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Behringer Eurorack MX3242X

Analogue Mixer By Paul White
Published August 2001


Behringer's latest addition to their Eurorack compact analogue mixer range offers 16 hi‑spec channels, plus the flexibility of an in‑line monitor configuration.

Behringer's MX3242X is a four‑bus mixer designed to sit comfortably alongside a 16‑track recorder or equivalent computer audio system. It uses an in‑line design which might best be described as 16:4:16:2, with the 16 channel strips controlling both the 16 main input channels and the 16 secondary monitor channels (labelled Mix B). A stereo 24‑bit effects processor, based on Behringer's own Virtualizer multi‑effects, is built in to the top right‑hand corner of the unit and offers 32 presets including reverb, delay and modulation effects.

Nuts & Bolts

The all‑metal construction is sturdy, right down to the jack socket nuts — no nasty plastic here! The mixer follows a classic wedge shape, with all main connections tucked away on the rear panel, and is compact enough to be rackmountable, using the included bolt‑on rack ears to replace the moulded plastic end cheeks. Those users who wish to rackmount the MX3242X will be glad to know that the rear‑panel with the audio socketry can be rotated through 90 degrees, with the aid of a screwdriver and the Eurorack's manual. The mixer's power supply is a hefty external 2U rackmount unit, which connects via a rugged multi‑pin XLR cable. It has an internal cooling fan which, although reasonably quiet, will mean you'll probably want to rack the PSU outside your control room if possible.

Behringer Eurorack MX3242X rear panel connections.MX3242X's rear panel connections.

The rear panel features 16 main input sections (numbered one to 16) comprising balanced Mic Inputs on XLRs, with globally switchable phantom powering, and balanced Line Inputs on TRS jack sockets. Above each of these pairs of inputs are unbalanced Direct Output and TRS Insert jack sockets. The Mix B line input sockets (numbered 17‑to 32) accept either balanced or unbalanced jacks, and their sensitivity can be adjusted globally between +4dBu and ‑10dBV levels with the Operating Level switch just above socket 32.

The console has six mono aux sends and four stereo aux returns, and there is a block of unbalanced jack sockets for these at the top right‑hand side of the rear panel — note that a mono return signal connected to the left input of any return will be split equally to both sides of the stereo return bus. To the left are Subgroup Insert points on four TRS jack sockets and four unbalanced sockets for the Subgroup Outputs. Two pairs of RCA phonos labelled 2‑Track In/Out allow a stereo master recorder to be easily integrated with the mixer.

The MX3242X provides several stereo output buses: the main mix bus, with unbalanced Main Insert point and Main Out jack sockets, as well as balanced Main Outputs on a pair of XLRs; the Mix B bus, to which the monitor channel paths are mixed, output on unbalanced jack sockets; and a stereo monitor bus, again output on unbalanced jack sockets. Finally, should the impressive total of 40 inputs available on the MX3242X not be enough for your needs, there are two 15‑pin D‑Sub connectors which let you integrate an expander mixer.

Channel Strip

The 16 input channels are normally fed from the mic and line inputs (numbered one to 16), and the 16 monitor channels are normally fed from the Mix B line inputs (numbered 17 to 32). However, this assignment can be swapped over on a per‑channel basis using the Flip button under the input Gain control. Note that there's no switch for selecting between the mic/line inputs — you plug into whichever socket you wish to use — which might be a problem if you want to wire everything permanently to a patchbay. Inputs one to 16 have switchable 18dB/octave low–cut filters operating at 75Hz.

The next set of knobs on each channel strip control the four‑band semiparametric EQ. This comprises high and low shelving filters at 12kHz and 80Hz respectively and two sweepable peaking filters: the high mid‑band covers 300Hz to 20kHz and the low mid‑band covers 50Hz to 3kHz. All bands have a ±15dB gain range and a single button bypasses the entire equaliser.

Though there are six auxiliary buses available, there are only four send controls. The first pair always access Aux 1 and Aux 2, whereas the second pair can be assigned on a per‑channel basis either to Aux 3 and Aux 4 or to Aux 5 and Aux 6. Each pair of Aux knobs has a Source switch, which allows the auxiliary buses to be fed from either the input or monitor channels — useful when you're using all 32 channel paths at mixdown. The Aux 3 bus feeds the internal effects unit — see the 'MX3242X Effects' box for details about the effects processing offered.

Below the Aux Send knobs are the monitor channel's Pan and Level controls. The Mix B channels feed their own stereo mix bus and this can be routed to the main mix. The Source button below the Level control allows the monitor channel to be fed a pre‑fader signal from its parallel input channel. A Mute button completes the Mix B facilities.

The input channel Pan control is followed by switches for PFL/Solo and Mute, each with associated status LEDs. The channel fader is 100mm long and it is accompanied by an eight‑segment bar‑graph level meter and routing switches for the mix and subgroup buses. Four subgroup bus outputs might seem a little limiting for multitrack recording, but it's worth also taking the 16 direct outputs into consideration — after all, most recorded tracks are fed from a single source, in practice.

Master Section

The MX3242X's master section provides a further four 100mm faders for the subgroup buses and a stereo fader for the mix bus — eight‑segment LED metering for each of these buses is provided just under the effects unit panel. Above the subgroup faders are the Main Mix routing button, the Solo button, and the Pan control, an arrangement more flexible than fixed stereo pairings.

