Is Behringer's bad rep warranted ?

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paulphoenixpaulphoenix Frets: 55
The new and used market  is flooded with all manner of products from this company. 

I am looking at putting together some new PA equipment, and I have my eye on a particular product of theirs that no one else seems to do (for the same money at least!),  but I have always turned my nose up at anything made by Behringer because of their reputation, and to a certain degree (in all honesty) my own brand snobbery.

Am I right to think badly and avoid anything bearing their name based purely on this preconception? 

I have never owned any of their equipment - might I be proved wrong if i purchased? 



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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1683
    Both design and manufacture have improved. I can’t speak for pedals, but have used their Graphic EQ for years, and we now have their digital desk
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 877
    As with any manufacturer it depends on a particular, piece of kit and what you expect it to do for you . Behringer stuff is more hot or miss than most.
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 7746
    I pretty much built a home studio around their outboard equipment a few years ago, and use a couple of their monitors and a keyboard amp for gigging.

    I've never had a problem with any of it, though construction wise it's definitely in the replace rather than repair bracket, but that also now applies to previously 'good' names like Mackie and Wharfedale. 

    For critical duties I tend to go with brands I still trust a little more, like JBL and Yamaha, but having said that, every time I've done BBC radio sessions in the last 15 years the racks have been full of Behringer gear. 
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  • peteripeteri Frets: 700

    I'd had a few odds and sods from them.

    Bad bits - more of their designs are rip-offs, from the Bugera line of amps to the Mackie 'inspired' mixers. They can do them so cheap because they have no R&D, and use cheap parts/labour.

    Good bits - you can get them cheap, and sometimes they work ok, I've been using a small mixer for years as a headphone monitor and it works great.

    For anything in your signal path, I would be dubious, the lower cost parts definitely increases noise, and some of their lines are very unreliable and hard to repair.

    New prices are low, and therefore used prices are low. Plus many people start with them and then move on.

    If you can afford better, get better - if it's all you can afford, or the only thing you can find - then they can be ok, but nothing more than that.

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  • peteripeteri Frets: 700
    p90fool said:
    I pretty much built a home studio around their outboard equipment a few years ago, and use a couple of their monitors and a keyboard amp for gigging.

    I've never had a problem with any of it, though construction wise it's definitely in the replace rather than repair bracket, but that also now applies to previously 'good' names like Mackie and Wharfedale. 

    For critical duties I tend to go with brands I still trust a little more, like JBL and Yamaha, but having said that, every time I've done BBC radio sessions in the last 15 years the racks have been full of Behringer gear. 


    Better version of what I was typing when I posted!

    Not surprised on the BBC comment, one of the better Behringer products was/is the ADI-8000 (model number from memory disclaimer), this gave you 8 channels of a/d (analogue to ADAT) conversion. Worked pretty well, as long as you didn't use it's clock. If you sync'd it from something else worked completely good enough.


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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2236
    Used a fair bit of it in the past, mainly outboard rack stuff. When it works it's fantastic value for money but you should regard it as disposable once outside of the warranty period as repair is usually uneconomical.
    I've had a number of units that are now well into thier second decade of use in a portable live PA situation, so when they work they work. When they die just go buy another ot a better brand if it's a critical application.
    Many older units were cheap copies of well known brands (like compressers and DI boxes) but with short cuts on some features. It was often joked that the Behr*r development office was a boy and a photocopier. Ethics aside, they shook up the business and made affordable sophisticated PA/Studios available to lots of working musicians.
    With modern electronics like this the units tend to fail early or go on for years so the warranty was important, my experience with the warranty on a couple of occasions I had problems with a failure or dead on arrival unit was instant replacement unit from the retailer, so that was all good.

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3545
    As an electronics repair guy I'm not a fan of their designs ..... or should I say their implementation of other peoples designs. Behringer sell on price point not quality. Yes they have huge, enormous manufacturing facilities, to the point workers live as well as work in them and no doubt their buying power contributes to their low prices but also they achieve these prices by cutting corners and thus cost. 
    That's not to say you can't have perfectly working bits of Behringer kit .... you can but there's a difference between cutting corner on a low current small signal mixing desk \ bit of outboard processing \ guitar pedal etc ..... and cutting corners in a product like a powered PA speaker \ monitor etc where the switch mode power supply is directly connected to the mains and supplying high currents to big loads. This is the area where proper design and extra protection in the area of extra components, isolation slots in the PCB etc makes all the difference. 

    I've got an HK 1KW bass bin power amp module on my bench to do today. There was a surge on the mains and it took out the MOV ..... so an easy repair. Had this been a Behringer 1KW module I would probably be calling time of death :)
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3276
    Many of us have started with Beheringer as that's all we could afford, ditto Phonic. They are great beginers's brands, but as said ^^^^^ should be viewed as disposable, not something easilyrepairable (in general) - the outboard gear has a better reputation - we use the limiters & 16ch line mixers.

    My observation is that rugged isn't a word the sprigs to mind - flimsy is.
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • David5150David5150 Frets: 101

    Not a brand snob but when we were building the band PA we overspent on speakers big time and only had enough cash left in the pot for a Behringer mixer. I read all the horror stories but this thing has lasted 8 years of gigging. It's been bashed around, had things spilt on it, thrown in the back of the car etc.  May have been lucky but when it dies it will simply be thrown in the recycle bin and replaced with another.

