Behringer X32 and Ardour

For about the last 5 years or more, I’ve been using the Behringer X32 interfaced with Ardour. All 32 channels of USB audio are recognized by Ardour with no issues once selected as the audio interface. While I still have to set/change the ins/outs in the patchbay of Ardour, depending on playback or recording, once done, it all just works.

I switch between playback ardour and live X32 by making scenes on the X32 changing the channel assignments from local in- to usb in. So, for one tune I’ll have 2 scenes on the X32: “song title” -Ardour and “Song Title” -live

All my gear, that is, keyboards, modules, bass, guitar and vocals are patched into the X32 for live as well as recording. I don’t use the midi in Ardour yet, as I’ve been using Bars and Pipes for 30 plus years and still find it hard to change to another method of midi recording. And Bars and Pipes works quite well with WUAE on either linux, mac or Windows.

Does anyone have any experience with Ardour and a digital mixer of any kind? I’m wondering if there is a better way of connecting to Ardour and/or using the X32 connected to Ardour. Am I efficiently using Ardour in this context or does the old saying “Hey it works” apply here?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

I used to use a Behringer XR18 both for home and live use.

If you haven’t already, create one or more templates in Ardour for common use cases which have the inputs connected as you need.

I do this too, although most of my setups are band-specific setups so they don’t change from song to song, but it sounds like my live work is much less complex than yours (I only have 2 or 3 setups for live use). Live use, for me, means taking the XR18 to venues where I am the “sound guy” for a number of bands and also some other stage work.

I don’t generally mess with switching between local in and USB in. Typically I only have one stereo pair of channels as USB inputs, and that’s for everyday use to get audio from the PC out to the XR18, which I use as a PC audio interface most of the time. I also have a stereo bus connected back to the PC for general capture use. On the XR18 I use channels 17/18 for both capture and playback.

If your live setup means “live streaming” then this may work for you as it would allow you to create a specific mix for the stream on the X32 which can go straight to the streaming software. I have messed around with this in the past using Jack to route channels 17/18 something like Hangouts/Meet on Chrome (using Pulseaudio bridge), or a standalone app like Jitsi or Zoom. In that case, I don’t use Ardour at all.

When I go to live gigs, I generally don’t need channels 17 and 18 so I leave them alone. Generally my scenes only change some of the names, mute groups, and stuff like EQ and compression on each of the channels to cater for different band setups.

IMO there’s not a specifically optimised way to use these mixers in such a setup beyond what you are already doing, although I might question why you have song-based scenes, as that seems rather unnecessary to me unless you are doing significant changes in the mix for each song, such as send/return setups to the X32 onboard effects blocks.

Cheers,

Keith

Thanks for the input! And yes, I use all the inputs of my X32. Every channel has a keyboard synth or module plugged in. Drums only take 4 channels for now. Sometimes I plugin an adat or my Tascam 688 midistudio to transfer old recordings to rework. In the next few months I will also be transferring old 8trk 1/2 inch and 1/4 to ardour as well.

For each song/scene and the reason each song has 2 scenes is simple. Since I use Bars and Pipes for all midi, after finishing the main tracks for a song which usually include about 10 synths each with 2 outputs taking up about 20+ X32 inputs, which then are recorded directly to Ardour. I use the last 12 tracks normally for any vocals, live bass and guitar tracks. So, after recording all the synths to Ardour, I switch the inputs from local on the X32 to usb input tracks on the X32 FROM the PC usb.

Which is why I name the songs/scenes “live” or “Ardour” - since the X32 saves all settings which include EQ, compression, levels effects etc, and since I change those on the basis of re3cording or playback, I need 2 different scenes. At least for now. I don’t take the X32 out anywhere as I would have 50 cables to reconnect every time! I am slowly removing outboard gear I no longer use because the X32 does a fabulous job and sounds great so less cables connected to the X32.

Now Ardour saves my settings for each song. Although I haven’t quite figured out the template settings. I still find myself clicking on channels and selecting an output for playback after recording. I am not a power Ardour user. Even though I’ve used Ardour for years, the only person I believe who truly knows how to use it is Paul. (smile)

I’m beginning to think the way I’m doing it, since it works, is the way. But hey, still more Ardour to learn.
It sounds like you have the X18 down! Another excellent piece of gear. I thought about getting that but I really like physical buttons and knobs. Although I use the remote access on a tablet when recording vocals to Ardour, which works great, I prefer sliders, knobs and buttons. Just saying.

Cheers
cj