Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

Welcome to my Behringer X32 FX Series tutorials. Today we are going to be looking at how to insert an effect on the Behringer X32.

Inserting an Effect

The Behringer X32 effects section is a very important part of the X32. Not only does it allow us to add some pretty neat effects, but it gives us access to some very valuable tools like compressors, DeEssers and graphic equalizers.

Side-Chain vs. Insert

There are two categories of effects that the X32 gives us access to, ‘Side-Chain’ and ‘Insert.’ There is a big difference between the two, so let’s jump in and take a look.

Insert Effect

An insert effect is just what it sounds like, it is “inserted” into the audio path of a channel or bus. This is an effect where you want to process the ENTIRE signal and you do not want to hear any of the original signal, only the processed signal.

When working with analog consoles, you would need to grab a physical cable and use the Insert Send and Insert Return jacks on the back of the console. Plugging into these jacks would literally interrupt the audio path, send audio out of the Insert Send jack. You would then need to route the signal to the effects unit, then the output of the effects unit would go BACK into the Insert Return of the console, thus returning the signal.

When we are working in the digital world, we are doing the same thing as the analog signal path, just we are doing it without physical cables.

An Insert Effect is like one of the following:

Side-Chain Effect

Very much like the Insert Effect, a Side-Chain Effect still needs a signal path of audio. However, with this type effect, you want to add it as an addition to the original signal. Typically you would use this for Reverb, Delay, Chorus, and Flanger. These are going to be used to fatten up the signal and give another cherry on the top or some more frosting on the cupcake, but not completely replace the cupcake!

When working with analog consoles, you would send audio either out of a direct out of an individual channel, or you would use a mixbus to add multiple channels into that effects send. The return of the effect would then go to an Effects Return and then be blended into the mix using the Effects Return fader.

With the X32, we have 4 stereo effects returns (which can be changed to 8 mono for advanced routing). The 4 stereo effects returns are defaulted to be the returns of FX Racks 1-4 and can not be changed.

A Side-Chain Effect is like one of the following:

  • Reverbs (like the Vintage Reverb, Room Reverb)
  • Delays
  • Chorus
  • Flanger

FX5-FX8: Let’s Insert an Effect!

Now that you know what the difference between Insert and Side-Chain effects, let’s take a look at how we go and insert an effect.

There are two places that we can insert effects on the X32, the easiest place is via the Effects section of the console which we would get to by pressing the ‘Effects’ button and then tabbing over to the ‘Home’ tab.

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

The first two rotary knobs on the console are how you change where an effect is inserted. Take your last rotary knob and select one of the FX racks between FX5 and FX8 (we will get to FX1-FX4 later). Now we can rotate the first two rotary knobs and see that we can select all of the channels, mixbusses, matrices, and main busses on the console. Once you like your selection, depress that rotary knob to confirm.

Next, you will need to activate the insert in your selection. Depress either the 3rd or 4th rotary knob and you will see the ‘Ins’ turn orange.

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

Now the effect is inserted into the channel path of Ch 01 as we can see above!

FX1-FX4: A Little More Tricky!

With FX1 through FX4, it is another step to insert an effect. The reason why is that FX Racks 1-4 are for both Side-Chain effects AND Insert effects.

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an EffectUse the first two rotary knobs to select ‘Insert’

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

Next, we will press ‘Select’ on the channel that you want to insert this effect on. Then tab over to the ‘Config’ tab.

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

We can see that there is an Insert section on the right-hand side of the LCD Screen. This is where you can do an insert to any of the FX racks and a hardware insert via the Aux in/out. At this point, you will want to select which effect you were planning to insert on the channel, bus or matrix.

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

Next, you can press the insert knob to activate the insert.

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

Lastly, we can look at the home tab of the effects section to verify what we just did:

Behringer X32 Effects Tutorial Inserting an Effect

That’s it! But… wait (literally)

Now you can use any of the insertable effects that you wish! One thing that you do need to be aware of is that when you insert an effect. That extra processing that you just added to that one channel takes a bit of extra time. That extra time varies depending on the effect but mostly is around 0.71ms. Depending on how advanced you get with your routing and processing (parallel compression with a group) this can cause a few issues. Just keep it in mind!

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31 Responses

  1. Thanks for this clear explanation. This is really a well hidden feature of the X32. The same goes for the options “select follows solo” and “solo follows select”. You would expect this under config or setup. But it’s not. I set it once, now I’m struggling to rediscover this option.

  2. As I’ve suggested before, Drew, the time you must have spent, over the past couple of years, “getting inside” the X32 is simply extraordinary!
    The help you’ve given to ALL those who own Behringer’s fabulous mixer is beyond measure.
    I, for one, am very, very, grateful.
    Take care Drew.

  3. How can I get around the latency from inserting an effect in a bus mix? I’ve noticed this when I am trying out some Parrallel compression on Drums.

  4. Hi Drew for fx 1-4, can they only take 2 channels each? I would like to use one effect chamber on my vocals

  5. Hi Drew,
    This is a bit left field, but……
    I want to add a revert effect to vocals in the recording mix
    (aux 7+8 L+R) recorded on the pen drive facility.
    The problem is I don’t need ANY reverb in the (church) hall as it’s a very lively room!
    When I lower reverb in the PA mix, the reverb level in recording mix is also affected.

    If you could help at all, I’d be eternally grateful.

