A Chat with Legendary Ray Finkenberger-Lewin

Behringer recently caught up with live sound and studio engineer/producer Ray Finkenberger-Lewin to talk about the X32 Digital Mixing Console.

Behringer: You’ve used the X32 since its release in 2012 on multiple shows throughout Europe. Tell us about some of the big shows you’ve used the X32 on?

Ray: The largest installation was the circus-style entertainment show, Swiss Christmas, which was held at an open stadium in Zurich, Switzerland over two really successful seasons. We did more than 80 shows and the X32 and S16 were constantly in use – we never even once switched them off!

I also worked as production manager for the famous Gibson Music Club in Frankfurt, Germany with the X32 at front-of-house (FOH) for Capital Cities. They were on their 2013 European Tour and charting #1 at the time.

Finally, I just returned from touring with Sebastian Hämer, supporting the platinum selling and Echo award-winning act Söhne Mannheims, where I used the X32 live on stage, mixing front-of-house and monitors – plus I recorded 32 tracks at the same time. The X32 was flawless.

As we speak, I´m preparing for a club tour with Sebastian Hämer and a couple of big open air festivals around Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where I will once again be using the X32 and S16.

Behringer: With over 20 years of experience, is it safe to say you’re a true veteran in this business and you’ve worked on a variety of digital consoles? How did you come to choose the X32 – and what are your favorite features?

Ray: Well, to be honest, I´m really not that familiar with all the digital mixers currently on the market. I do try to stay informed by attending training sessions and all kind of workshops, but much like my friends and colleagues Carsten Kuemmel, Roger Wagener, Peter Falke, Timo Hollmann and Oli Voges, I come from a true analogue, recording studio background. I prefer mixing desks that give me the feeling I´m comfortable with what I´m doing.

When I´m in front of a new desk, I always have to contact the support technician before I can start using it. Not so with the X32, I didn’t even need to look at the manual. It was as easy as learning by doing, and the amazing potential of the board exceeds all my expectations and needs for up to 32 channel productions.

A word of advice to your readers – before you start complaining about your desk, always make sure you do your job right; listen and place your microphones musically and talk to the musicians before you start mixing. The X32 can do everything you want it to do – without compromise.

My personal top 6 features of the X32 are:

-      Flexible Sends on Fader which works in two different directions

-      KLARK TEKNIK’s AES50 protocol

-      Three Sets (A, B, C) for Assign section

-      Availability of local inputs at the board

-      Inclusion of X-USB card

-      Flexibility of Monitor Section

Behringer: How did other engineers or friends react when they saw you using X32?

Ray: When they realized I was travelling with the X32 / S16 system, they wanted to check it out. What they found impressed them so much, two of them immediately bought their own consoles and took them out on tour. Just this very week, another colleague of mine gave me a call to come over and check my x32 out.

When you decide to look at the X32, don´t think about the price. You should judge it just as you would any other console (that is if 32 channels fit the gig). Look at the capabilities, sound, handling, onboard FX, etc. After comparing the features to other consoles, you will find the X32 is the right board for you – then, and only then consider the price. I think you will realize the X32 is a great piece of gear that is easy to work on, provides amazing sound quality and features – at an unbelievably affordable price!

Behringer: Back in February, you had the chance to visit the MUSIC Group Factory in China. You actually wrote an article about MUSIC Group and conducted an interview with CEO Uli BEHRINGER for the upcoming PMA magazine. Can you share some of your impressions?

Ray: All I can say is, I still find it a bit unreal – those days flew by like a dream for me. It was an unbelievable experience to visit MUSIC Group and get in touch with all those great people who are really into what there are doing. I’m left with the feeling that this is just the beginning, since MUSIC Group is such a diverse melting pot of knowledge and experience in the audio industry – brands such as KLARK TEKNIK, MIDAS and TURBOSOUND make products like the X32 and S16 come to life. And the technological advances of MUSIC Group City promise to make this legacy even more successful. Uli Behringer is a true pioneer in audio industry, and it was a great pleasure for me to be invited. I hope I get to come back to witness the fulfillment of Mr. Behringer grand dreams.

 

About Ray Finkenberger-Lewin

Ray Finkenberger-Lewin is a musician/producer/sound engineer working in both live and studio environments. He is also an active partner in the Mell-O-Tron production company, which provides commercial and film music, sound design, remixes and video production. Ray’s references includes artists like Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot), Bobby Rondinelli (Dio / Black Sabbath, Bobby Kimball (Toto), Edo Zanki, Glashaus, Boodee Trap, Sabrina Setlur, Moses Pelham, Xavier Naidoo, The Stroke, Sebastian Hämer, Victor Smolski, Malcolm Arison, just to name a few.