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Connecting External Devices to the X32

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by Drew Brashler in All Posts, Behringer X32, DIY
February 6, 2016 9 comments

I have gotten a lot of questions in the past regarding connecting external devices to the Behringer X32. From PC’s, iPhones, or CD players, all of them have different connections and require a bit of creative thinking to get them connected to your console. Today I am going to go through a few of my thoughts when regarding devices like these.

To AUX or to XLR, that is the question!

We have two avenues with the Behringer X32 and Midas M32 for channels to be presented to our main bus, we have the main Channels (1-32) and the Auxes (Aux 1-6). The main difference between the two is that natively the main channels are connected to the XLR inputs and the Auxes are connected to the 1/4 inch TRS inputs. Another main difference between them is that the Auxes have limited processing to where only the EQ section is able to be applied to the signal.

With that being said, typically when playing something from a PC, iPhone, or CD, the signal is going to be polished enough to the point where we would not need to apply compression, so in order to save my XLR inputs and main channels, I would rather connect these devices into the Auxes.

Connecting iPhone to X32

iPhone, Android, and iPods (3.5mm)

Really any 1/8th inch stereo jack, these are probably the easiest to connect. A quality 1/8th inch stereo to stereo RCA (or 1/4 inch) will quickly be able to connect the device to your Aux 5&6 using the RCA inputs on the back of the board. Check out this cable from Monoprice which has yielded good results for me. Or if you have a case on your phone, Monoprice also has this cable which is more thin.

A better connection, ISOLATE!

You will sometimes notice that if you connect a PC/Computer to your board with a direct cable like the one suggested above, you will get noise. This noise can be reduced and even completely removed by the use of an isolation transformer. If you are handy with a soldering iron, you can wire one up yourself! It is very similar to what I used with my Stereo to Mono Conversion Article. Find a 1:1 audio transformer and you can wire it inline. If you are looking to purchase something, using a pair of direct boxes is a great way to add in the isolation into the connection. One downside is that most of the DI boxes you will find will convert the signal into an XLR, so you will end up burning two XLR inputs, but you can route the auxes to these via the ‘config’ tab of the aux channel.

One other option is to use the Radial USB-Pro which is a USB sound card that outputs a professional audio level output in stereo which is isolated. You can find more information on that here.

Line Level Out

If your device has a line level out, use it! You will find that there are a few different levels of line level. The two most common is -10dB and +4dB, either way the X32 aux inputs and the XLR inputs have plenty of channel gain adjustment to accommodate for either level. One thing to keep track of is if you hear a buzz on the channel when you solo it. If you do find that you have a buzz (this is a ground loop) you will want to either isolate it, or lift the audio ground. You will only be able to lift the ground if it is a balanced signal. The best way is to use isolation, but sometimes budgets don’t allow for it!

Stereo to Mono Conversion

Unbalanced Stereo to Unbalanced Mono Conversion

Lastly, if you DON’T need to have stereo from your PC or Device, check out my Stereo to Mono Conversion article to find out how easy it is to have 1 input tied up for your device.

9 Comments
  1. Chris says:

    Great advice Drew.

    Another way to connect computer audio to the X32 is utilizing the USB card on the console, if your console has one. This effectively make the X32 a USB audio device on the host computer. We run a USB cable from our ProPresenter computer to the X32 and route the USB card audio to on of the AUX channels. Bare in mind that this would only be a solution if your audio source computer is close to your X32 console. I wouldn’t want to do this with much more than a 15ft USB cable. If you are needing a longer cable run, you should consider the Isolation method above while using quality balanced audio cables.

    We the additional use a 3.5mm to stereo RCA for laptops, iPads, etc.

    Although this is outside of the scope of this topic, we separately add our two AUX audio sources to separate DCA groups so we can adjust those sources without needing to go to the AUX bank while on the main faders.

    1. dbbaudio says:

      Great point Chris! I didn’t mention this one as I consider the availability of having the option for multitrack recording a more important tool to use the USB card for. But, if you are not going to use the USB card for recording, then by all means! Also is a great spot to input backing tracks from a program like Ableton Live.

