Sonic State Studio / Outboard / BEHRINGER AUTOCOM PRO-XL MDX-1600

Average rating: 6.0/10 out of 10

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Saso Podobnik a hobbyist user from Slovenia writes:
After being the single most hated company in pro audio - and not completely undeservedly, either - Behringer seem to have gradually begun to enjoy a certain amount of respect. There seems to be a consensus that their gear, while typically bordering on underwhelming, delivers on its modest promises, and for a price where you never take much of a hit once you're ready to upgrade.

The MDX-1600 was my first dedicated compressor. I got it mostly because everybody kept saying I needed one - I didn't really know what a compressor does at that time - and eventually, I settled for using it on the stereo drum mix because it seemed to do the most difference there. Listening to stuff I was producing at the time, it would be fair to say that the MDX-1600 is better than nothing, but also a case of "you get what you pay for". It does alter the volume envelope of the signal largely in the way it's told to, yet also degrades it in certain respects - though not very noticeable in the context of an amateur mix, both the bass seems to get thinned out and the trebles dulled even with the compression circuit disengaged, as if the MDX-1600 was acting as a sort of a band-pass filter.

To be fair, for a compressor in this price range, even such, i.e. slightly compromised, performance may be considered exemplary - the Alesis 3630 can be very uncooperative even when carefully set up, and various anonymous Chinese knock-offs are often literally useless. The quality of Behringer's construction is also hard to dispute - the casing is steel with the faceplate made of thick aluminium, the switches and detented knobs have a sturdy feel to them, and the jacks fixed to the chassis, which is something I've always appreciated. I was also satisfied with the features - the metering is very good, the gate works, the switches in the audio path don't pop and the headroom for a home studio situation is quite adequate. The only area where the MDX-1600 really fails to perform is peak limiting - the signal just gets distorted, even on very conservative settings.

Behringer understand their business like few companies do, which is why their stuff is usually the cheapest alternative that still makes a sensible purchase. Even when it comes to compressors, where the RNC has completely overhauled the sub-$200 market, a bracket still seems to exist for a $80 stereo/dual-mono compressor with a functional gate, separate sidechain output and input, XLR connections and an internal PSU - that actually does the job most of the time.

Rating: 6 out of 10 posted Friday, 26-Mar-10 at 6:56
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