Photo Courtesy of Music Tribe IP Ltd
Are you an X32 user curious to know if it is time to look at upgrading to the WING? Are you looking to purchase a mixer and trying to decide if you would be better off with the X32 or WING? Only you can decide and there are pros and cons to each mixer so we are going to look at the similarities, differences, and reasons you may choose one over the other.
Let’s start with comparing specifications of the two mixers and then we can get into what they mean and the practical differences.
***Please note, there are supposed to be three columns below comparing the mixers. The Chrome Browser seems to display it correctly, but Firefox does not.***
X32 (Full Size)
- Channels: 40 x channel, 8 x aux
- All Channels/Aux/Bus are Stereo or Mono
- Inputs – Mic Preamps:8 x XLR-1/4″ combo (mic/line)
- Phantom Power:Yes
- Outputs – Main:8 x XLR
- Inputs – Digital:1 x XLR (AES/EBU), 3 x EtherCON (AES50 SuperMAC), 1 x XLR (StageCONNECT)
- Outputs – Digital:1 x XLR (AES/EBU), 3 x EtherCON (AES50 SuperMAC), 1 x XLR (StageCONNECT)
- Send/Return I/O:8 x 1/4″ TRS (aux in), 8 x 1/4″ TRS (aux out)
- Busses/Groups:8 x Stereo Matrix, 4 x Stereo Mains, 16 x Aux Stereo Bus
- Inserts:Dual Inserts per Bus, FX Insert Slot
- MIDI I/O:In/Out
- Data I/O:2 x Ethernet (control/audio network)
- Remote:1 x 1/4″ (GPIO 1-2), 1 x 1/4″ (GPIO 3-4)
- USB:1 x Type B, 1 x Type A
- Computer Connectivity:USB 2.0, 24-bit/48kHz (48 x 48)
- I/O Expansion Slots:1 x Expansion Port (24-bit/48kHz)
- Headphones:2 x 1/4″
- Faders:24 x 100mm Motorized
- A/D Resolution:Up to 24-bit/192kHz
- EQ Bands:6-band Parametric EQ (channel), 8-band Parametric EQ (bus), Additional EQs and Configurations
- Effects:8 x Premium FX Stereo Processors, 8 x Standard FX Stereo Processors, 5 x Variable Plug-in Slots per channel or bus
- Signal Processing:Full Dynamics Processing
- DAW Control:Yes (HUI, Mackie)
- Screen:10″ Capacitive Touchscreen, Adjustable Swivel
- Storage:2 x SD Card Slot (dual 32 track max)
- Power Source:Standard IEC AC cable
- Weight:52.8 lbs.
- Channels: 32 x channel, 8 Aux
- Inputs – Mic Preamps:32 x XLR
- Phantom Power:Yes
- Inputs – Other:2 x RCA (Aux), 6 x 1/4″ TRS (Aux)
- Outputs – Main:16 x XLR
- Outputs – Other:1 x AES/EBU, 2 x RCA (Aux), 6 x 1/4″ TRS (Aux)
- Inputs – Digital:2 x AES50, 32 x USB (96 Total Channels)
- Outputs – Digital:1 x AES/EBU (XLR), 32 x USB, 2 x AES50 (32 via Optional Digital Snake)
- Aux Sends:16 x Aux Sends
- Send/Return I/O:6 x 1/4″ TRS
- Busses/Groups:16 x Bus
- Channel Inserts:Virtual (Physical Assignable to AUX In/Outs
- Data I/O:Ethernet (X-Touch remote features), USB, MIDI I/O
- USB:1 x Type B, 2 x Type A
- Computer Connectivity:USB (32 x 32)
- I/O Expansion Slots:1 x Slot (Includes 32×32 USB Interface)
- Headphones:1 x 1/4″
- Faders:25 x 100mm (Motorized)
- EQ Bands:4-band Parametric (6-band on Mix Bus)
- Effects: 8 FX Stereo or Dual Mono effects processors.
- Transport Controls:via Assign Section
- DAW Control:Yes
- Weight:45.4 lbs.
- WING has more channels, but also all channels, auxes, and buses can be stereo or mono
- X32 has more built in preamps (32) as well as a pair of RCA inputs.
