A 16-channel mixer with 18 FireWire I/O, 16 ADAT I/O, MIDI control, 4-band EQ, and more.
The ZED-R16 is Allen & Heath's first true recording FireWire mixer in over 10 years. This exceptional recording mixer with 18 FireWire I/O can also be used as a versatile live front-of-house mixer. The best performing preamp in Allen & Heath's entire range is packaged with a high-quality analog-to-FireWire interface, extensive EQ, and a well-featured analog channel strip.
Combining an analog recording mixer with a FireWire soundcard, MIDI controls, and ingenious home-studio routing, the ZED-R16 FireWire mixer allows you to build tracks in the studio, record live gigs, mix-down, remix—all through warm analog circuitry, 4-band fully parametric, classic British EQ, and out in crisp, precise, digital format.
In the studio
The ZED-R16 16-channel mixing console combines an imaginative feature set with professional build qualities to create the ideal centerpiece for any project studio with big ideas, or larger studios with dedicated live rooms. Control room speaker, alternate speaker outputs, and two separate artist monitor feeds are provided. In addition to the digital interface, two analog recording outputs, and a dedicated internal condenser talkback mic are also available. Features such as the dual function audio/MIDI faders and built-in sequencer transport were dreamed up by engineers at Allen & Heath who have home studios themselves, so they've made sure they've built in features they really need.
The internal soundcard features 18 FireWire inputs, 18 outputs, and 16 ADAT I/O. Each channel on the mixer has its own independent soundcard channel so instruments can be recorded simultaneously (pre- or post-EQ) and into the sequencer separately. To minimize clock jitter and provide synchronicity between the ZED-R16 mixer and other devices, it's equipped with the professional JetPLL digital audio chipset.
Mix-down and live
In addition to multitrack recording, the ZED-R16 allows mixing down in analog, then recording back into the computer in digital. The bundled SONAR LE software makes this a breeze. The story doesn't stop here however—ZED-R16 can be a versatile live front-of-house mixer too. In this mode, its 4 aux buses become foldback feeds and FX sends, and the main XLR outputs feed the PA system. Recording the live gig is straightforward; the record feed signal can be easily assigned using the 4 buttons next to the faders.
The Allen & Heath ZED-R16's preamp, which has been specially designed for this application, has a symmetrical ultra linear circuit. Top-notch epitaxial low-noise transistors are used in the front end, and active feedback is employed in both phases before the differential amplifier. This results in super-low distortion, while maintaining low noise (-128.5dBu EIN), high CMRR, and a transparent and beautiful sounding preamp.
Complete with two swept, fully parametric mids, and high- and low-shelving EQ, the ZED-R16 has a sophisticated equalization section. It has much in common with Allen & Heath's pro touring mixers. The company's 40 years of experience in analog mixer design is evident in this the ZED-R16's exceptional filtering abilities of this mixer.
Two pre and two post aux buses can be used as feeds for headphone amplifiers in the studio, FX sends anywhere, or wedge foldback live. The talkback function is either routed to the aux or studio outputs, so it's ideal for any environment.
The ZED-R16's digital audio connections are all present on the rear of the desk. Two FireWire connectors allow it to be connected to a personal computer whilst the second socket daisy-chains devices. Two switches change the sample rate and routing selection, while 4 connectors allow input and output to ADAT equipment.
In addition to the FireWire input and output, the ZED-R16 has 4 ADAT optical sockets. The I/O routing on the ZED-R16 is identical for the FireWire channels and the ADAT optical connection. With a combination of panel switches, the mixer is capable of an incredible 26 simultaneous inputs and outputs. Feed the mixer from ADAT lightpipe equipment, or record directly out from 16 channels to 2 ADAT machines or another soundcard.
MIDI software control
The MIDI section on the ZED-R16 mixer has been designed to control software transport, with extra mappable controllers ready to be user-assigned. With recording now truly in the digital age, ZED-R16 brings the home studio bang up to date. In addition to the ZED-R16's dedicated MIDI controls, all of the channel faders can be switched to become MIDI controllers.
The ZED-R16 has two signal paths for monitoring: an output for main control room monitors and outputs for an alternative set of monitors for checking mixes. The control room mix can follow either of the two main analog outputs or the digital main mix, allowing access to all main audio outputs.
The ZED-R16 mixer has been designed using individual vertically mounted 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-R16 also has professional 60mm faders for ultimate control over your levels.
SONAR LE included
Allen & Heath teamed up with Cakewalk to bundle SONAR LE software with this mixer. The two work together in many ways, from straightforward recording of a stereo mix to recording tracks individually to build up a song, or even for inserting a SONAR LE effects plug-in.
Similar to the matrix function on Allen & Heath ML, GL and Wizard mixers, two separate live room mix feeds can be individually fed from aux buses or the L/R main mix. Foldback to the musicians can be tailored to give the bassist a drum heavy mix and the vocalist (in a separate booth) more keys.