      If you have the X32 full size, another great spot to place those media faders is in the user defined section. The 4 rotary knobs can be assigned as a volume control for any of the channels on the board!

      Thanks for your comment!
      Drew Brashler

  2. Evan says:

    How to do I change the output to the 5-6 that my computer is plugged into to output to the mainchannels….im connecting to adobe audtion as an interface

  3. Michael says:

    Drew – off topic, but need to discuss the battle I’ve been having between whether or not the Aux Input are TS or TRX (mono or stereo). I’ve recently run into a situation where they are behaving as if they are mono and I have to split the 3.5mm audio output from Haivision, because the the audio sounds like the center has been “sucked out” I have be unlucky finding a specific drawing for the X32 that shows the Aux Inputs as TRS and the “preliminary manual” STILL on the website is not specifically clear. Please cite one way or other. Thank you.

    1. dbbaudio says:

      Great question Michael! It is a TRS balanced 1/4 inch connection. It will work with TS Unbalanced as well. But if you connect a stereo splitter like you are, you will be hearing one of the channels out of polarity with the other. Check out this blog post for more information with what you are observing: https://dbbaudio.com/2012/polarity-issues-in-cd-recording-from-bad-wiring/

      Drew

  4. Dan says:

    It’s easy to hook up an external device to the x32. You left out the most critical piece of information though, which is how to route the device so it will play through the mains. So I have a cable with an 1/8″ on one end and rca’s on the other. I plug the 1/8″ into my iphone and the rca’s into aux-in 5 & 6. Now what do you do on the routing screen to get the phone to play through the mains?

  5. Chris N says:

    Drew / Chris,

    I’m looking at your replies about connecting PC. We too are using a Mac for proprestentor and also run a click back to the musicians. We currently run this over Dante to an x-rack. We are looking at upgrading from the rack to a compact or full size so we will have to swap back from Dante to a more tradition setup with the board now being right next computer.

    We are looking at the best way to connect and keep click which is currently 4 tracks – click, voice queues, pad, & aux instrumentation. I’m thinking my only options are to go with the usb or keep the Dante like we have today.

    Would appreciate your thoughts / pros and cons of both approaches and any ideas that we may not have thought of. Thx

  6. Paul says:

    Can you connect an external equalizer to the machine?

  7. Joe Rivera says:

    Hi Drew,
    I am a proud owner of some of your DBB Audio packs for the X32, here is my question. I play electronic drums, a Pearl Mimic Pro Drum Module that has TRS Line Level Outputs. The venue I play at uses a Midas M32 and there is only a XLR snake on stage. Plugging my Mimic Direct Outs TRS Line Outs (using 8 chn DB25>XLR cable) into the XLR in the Snake was causing severe clipping in the M32, due to the signal out of the Mimic Pro overdriving the XLR mic inputs. Is there a way to set XLR input channels on the M32 to accept TRS line level instead of mic level to prevent overdriving the inputs? The reason is the XLR snake is all I have access to and that feeds the XLR inputs on a board that is far from stage. At home I tried putting one channel TRS into a passive direct box ProCo CB-1 and then XLR out of direct box into mixer and it lowered the gain and did not get the clipping. I do not want to have to buy 8 channels of direct boxe If I we can set the XLR inputs on the M32 to Line Level. If I need to go direct box one item I was considering was the Behringer DI800 https://www.musictribe.com/Categories/Behringer/Signal-Processors/DI-Boxes/DI800/p/P0208 – perhaps you can weigh in on that option. I have a gig coming up this weeked 10/6/18, so any advisement would help.
    Thank you! – Joe

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GET THE X32 ROUTING WORKSHEET FOR FREE!

I FOUND THAT OVER THE YEARS, HAVING MY ROUTING WRITTEN DOWN NOT ONLY MADE MY JOB EASIER BUT IT MADE ME FASTER AT MY JOB!

AS A THANK YOU FOR COMING TODAY, I WANT TO GIVE IT TO YOU!

Subscribe Me