Controls for the four stereo aux returns come next, which include Level and Balance knobs, as well as Solo and routing buttons. Any of these returns may be routed to the main mix or any of the subgroups, and the third and fourth returns can be routed to the Aux 1 and Aux 2 buses if you wish to add effects to foldback signals. The six auxiliary sends have Level controls and Solo buttons. Above these controls are the switch for engaging the global +48V phantom power, a pot for setting the monitor level when soloing, and the Channel Mode button for selecting whether channel soloing is to be PFL (mono pre‑fade listen) or Solo (stereo solo‑in‑place).

The MX3242X's PSU contains a cooling fan, and is best located away from your monitoring position.The MX3242X's PSU contains a cooling fan, and is best located away from your monitoring position.The Mix B bus is provided with a Level control, a Solo button, and a routing switch to mix it into the main mix bus. Below this are the headphone and control‑room monitoring sections, each with source‑selection switches and Level control. The stereo quarter‑inch jack socket in the Phones section can either be set to receive the main monitor signal or can monitor Aux 1 or Aux 2. If both auxiliaries are selected, they are heard as the two sides of a stereo signal. The control‑room monitors can be summed to mono if required, and are fed from the main mix bus by default, but can be switched to receive the Mix B bus or the signal from the 2‑Track Input.

A small built‑in mic handles talkback, nestling just above the master fader. This mic is routed to the first two auxiliary outputs with a dedicated switch, and it has a dedicated Level control.

In Practice

Behringer's manual claims that the mic/line amps used in this mixer are a cut above the norm. The published frequency response of 10Hz to 125kHz (±3dB) is certainly impressive and the signal‑to‑noise ratio of 125dB is typical of a well‑designed mixer. More importantly, my own tests with a capacitor mic showed them to be clean and uncoloured. The equaliser works very well, providing you use it sensibly and sparingly, allowing you to reveal transient detail at the high end, and to warm up the bass without it getting flabby. The mid‑bands work nicely both for boosting and cutting, and the wide sweep ranges make them able to address problems throughout the frequency range.

Operation is very straightforward once you have a grasp of the in‑line concept, and the controls have a good feel. It was particularly nice to find that the faders were all 100mm long, and that there was such generous metering to accompany them. The EQ, Mute and Source buttons all engaged without obtrusive audio clicks, though it was difficult to tell their status at a glance where they had no LEDs.


No mixer is perfect, but Behringer's MX3242X manages to deliver an attractive combination of quality and flexibility at an attractive UK price. This is a mixer which is flexible enough to use in a large variety of studio and live roles, especially where a 16‑track recorder can make use of the direct outputs. In the project studio it provides a compact means of monitoring from multiple sound sources, recorder outputs and effects devices, as well as providing 16 good‑quality mic amps. The technical performance has improved over the already acceptable Behringer desks of a few years back, so if you're after a small and versatile analogue console, the MX3242X is one to take very seriously.

MX3242X Effects

Above the MX3242X's master section is a control panel carrying the effects controls and a preset patch list. You set the input level to the processor using the channel and master Aux 3 controls, relying on the effects unit's own eight‑segment LED bar‑graph meter for visual feedback. Patch selection is by means of Up, Down and Enter buttons and the current patch number is shown in a green numeric display which flashes until the patch is selected. No control over the effects parameters is possible other than to vary the amount mixed in. The presets cover various hall, room and plate reverbs, echo, chorus, flanger and a number of dual effects. There are also three special treatments: Radio Speaker, Distortion and Magic Pitch.

Though the implementation here is a simple one, the effects unit sounds quite respectable, with most of its presets sensible and usable — hardly surprising given their proven Virtualizer heritage. These effects would be well‑suited to both live work and project studio recording. Some basic parameter control, such as variable reverb and delay time, would have been useful, but getting an effects section at all in this type of mixer can only really be considered a bonus.

Available User Modifications

To the left of the cables you can see some of the internal PCB links which are used to modify the MX3242X's operation for specific applications.To the left of the cables you can see some of the internal PCB links which are used to modify the MX3242X's operation for specific applications.Though Behringer's MX3242X is already extremely flexible straight out of the box, there are additional changes that can be made to the way it operates by removing the bottom cover and changing sets of links on the PCB. Note that this should not be undertaken by anyone without adequate technical experience, as it will void the warranty. If in any doubt, get your dealer to make any necessary changes for you. The following alterations to the operation of the console are possible:

  • The first two auxiliary sends on every channel can be fed pre—mute in pre‑fade mode. By default, muting a channel also mutes these sends.
  • Direct outputs can be fed from the monitor channels rather than from the input channels.
  • The source for the direct outputs can be made pre‑mute, rather than post‑fader, though this modification is not available if the direct outputs are being fed from the monitor channels.
  • The source for the monitor channel when the Link button is down can be made post‑fader, allowing the monitor channel to be used effectively as a stereo, post‑fade send.
  • The channel level meters can be made to read pre‑fader, rather than the usual post‑fader, levels.


  • Good sound quality with wide audio bandwidth.
  • Flexible layout and routing.
  • Compact yet uncluttered.
  • Generous metering.
  • Usable onboard multi‑effects unit.


  • External PSU less convenient for live use and it produces some fan noise.
  • The status of the black switches difficult to see at a glance.


A flexible, compact mixer suitable for recording systems with up to 16 tracks. It has more features than you might expect from a mixer of its price, including long faders, generous metering and built‑in digital effects.