Allen and Heath ZED-14 USB MixerThe 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.
InputsOne 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
DuoPreBased 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.
EQ sectionZED14 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.
Auxiliary sends4 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 flexibilityGetting 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.
BuildAt 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.