The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Behringer XR18 Wifi Problems and Embarrassing Stories

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by michaelpraytor, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. michaelpraytor

    michaelpraytor Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Southern Georgia
    Hey!!

    I purchased a Behringer XR18 (rack mount/stage box version) last year and it's made my life so much easier in some respects and so much harder in others! I'm still really really new to using it.

    For the first few gigs (a couple of small concerts and some location recording sessions) the built-in wifi router worked perfectly. For larger gigs, I began using a tiny router - everything still worked perfectly.

    Then I went to Atlanta to run sound for a band and nothing would work for me. The gig was absolutely huge. It was in the middle of this gentrified shopping center (Ponce City Market) with thousands of people around. As you can imagine, just finding my router on the list of available networks was a little difficult because there were hundreds of Wifi connections all around.

    After making an initial connection close by the mixer and external router, I walked in front of the stage to handle the sound check and my iPad started freaking out and losing signal. When I'd walk back over to the mixer, I'd pick up signal for a couple of seconds - then it would drop again. In the end, I was only able to get the mixer to connect long enough to unmute the important channels (vocals, keyboard, and acoustic-electric guitar) and I had to pretty much grin and bear it the entire performance and make minor adjustments by walking back and forth from the router at point-blank-range to the front of the stage.

    It was absolutely embarrassing.

    Following this, I did some Googling and found that other people online had the same sort of problem - but I could never find a clear and concise solution. A sound engineer friend of mine that has years of experience with these mixers told me that an easy way to fix everything is by changing the WiFi channel from the default of 11 (or whatever it is) to something else.

    Poking around on the Behringer software, I found the spot in the app to change the internal router's WiFi channel. While I was at home, I changed it from 11 to 5 and (of course) noticed no real difference.

    A couple of weeks ago, I had another gig come up - a poetry and original music showcase in a loft. Only 100 people were expected to attend - and I figured I could get away with just using the built in router as the area the show was happening was not densely populated and I've been able to get away with using the built in WiFi in crowds of 300 before in the same area.

    The rehearsal went smoothly. The first hour and a half of the show went smoothly as well. Whenever the show was approaching the final 5 acts, the WiFi signal completely dropped out. No matter how close I got to my mixer, my iPad would not even recognize the router. After a minute of flipping the switch for the WiFi options on the mixer, I got connected again and everything functioned alright as long as I was close by.

    That is - until the final act.
    The final act was a four piece country band with a great reputation in the town and in the state. As they jumped on stage and picked up their instruments - the signal dropped out once again. I scrambled. I tried everything to fix it but nothing was working. My last choice was to turn the mixer off and on again (which I did after disconnecting all the speakers so nothing would pop).

    When the mixer came back on, I was able to connect to the WiFi, but I was yet again experiencing problems connecting unless I was in close proximity (or weirdly it would connect if I was on the opposite end of the room - but nowhere in between).

    Luckily, I was able to get out of there without completely embarrassing myself. I got the mixer to work well enough to bring effects in and out and to change monitor levels as needed. None of the guys in the band knew there was a problem and nobody in the audience complained about the sound (in fact, I got a shoutout in a newspaper article about the quality of the event sound).

    Anyway - it seems that changing the internal router WiFi channel didn't work for me. And maybe all of my problems would have been solved by bringing along my external router...


    Questions:

    1. Do I need to buy a new external router? I believe my current external router is a small dual-band Netgear unit that's a few years old.

    2. Is there any way to control the mixing through the XAir software on a computer through USB cable instead of WiFi?? Every time I've modified settings for recording or anything, I did it by connecting my computer to the board's wifi.

    3. Are these boards just sometimes defective? The amount of random signal dropout makes me really suspicious. Do I need to contact Behringer?

    4. Should I just buy an X32? I honestly don't have the money for one right now - and I was hoping I could get by with the XR18 while saving up for a Midas M32. Should I look at getting a physical board ASAP?

    5. How can I be certain that everything will work the next time I have a high-stakes gig, though? Next month, I'm heading back to Atlanta to do sound for the same band I was there with last time. If I adjust everything with my external WiFi router and all - how do I know it'll work when I travel somewhere more densely populated?


