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Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

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Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby TimCarpenter » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:25 pm

I'm fairly new to all of this. Our church just purchased a Behringer x32 board to replace a failing Mackie analog board. I've watched tutorial on setting optimal gain on channels and then adjusting my main speakers to align with Unity on the board's main fader. The level sounds good..generally. However, I'm getting distortion on panaray speakers at -12db (according to the x32 main fader/meter).

The Bose Panaray's are connected to a Panaray Digital Controller II. I've turned down the output level to no avail. I assume the issue is with the signal coming into the Panaray controller being too hot. I cannot find an installation manual on that controller to understand exactly what I need to do. I've adjusted the input sensitivity..which has helped, but still getting distortion far before getting into the red on my meter.

Appreciate any guidance.
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:48 pm

TimCarpenter wrote: However, I'm getting distortion on panaray speakers at -12db (according to the x32 main fader/meter).

The likelihood is that you're overloading the input to the digital controller.

The Bose Panaray's are connected to a Panaray Digital Controller II. I've turned down the output level to no avail.

Which would confirm it's the input being overloaded...

I cannot find an installation manual on that controller to understand exactly what I need to do.

I can only find the Operating Guide , but it seems you simply need to select the most appropriate input range to optimise the signal-noise ratio, and then adjust the output level to get the volume from the array that you require.

I've adjusted the input sensitivity..which has helped, but still getting distortion far before getting into the red on my meter.

I'd start by setting the input Sensitivity to +18dBu. However, it looks like the X32's main outputs can deliver more level (+21dBu) than the Controller can accept (+18dBu), so you will have to leave at least 3 (or better still, 6dB of headroom) on the meters anyway.

Also, remember that the meters on the X32 are digital meters that show the whole range up to clipping. However, the region from around -10 to -1dBFS is intended as the headroom area -- a region not shown on traditional analogue meters like VUs and PPMs -- and it really shouldn't be used except for exceptional, occasional transient peaks!

The -24dBFS mark on the X32's meters is equivalent to the Zero (0dB) mark on the Mackie's meters!
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby AlecSp » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:06 pm

Hugh's bang on with all the info.

Coming from analog, some need to relearn their gain staging. In the analog world, it's not unusual to drive everything relatively hard.

In the digital world, the noise floor is typically much lower, so there's no need to run everything as hot. Moreover, you *really* want to avoid overdriving anything, as digital clipping is not nice at all. On an X32, keeping max levels between -12 and -18 dB on the meters is a healthy place to be - and it's fine to be even lower, too.

That aside, my money's with Hugh that you're likely overloading the input stage of the processor.
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby TimCarpenter » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:19 pm

Very helpful. From other reading (different Panaray controller), I was getting the impression that I needed to set the input sensitivity at 8db on the Panaray controlled to align with a board that has an output of +4db (x32 is +4db to +2db max). Do you think the input sensitivity on the Panaray should be set at the max end then?

Also, regarding not running the X32 too hot, have I been approaching channel gain the wrong way (again, not an expert at this)? The tutorials I've found on this all seem to suggest adjusting channel gain so that the average level is bumping into the -18db fairly consistently (although this does require the gain dial to be at about 3-4 o'clock on the dial).

Thanks for the assistance!
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:31 pm

AlecSp wrote:Hugh's bang on with all the info.
:oops: :ugeek:

In the digital world, the noise floor is typically much lower, so there's no need to run everything as hot....

Actually, the overall dynamic range is usually pretty similar between a decent analogue console and a digital one. The analogue console noise floor is typically around -90dBu, and clipping is around +24dBu, giving a total dynamic range capability of about 114dB. A digital console with average converters will have a noise floor around -114dBFS and clipping is obviously at 0dBFS, so the dynamic range is still 114dB.

So it's really just about building in a sensible headroom margin into your metering, as suggested in the diagram below:

analogue_digital comparison levels.jpg


On an X32, keeping max levels between -12 and -18 dB on the meters is a healthy place to be - and it's fine to be even lower, too.

Works for me! :-D
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby TimCarpenter » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:38 pm

Would this level then apply to channel gain level too? Watching this, he really pushes the gain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RjP3IKFfqM
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:39 pm

TimCarpenter wrote:I was getting the impression that I needed to set the input sensitivity at 8db on the Panaray controlled to align with a board that has an output of +4db...

