I suspect I'll be adding very little in this review to the praise this range of mixers is getting. How can you provide such a quality piece of kit with all of these function for this price? It's crazy.
I agonised for a few weeks on getting the XR16 vs XR18. It's clear the XR18 is very popular and having all MIDAS mic inputs is certainly a bonus. But I chose the XR16 because I needed the high input count and really wanted the 2-track USB record/playback which you don't get on the XR18 (because it has the 18 track DAW interface instead).
So if you haven't read the specs, this is the sort of stuff you're getting here for your pennies:
- 8 MIDAS mic/line combo preamps, 8 balanced line ins (2 with Hi-Z)
- gate, compressor, EQ, low-cut on every input, phantom 48V on the mics
- 4 FX slots and all of those juicy X32 FXs as standard (processors/EQs and effects)
- main out L/R and 4 "AUX" bus outputs (and within the mixer 2 other busses that can be used as subgroups)
- ethernet or wifi control
- headphone jack with volume pot
- a big bag of configurability and functions in something like 2kg, replacing a car boot-full of 30-40kg of equivalent kit. Crazy.
The X-Air PC app for this unit is fantastic - I run it on a 17yo WinXP laptop - it takes next to no resources and of course is "just" the control interface - the brains are in the XR16 so if the PC crashes then it's not such an issue. I'm less of a fan of the iPad app (weird colours, not clear if an insert FX is in or out because of the icon colouring) but it's still pretty good. I'm no young punk, so yes even you fellow oldies will pick this up in a snip and wonder what the heck you've been messing about at all these years.
I also have an X32 Compact, but this XR16 is so small, yet has most of the main X32 features/FX, I've been sticking it under the desk at home and playing with the setup and FX choices/settings and then porting these configs over to the X32 for my bigger shows where setup time is really tight.
What's left unsaid? This is a fantastic piece of kit, and peanuts at 250GBP - and not much more than the smaller (but very cute!) XR12, but giving you 8 mic pre's, 8 balanced line ins and 4 rather than 2 AUXs. Ch15 and ch16 are hiz - so I can plug my bass guitar direct into either of these and this works really well - no need for a DI box :-) You can't plug in any of the S or SD stage boxes (no AES50 port) but that's understandable at this pricepoint - you need to buy an X32 Rack or X32 Core for this.
There is no fan - convection cooled via grilles in the side (so you need to remove it from the Gator bag in use).
I've not used the MIDI interface, so can't comment, sorry.
I also bought the Gator bag to go with it, but it only arrived today (I've had the XR16 a couple of months now) as it's been out of stock for a while...
So what are you waiting for? If you're reading this, you know what it is and what it's for, so just get on and buy one, you won't look back. If you think you might move into mixing more, and end up around the X32 range then this is also a great learning tool with portable skills.