Over the years, I have worked with numerous soundboards across the globe and have found the ones that I really like and the ones that I could care less for.
Sometimes you come across one that is a real winner, and sometimes you find one that is a real stinker.
When my current church decided to make a move from an analog system to a digital board, I was excited! Our sound room is located in a separate room from the sanctuary and is only connected through a hole in the wall which does not allow for an adequate interpretation of the sanctuary's sound. This new system would allow for us to keep the sound room in tact, yet be able to operate the soundboard from within the sanctuary.
An outside sound-man was brought in to suggest equipment for the church and led the pastor to choose the Behringer X Air XR18 system.
This was largely due to the price of the Behringer system. I believe that we paid roughly $400 for the sound system and it handled enough channels that we were set for our church.
Another decision was made by the pastor and the outside sound-man to move the soundboard to the front of the sanctuary to bypass an antiquated snake.
The system started out as an ok deal. It handled all of the channels that we needed, allowed for plenty of auxiliary channels, and it had plenty of options for sound effects and equalizing options.
Though it started out well, I quickly found multiple issues with the system. The built in WiFi has limited power and it struggles to make it to back of the sanctuary, let alone the sound room that is in a separate room.
It is important to remember that this sound system is completely ran through an app on a tablet or cell phone, so when there is no signal, there is no way to adjust any aspect of the sound.
Another issue arose with the fact that the system was located in the front of the sanctuary. (this was a bad decision by us, but allowed for made a problem very clear.) Because the system was located so far forward, it is impossible to run background music through it from a PC or media player as all equipment has to be plugged directly in to the board - there is no way to play through your tablet into the sound system.
We have had horrible issues with the sliders on the app not working in real-time and often have a lag that has caused horrible sound mistakes during our service. I have tried all sorts of things to fix this and there seems to be nothing that I can do, it is just a problem with the system.
The other big issue, also linked to the location but also something lacking in the software, is the inability to send audio into a computer for live recording.
Our church operates a satellite campus/service as well which requires set up and tear down for every service. I believe that this system would be great for that church, but we are still using an old system there and I have not been able to try it.
Basically, this system would be ok for a small church or ministry that is on the move or requires set-up and tear down on a regular basis, but it is not a good dedicated system for an established ministry/sanctuary,
iPad*/Android* tablet controlled 18-input digital mixer for studio and live application
16 award-winning Midas-designed, fully programmable mic preamps for audiophile sound quality
Built-In Tri-Mode Wifi router for direct operation—no need for external routers
18 x 18 channel, bidirectional USB interface for direct recording on iPad etc.
Revolutionary Dugan*-style Auto-Mixing automatically manages microphone gain sharing
Award-winning X32 effects rack featuring 4 stereo FX slots including high-end simulations such as Lexicon 480L* and PCM70*, EMT250* and Quantec QRS* etc.
100-band Real Time Analyzer (RTA) for all channel and bus EQ’s
ULTRANET connectivity for Behringer’s P-16 Personal Monitoring System*
Rack ears and protection bumpers included for flexible rack and onstage applications
6 aux and main LR buses with inserts, full dynamics processing and 6-band parametric or 31-band graphic EQ
6 XLR aux outputs and 2 XLR main outputs plus phones connector
40-Bit floating-point DSP features “unlimited” dynamic range with no internal overload and near-zero overall latency
Free iOS, Android and PC/Mac*/Linux* apps available for remote operation via Ethernet, LAN or WiFi
MIDI In/Out allows controlling the mixer via MIDI equipment (incl. Mackie Control* protocol) or for use as a USB MIDI interface (future firmware)
Future firmware updates, incl. new FX “Plug Ins”, downloadable from behringer.com free of charge
Internal switch-mode power supply for noise-free audio and low power consumption
3-Year Warranty Program*
Designed and engineered in Germany
Technical information and photos from: https://www.musictribe.com/Categories/Behringer/Mixers/Digital/XR18/p/P0BI8