    I've also used a couple of their power amps - work OK but just sound rubbish!!

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30913
    My experience with them is that they're very 'borderline engineering' - they either die fairly quickly, quite often under warranty, or they work perfectly indefinitely, depending on whether all the components are just above the minimum tolerance for reliability or not! And that if they do fail, they're often not economically repairable and in some cases very difficult to repair at all, due to the way they're designed to be assembled.
    "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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  • mike257mike257 Frets: 214
    I think they're probably better than they were a decade or so ago, but they're still cheap and cheerful. I've got some of their kit that's done very long service - a small Xenyx mixer that served as a monitor controller in my home studio 10+ years ago spent all of last year cased up and touring as part of the IEM system for a drummer in a band I was tour managing. Got my £75 worth out of it a long time ago!
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 298
    Had a few bits and pieces over the years. I still have a small mixer that's been used mainly at home but never given any trouble. I've got an FCB1010 Midi board that I've been gigging since 2004 and, apart from fitting an UNO chip, it's never had an issue and been totally reliable.
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1206
    David5150 said:

    Not a brand snob but when we were building the band PA we overspent on speakers big time and only had enough cash left in the pot for a Behringer mixer. I read all the horror stories but this thing has lasted 8 years of gigging. It's been bashed around, had things spilt on it, thrown in the back of the car etc.  May have been lucky but when it dies it will simply be thrown in the recycle bin and replaced with another.

    I've also used a couple of their power amps - work OK but just sound rubbish!!

    I've had a few behringer power amps as well as more respected brands and think the behringers more than hold their own.  Never had and behriger gear fail, bit had one of their line 6 delay pedal copies, that was awful.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3545
    Going back to what I said earlier .... something made by Behringer  using low voltage and small currents .... like a small passive mixing desk is unlikely to go wrong .... you would have to do something pretty stupid at the design stage for it too go wrong. Almost all analog desks use opamps in a virtual earth mixer config which is a well proven design that goes back 40 years. The opamps are reliable, the only supporting components needed are resistors and caps, maybe a transistor early in the mic pre amp. As long as you don't run the rails higher than the opamp spec sheet recommends it will almost never go wrong. Likewise a graphic equaliser, feedback distroyer and most of the other cheap stuff they make. 

    Trusting Behringer to build something high current switchmode is not a good idea though. All switchmode power supplies will fail at some point purely because the caps only have a finite life span. The stresses on the caps due to the massive ripple currents, and the vital switching transistors etc mean you can't scrimp on quality if you want it to last .... the best most reliable designs use quality Japanese capacitors throughout and semiconductors operating well with their maximum power rating. I've seen all kinds of shit design in Behringer powered mixers and active speakers. 

    So rather than just say all Behringer is bad or good it's probably more accurate to say the small signal low power stuff is likely to be as reliable as anything else in terms of electronics ..... with the exclusion of the quality of the pots and material  of the enclosure. Behringer gear like powered mixers, active speakers, power amps, guitar and bass amps IS likely to fail though. That's not to say every bit of the above gear has failed ..... I mean I'm sure there's someone somewhere who owns an Ashdown bass amp that's never gone wrong but Behringer powered stuff is more likely to go wrong than more expensive brands

    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30913
    Danny1969 said:

    ... I mean I'm sure there's someone somewhere who owns an Ashdown bass amp that's never gone wrong

    lol :D 

    The irony with that is that the Behringer 'Ultrabass' amps, which are to some extent Ashdown copies, are much better-made and more reliable than the originals - with a massive ducted-fan-cooled heatsink, unlike the Ashown's two small badly-supported ones with a fan that blows in their general direction - but built in such a way that if they ever do fail, they're much harder to fix because you have to separate the heatsink from every transistor on it... or undo all the solder joints. I've only seen a couple of dead ones though, unlike the dozens of Ashdowns.
    "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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  • paulphoenixpaulphoenix Frets: 55
    edited March 27
    The Behringer item that I am particularly interested in is the RX1202FX rackmount mixer.

    And by the sounds of it (thanks to all for your input), it should be a fairly low risk purchase (even second hand) by Behringer's standards.

    My reason for asking was that I am looking to put together a (cheap yet reliable) backup PA system  for my band. I'm thinking of buying the mixer, a rack mount EQ and power amp,  and then cramming it all in a 6U rack case I have kicking around for as little coin as possible. 

    There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of choice when it comes to vertical mount rack mixers.... 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 7746
    Make sure it has more channels than you need - the only regular Behringer failure I've come across is the odd dead channel on (admittedly battered) Behringer mixers supplied by hire companies. 

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  • hasslehamhassleham Frets: 247
    Behringer stuff that i've owned (that I can remember):
    Tube overdrive guitar pedal
    31 channel rack EQ
    XM8500 cardiod mic x2
    C1 matched pair of condensers
    B5 condenser
    Behringer F1320D active monitor

    As far as I'm concerned it's all been reliable and done it's job. None of it has broken down on me, and I still own all of it apart from the guitar pedal.
    The mics aren't the best quality (obviously, <£50 per mic) but they work and are there as spares if I need them.

    People seem to like to joke about things made by Behringer and this has blown the brand snobbery against them out of proportion and given them a worse reputation than they deserve.

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