In praise of the Behringer B205D personal monitor

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Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
edited February 12 in Live
Hi

Bear in mind that below are personal experiences based on my own band and other playing needs - so please preface everything with 'for our particular needs and facilities' and 'IMHO'

Like many of us, I and my various band / other colleagues have varied needs for monitoring and have always ended up up a blind alley with one or more of the following stumbling blocks  :
  • Inflexible for the various scenarios
  • Ineffective
  • Impractical
  • Unaffordable

While it's not yet proven to be the holy grail, this below is nevertheless the closest that I've personally - after years of trying different things - found to something that:

  • Can be configured (including, admittedly, some cheats) to be used from a full gig to an open mic
  • Is affordable
  • Is highly portable
  • Works 

Yes - I know, being Behringer, this is probably a copy of someone elses concept (Mackie, etc, etc), but personally I'm a fan of Behringer products. Their products have never yet let me down and pretty much everyone elses have.

And this is it (the Xbox controller is just for scale!   :

It cost me £130 new and it weighs just 7lb.  It comes with a mic stand adapter and comfortably sits on that at just the right angle for its intended use as personal monitor.

I won't go through all the features - there are plenty of ads and clips around - but will show these two shots to refer to in terms of the configurations we've been able to successfully use in our particular live scenarios, and thoughts for more in the future.

 

Before I cover the scenarios tried so far, the key aspects that have given us the flexibility are:

  • It has, effectively, four volume-adjustable inputs - one at the back (master volume controlled only - and this will, therefore adjust the overall volume of any other individual inputs) and three at the front (common EQ; individual volumes; one of the inputs has a switchable impedance corrector for instruments)
  • It has two outputs - the speaker (remarkably good for its size); the 'THRU' XLR output at the back.  They both output the same mix and are both controlled by the 'Main Level' master volume
  • It is clear enough and controllable enough to have right in front of you as a personal monitor
  • It is loud enough, in some scenarios, to use it as your practice PA or even to turn it round and play to an audience in a small venue
  • You can use this as the mixer to the FOH, or as the receiver from your mixer and thru to FOH, or as the receiver from a mixer or any other sound source, and then add extra inputs to that mix and then to the FOH

There is one more factor that has been used in some of the scenarios we've tried.  For some of the scenarios, basically those where we are creating an individual 'more me and less of him, him and her!' mix, we have used various send feeds from the mixer.  Some of those, because one of our mixers is small basic, have needed a bit of thinking and ingenuity.

Scenario One

The dreaded 'Open Mic Night'

OK - maybe all your venues are well equipped with someone who cares about the challenges of the performers as well as the audience, providing balanced monitors and tweaking the mix during the performance.  Yeah, right

Tried solution 1:  Vocalist, Electric Guitarist - mic into the B205; electric guitar into B205; B205 on stand between vocalist and guitarist with mix and master volume fully audible to, in control of, performers.  Resulting mix sent from Thru at back to venue's PA

Tried solution 2: Vocalist, Electric Guitarist, Backing track on Jamman pedal - mic into B205; Jamman output into phono input on B205, guitar into B205; B205 on stand between vocalist and guitarist with mix and master volume fully audible to, in control of, performers.  Resulting mix sent from Thru at back to venue's PA.

Both duo bands I am in had given up doing open mic nights.  We now do them again - and enjoy them!

Oh...and isn't it a lot of extra gear to take?

Other than the optional mic stand (a cupboard, bar counter or bar stool would do), it all fits into this - including cables, power leads, extension cable, Jamman and mic! : 

Scenario Two

Small Band; small to large venue

Equipment: band's mixer; own or venue's FOH PA

When Pete and I play or blues electric / sax stuff, we use this cheapo mixer (below) and send it to a small but adequate band PA, good enough for medium venues:

The mixer above is cheapo but carefully chosen because, unusually for a cheapo mixer, it has a couple of 'Send' channels as well as Mon Send and FX Send adjustment on each channel.

First time round, we tried my B205 instead of our normal wired in-ear buds.  Just sent the 'Phones' output from the mixer to the B205 and it worked a treat.  MUCH better than the poor-man's earphone set up we had been using.  So much so that Pete went out and immediately bought his own B205D.