    As always, sorry for the long post - but these problems are really giving me anxiety and I can't seem to find any helpful, comprehensive answers anywhere!!
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  2. Crisp image

    Crisp image Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    129
    Location:
    Eastern Victoria Australia
    My thoughts and my thoughts only.
    Yes changing the channel is a good idea I had the same problem with my Nomad system for lighting. I have heard that the internal router is not the best router in the world so what I have read is use an external one. Use the best one you can afford. Do some experiments. Take the gear to a place where there are lots of people and play with it. No need to uput sound through just connect and wander to see if you can maintain control.
    I would be interested in the results as I was considering one of these devices.
    Regards
    Geoff
     
    michaelpraytor and RonHebbard like this.
  3. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,838
    Likes Received:
    243
    Occupation:
    Performing Arts Center Manager
    Location:
    Macomb, MI
    I would recommend a few things to set yourself for the best success. Always use an external access point. The built in one is junk. And get a nice unit like Apple, or Ubiquiti, or the the like. Get the unit up high in the air to get the best line of sight to where you will be mixing from. (I use a shelf on a tripod mic stand). Set it up as a hidden network on 5Ghz not 2.4. This will help to avoid some of the issues with congestion with local wifi and people trying to connect to your network thinking it is wifi. Also, carry an old laptop as a back up so that you have a hardwired connection available as a back up at all times. Set it up on each gig so it is ready to go.

    ~Dave
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
    michaelpraytor and RonHebbard like this.
  4. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    875
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    I'm not a wifi expert, nor have I attempted to use an XR series mixer. However, I have more than a little experience with RF systems, which wifi is at its roots. My opinion is that this is not a hardware problem specific to the XR series. This is a spectrum problem. When the sprectrum is extremely congested, as it clearly was in your problem locations, there is no wireless solution that is going to be as reliable as you'd like. If want a reliable connection, do the time honored thing and string a ruggedized network cable to your "mix position." And don't forget the gaff tape.
     
    michaelpraytor and RonHebbard like this.
  5. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    294
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    As stated above, using the 5ghz band instead of 2.4 will always get you further away from oversaturated interference. Also, like above, the access point should be as high as possible so the signal isn't "going through" all the people standing between you and the access point.
    The best and easiest solution is: Use a network cable, not wifi. Apple makes a lightning to ethernet adapter and you will never have to deal with interference.
    Sure you have to run a cable but can fall back to the wifi for sound check and plug in when you're in show mode.
     
    michaelpraytor and RonHebbard like this.
  6. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Lexington, SC
    These guys are absolutely right.

    1. The built in wifi is crap. Always use an external.
    2. Get a newer router that offers 5G. Not many people are using that band.
    3. Hide your SSID.
    4. Plug a laptop into the router and you have a backup! The desktop software also has a few more features than the iPad app. If the wifi crashes you still have your laptop hardwired to the xAir.
    5. I would also add - secure your router with a PW that you can remember! I can't count the number of times that I've seen the wifi and/or app crash and require the PW to reconnect only to have the engineer not remember which password he used!

    K
     
    michaelpraytor and RonHebbard like this.
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,537
    Likes Received:
    1,990
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Pick up a google wifi puck, that should get you nice wifi in a easy to move package. Second, run a cable for high profile events that will be in saturated wifi situations. You can get an ethernet adapter for an ipad. Using a Camera Connection kit and a USB to Ethernet adapter: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/...os-us-kwgo-pla-btb--slid----product-MK0W2AM/A and https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MC704LL/A/apple-usb-ethernet-adapter

    There are also 3rd party things that clean this up a bit... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DPNFHSN/?tag=controlbooth-20. As always with 3rd party apple products don't expect them to work perfectly.

    If something is critical for a gig ALWAYS run a cable. Using wifi spectrum over a crowd is always going to cause problems and the X-Airs router is junk. In the unit I have we never even turned it on.
     
    michaelpraytor and RonHebbard like this.
  8. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,255
    Likes Received:
    785
    Location:
    St Pete FL USA
    All the important stuff's been said.

    5GHz. Altitude. Laptop backup.

    Actually turn off the 2.4GHz radio in the router.
     
  9. michaelpraytor

    michaelpraytor Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Southern Georgia
    Thank you all so much!! I'm very dumb to technology when it comes to WiFi - and all your responses have cleared things up greatly for me or have led me in the right direction to find solutions. I have a couple of weeks before I have to hit the road with the mixer again - so I'll play around with it and get it all set up properly.

    Before this thread I didn't even think about the ethernet adapters for Mac and iPad. I'll definitely pick one up now so I'll have a hardwired connection. I had previously been trying to figure out how to do this through USB and the XAir Edit app - but I couldn't figure anything out. One situation was so dire I considered using the USB to route the audio into Logic then back out to the mixer - just because I knew for sure I could have control and process the channels the way I wanted that way.

    One thing that bothers me about the iPad app VS the desktop app is that they both seem to have different features and there's slight things about the layouts that are different - which makes things really confusing sometimes. I can stare at the screen for ages trying to figure out where something's at. I'm getting better, though!

