What started as a very simple setup with a Behringer XR18 mixer and a single webcam has developed into a complex setup that has evolved over two years and continues to do so as we understand more.
It quickly became apparent that the XR18 mixer was not up to the job, in part due to the fact that it had a tendency to overheat which then would cause serious audio issues. So we decided to invest in a Behringer X32 rack mixer.
The X32 has proved to be an invaluable investment as it allows us to much more than the XR18 would. We were very blessed to have a donation to cover the cost of this. We started using a USB interface and upgraded to use an X-DANTE card which has allowed us to do full multi-track recordings of our worship events and much more.
The following diagram gives an idea of how the system is setup. This is a simplified version and not a full connection diagram.
The X32 has a number of connections of various types
- Zoom (via Dante)
- Video (via Dante)
- Control room audio (via Dante)
- Main output to Zoom (Dante)
- Multi-track for recording on Control PC (Dante)
We use in-ear monitoring for each singer and musician using a mixture of P16 personal mixers and Aux feeds. The P16’s are first choice but we have to build up equipment as we can afford it.
Local or Remote Control?
As we have stated elsewhere the Encounter Worship started during the UK Covid-19 lockdown which meant that we could not have anyone in our home that was not part of our bubble. This meant that we had to find a way of working with Tim doing our audio and video mixing via a remote connection.
Remote control and monitoring was done by Tim via a combination of Zoom and VPN connection plus an AnyDesk link into our main OBS / Zoom PC.
- Audio monitoring was done using Zoom. There would be a short delay of around a second between what was sung or played to it being heard remotely, but this was not an issue for mixing purposes.
- Audio mixing on the X32 was done using the X32-Mix app on an Apple iPad which was connected to our home network via VPN. Alternatively we could have used the PC or Mac X32 app for this via VPN or remotely via AnyDesk, but personal preference by Tim was to use the iPad app.
- Video mixing was done using OBS Studio via a remote AnyDesk connection to the main OBS / Zoom PC which also ran the main Zoom hosting session.
We did attempt to use JamKazam on a couple of occasions for a couple of singers to sing from their home which did work, but meant the mix became very complex due to the delays added with the round-trip time of the audio to and from the remote singers. Trying to compensate for this was achievable but complicated.
In 2022 when lockdown rules were finally relaxed we moved to the whole team being local. This meant replicating the remote control environment we had previously entirely locally. It also allowed us to add features we’d not been able to do previously.
The control room setup you can consists of a small number of computers / tablets plus the all-important coffee mug! This setup enables us to do
- Mixer control (tablet)
- Multi-track recording
- Video mixing via AnyDesk to OBS / Zoom PC
- Zoom meeting co-hosting
- Song Tracking
By clever use of the original XR18 mixer the microphone and speakers can be connected to the recording PC for direct monitor or the Zoom co-hosting for Zoom monitoring / interaction. The setup has become truly flexible.
In addition Tim is also able to join the singing and even play along with his keyboard (not shown). We can even feed his video via a webcam linked via USB extender to the main OBS PC!
The X32 setup is fairly comprehensive, but can be summarised as follows
- Inputs 1-16 – local connections to vocals and instruments
- Inputs 17-24 – Dante connections from Zoom / OBS
- Inputs 25-31 – Dante connections from control room
- Outputs 1-6 – local monitoring
- Outputs 7+8 (main LR) – not used
- Outputs 9+10 – delayed output (248ms) to Zoom. (The delay is to account for the processing time OBS takes to combine video sources to keep the audio and video in sync)
- Outputs 11-16 misc
- Busses are used to create sub-mixes for P16 and other purposes.
- Matrix mixes are used to create
- Delayed main output
- Control room monitor mix