And that gave us HUGE opportunities.  Because:

  • I, as the holder of the mixer, needed to hear the mix that the FOH was hearing
  • Pete, wanted to hear the backing track and his own guitar more and not be blasted by my not-so-dulcet vocal or sax tones!

So, set up was:

Pete Guitar to mixer; my Mic to mixer; my sax condenser mic to mixer; Jamman backing track to mixer - all panned central

From Mixer - Main Out Right - to my B205, giving me full mix personal monitor; Main Out Left to FOH PA.  Additionally, I made up a small three cable snake - two of them with the 'stereo jack shorted across ring and tip' mod to allow me to use the Send/IO as outputs without cutting the signal to the main mix. 

So into Pete's B205 is:  Mic send (jack); Electric send (jack); mon send turned on at the mixer for the Jamman channel and Mon Send output to a couple of phono plugs and into Pete's B205

Result: My 205 gives me the full FOH mix at any volume I need to hear myself and other inputs; Pete has individual volume control of the backing track, his guitar and my vocals, also with full master volume of that mix.  Trust me - he can hear the sax without a channel feed needed!


So - for us - live playing has been transformed. 


Further thoughts - we are going to try it with the full 5 piece band next time we practice.  Every channel we use on the big mixer has a send / IO on it, plus two Mon Send outputs - and with a bit of ingenuity.......












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Comments

  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31173
    That looks like a really useful bit of kit, very well thought-out and flexible. I don't know what - if anything - it's a copy of.

    I'm not anti-Behringer either. I have to admit I find some of their blatant ripping-off of other people's designs a bit cheeky, and it's true that they haven't *always* been that well-made or perfectly reliable, but what I have noticed is that they seem to be quite good at updating products to fix known issues, so the later versions then don't break - their overall failure rates now seem very low. Some of their copies are also better-made than the originals!
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Cool, glad it works for you, monitoring always seems to be an issue but with this you can get the monitor as close to your ears as possible so all good........ ish.............one caveat just be aware they can over power your FOH sound so pay attention to this when setting up, and bare in mind as they are the closest speaker to your microphone they will be the most likely source of feedback should it occur 
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    edited February 12
    Cool, glad it works for you, monitoring always seems to be an issue but with this you can get the monitor as close to your ears as possible so all good........ ish.............one caveat just be aware they can over power your FOH sound so pay attention to this when setting up, and bare in mind as they are the closest speaker to your microphone they will be the most likely source of feedback should it occur 
    Yes - wise words.  We're quite well versed in the feedback issues linked to many of our previous efforts

    For most of our gigs, the main external noise is just the trundle of people desperately trying to get out of the main or fire exits  

    So, with the 205's being this close, so far we've found that the volume doesn't have to be that high and is probably going to be much lower than the floor wedges that we would normally use    Interestingly, the main feedback issues with the wedges have been where the sound from them has bounced off a wall behind us and into the mics.  BUT we only have two wedges for the whole band so they do tend to have to be turned up more than they normally should be.  And the use of the 205's in the full band is, as yet, unproven.  What we'll start off with is just mine sitting right next to the drummer and with the overally FOH mix and maybe with a second feed from the bassist's channel.  That alone would mean the floor wedges could be much lower volume.

    And hence the disclaimers about this not necessarily working for everyone.  As the full band,we use PA and wedge monitors and a mic'd up low-volume guitar valve amp for the lead guitarist.  I think the audio dynamics of a back line would be quite different and would then need those excessive volumes.

    Anyway - I'll let you know how we get on.  It'll be a while before we can try the above with the full band - drummer's just had a heart bypass - we've got to that 'certain age'



     
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    ICBM said:
    That looks like a really useful bit of kit, very well thought-out and flexible. I don't know what - if anything - it's a copy of.

    I'm not anti-Behringer either. I have to admit I find some of their blatant ripping-off of other people's designs a bit cheeky, and it's true that they haven't *always* been that well-made or perfectly reliable, but what I have noticed is that they seem to be quite good at updating products to fix known issues, so the later versions then don't break - their overall failure rates now seem very low. Some of their copies are also better-made than the originals!
    The Mackie SRM150 probably got there first...  But, if Gear4Music is anything to go by, is pretty much twice the price I paid :)
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  • ive briefly used the mackie ones at an open mic i went to, they were very good, but they are twice the price. Id like to try the behringer one, im sure its just as good. I would like to know how well it performs in a full band pub gig situation, could it replace floor wedges?
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8008
    We've been using a pair of  B205Ds for about three years, (from when they were £89.99!) and they're incredibly useful. 

