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Allen and Heath Zed r16
4.4 4.4 out of 5, based on 11 Reviews

The ZED-R16 is a superbly equipped console with all the crucial parts of the recording process in one box. The best per forming preamp in Allen & Heath’s entire range is packaged with a high quality analogue to Firewire interface and the most extensive EQ on any mixer at this price point (or even tw


3rd December 2011

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by digi882

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Allen and Heath Zed r16

High quality small format console with great conversion. 16 top notch mic pre's and Daw control as well.
Since having it a year ago i have been amazed at how summing OTB has opened up the sound and my mixes have never been better. Yes i wish it had motorized faders but still it is one of the the best purchases i have ever made

I plan on using it with an Otari MTR 90 2 inch tape deck and am excited by the prospect and workflow this will bring to my recordings.

No wonder it has sold bucket loads. 10/10 for me well done Allen and Heath.

13th December 2011

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by mattqualls

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Allen and Heath Zed r16

Prior to using the Allen & Heath ZED R16, I was mixing all in the box and using a Presonus FirePod as my interface and Logic as my DAW. After getting frustrated with the lack of mic inputs on the FirePod and the lack of sound quality of the mic pre's, (don't get me wrong, these are great tools for a beginner) I was looking for an upgrade. Around this time was when the ZED R16 first came onto the market, I watched the buzz build and build on Gearslutz and dreamed of owning one. Then around December of last year, I was able to grab one for a pretty low price. But enough about me, let's move on to the console. I can't begin to express how much this board has improved the quality of the records I worked on. The pre's are clean but not lacking character, the EQ is simply fantastic the mixing options are seriously out of this world. Coming from working only ITB, I was, at first a bit confused with the routing and mixing options but after a few months of really working with the board, it all came together and now is my strongest asset to my studio. I constantly find myself re-mixing albums that I once recorded, just for the fun of it, just to become comfortable with the board and the options it provides. This board not only sounds, looks and feels great, it sparks a new sense of creativity within me. If I can figure out how to use this board to its full potential, anyone can.

23rd December 2011

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by jeronimo

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Allen and Heath Zed r16

I've got my ZED for a few weeks now and tried using it in many different ways:
- as a regular mixing console: I send 16 channels from my DAW and record the output of the console. Very, very good EQs, punchy and clean, hard to make something sound bad with those.
- as a summing mixer with EQs: I used the FADER TO MIDI function on the channels, where you can set the channel to be at unity gain and the fader works as a MIDI fader, then mix the channels back to the DAW. Same sound quality as the first option, BUT I didn't like how the MIDI faders work with Reaper. Haven't tried other DAWs yet, but with Reaper, if you need to write fader moves, the MIDI side is not very precise, so, it was useless to me.
- you can use any of those options above without EQs, returning the signal from your DAW, POST-EQ... pretty senseless to me...
- Using the console EQs as inserts on your DAW: on Reaper it's as simple as opening one plugin and assigning this plugin to send and receive audio from that track and adjusting the delay automatically. That's a very nice option. If you need a lot of automation ITB but want to use the console EQs, you can send the audio into the console PRE-EQ and back to the DAW post-EQ, so basically you have 16 outboard EQs to use on a hybrid setup.
Like I said, I didn't like the MIDI faders very much. Don't know yet if it's a DAW problem or a console problem.
The transport buttons feel great and work great out-of-the-box.
The other buttons are VERY configurable within Reaper, so, it's a plus to have the most used actions on buttons next to my fingers.
The center section is very useful with lot's of routing, mono switch, you can choose between two sets of monitors, the inserts on the stereo bus are PRE-Firewire out, 2 headphones out (not independent tho), it has 4 auxes sends (2 pre and 2 post), it has 2 studio feeds (can receive inputs from auxes or stereo bus)... it's a nice center piece for a small studio (I never tracked more than 16 inputs at the same time).
I haven't tracked anything with it yet, just mixing on it!
I hope this review helps guys like me, that want to mix the old fashion way (not so much) and don't want to spend a lot of money!

