The PLASA show, which is happening this week (September 7-10, 2008) in London, definitely has a live sound focus, but also offered a few noteworthy recording products. Among them is Allen & Heath's first recording mixer in 10 years, the ZED-R16, which combines an analog mixer with 18 FireWire channel I/Os, 16 ADAT I/Os, 4-band EQ (with parametric mid-frequencies and high/low shelving), dual-function audio/MIDI faders, onboard MMC transport buttons for controlling a sequencer/DAW, control room and alternate speaker outs, plus two separate artist monitor feeds.
This 2-bus mixer has 16 mic/line input channels, four stereo FX return channels and digital sends (and returns via the monitor path) of recorded tracks. Besides individual buttons on all input faders that switches each to send MIDI control data, ZED-R16 has four faders, 12 switches and 12 rotary pots—all dedicated for mapped control of software functions.
Via a combination of panel switches, the mixer is capable of 26 simultaneous inputs and outputs. ZED-R16 has two pre and two post aux buses useable as feeds to headphone amps in the studio, FX sends anywhere or wedge foldback live. The talkback function (with built-in condenser mic) can be routed to the aux or studio outputs—ideal for any environment.
The ZED-R16's MIDI control section, including the assignable rotary controls and dedicated MIDI faders
Onboard multichannel 24-bit A/D converters routed via TC Applied Technologies' DICE Jr monolithic CMOS ASICs to the FireWire ports support 44.1kHz to 96 kHz sampling rates. (Note: The 16 ADAT Lightpipe I/Os operate at 44.1 or 48 kHz only.) Providing synchronicity between the mixer and other devices and reducing clock jitter to the lowest possible levels, ZED-R16 also features TC's JetPLL™ (Jitter Elimination Technology Phase Locked Loop) digital audio chipset. On the analog side, the preamps use a discrete transistor, low-distortion/low-noise (-128.5 dBu EIN), symmetrical ultra-linear design, for a (mic pre in to L/R out) frequency response of 20 to 140k Hz.
The console has a compact 27.7x18.5x4-inch (WxDxH) footprint and weighs 29 pounds, including the internal power supply. Construction is rock-solid, using pro 60mm faders and individual vertically mounted circuit boards with each rotary control fixed with a metal nut to the front panel for years of reliable use. Click here to download a PDF of the top panel layout.
ZED-R16 is bundled with SONAR LE recording software, yet it can also operate as a versatile live FOH mixer. In this mode, its four aux buses become monitor feeds and FX sends, with the main analog XLR outputs feeding the P.A. Recording the live gig is made easy by four buttons next to the faders assign the record feed signal.
Street pricing is set at $2,999, with shipments expected to begin in the next month.