    Worship Pastor
    Dublin Ireland

  6. Hi Drew,
    Thanks for all the great tutorials I really appreciate it!
    FYI, I’m an analog guy and this is my first digital board…
    Currently I’m using my Midas M32 to route signals via bus 1-6 to 3 stereo in-ear mixes, and 7-12 for recording live rehearsals to older Pr-Tools system. I’m not using the main mix at all. I tried inserting a graphic EQ on my snare post EQ and can’t hear anything when adjusting frequencies. I see signal on the effect but nothing in in-ears. Any help would be appreciated.
    Kind regards,

  7. Drew: You are the man! We just got the Behringer X32 Compact. The manual really does not say how to insert effects, I read it and read it, it just did not click. I came to your site, bingo! Easy steps to follow how to do that. Thanks a lot.

  8. Hi Drew, Thanks for this video. May I ask a question regarding an ECHO effect which I occasionally notice on my X32. From what I discovered, it sometimes affects 2 inputs which are side by side each other say input 1 and 2. How does one terminate this echo effect noticed on the output when these two inputs especially when their faders are pushed up together.

  9. If you do parallel compression and insert the same type effect on both busses, but set one bus to not hear the effect, and the other to have it, will the delay then be equal so there’s not issues with latency on that signal? That was an old Pro Tools trick before latency compensation. For example, 2 drum sub groups, insert the same compressor on both, and have one with no compression settings and the other one squashing the drums. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge….

  10. Hey Drew,
    How I can insert few effects for one channel?
    For example, I want to use Guitar Amp and Suboctaver.
    Best Regards,
    Eugene Kotelnikov

  11. Thanks Drew! So.. if I´m planning to parallel compress the drum buss, should I left the drum input channels without any insert fx?

  12. Hi Drew,
    Thanks for the great work and explanations you do!
    I have a question about inserts on the L/R main…
    Is there a way to make more then one inserts to the L/R main mix?

    1. Brother Drew”
      I just want to say thank you not only for this tutorial, but for all of them.
      Domingo E. Hernández,
      Pastor ICP

    2. Hello, is it also possible to include several insert effects in one channel? e.g. deesser and fair-compressor.

  13. For parallel compressing a bus, all you need to do is insert the same compressor both on your smashed & clean buses, but run it clean (but not bypassed) for the unprocessed bus. Then both buses will have an equal amount of latency. The only downside is that you’re eating an effect slot w/o really using it, but that’s the way it is in the digital world, whether it’s an xm32 or a DAW.
    I would imagine you could also manually dial in delay on the bus that matches the actual latency in milliseconds, but I’ve never tried it that way so cannot vouch that it works. Drew & a few others have done the hard work of exactly measuring each effect’s latency, so the #’s are out there.

  14. I would like to add that the list of effects to choose from is different between FX1-4 and FX5-8.
    What anoys me, is that it is not possible to choose the Combinator (which is a typical Insert effect) in FX5-8. Sadly you need to burn a side-chain bus if you want to use the Combinator …
    I always considered this a big minor for an otherwise fabulous console (for that money).

  15. How is it done on the rack mount x 32 version that uses an iPad for control? I love all that you do please don’t get me wrong but it is apples and oranges when it comes to the virtual controls of the x32 versus the consolw version. How do the people that use the rack mount version learn these thing ?


  16. A side chain is used to trigger dynamics (compressor/de-esser, etc.) on one channel from a different channel. For example, You can put a compressor on a bass track, then trigger that compressor with the kick drum. The compressor on the bass channel has a side-chain input from the kick channel. So the kick drum is controlling the compressor on the bass track. A good rule is to only use inserts for dynamic processing. For time based fx, like reverb and delay, use your sends and returns.

  17. Hi Drew,
    Currently I have 2 reverbs and 2 delays set up as side-chains in the mixbus section. For reasons that are a lot longer than this post I’m looking to get rid of the delay mixbuses and repurpose them to go to a cry room set up. Do you know if there’s a way to remove the effect completely from the mixbus channel or is it something that is ‘hard-wired’ in so to speak? We’re currently mapped to 10 pre/post eq and 6 post fade and are using all of them. If it’s not possible to remove the delay effect completely, is it possible to only pass the dry signal through the channel, instead of the wet?

  18. Thanx for sharing your expertise. This explanation goes way beyond what is in the Behringer manual. Maybe they should have you rewrite it for them!

    I also have a question. This is my first ‘pure’ digital mixer. I want to be able to insert an effect, punch it in, and have it continue the delay as long as I want it. How would I go about doing that? I have the X32 Compact, I have played around with the left side effects returns as well as the right side but they only seem to work on fader control..
    Any input gratefully received. I am also willing to pay for a tutor lesson to get this fully under my control…
    Bless…………… Kamel

  19. Great work Drew, could you possibly cover how to add effects into monitor/ foldback speakers.

    Thanks Peter.

  20. Great work Drew, could you also cover how to get individual effects Into separate stage foldback monitors for performers.

    Thanks Peter.

  21. Hi Drew,
    Thanks for your videos, they have been really helpful!! I added reverb for vocals and now my vocal subgroup is always clipping now as the worship team sings. Before reverb, I was getting -18 to -12 dB reading. Is it ideal to have reverb return at unity and then adjust sends on fader inputs or the other way around?

  22. Hi Drew,
    We currently have a reverb bus set up on our x32, if I follow the examples above, do I still need that BUS? I am hoping to free up a slot for an additional monitor BUS.
    Worship Tech Coordinator
    Milwaukee WI