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When to Use an Audio Matrix | Behringer X32 Matrix

Kade Young
Kade Young
Chief Audio Guru
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When first introduced to digital mixing, one of my first thoughts was, “What the heck is a matrix?”. Coming from a simple analog setup, the only Matrix I knew of was a movie released in 1999.

I would venture to say that matrix mixes are misused in most churches. But, once you know when to use them, matrix mixes are easy to understand.

What is an audio matrix?

The fact that they named it a matrix makes it seem complicated, but they actually have a very simple and basic function.

A matrix mix allows you to create a slight variation of your main mix.

In other words, it creates a copy of your main mix and then allows you to make slight variations to the overall mix. I say “slight” because there is not a whole lot you can change.

To be more specific, there are three modifications you can make to your main mix with a matrix:

  1. EQ the matrix mix (You can’t EQ specific channels for that matrix, but you can take the main mix, make a copy of it, and then apply EQ to the overall mix.)
  2. Add compression to a matrix mix
  3. Insert  FX on the matrix mix (For example, you could apply a limiter, or reverb, or graphic EQ, or any of the other effects your mixer has to offer.)

When to Use a Matrix Mix

At this point, you may be wondering, “If you can’t change much, what’s the point of a matrix?” Well, a matrix mix actually comes in handy for certain situations.

When it comes to church sound, the primary way you will use a matrix is to send the main mix to another room in the church, like the lobby, hallways or nursery.

You probably don’t want all the low frequencies that are in the auditorium going to the small speakers in the ceiling, so you can apply a low cut to your matrix mix. You could also apply a compressor so there is not as much dynamic range in the lobby as there is in the auditorium.

And that’s pretty much the only use for a matrix mix in church.

Don't use a matrix for your live stream.

In the past, I’ve tried to use a matrix for my live stream mix, but there’s just not enough flexibility with a matrix to use it for that purpose. Instead, I use a pair of bus mixes with most of the channels set to post fader.

I have a video that walks you through my simple live stream mixing strategy using bus mixes. Watch it here:

Simple Live Stream Sound Setup

Guide for Setting Up a Matrix

If you need help setting up a matrix on the Behringer X32, I put together a simple guide to help you out. Download it here:

Download X32 Matrix Setup Guide

19 Comments

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19 comments on “When to Use an Audio Matrix | Behringer X32 Matrix”

  1. I have been wrestling with Matrix's for a couple of weeks. The Behringer webinars complicate this subject and I desperately needed a simplified explanation. You guys nailed it!!! Thank you!!!!

  2. I've been trying to figure out how to send a separate mix to a different room or a facebook live mix kind of like you are talking about.

    My question is: when you set up a matrix and are able to change the mix, are you able to set different eq's for each channel? Or would I need a separate console for that?

    1. You can set EQ on the matrix itself, but you cannot set matrix-specific EQ for each individual channel. Hope that helps!

  3. Hey Kade if we set that bus to post fader is that post main fader or the bus fader. Also is there away to put the effects in that

    1. Hey Eric - that is post bus fader. And, yes, you can send effects to the bus. To do this, use your 'sends on fader' button, select the bus you want to add effects to, and then navigate to your FX returns on the left bank of faders. Now, turn up the FX returns you want to go to the selected bus. Hope that helps!

  4. I know this is a little off thread, but, can you help me with a situation at church; Go in set all levels , EQ, Comp, VU levels, etc. come back and it's all changed, my question is; is there a magic button (scenes, snippet) button to recall all settings?
    Thanks for your help, great info sharing and great help!

    1. Hey Jeff - I'd recommend saving a scene before you walk away (scenes store everything on the mixer). Then, when you recall the scene, everything will come back as it should, except for the things that are marked in the Param Safe or Channel Safe sections.

  5. Kade,

    I understand how to easily add a delay to the matrix if using XLR outputs, but how do you add a delay if using the aux output for AES/EBU? I am using that output to send audio to a Black Majic Television Studio and need to delay the audio from the video 200 ms. Thanks

    1. Hey Brad - You can only add delay to the XLR outputs on the X32.

  6. Kade this was such an excellent tutorial. I lost you in the bus part and I think that is something I need and could use a deeper explanation. As the church's only IT guy (small country church) I am also in charge of our new Behringer X32 Compact and streaming the service. The old analog board had a separate out (Aux 2) that I used for streaming. Each channel had its own Aux 2 volume control. The mix is crazy hot on our keyboard and a couple of other instruments and I am trying to figure out how to tie those to a bus so I can individually control their volume and send it to the matrix. I'm missing something because I keep killing the room sound and making the musicians crazy during sound check.

  7. Hi,

    I use matrices to feed a second and third row of speakers in the large main room at our church. Because of the distance (2x 7 meters), there is a delay required. It's not much, but I noticed a lot less feedback, after applying the delay for each row.

    For this I use - post fader - matrices, channel fader set to 0db, So I don't have to change the volume for each row of speakers all the time, as each matrix channel 'follows' the main LR fader.

    As a result, the FOH speakers are not required to 'scream' to reach the back rows and the people in the room have a uniform sound mix, as if they are 'submerged' in the sound.

    For reference, I use the A&H SQ7. I follow this channel because of the clear-cut explanations of principles, thumbs-up 😉

    Regards

  8. So what if I'm using a pair of buses (one for band the other for vocals) and then sending that to a matrix? It might not be standard but it's given me a lot of flexibility in the overall mix without having to manage one bus with a ton of channels. I leave the matrix at 0db and set all my compression and fx on the separate busses which have their channels all set to pre fader.

    I do like the idea of using the matrix to send to other parts of the building though.

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