behringer created a practical product that delivers profound results for an affordable price. Although it doesn’t have the same name-based reputation as Midas, you can’t beat the benefits that the X32 offers. Since the learning curve is also better, you can get up to speed a lot faster.
Just watch out for those potential warranty issues with Behringer.
For everyone else, the Midas M32 is the better choice. Although the technical work is more complex, an audio engineer who knows what they’re doing can produce original mixes and supported live performances without difficulty.
The M32’s mixing board is superior with its setup and design, ensuring that you have a fast response to whatever situation you’re facing.
If I had to choose one where no factors were considered, the Midas M32 stands out with its authentic preamps and intuitive design. Once you start asking questions about your precise needs, the Behringer X32 could be the better deal.