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Hands-On Review: Behringer B-Control Series

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Changing the way you make music

By Matt Taylor

I've recorded a lot of music in pro studios, and learned much about recording. Sound engineers have essential elements like volume, EQ, effects, panning, etc., at their fingertips via an array of knobs and faders on the mixer.

In music software, this interface is condensed down onto a video screen controlled with a mouse. I prefer the hands-on feel of knobs and faders as opposed to scrolling through multiple menus with a mouse. To me, there's nothing like real faders for achieving smooth fades and pans. Behringer has produced hardware controllers with real analog sliders and knobs to allow studio-style control of all your various parameters and levels. There have been other controllers, but Behringer's new B-Control Series controllers come in at a price that working musicians can afford. They will revolutionize the way you make music.

Behringer BCF2000 B-Control Fader

Faders and knobs

The BCF2000 uses a combination of faders and knobs, while the BCR2000 uses knobs exclusively. They both offer the ultimate in control over your synth, mixer, effects, or signal processor. Multiple B-Control Series units can be cascaded together for large workstations.

The BCF2000 gives you eight precision 100mm faders with a smooth, solid throw, motorized for automated control of your mixes. As your music plays back, the faders move precisely the way you moved them when rec-ording. The faders can be moved in groups to achieve effects impossible with a mouse. There are also eight endless rotary encoders, each with a 15-element LED indicator and a push-to-set function.

Those who prefer knobs over faders will want to check out the BCR2000, with 24 high-resolution encoders that feature LED rings and an additional push function. These illuminated buttons are assignable to various MIDI functions including note on/off, control change, program change, MMC, and SysEx. Additional multifunction footswitch and footcontroller connectors can address all types of MIDI data, and configurable MIDI and USB modes allow for flexible system integration. USB connectivity enables mouseless control of audio sequencers, software mixers, virtual synths, organ drawbars, and software mixers.

Behringer BCR2000 B-Control Rotary

Sonic setup

The BCF2000 and BCR2000 controllers give you plenty of options when it comes to configuring them to your personal studio setup. There are 32 presets covering software applications including Cakewalk, Sonar, Logic Audio, and Cubase, with more available on Behringer's Web site. Set your B-Control to transmit commands to the software that you are controlling or set parameters on your MIDI device and the B-Control will receive the information via the Learn procedure! There are four encoder groups, a multifunction four-digit LED display with realtime parameter indication, and a MIDI input with merge function that allows you to cascade several units. Both B-Controls are outfitted with one MIDI in plus two MIDI outs and generic USB MIDI support with Windows XP and Mac OS X. Additional drivers and an editor/librarian are forthcoming.

Behringer BCA2000 B-Control Audio

The ABCs of the BCA

The third member of the B-Control power trio is the BCA2000, a high-speed MIDI/Audio USB 2.0 multichannel interface with ADAT support, surround outputs, and an extensive monitor control section. The BCA2000 gives you an intuitive control surface with three 100mm faders for audio and MIDI adjustment along with a high-performance analog input section with two high-end IMP "invisible" mic preamps with +48V phantom power, plus line and Hi-Z guitar inputs. With these three analog connections (one mono and one stereo) and digital input and output formats like ADAT, S/MUX, AES/EBU, and S/PDIF (including Dolby Digital and dts options), you have a vast array of interfacing possibilities.

A comprehensive LED routing indicator and status LEDs support the flexible input/output configuration. Input signal distortion and A/D converter overload are prevented by the adjustable studio-grade analog input dynamic control consisting of a noise gate plus limiter.

Eight input and eight output channels (analog and digital) are supported simultaneously with low-latency drivers. The master/monitor section provides fader control of two speakers, two sets of headphones, direct monitor functions, plus separate dim, mute, and mono functions.

The BCA is also a full-featured USB/MIDI interface with one MIDI input and two MIDI outputs individually selectable for 16/32 MIDI channels.

Be in control!

Behringer has done it again, producing powerful audio gear for musicians at an ultra-affordable price. Studio veterans and hobbyists alike will feel comfortable with the concise mixing console design. Musicians will find themselves making music with newfound ease thanks to the intuitive, easily understandable controls. The B-Control Series will quickly find themselves a central place in the heart of your studio.

Features & Specs

BCF2000:

BCA2000:

  • Desktop MIDI controller with analog feel and an intuitive user interface
  • 8 - 100mm motorized faders
  • 4 virtual groups with 8 dual-mode, high-resolution encoders with LEDs
  • 16 + 4 illuminated MIDI assignable buttons
  • All panel elements assignable either manually or via auto learn mode
  • Footswitch/footcontroller connections
  • 32 user presets, each with 4 controller groups
  • Configurable USB and MIDI modes
  • One MIDI in/2 MIDI outs
  • Multifunction 4-digit LED
  • MIDI Input with merge function
  • Generic USB MIDI support for Mac OS X and Windows XP
  • 2 IMP mic preamps, 48V phantom power, plus line and Hi-Z inputs
  • 3 - 100mm motorized faders
  • ADAT, S/MUX, AES/EBU, and S/PDIF, including Dolby Digital and dts support
  • LED audio routing indicator plus status LEDs
  • Adjustable analog input dynamic control with noise gate and limiter
  • USB/MIDI interface with one MIDI in/2 MIDI outs for 16/32 MIDI channels
  • Supports 8 in plus 8 out channels (analog + digital) with low-latency drivers
  • Monitor section with 100mm faders and individual level controls for 2 speakers, 2 headphones, and direct monitor

BCR2000:

  • Same as BCF2000 with 24 high-resolution encoders plus LED rings

Tags: Recording Mixers

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