A 16-channel pro mixer with effects for $379 Sounds impossible but it is true. The UB2442FX-PRO is a compact, versatile mic/line mixer intended for recording and MIDI studios, small PA and video editing. One of Behringer’s UB mixer series, it includes 10 balanced mic inputs, 16 balanced line inputs, four stereo subgroups and even a lamp socket.
Product PointsApplications: Studio, live sound
Key Features: 10 IMP mic inputs; 16 line inputs; onboard DSP effects; four aux returns
Contact: Behringer USA at 425-672-0816, Web Site
At first glance, the UB2442FX-PRO resembles the Mackie 1604VLZ mixer, but has a silver chassis, four stereo channels and level markings by the channel faders. Dimensions are 5.5 inches by 16.5 inches by 17.25 inches (HWD) and weight is only 13 pounds, making it easy to carry. The mixer’s switch mode power supply reduces weight and allows use with AC mains between 100V and 240V.
A special feature of the mixer is Behringer’s new IMP “invisible” mic preamps. According to the manufacturer, these preamps provide a 130 dB dynamic range, 10 Hz to 200 kHz response, extremely low noise and distortion, and switchable 48V phantom power. Equivalent input noise is claimed to be 130.5 dB A-weighted with 150 ohms source resistance. Rated S/N is 112 dB A-weighted and THD + N is 0.004 percent.
Built into the unit is a 24-bit effects processor based on Behringer’s Virtualizer Pro DSP2024P. Included are 99 presets such as reverb, delay, chorus, flanging, pitch shift, compression, gating and distortion. Although the presets cannot be edited, there are several presets with different reverb times and delay times so you should be able to find what you need. The mixer can feed external processors as well.
The UB2442FX-PRO is configured with eight mono input channels and four stereo input channels. The stereo channels are handy for stereo keyboards, drum overheads, turntables and CD players.
Top panel connectors for each mono Channel 1-8 are as follows: balanced mic input (XLR), balanced or unbalanced line input (phone jack) and an insert jack that is prefader, pre-EQ. Channels 9/10, 11/12, 13/14 and 15/16 are stereo, each with two line inputs. Channels 9/10 and 11/12 also have a single balanced mic connector each, for a total of 10 mic inputs. A stereo pair of RCA tape-in jacks accepts signals from a two-track recorder, line level source or another mixer. The stereo RCA tape-out jacks can be used to feed a DAT recorder or CD burner.
Rear panel connectors include main-mix balanced outputs (left and right), main-mix inserts, CTRL (monitor) outs, eight unbalanced subgroup outputs and eight unbalanced direct outs. All connectors are phone jacks. The main-mix outputs also are available at two XLR connectors.
Looking at each mono input channel, we see a gain control, low-cut filter (18 dB/octave at 75 Hz), three-band EQ, four mono aux sends, routing switch, pan, solo, mute, channel fader, mute LED and peak LED. The equalizer provides ±15 dB of shelving boost or cut at 80 Hz and 12 kHz, plus ±15 dB of peaking EQ at a sweepable mid frequency. Two of the four aux sends can be switched pre or post-fader. The aux FX send adjusts the signal level to the built-in effects processor. Routing (channel select) buttons are labeled Subgroups 1-2, Subgroups 3-4, Main Mix Bus and Solo. The pan control can be used to assign the signal to odd or even subgroups.
Each of the four stereo input channels has a gain control, mute, peak and mute LEDs, solo, channel routing switches and a fader. Channels 9/10 and 11/12 also include a low-cut filter. Equalization in the stereo channels is stereo, which maintains equal tone control on both stereo channels. This EQ offers ±15 dB of shelving boost or cut at 80 Hz and 12 kHz, plus peaking EQ at 3 kHz and 500 Hz.
In each stereo input channel are four aux sends, each one summing both channels to mono. Also included is a balance control that adjusts the left/right balance of the stereo signal.
Turning now to the output section, we find four master aux sends, each with a solo button. Aux 3 is for internal effects. The four stereo aux returns are a little confusing but versatile. Stereo Aux Return 1 adjusts the effects level when mixed with a dry channel signal. In this case, the effects device should be set to 100 percent “wet” or “effect.” Stereo Aux Returns 1 and 2 have an associated aux send knob that can be used to add an effect to a monitor mix. Stereo Aux Return 3 adjusts the level of the signal from the Aux-Return FX jacks to the main mix. It acts like a dry/effects mix control. If nothing is connected to the Aux-Return FX jacks, the output of the built-in effects appears at Aux Return 3. Various other switches allow aux-signal routing to the main mix, subgroups, monitor bus, solo bus and control room/headphones outputs.
Another output section is devoted to monitoring and level metering (with peak-reading LEDs). You can listen to and check the level of the tape-in signal, subgroups or the main mix. A single volume control affects the monitor level of control-room speakers and headphones. Two headphone jacks are included. The tape-to-main switch routes the two-track input signal to the main mix, providing an extra input for tape machines or MIDI instruments. A mode switch selects whether the solo function is PFL (Pre Fader Listen) or Solo in Place.
The final output section includes four stereo subgroup faders and a main mix fader. Above each subgroup fader are left/right switches, which assign the subgroup signal either to the main-mix left or right channel, both channels, or neither.
Described earlier, the built-in digital processor offers two types of effects, one at a time: (1) parallel effects that are mixed with the dry signal (such as reverb) and (2) insert effects such as compression. When using insert effects, you do not assign the dry signal to the main mix or subgroups. Instead, you control the effected signal level with the Stereo Aux Return FX control. The mixer accepts a footswitch that turns the effects processor on or off.
An FX out connector (unbalanced, stereo) supplies a separate output from the internal effects. If you record this signal on a separate track, you could have a dry track and an effected track to work with during mixdown.
I tried the mixer in several recording and PA gigs. All the controls have a smooth, solid feel and work as expected. The pots have a little less friction than those in a Mackie 1604VLZ. I like the clear layout of controls. Labeling of the controls and connectors is small and a bit hard to read.
Once I studied the clearly written owner’s manual, I found the mixer intuitive to operate. The aux and effects sections took some time to figure out, but they offer many modes of operation. The manual includes no wiring diagrams or applications notes, so you need to know how to connect a mixer and operate it before using the UB2442FX-PRO.
Sound quality is excellent. The mic preamps are very quiet, and the overall sound of the mixer is effortless and open, which usually indicates very low distortion and phase shift. Tracks mixed through the Eurorack have a clear, present quality with no harshness.
In general, the effects also sound great and provide many useful enhancements. Reverb quality is not quite as good – a little metallic or hollow – but still useable. The effects level meter helped me set the effects drive level correctly. When I set it too low, hiss was audible from the effects returns.
I was disappointed that only one internal effect can be used at a time. If you want to compress a lead vocal with the internal compressor, you cannot add internal reverb at the same time. There are ways around this: you could compress the signal while recording and add reverb during the mix. Some of the effects are combinations (delay and chorus, flanger and reverb, etc.). Also, you can use external processors along with the internal one.
I am impressed with the Behringer Eurorack UB2442FX-PRO. Not only does it sound clean and test well, it is easy to use and versatile. This mixer offers amazing performance for the price.