Quality and affordability are aspects that define any great beginners option and Behringer is a brand that constantly delivers. From regular instruments to MIDI controllers, they seem to do it all but their mixers and audio interfaces have to be their biggest attraction. Whether you’re a producer looking to expand on your beat studio or a rapper in need of an easy way to record your bars, I’d recommend you look no further than the Behringer Xenyx 302USB.
They say that dynamite comes in small packages and that is certainly the case with this littler mixer as it caters to all the needs of a young up and comer without taking up too much space on your desk and without taking a chunk out of your wallet. It works on all major Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) including Ableton Live, Reason, FL Studio, Cubase, logic and even Garageband and Magix Music Maker.
Just in case you don’t already have a DAW, they have something up their sleeves to help you out too, plus a few more downloadable extras to make sure you get started on the right note. I thought there’s no better time to for me to shed some light on this particular mixer since I recently got the chance to use one of these little dynamos and I must say, I’m impressed. Here’s my Behringer Xenyx 302USB review.
Behringer Xenyx 302USB
Cheapest Place To Buy: Amazon.com
Operating Systems: Windows and Mac OS
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (Based on 454 ratings)
What Can It Do?
This little device is more compact and portable than most audio interfaces in its class and is definitely worth taking a second look at. It’s actually a tiny analogue mixer with a digital component rather than a straight up audio interface, a fact that is emphasised by its stand-alone capabilities. It gets its name from the Xenyx preamp that they’ve got tucked inside to deliver crystal clear sound along with all the phantom power you need.
The mic input itself is where all the magic happens and features a combination socket that fits both an XLR and a 1/4″ jack, which means it works for both microphones and live instruments like guitars and bass. There’s also an RCA line/USB input and a dedicated 2-track input just to give you more variety. Sitting snug at the top of the mic channel is a proper gain knob, just like you’d find on any full-sized mixing desk, that works in conjunction with the channel’s volume knob to give you the best response when recording.
It gets better…
Both mic and line/USB input have a British EQ, a circuitry replica of the equalisers you would find on the British consoles used during the 60s and 70s. It’s a 2-band EQ that only gives you bass and treble control (Lo and Hi) but they do come in handy for fine tuning your inputs and outputs. The square red and black buttons are your main tools for routeing your audio through the mixer and help to isolate the headphones from the main mix so that one doesn’t affect the other. Each has their own independent volume knob so you’re always in control
What Can’t It Do?
Just because it says ‘5 input’s on the box, doesn’t mean you get to use all 5 of those inputs at the same time (Lookout! Things are about to get technical). You’re either going to be using an instrument or microphone but never both at once, and any microphone that still works with an RCA is an outdated piece of tech. You could maybe get a keyboard on the RCA line input but most producers (including myself) would have a proper MIDI controller instead which goes directly into your computer via USB.
Besides that, the line/USB channel receives the audio coming out of your computer, so you’ll probably never have it on ‘line’ mode anyway. If we’re in the business of making hip-hop or rap music, we’re really only going to be using the mic channel, so it’s more like a 3-input mixer at best with 2 extra options. Also be aware, this bad boy lacks any kind of finesse needed to power a ribbon microphone and may just end up damaging it in the end. Rather go with a Dynamic or Condenser microphone.
If you’re still in need of music making software then do not worry my friend. Once you’ve registered your Xenyx 302USB on behringer.com you’ll get a free version of Tracktion, a leader when it comes to easy and beginner friendly DAWs. It’s perfect for recording, mixing, editing and even composing. Use it to get started making beats or recording your rhymes anytime, anywhere. Helping your new software along are 150 virtual instruments and effects plugins. Plus, there is plenty of tutorials available on Tracktion’s website that’ll help you get started pronto.
The true potential of this device lies in the fact that it’s still an analogue mixer at heart, despite being very capable in a digital music environment. So even without a computer, it can fulfil your mixer needs. I also suggest you sign up with Loopmasters to get 1GB of free samples from various genres to help get your creative juices flowing.
Should I Get It?
If you’re a beginner to the world of music production then I highly recommend you do. There’s a lot of value to be squeezed out of such a tiny device as your skills progress. It’s definitely not something you’ll keep in your primary toolkit as the years go by (something better will be needed if you’re building a proper home studio, for instance) but when it comes to a getting everything you need at the right price, you really can’t go wrong.
Got any more questions on this amazing piece of hardware? Want to know more about Interfaces? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
The Short Version
- Ultra-compact and ultra-low noise analogue mixer with USB/Audio interface
- Powered through USB or external power adaptor (included)
- Built-in stereo USB/Audio interface to connect directly to your computer
- State-of-the-art, phantom powered XENYX Mic Preamp comparable to stand-alone boutique preamps
- Neo-classic “British” 2-band graphic EQ for warm and musical sound
- 2-Track input assignable to Headphone or Main Mix output
- Main Mix plus separate Phones output
- 3-Year Warranty Program*
- Designed and engineered in Germany