On the Road with F.R.E.I. and the X32

Recently, Behringer got to spend some time with F.R.E.I. vocalist Daniel Wagner, at Frankfurt’s renowned Festhalle.

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F.R.E.I. Receiving 2013 German "Rock & Pop" Award for "Pop Band of the Year".

F.R.E.I. Receiving 2013 German “Rock & Pop” Award for “Pop Band of the Year”.

Behringer: “2013 was an amazing year for F.R.E.I., concluding with the band winning the German “Rock & Pop” Award 2013 in the “Pop Band of the Year” category. What can we look forward to this year – and how will F.R.E.I. attempt to top such an already impressive list of achievements?”

Daniel: “We just finished our new album, which will be released this coming summer. Then it’s back on the road again, for live performance dates all over Germany in support of the new album. We can’t wait to get back out there with our fans and play all of the new material for them!”

Behringer: “F.R.E.I. is using the BEHRINGER X32 exclusively while on the road, in fact you carrying your own console to all the festival and concert venues. Talk about your first impressions of using the X32 in the rehearsal room? And also, what made you decide the X32 was the ultimate best choice for your first major tour?”

Daniel: “I remember the moment clearly. We were playing our first song with the X32, and it was awesome! Everything sounded so transparent and clear. Our Front of House (FOH) engineer also fell in love with the X32 right away. There are just so many cool functions and features in such a small footprint, but it´s also quite easy to check out the menu setup – the X32 is just so easy to navigate and operate. We have total control over all settings, even in the separate scenes. You can just recall your scenes and be ready to rock in seconds, no matter where you are.”

“An important aspect for us was the X32 uses the AES50 SuperMac network protocol. It is definitely good to know that even world-famous bands like Metallica (used AES50 on their Death Magnetic World Tour), among others, put their trust in this amazing technology.”

F.R.E.I. uses the X32 Rack (top) to mix monitors for all performers. S16 Digital Snake (bottom) distributes signals to FOH and monitor mixer via Cat 5e cabling.

F.R.E.I. uses the X32 Rack (top) to mix monitors for all performers. S16 Digital Snake (bottom) distributes signals to FOH and monitor mixer via Cat 5e cabling.

Behringer: “We’ve noticed you’re not only using an X32 Digital Mixing Console and S16 Digital Snake, but also have an X32 Rack on stage as your dedicated monitor mixer. What made the X32 Rack a must-have for F.R.E.I.?”

Daniel: “The combination of the X32 at FOH and the X32 Rack as the monitor mixer is just ideal – and it all worked right out of the box! For us, it’s really important to have, so we can set our In-Ear Monitors (IEM) just the way we want them without affecting the FOH sound, on the one hand. On the other hand, we just wanted to be self-sufficient on every stage and feel comfortable while playing in front of thousands of people. The whole IEM sound is in our hands and we can make adjustments to our personal mixes using our smartphones – even while playing the show! And it just takes one song to get the sound perfect, which is quite important – especially for me as the band’s vocalist and front man.”

“It’s always so funny when all five of us are standing on stage with our iPhones in their hands during a sound check. All of the other people probably think we’re checking our email or posting on Facebook. The members and engineers of the other bands are always so amazed when they find out we were really checking and adjusting our monitors!”

F.R.E.I. band members getting face-time with MUSIC Group RnD AVP Thomas Zint.

F.R.E.I. band members getting face-time with MUSIC Group RnD AVP Thomas Zint.

Behringer: “As a support act for several major artists, F.R.E.I. is performing in some of the biggest venues in Germany. How do the other engineers and performers react when they see you’re using the BEHRINGER X32 – a board that comes in at just a fraction of the cost of the high-end equipment typically used?”

Daniel: “Our first show with the X32 was in a stadium with about 20.000 people in attendance. All the guys from the other crews just smiled and asked, “Are you serious?” But when the first sound check was over, they looked at us with big round eyes and said, “I f***king can´t believe it – that sounds awesome!!!” From that moment on, the engineers, and even the members of the other bands (UNHEILIG and PUR) just kept circling the X32 and X32 Rack like bees drawn to honey. Now some of those same guys use the X32 in their home studios, or for mixing live side projects.”

“During our own tour, two of the support bands also started used their own X32s when they discovered the easy handling and great sound of this little wonder. One thing’s for certain – we’ll never tour again without the BEHRINGER X32! And I can´t wait to check out the new 2.0 firmware features, especially the RTA and HA Gain Split functions.”

BEHRINGER X32’s highly-intuitive, user-friendly layout (foreground) – headlining act’s console (mid-screen).

BEHRINGER X32’s highly-intuitive, user-friendly layout (foreground) – headlining act’s console (mid-screen).

Two X32 consoles – one for F.R.E.I. – one for the supporting act.

Two X32 consoles – one for F.R.E.I. – one for the supporting act.