    Our drummer has her own, with vocals on one channel and my guitar on another, and we have one with just the vocals sat on a stand for anyone in the band who wants to grab it or just point it at themselves. 

    We've yet to kill them despite some quite incredible abuse, but the speaker will fart out dangerously if you put too much electro acoustic in it (though you could obviously trim the lows) and apparently the mic stand adaptor is unavailable separately, so don't throw the mic stand in the van!
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    p90fool said:

    We've yet to kill them despite some quite incredible abuse, but the speaker will fart out dangerously if you put too much electro acoustic in it (though you could obviously trim the lows)
    The other little quirk we've found is they sometimes don't like things that have been connected being switched on and off too much.  With ours, we get everything connected and switched on, then switch on the Behringer.
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    ive briefly used the mackie ones at an open mic i went to, they were very good, but they are twice the price. Id like to try the behringer one, im sure its just as good. I would like to know how well it performs in a full band pub gig situation, could it replace floor wedges?
    That's the, as yet, unproven thought for our band.  I don't see why not but you can't say for sure until you try it.  It'll be a month or two before we can do a proper go with drums and all (ref drummer's bypass op mentioned above)
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8008
    p90fool said:

    We've yet to kill them despite some quite incredible abuse, but the speaker will fart out dangerously if you put too much electro acoustic in it (though you could obviously trim the lows)
    The other little quirk we've found is they sometimes don't like things that have been connected being switched on and off too much.  With ours, we get everything connected and switched on, then switch on the Behringer.
    True, that goes for all powered cabs and monitors though, I never switch the desk on or off with the cabs powered up. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8008
    ive briefly used the mackie ones at an open mic i went to, they were very good, but they are twice the price. Id like to try the behringer one, im sure its just as good. I would like to know how well it performs in a full band pub gig situation, could it replace floor wedges?
    Yes, @midlifecrisis , my current 5-piece has never used floor wedges. We use IEMs these days but relied solely on the Behringers for a couple of years. 

    They work very well, as long as they're pretty close to you. 
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  • p90fool said:

    True, that goes for all powered cabs and monitors though, I never switch the desk on or off with the cabs powered up. 
    Golden Rule amps on last and off first
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • hotpickupshotpickups Frets: 863
    Been reading this with much interest. My band may have to purchase a monitor if some kind as the singer left and the monitor was hers etc. 

    Trouble is i I feel it should t be a band purchase as it surely is a vocalists instrument? But I'm side tracking a bit and is another posting I reckon sorry 
    Link to my trading feedback:  http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/59452/
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    Been reading this with much interest. My band may have to purchase a monitor if some kind as the singer left and the monitor was hers etc. 

    Trouble is i I feel it should t be a band purchase as it surely is a vocalists instrument? But I'm side tracking a bit and is another posting I reckon sorry 
    Like I said in the thread - it depends on the set-up.  The way our own band is set up, with everything except the drums going through the PA, then we all need some of it.

     Backlines are usually quite different because it's often the only the vocal going through the PA and the vocalist can't hear their own voice because of the volume behind them.  

    So what you need - and whether these are of any help or not - really does depend on your setup
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  • hotpickupshotpickups Frets: 863
    Monitors are purely used in my band for the vocalists. That's why I feel it should be a personal purchase. Let's face it they don't have to buy much anyway I.e a mic and stand. Compared to what we have to buy etc lol
    Link to my trading feedback:  http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/59452/
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8008
    edited February 13
    @hotpickups our singers purchased their own, they are called personal monitors after all.

    It's funny how they didn't produce any sound until someone (ie,me) had magically appeared with 38 quid's worth of cables though...
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  • thomasw88thomasw88 Frets: 719
    been using thee for monitors for live band for a few years now. they're fine.

    btw, Aldi when they do their fishing special buys, do a a fishing bag that fits these perfectly, and are well padded.
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1678
    thomasw88 said:
    been using thee for monitors for live band for a few years now. they're fine.

    btw, Aldi when they do their fishing special buys, do a a fishing bag that fits these perfectly, and are well padded.
    Great tip ! :)
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