    I have a feeling anyway that my current external router is crap or it's somehow falling apart... I usually use it at a small theatre with a StudioLive Series III and I've never had problems with connections dropping out until recently. I'll look into the Google Puck and see what that's all about!

    In the interest of tidiness I know I haven't always places my external router in a good spot. Could securing a router to the top of a speaker be a good place?
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  10. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    659
    Likes Received:
    835
    Hi Michael-

    I think the 'desktop' Editor is just peachy once you know what you want to do; you're right that you just need some time. Yeah, the UI looks different than the iOS app. Both are useful. The earlier suggestion to use a CAT5e cable to connect a laptop of Either Persuasion to your WAP/router is excellent advice. The Editor is an executable file and doesn't need much computer horsepower to run, either... but it means wired backup in combat audio situations.

    What I've found as a user of a variety of RF technologies: spectrum is more congested than ever; places where it worked last year will fail this year. The 2.4gHz band is overloaded in most concentrated populations - almost every person has a 2.4 transceiver in their pocket that really wants to reach out and touch your WAP/router (even if it can't do anything with it). Antenna position is EVERYTHING, in the sense that you can't bluff: if the devices do not have an RF-unobstructed view of each other failure is almost certain when competing devices populate your venue.

    The advice about securing and defending your WAP/router given up-thread is good grass roots advice. You're trying to minimize the promiscuous connection attempts by the punter's mobile phones and not overload the router's password authentication server to deny an actual data connection. Most devices will not attempt to connect to a "hidden SSID" unless they've previously connected to it. 5gHz? Fewer devices have it set as default but there are more dual-band mobile devices (my Galaxy 7 is one) and it's a pretty good bet that it too will become saturated. For now if it helps, use it. My experience has been the "line of site" requirement even more stringent with 5gHz than 2.4, and part of that is keeping my tablet or phone *consistently* up high enough to not have bags of salt water (people) between it and the WAP.

    Hope this helps.
     
    RonHebbard and michaelpraytor like this.
  11. michaelpraytor

    michaelpraytor Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Southern Georgia
    I just spent a couple of hours playing around with the desktop editor exclusively in a "virtual soundcheck" mode for the band that I'll be working with in the near future. It's something I've been meaning to figure out how to do for a long, long time - but I think I've finally got the hang of it. I worked exclusively on the desktop app so I'm now a little more familiar with the placement of everything and I've got all my inputs and basic processing set up for the gig!

    Thanks for all of your expertise I'm going to take everything you and others have said in this thread into account with my upcoming purchases!
     
    Jay Ashworth and RonHebbard like this.
  12. steine

    steine Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    7
    Occupation:
    IT-Support at K12 and freelance sound/light design
    Location:
    Denmark
    Never used the XR18 myself, but from fellow techies heard enough scary tales never to get one ;)
    (Used the Soundcraft UI24 a few times, with external 5GHz accesspoint though)

    One thing about 2.4GHz though, despite "all" the channels there, channels 1, 6 and 11 are the only ones usable together without interference, all the rest will at some degree overlap between those three.
     
  13. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,255
    Likes Received:
    785
    Location:
    St Pete FL USA
    Where as in 5GHz there are like 130 channels, none of which overlap.

    On 5, always select auto.
     
    TimMc, steine and RonHebbard like this.
  14. clopedia89

    clopedia89 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Southern Indiana, USA
    As far as WiFi access points, I would consider a UAP-AC-LR from Ubiquity. ( https://store.ui.com/collections/wireless/products/unifi-ac-lr ) I don't have personal experience with it in this specific application, but I would think it would help keep a connection established at greater distances than many other access points would (although the above recommendations definitely still need to be followed).

    You could also try other access points which have directional antennas.

    The only issue is the AC-LR (and other specialized access points) is not a full router. If going this route, I would find any off-the-shelf home router to use between the mixer and access point, but with WiFi disabled.

    I know I'm rambling, so to summarize:

    (Mixer's built-in router: disabled) --> (any old router: WiFi disabled) --> (AC-LR or other special purpose access point)
    And also connect a laptop to the external router for backup wired control if desired.
     
  15. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    659
    Likes Received:
    835
    There's a certain irony to needing a WAP that is 30% of the cost of the mixer, in order to make it work. The manufacturers know this, and is why they use the Wifi modules they use - the final cost to the consumer would result is a rejection of the product.
     
  16. clopedia89

    clopedia89 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Southern Indiana, USA
    Indeed. Keep in mind, though, the built-in WiFi does actually work in many situations. It's only when you encounter challenging RF environments (like the ones described above) that you need to break out the specialized tools.