- X32 has 16 XLR outputs vs. WING’s 8 XLR outputs.
- WING has 3 AES50 SuperMAC in/out ports to connect to other mixers and stage racks. X32 has 2 AES50 ports.
- X32 has a 32 channel bi-directional USB interface, WING’s USB interface is 48 in/out and separate from the expansion card.
- X32 channels or buses can be stereo but take 2 channels or buses linked together. WING can be stereo or mono without affecting channel count.
- X32 has Ultranet Outputs, WING can send to Ultranet but it has to be through a stagebox that has Ultranet Outputs.
- X32 has control for Turbosound iQ speakers
- The WING Screen is Touchscreen and much larger than the X32 screen.
- The Mixers are similar in size, but the X32 is available in smaller versions like the X32C, Producer, Rack, and Core.
- Both mixers use the same SuperMAC connection so you can connect a WING and X32 together or use Behringer or Midas Stage boxes with either. This includes the Behringer S16/S32, SD8/SD16, Midas DL16/DL32 and the Midas Pro Series like the DL251.
Which mixer is best?
The best mixer is going to be the one that is best for the setup and the job you are doing. The X32 is an old mixer but there are many out there and a lot of technicians have experience with them. If you need to rent one they will be much easier to find. The WING has much more flexibility, processing power, and customization but only time will tell if it is adopted as widely as the X32.
The WING expansion cards are not yet available, so if you need Dante, Madi, ADAT, or Waves Soundgrid connectivity the X32 is the only way to do that right now. The X32 has many different form factors like the Compact, Producer, and Rack version that might be the right fit for the job. The Midas M32 and M32R are also possibilities. If you need a mixer with more than 8 built in preamps you are going to need something from the X32/M32 line. If you are replacing an analog mixer and have a copper snake already run, you may want to loo at an X32 that can drop in without needing to purchase a digital stage box. If you already have an X/M32 and/or the stage boxes that go with it, a WING can be added to that setup.
Processing and Customization
The WING is far more customizable than the X32. The routing is quicker and more flexible and the WING has customizable layers. Every channel and bus on the WING has flexible processing including analog modeled plugins in addition to the 16 effects slots. On the X32 if you want to use a LA2A or 1176 you have to use one of the eight effects slots that cut into how many graphic eqs and other effects like reverb and delay. On the WING, every channel and bus can have multiple analog modeled plugins and you still have your effects slots. The X32 has an automix that is limited to the first 8 channels. On the WING you can use automix on 16 channels and it can be assigned to any channel. The WING USB interface is 48 channels in and out vs. the X32’s 32 in and outs.
The X32 is limited to 32 channels and 6 aux inputs. The WING has 40 channels and 8 aux inputs, but since any of them can be stereo it is much more flexible from a channel count standpoint than the X32. If you use a lot of stereo channels they will use up the channel count on the X32 much faster. The WING has a Main/Alternate source for each channel so you can have a backup mic or source for your channels that can be quickly switched on an individual or group basis.
The X32 has less customization so there is less to learn and understand making it more straight forward and quicker to learn. The WING has so much customization it may take longer to figure out how to do something and easier to get lost in choices. For these reasons an experienced operator will get more out of being able to configure the the WING how they like, including all of the processing options. Since the mixer can be so customized it would be much more useful in a recording setup or an installed setup like HOW or a venue/theater. The touchscreen of the WING makes many tasks quicker and easier and the fact that it can be articulated is a nice touch. A venue that relies on volunteer operators, especially if coming from an analog setup would find transitioning to an X32 easier, but more experienced operators and professionals will appreciate the processing power and flexibility of the WING.
If you currently use an X32 and are running into limitations with it, the WING may overcome those limitations and make sense as an upgrade. It makes more sense if you already have stage boxes that are compatible. If you don’t have either and are looking for a mixer as an upgrade to an analog mixer or just a new setup, the WING deserves serious consideration, but is more likely to require a stage box which is an additional cost to factor in. An X32 may more seamlessly replace an analog mixer, and is very capable at the price point, but at this point is dated and limited in many ways.