SVC on Twitter    SVC on Facebook    SVC on LinkedIn

Related Articles


Allen & Heath ZED-14

May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By John McJunkin

Exceptional small-format analog mixer includes USB interface.

   Follow us on Twitter    

Sound board

The intersection between pro audio equipment and computer technology is rapidly growing. There was a time when using pro audio gear and computers together was a dodgy affair, rife with struggles such as getting things integrated together in a way that was actually useful and worth pursuing. Now it's getting easier every day. A great example of that is the recent development of mixers with integrated computer interfaces. Now this technology is moving beyond its humble beginnings, with greater degrees of sophistication. Allen & Heath has introduced its ZED series of mixers, which are small but professional and include a USB interface — facilitating connection with a computer. This interface does a lot more than just routing the mixer's main outputs to the computer for recording. I spent time with an Allen & Heath ZED-14, which has six mono and four stereo inputs, and learned about some of these more sophisticated capacities.

The ZED-14 is compact, with a footprint of just more than 18"×15". The reason why it's not closer to a perfect square is that it has long-throw (100mm) faders, which I prefer hands down over the short-throw 60mm faders that commonly appear in smaller mixers such as this. The first six channels are monophonic, and starting from the bottom of the panel, you'll find those faders — followed by a PFL button, a peak indicator LED, a mute button with an LED indicator, a pan knob, and then four auxiliary knobs. Auxiliaries 1 and 2 are permanently fixed as pre-fader, and auxiliaries 3 and 4 are permanently fixed as post-fader. A three-band +/-15dB EQ section appears above the auxiliaries, with a low shelf fixed at 80Hz, a high shelf at 12kHz, and a sweepable peak/notch mid band that varies between 120Hz and 4kHz. At the top of each channel strip is an input section with a 12dB/octave 100Hz HPF rumble filter, as well as a gain knob. The mixer's mic pres are Allen & Heath's two-stage DuoPre design, based on the manufacturer's successful PA series. This design cleverly connects the line inputs directly to the second stage, reducing noise. Allen & Heath claims that this design distributes gain more evenly through the gain control knob, and I found this to be true — the gain curve doesn't ramp up at the end of the knob throw as much as many other mic pres. Each mono input has an XLR mic input, 1/4in. balanced-line input,and a 1/4in. TRS send-receive insert jack.

The mixer's four stereo inputs are nearly identical, with a couple of notable differences. For one, the mid-frequency EQ is missing, and there are switches to toggle auxiliaries 1 and 2 between dual-mono and linked-stereo operation. Above channel pairs 7/8, 9/10, and 11/12 are knobs that determine input levels from external stereo sources — namely two stereo RCA returns and the mixer's USB stereo return. Above channel pair 13/14 are three buttons that determine how the USB signals are routed to and from the mixer (not to mention the actual USB connector). In the mixer's main I/O section above the stereo channels are 1/4in. balanced input jacks in pairs. Above channel pairs 7/8 and 9/10 are two stereo RCA inputs, designated “ST RTN” and “2TRK RTN.” Above channel pairs 11/12 and 13/14 are stereo RCA outputs, designated “REC OUT” and “ALT OUT.” The mixer's IEC power input and pushbutton power switch are the only features of the back panel.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Browse Back Issues
  January 2015 Sound & Video Contractor Cover December 2014 Sound & Video Contractor Cover November 2014 Sound & Video Contractor Cover October 2014 Sound & Video Contractor Cover September 2014 Sound & Video Contractor Cover August 2014 Sound & Video Contractor Cover  
January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014