    I would consider a long range or directional WAP (of which there are many, and some are quite cheap; I just used the Ubiquity as an example that is easy to setup) to be a good investment. It may very well help to solve the problem at hand right now, and would also be useful in the future after upgrading to a full size digital mixer.
     
  17. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    659
    Likes Received:
    835
    I have both Ubiquity and EnGenious WAPs in our systems. Antenna options are very nice things :)

    Challenging RF? That's any place with more than 100 or so people, particularly if there's a whole bunch of amateur-installed video... It works until it doesn't and usually the more phones/tablets in use, the more installed Wifi for building systems, the more critical our link becomes.

    The most important time for the manufacturer's Wifi to work is when the buyer demos at Banjo Depot, and that it works when it gets home/first rehearsals. Some owners will never have a problem, some will have occasional issues and those with significant gig-time failures will be on medication... Since I don't like taking lots of pills I use copper and appropriate controllers as primary show time devices, and after rehearsals/sound checks, the wireless stuff is for convenience, additional display capability, and back up.
     
    clopedia89 and RonHebbard like this.
  18. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    304
    Occupation:
    Sounds and Screens at America's roller coast.
    Location:
    Sandusky, Ohio
    <snip>

    I was going to have a mini-rant about how this seems to be a lot of work to mimic a physical device...

    Then I remembered that I used a X32 for a weeks long live gig last year and it was relatively nice.

    I wasn't a huge fan of the compressors, but c'est la vie.

    Personally, I'd rather mix on a console with the OB right there (with quality gear).

    Everything about the network stuff has been addressed above.
     
  19. michaelpraytor

    michaelpraytor Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Southern Georgia
    I'm glad you didn't go on that rant. Believe me - I'd rather use a physical device ANY day. The reason I bought the XR18 was because it was the cheapest digital mixer I could find with the most channels. I use physical mixers (most of the time) with the schools and theatres that I work with, but at this time, I can't afford the X32, M32, StudioLive Series III, or any others of that ilk. I went with the XR18 because I want to deliver high-quality live sound with the most customization possible.

    Where I'm from, the "pro" sound engineers do the bare minimum on a gig - they never mic everything up, they never run compression, they barely EQ, they never run any sort of effects at all, they never bring rack gear (besides a graphic EQ), and they never bring a digital mixer (unless it's anything high profile - but they keep them a secret elsewhere). They'll charge anywhere between $600-$1,500 a gig and everyone comes away underwhelmed.

    There's not a rental house in the area and if I (or anyone else) approaches a sound engineer to borrow/rent their gear - we're always told no and these guys (who will act like your friends) will attempt to steal your gigs from you.

    I initially built my reputation on being able to adapt to the various house systems in the area - and just do good mixing (usually on analog consoles).
    Now people get me because of my mixing, how I study bands/scripts, my sound design skills, and my sound quality (which they think is magic - but I owe a lot to the simplicity of digital). It's important to me that I can maintain this quality anywhere I go - so I've upgraded systems in the houses I usually work in, and I bought the XR18 so that I could be consistent with that quality anywhere I go.

    I'll eventually buy a quality digital console - and when I do I know a lot of my current headaches and worries will go away. But that's a year or so down the line - and I need to make the most out of this fancy, frustrating $600 brick as I can. It has yielded me some great results when it has worked perfectly.

    UPDATE:

    The next few weeks are filled with gigs for me - some in more crowded areas than others - so ever since making this thread, I've taken a bit of an initiative to try to solve my problems. Since making this thread, I've spent a great deal of time in the XAir Edit app and in the iPad app and I've read article after article on operating these mixers successfully online.

    First, I wanted to see if I could establish a hardwired connection between my computer (MacBook Pro Retina Mid-2014) and the mixer via ethernet. I have become comfortable enough in the app where I could use my computer to mix if I absolutely have to. I didn't want to buy a ethernet -> lightning adapter for the iPad immediately because a lot of the models out there look cheaply made and I've heard some stories about the annoying "this accessory is not supported" pop-up. I plan on getting one of these soon - but for now I've bought a ethernet adapter from Apple that connects via my laptop's Thunderbolt port - sold through Sweetwater.

    When I received the adapter, I opened it up and connected everything - switched the mixer over to "ethernet" expecting it to "just work". It didn't.

    I read that the process is easier if you use your external WiFi router as a hub. So I tried that. It didn't work.

    After following instructions on countless websites including Behringer's and Apple's - I never got the thunderbolt/ethernet connection to work in any configuration that I tried.

