This article is part two of my Behringer Air XR18 review and will continue its focus on the next few control tabs that make up the channel strip. If you missed part one of the review then click here to read part one.
The input Tab allows you to edit all the input parameters for each channel and all the busses except for the Master buss. You can see which channel you are viewing and editing by reading the scribble strip displayed in the top left hand corner. Here you can directly edit Phantom Power, Polarity, Stereo Link, which Pre-Amp the channel will use, the USB return (turning this on will disable the Pre-amp unless you have assigned as USB send to the channel), Low cut and Fx insert.
The Gate tab allows you to edit the Gate (operates as an insert) on each channel. Note that none of the Busses have access to this gate. You can see which channel's Gate you are viewing and editing by reading the scribble strip displayed in the top left hand corner. Here you can turn the gate on and off, select a generic pre-set, switch the gate out for an Expander or Ducker, set the threshold, range, the gain envelope (attach, hold and release time) and optional side chain filter (type and frequency).
The gates on each channel work nicely and I have no complaints about their usability. They work well enough and get the job done but they are nothing special or life changing.
The EQ tab allows you to edit the EQ on each channel and all of the busses (including the FX sends and returns). You can see which channel's EQ you are viewing and editing by reading the scribble strip displayed in the top left hand corner. Underlaied below the visual representation of the EQ is a Real-Time Spectrum Analyser (RTA). The RTA can be turned on and off. The RTA is handy because you can see what changes to the EQ are doing and it also makes it easy to ring out monitors. The RTA can also be se to Pre and Post EQ. The RTA is definitely not a replacement for seasoned and experienced ears however it's just an added tool that can assist you in visually understanding what the changes to the EQ are actually doing.
The EQ on each channel has 4 bands + Low Cut and each band is able to be set to a shelf or PEQ/TEQ. Each Buss has a 6 band EQ each band is able to be set to either a shelf or PEQ/TEQ. On each band you can set the Gain (the boost or cut), Frequency (where to attack) and Quality (the size/width of the attack). Each buss also has a 31 band Graphic EQ available.
The EQ's are really enjoyable to use mostly because there are enough bands and controls over said band's parameters to really shape each input into its own frequency block. This means that you can make each input stand out in the mix without the mix getting muddy or becoming congested with audio cohesion.
The only problem is that the Quality of each band is not controllable by the pinch to zoom gesture; on the PC version, and can only be edited by typing a number in from the keyboard. This is the only control on the entirety of the mixer to not have a touch friendly control option.
The Compressor tab allows you to edit the Compressor (operates as an insert) on each Channel and on each Buss (excluding the Fx return). You can see which channels Gate you are viewing and editing by reading the Scribble Strip displayed in the top left hand corner. Here you can turn the Compressor on and off, select a pre-set, Knee, set the threshold, and Boost Gain, Gain Envelope (Attack, Hold and Release time) an optional Side Chain Filter. Instead of using the Compressor as a Compressor you can also set it to be an expander.
The Compressors work OK although it's not the easiest to work with due to some confusing control naming. I'd also prefer that the Knee be controlled by a slider rather than the 6 available fixed points. I definitely enjoy using a standard dbx Compressor over the ones on the Air XR18.
Part three of the review will continue to focus on more of the control tabs and begin the introduction and review of the internal routing matrix.