Audour 6 (Win10) with Behringer XR18 mass confusion

Hi guys,
Back in July of this year I purchased a Behringer XR18 as a recommendation from a friend. I’m hoping that I didn’t make a mistake purchasing the XR18 and would have been better off with the UMC1820 audio interface instead because this isn’t used in a live situation, only a project studio. I know this question and confusion is likely going to trigger a thought of “I don’t see the problem” but I’m still struggling with a setup that I can use as my default. I guess I’m looking for that “Ah Ha!!” moment to have this all make more sense as to getting it setup correctly for my purpose. I’m seeing people using with with a DAW that use the XR Edit as the “master” but Ardour has so many great features I’m not so sure that’s the way to do it. I’ll explain further of course.

Since the XR18 is actually a mixer and audio interface it makes things a bit complex to use with any DAW because there are two of everything. The XR18, similar to Ardour offers “route anything to anywhere”. Great and flexible features of both products but it makes it a bit daunting to find one solution for tracking/recording vs playback and mixing. I’m sure when I make an Ardour master template this may help make things a bit easier but I haven’t got to this yet as my setup isn’t in the middle of construction as I build the desk and necessary space to make the work flow efficient.

If I’m referring to an audio track playback compared to midi it’s different because the audio source is coming from two different places. I would like to use Ardour to handle everything in terms of control of monitoring source but there are so many options that I’m overwhelmed. Again, I’m thinking I would have been better off with simply an audio interface like the Beh. 1820 simply because it doesn’t have a mixer and the endless options and features.

Two mixers, two effects sources (would like to use the ones in the XR18 since it will free up CPU/RAM on the PC since it’s handling the FX rather than Ardour), endless routing options. Wow I’m not really sure how to have all of this make sense.

Ardour offers the “In” and “Disk” buttons on the channel strip. This works great for audio but when using/playing back from a midi instrument I have to mess with the XAir Edit to allow the audio to be heard directly from the channel it’s plugged into rather than listening to it by the AUX return off the PC (like I would for audio tracks).

Are any of you using Ardour with the Behringer XR/R series digital mixers? If so how do you use them together for tracking/recording vs playback/mixing without jumping through hoops getting things to work for these two different modes?

Thanks guys,

I have a UMC1820, but I looked at the XR18 and considered it. The XR18 is more complicated, but those complications allow for a lot more possiblities, which is why it is twice the price. If I had that device, I would let the XR18 handle all monitor mixing since that is one of its distinguishing features compared to the UMC1820. It allows zero latency monitoring with effects and the ability to set playback levels of the inputs independent of the gain settings while recording. The UMC1820 can only provide zero latency monitoring straight from the hardware, which is dry and subject to the gain settings. I add effects and adjust playback levels while recording by letting Ardour handle the monitoring, but it took a special computer to produce this adequately and reliably, i.e. with a low enough buffer setting where latency is unnoticeable and no xruns are produced.

I think the best solution for you is to disable monitoring in Ardour altogether and let that all happen inside the XR18. Send the dry tracks straight to Ardour while recording, but listen to the monitor mix via the XR18. Once the recording is finished and you are ready to mix the playback, just be sure the return of the Master mix from Ardour to the XR18 is not being effected by anything in the XR18’s mixer so that what comes out your speakers or headphones reflects what Ardour is playing back. Proper signal levels at each stage is important, but after you learn that and get everything set properly, you can really make full use of that device.

Thanks Gunther. You have already open my mind and offered a paradigm shift for me! I disabled monitoring from the Edit/Preferences/Monitoring menu by changing the previously set “Record Monitoring Handled by:” Ardour to Hardware.

So in a project that I have running I disabled the mic effects. I then enabled the XR18 mixer to take over the mic effects (compressor, reverb, etc.). Now I only see audio meters on those channels in Ardour when the track is armed but listening from the XR18. I did a test record all went well although I have to make certain that all of my levels/gains are set correctly. I still have a ways to go there in understanding the signal path. Anyway, I playback the recording but Ardour/PC audio is coming in on the stereo Aux in so I’m hearing no effects on playback. Obviously I’m missing something. I’m green to this so please forgive my ignorance but thanks VERY much for shedding an "ah ha! moment on my configuration blues.

I use Ardour and XR18. I think the XR is excellent. I’ve yet to use all its features and there is nothing I’ve needed (so far) that it cannot do. Although it’s a steep learning curve. The same comment goes for Ardour of course. I replaced a Behringer analogue mixer which had a DI. I run on Linux and use Carla to link Ardour and the XR. I play with some friends mostly over Jamulus and occasionally together as the situation permits. We all bought the XR for our studios although we each use a different DAW (all the flavours, Mac, win, Linux). It means we save session mix settings as a standard config and when we show up at the next meet, just load up the config and off we go. Saves so much setup time when get togethers are so limited.
Initially I thought I’d bought far more in the XR than I needed, but now with 3 guitars, a keyboard, drum machine and electronic wind instrument plus microphones between us it’s spot on! The only thing missing is musical talent…

It does take a while to get your head around the routing with Ardour and the XR since as you say they do similar things in some regards, but that’s why I find Carla helpful, since you can see all the links and it can also store standard setup connections. I don’t know if it’s available on win though.
So my advice would be to stick with it, it’s great.
Need any more details, let me know.

Thanks Stummer. I just broke down all of my gear because I’m finally going to build a custom project studio desk that will integrate everything in one place. Because of this I can’t looked at the XR18 mixer but I’ll be back up and running again soon. I’ll look into Carla but so far I’ve made some progress with my confusion. I’ve shut off the monitor completely in Ardor since the Xr18 can do this. Since I’ve done this I can see how this can be done seamlessly. When things are back up and running I think I’ll make one of the buses a monitor mix for me as it would make things much easier to sing and play if I could actually hear my vocals in the mix without messing with the recording mix.

The 18 ins are just enough for me. I have two boards, three or four sound modules and at least two mics. I have been watching many videos on the XR18 as well which helped me see how others are using it. I only wish I could find more Ardour using the XR18 videos but I see the light now using the XR18 compared to a standard audio interface.

Thanks for the information and suggestions. I appreciate it very much

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