    This morning, I realized I have an old MacBook (not pro) from 2008 or so in my closet - and I remembered that it had a ethernet port - so I decided to give it a go. I connected everything up and followed all the steps I could find online and it still didn't work.

    Since I also experienced problems with my iPad dropping connection to this external router or the app not recognizing it at all - I figured I should just buy a new router because the one I have is obviously unreliable and could be the root of all my problems.

    So I just returned from the store after buying the seemingly best router that I can afford at the moment. Dual band, 5GHZ - all that good stuff.

    After a lengthy setup process where I changed the name and password of the unit and made the network "hidden" as some have recommended I hooked it up to my Behringer XR18 and had immediate success. I was instantly able to connect to the router via my iPad, my MacBook Pro, and my 2008 MacBook. Then - foregoing this thunderbolt/ethernet interface - I connected the new router directly to the ethernet port on the 2008 MacBook. The MacBook instantly recognized the ethernet connection and everything worked perfectly.

    I pulled up a recording of a band in Logic - and I pumped the tracks through the mixer as a "virtual soundcheck". Everything worked well - then my iPad lost connection. Then my MacBook Pro lost the Wifi connection. My old MacBook continued to operate the mixer (assumedly through the ethernet connection).

    I turned off Wifi on all my devices for a moment. I felt that maybe the issue was that I had three devices trying to communicate with the mixer - and in reality I'd only really be using one at a time. I turned WiFi on my iPad and connected to the mixer - successfully. I played around with the bass and snare drum mix - then I went to unmute the electric bass channel. Connection lost.

    I attempted to regain a connection for five minutes or so - then I flipped the switch on the mixer over to "access point" then back to "ethernet". It connected again. I successfully unmuted the drums - but this time when I went for a vocal track, it lost connection.

    I did this dance for about 45 minutes and then attempted to send Behringer a message on their customer support website. For some reason, my message wouldn't send to them so I tried calling them - I didn't have any luck, presumably because it's after 5:00. I left a message explaining my problem and I'll hopefully hear back from them.

    Sometimes my iPad connects successfully and it shows me everything BUT the faders. For whatever reason - I just can't maintain a connection between the iPad and the external router. My computer will stay connected a little longer - but it eventually gives out too.

    So for those of you who read that massive wall of text:
    - Any advice?

    I'm really curious to see what Behringer says - but I just can't believe that I used this product successfully for a few good months without any hiccups - and now I'm going through all of this. I couldn't even confidently sell this thing because (from my perspective) it's not even functioning properly!

    YET ANOTHER EDIT:

    I relocated all my gear to my studio space to prep and do a dry run.

    I once again did my virtual soundcheck process and my iPad has remained connected to the mixer for more than an hour and a half now. This feels like a miracle after everything I’ve been through.

    It is typical that after I restart the mixer, I can usually quickly connect. This is the longest I’ve stayed connected in a while, though.

    I’m really hoping that the router with its 5ghz, dual band, and hidden network will really help me out in the busy, gentrified Atlanta suburbs.

    Now off to check the hardwired connection and see if I can get it to function properly.

    One More Update:

    I'm back at square one.

    I walked around a little bit trying to feel out the range that I'll have. I lost a connection about a hundred feet away when I wasn't in the line of sight with the router. I had forgotten to elevate it anyway.

    I re-connected successfully then when I tried fooling around with the MacBook with the hardwired connection - my iPad started acting wonky and dropping the connection. I shut down my ethernet efforts and returned to the iPad - closing out the app and opening it again. Sometimes it wouldn't find the mixer. Sometimes it would. Sometimes it would let me control the mixer for a split second before losing connection. Sometimes it would show me the RTA and more - but wouldn't let me use the faders. Sometimes I'd mess around with the menus and it would give me the faders back - but then drop connection again.

    I restarted my router, turned off all nearby WiFi devices, and did everything short of restarting the mixer completely or "initializing". I could never maintain a connection for more than a couple of seconds. I got completely frustrated and now I'm home taking care of other things on my plate and hoping that Behringer will give me a call back tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
    RonHebbard likes this.
  20. jonliles

    jonliles Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    711
    Likes Received:
    129
    Location:
    Marietta, Georgia, United States
    There are plenty of rental houses in the gentrified suburbs of Atlanta, and even Macon. Who have you tried? Honestly, I have had great luck with my X32 Rack and an el cheapo Netgear router. Then again, I dont run the shown wirelessly. Showtime is always hardwired.

    -Live from gentrified Marietta
     
    michaelpraytor and RonHebbard like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice