With the Allen and Heath ZED-14, "compact mixer" doesn't have to mean compromise. In a footprint that's just over 18" deep by 15" wide, the ZED-14 packs in six XLR mic preamps plus four stereo channels with both RCA and 1/4" input jacks. With four aux buses (two pre-fade, two post-fade), you can feed outboard effects and foldback monitors, or send a completely separate mix to the mixer's USB output for recording. Want to play back audio or add effects from your computer? ZED-14 gives you control over the incoming USB signal on its own stereo fader. And unlike most small rackmountable mixers, the ZED-14 puts full 100 mm faders under your hands -- a pro-level feature that's nearly impossible to find at this price point.
100 mm Long-Throw Faders for Smooth, Precise Mixing
If you've ever tried to do a smooth gradual fade on a dinky 60 mm fader -- or worse, a fiddly channel gain knob -- you'll love the ZED-14's smooth long-throw 100 mm P&G faders on every channel. The first thing you'll notice when looking at this board is how much of this surface is taken up by the faders themselves. Serious full-length faders are especially helpful for applications like live radio shows or theater productions that require you to manually fade sources in and out. They're great help for mixing live music, or any situation when you want precise control over your channels and master levels.
Two-Stage DuoPre Preamplifiers for Cleaner Gain
As any audio engineer will tell you, it's the channel preamplifiers that make one mixer sound better than another. And of course, mic-level signals require a great deal more preamp gain than line-level signals. Allen and Heath's ZED-series mixers meet this need with their updated two-stage phantom-powered DuoPre preamplifiers. Plug in an XLR microphone, and you'll have access to a massive 69 dB of clean gain evenly distributed around the gain control, so you can dial in precise levels of preamp gain on vocals and acoustic instruments. Plug in a line-level source, like a keyboard or drum machine, via the 1/4" jack and you'll bypass the DuoPre's first gain stage, skipping unnecessary electronics that could add noise to your signal. Each of the six XLR mic channels has a 1/4" insert jack, perfect for inserting external compressors or noise gates.
Allen and Heath MusEQ: True British EQ
You'll find A&H's MusEQ 3-band equalization with sweepable midrange on each of the six mono channels, and 2-band EQ on each of the four stereo channels. The sweepable mid EQ knob covers frequencies from 120 Hz up to 4 kHz. Use it to dial down "boomy" low mids, cut midrange harshness, or add presence and intelligibility to speech and vocals around 2-3 kHz. Utilizing a smooth, wide Q to attain the musical quality often referred to as "British" EQ, the high-frequency equalizer helps you dial in 15 dB of airy highs around a corner frequency of 12 kHz, and the low-frequency EQ knob reduces boxiness with a corner frequency of 80 Hz. And of course, the six XLR channels are equipped with a 100 Hz high-pass filter for cutting low-frequency pops and rumble from your signal.
Flexible USB Routing: Send Aux Mixes to Your Computer
Want to add a reverb effect to the vocals? You can send your ZED-14's USB output to DAW software -- such as the bundled Cakewalk Sonar LE -- and easily integrate plug-in processors with your live show. Dial in post-fade aux sends 3 and 4 on your vocal mic channels, then press the "Aux 3-4" button to send it all to your computer with the included USB cable. In your DAW, make a stereo track, select the ZED-14 as its input and output, and pull up the reverb plug-in processor of your choice. Your processed, "wet" signal will show up on the ZED-14's right-hand fader, labeled "USB Return." Use its 2-band EQ to dial in a sound, and mix in the processed signal to taste with the 100 mm fader. Or, let's say you'd like to record a stereo mix of your live show. Instead of capturing the vocal-heavy, drums-light "board mix," you can dial in a stereo mix on pre-fade auxes 1 and 2 and send that to your computer over USB instead. With a few simple buttons and four aux sends, the Allen and Heath ZED-14 mixer gives you USB routing that you'll actually use.
- 6 phantom-powered XLR mic preamps
- 4 stereo channels with both RCA and 1/4" inputs
- Allen and Heath DuoPre preamplifier technology for clean gain
- 100 mm long-throw faders for precise level control
- 4 aux sends (2 pre-fader, 2 post-fader) on all channels
- 3-band EQ with sweepable midrange on mic channels
- 2-band EQ on stereo channel
- Built-in 2-in/2-out USB audio interface with 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz/16-bit resolution
- Auxes 1-2, auxes 3-4, or the main stereo mix assignable to USB output
- Cakewalk Sonar LE DAW software included
- Tough A&H build quality in a small-footprint USB-capable mixer
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The Allen and Heath ZED14 has a fantastic pedigree which comes from nearly 40 years of making mixing desks for the professional sound community. The audio circuitry is based on years of continual development and refinement and the performance of all the elements within the mixer is has been perfected to ensure the very best sound quality possible.
This is a mixer for anyone, from entry-level to professionals, who appreciates fantastic sound, rugged build quality and imaginative feature sets. It'll be equally happy running your gig on stage, recording live or mixing down in your studio at home.
Allen and Heath have teamed up with major software supplier, Cakewalk, to bundle its Sonar LE music creation and audio production software with ZED, giving you a fantastic, high spec digital audio workstation.
What's great about the ZED14?
The feature-set is incredibly advanced for a mixer at this level -- it has 13 independent sources to the mix, 10 independent outputs, 4 aux sends, a USB send & return for PC or Mac recording, playback and effects, a unique dual stereo input capability and some very advanced monitoring facilities. In fact, ZED14 is so packed full of great features that you'd think it would cost much, much more!
It can be used for many different tasks, whether in live performance, utilizing plug-in effects via USB, live recording via USB and Cakewalk, studio recording or mixing down to produce your own 2-track recordings.
What about the sound quality?
Allen and Heath's chief designer, Mike Griffin, has been at the forefront of audio innovation for many years and has developed the designs for their spectacularly successful MixWizard and GL series professional live mixers. Mike is always striving to produce the best possible sound for our mixers, and for ZED has produced the 'DuoPre', a mic preamplifier which sounds as sweet as a nut, as pure as the driven snow. The DuoPre combines an optimized line input circuit together with the microphone preamp circuit so that it will not color or distort your sound, will give you lots of headroom and give you a truly professional feel.
One of the great things about the ZED series is the number and variety of things you can plug in. In addition to the six mono channels there are four stereo channels, each with a main stereo input on jack sockets, and with the ability to take additional stereo inputs from phono sockets or from the USB audio input, flexibility gives you control. In all, ZED14 boasts 99 different controls on its front panel -- way more than any of the competition! 6 mic/line channels are provided on ZED14 -- plenty for mics or DI boxes for a small band, duo or solo performer 4 stereo line inputs - dual inputs, both with gain and 2-band EQ
Based on the proven pre-amps from the hugely successful Allen and Heath PA series, the ZED series has DuoPre pre-amps, which use a two stage design, with carefully controlled amounts of gain in each stage. When amplifying the signal from the XLR input, the gain range is huge -- 69dB of range to be exact -- and is very evenly distributed around the gain control, meaning better control of signal level. Most of the gain comes from the first stage, so unwanted noise is kept to a minimum. Line level signals are simply plugged into the second stage of the pre-amp by using the line input jack socket, which has the great advantage of less noise when using the line input.
ZED14 features a responsive 3-band, swept mid frequency design with MusiQ -- optimised slope (or Q factor) for equalizing individual instruments. HF and LF also boast Xtra Boost, to make these frequencies more responsive.
4 aux sends are provided, of which 1&2 are prefade for foldback monitoring, and 3 & 4 post-fade for effects sends. A stereo signal can be sent from auxes via USB to computer to create 2 separate record feeds independent of the main LR mix (1&2) and or used as FX sends (3&4).
USB audio flexibility
Getting audio to and from a computer easily is now a common requirement for live sound and music production. The way it's implemented on the ZED is super-flexible and super-easy! No longer do you need to fiddle around the back of your PC to get to the soundcard inputs, only to find that the levels are all wrong and noisy. Just plug in a USB lead to your ZED, select the USB routing on the mixer and the device on your computer and that's it! Quality audio to and from your PC or Mac. Three switches provide different send/return configurations for recording, playback and utilizing external FX.
At this level, most mixers are built using a single, flat PCB with all the pots and switches attached at right angles. ZED14 utilizes individual vertically mounted channel circuit boards with each rotary control fixed with a metal nut to the front panel -- making a much more robust product that will resist damage and give years of reliable use. ZED also has professional 100mm faders for ultimate control over your levels.
Sonar LE -- provided Free!
Allen and Heath have teamed up with Cakewalk to bundle Sonar LE with this ZED mixer. The two team up together in many ways -- for example straightforward recording of a stereo mix, recording tracks individually to build up a song, or for inserting a Sonar LE effects plug-in.