I read that too. What they were suggesting was setting the Panary with a slightly lower sensitivity (higher dB level) to give a little extra headroom.

Do you think the input sensitivity on the Panaray should be set at the max end then?

I'd certainly start there, just to confirm that the distortion was input overload, and that you can set a gain structure which gives a clean sound. You can then either adjust the output volume control to achieve the in-room SPL you require, and/or reduce the input sensitivity in stages until you have found the optimal gain structure and signal-noise performance for the Bose array.

But this will also depend on your deciding on the optimal operating level through the X32, of course!

The tutorials I've found on this all seem to suggest adjusting channel gain so that the average level is bumping into the -18db fairly consistently

Yes, that's about right. For a live sound situation I'd actually make the average a little lower still -- aim for the average level to be hovering around -24 to -20 dBFS, and the normal peaks to be no more than -12 dBFS.
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby TimCarpenter » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:27 pm

I can add a new post if that is appropriate....however, we are live streaming using OBS and running a USB connection from the x32 to the PC with OBS (also running sound back from OBS to the x32 for playing sounds from OBS videos back in the house. Ran into distortion/digital modulation part way through our service this week. Not sure if this was OBS, the USB connection (are there such a thing as digital audio grade USB cable?)?
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:45 pm

Not as such but the cable construction changed when USB2 became the standard and older cables are prone to dropouts when trying to run USB2 data rates. USB 2 cables are, I believe, fine for USB3.
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby TimCarpenter » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:00 pm

This was a new usb2 cable (which we had been using with our old board with no issue)...may have been an obs issue. Of course, now I can't replicate the issue.
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:30 am

Rethinking the question I can't see how a dodgy digital cable would cause distortion, dropouts and crackles maybe, is that what you mean by distortion?
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby skaudio » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:28 pm

This is just off the cuff, but does the Bose System have a mic/ line input selector? I have used the x32 extensively and have never had a problem with signals sent out to a pa, as long as the gain structure is somewhat alright. I.E. No red lights AS others have noted it sounds like the input is the culprit, unless you have a bad something going into the board..
Good luck.
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby skaudio » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:30 pm

Handy hint with the X32. If your gain pot is over the 12 o clock position on the channels your gain structure might need some attention
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby AlecSp » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:00 pm

skaudio wrote:Handy hint with the X32. If your gain pot is over the 12 o clock position on the channels your gain structure might need some attention
Indeed - a great rule of thumb. There still might be reasons why you need more gain, but it's a great ready reckoner.

Back to the OP, I'm not sure how this is so hard! What do the input meters on your Panarray controller indicate - reasonable level, or too high level?

And, of course, there's nothing to guarantee that it's an over-hot signal into the controller, even though that does look like the most likely cause.

Sensible fault finding, if you're really stumped (and assuming it's not just a simple case of adjusting mixer levels or controller input trim/gain) would be a bit more methodical. Is the X32 giving you a good output on the LR mains? Don't just use headphones to solo this, take something like an active speaker and plut into the two XLRs, just to confirm there's nothing dodgy in the mixer. Similarly, find an alternative audio source with a balanced line output and plug into your controller. Never rule out the unlikely until you've tested it - I've often been surprised!

But, honestly, it sounds like you're a bit out of your depth - is there anyone local who knows what they're doing who could take a look. They'd likely spot the problem in less time than it's taken me to write this response. Hint - giving your location would help. I have a hunch you're US based, and most of us are UK based, mind.
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Re: Pairing Behringer X32 with Bose Panaray System Issues

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:20 pm

AlecSp wrote:Back to the OP, I'm not sure how this is so hard! What do the input meters on your Panarray controller indicate - reasonable level, or too high level?

The Panaray II unit doesn't appear to have input level meters (unlike the original model).

But, honestly, it sounds like you're a bit out of your depth - is there anyone local who knows what they're doing who could take a look. They'd likely spot the problem in less time than it's taken me to write this response.

So often the case!

I've found often in the past that the person who planned/oversaw/managed the original installation is no longer around when the system is updated. And while there may be enthusiastic people able to operate the old system adequately, they frequently don't have the knowledge or experience to deal with the more challenging aspects of an equipment swap or system fault-finding.

Perhaps that's the case for the OP here -- but full kudos to him for taking it on and asking for help. It's not always easy to remotely diagnose problems like this, but I'm sure we can get there given some perseverance.
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