28th February 2012

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by clitheroekid1001

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Allen and Heath Zed r16

I have owned this for about 9 months and have used it for home recording, small mobile recording projects, remixing previous projects and live performance.

The first thing you notice is the overall quality of the ZED R16. All the pots are fixed to the metal surface and feel solid & smooth. The layout seems logical and straightforward. Routing is flexible and simple. Digital recording is pre or post eq/fade. Each channel has mic & line inputs, insert point, 48v phantom power, line level pot, high-pass button. EQ is treble, swept high mid with Q, swept low mid with Q and bass. Each channel has mute and solo buttons, level leds and 60mm fader. There are also selection buttons for digital replay, digital replay without eq, record with eq and digital level controlling the DAW rather than analogue. The layout is compact without feeling cramped.

There are 16 channels as described above plus record of the stereo mix. Replay is 16 channels. The midi section is as jeronimo described. I too use Reaper and have used the midi options to configure these.

I have found the preamps to be excellent and quiet. The eq section is powerful or subtle depending on what you need and dial-in. The Q control is very useful allowing more extreme eq'ing without the usual artefacts. Previously recorded material shines and plugin reverbs sound really nice. The normal summing to L/R works really nicely, much better than ITB. Recording live was easy with the digitals sent pre eq and FOH post eq and fader.

Now some downsides. One channel has failed to record. A&H and the retailer have accepted a return but transport out will be at my expense/risk and this is quite disappointing. As many have stated before there are no solo-in-place buttons. I have partly got round this by progamming the midi buttons in Reaper which works well. However there are only 8 buttons for 16 channels. The shift button doesn't seem to add extra function just an extra button (used as cancel all solos). The pan controls seem to lose volume on left or right when compared to centre. Maybe this is normal I don't know.

Installation was straightforward with only the selection for firewire (switch on the back of the unit that only works at switch-on) causing some confusion. The unit has been completely stable with my 3-year-old laptop (windows 7 via Express card) and my desktop (XP).

Overall I am very pleased with this unit with just the channel fail yet to sort. Massive set of flexible features coupled to high quality at less than £100 per channel.

13th March 2012

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by Slug1

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Allen and Heath Zed r16

I love the sound of this thing. A few channels would die out within 6 months. Interfaced flawlessly with PT9 using firwire until.... Exactly one year after I bought it, the digital card died, which eliminated my ability to hook up firewire or ADAT. Has a one year warrant so now I have to shell out new dollars to fix. Had it in one studio and never moved the entire time. Love the concept and sound, but build quality was poor on my unit.

27th March 2012

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by 66d35

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Allen and Heath Zed r16

I won't bother running over the basic specifications since these are widely available and well-known. Suffice to say it is a 16-channel firewire console with some degree of midi implementation.

PROS

Extraordinarily good EQ section. Really superb and a pleasure to use. You could easily pay more than this for a few channels of EQ of this standard alone.

The mic pres are also very, very nice and totally usable (unlike many mixers). You do not feel you are giving much, if anything away using these. They stand comparison with some far more expensive options. You can of course use outboard preamps, but probably more for flavour than any jump in baseline 'quality'. These pres are capable of entirely professional results. Low noise floor, good clean gain, and they just sound 'right'.. and you get 16 of them... plus 16 great EQ's. Hence, no hesitation in giving a 10-out-of-10 for bang for buck on that alone.

The master and control room section is also well thought out and pleasant to use. Lots of routing options that will integrate with most small studios. Things many manufacturers forget - like talkback - are present here. Ability to use alternate sets of monitors is another nice touch. Useful.

The converters seem excellent. I directly compared to my Apogee Ensemble and to a TC Electronic unit I used for portable work, and no complaints whatsoever. It holds up and delivers the goods. All converters have subtle differences, but the converters in the Zed R16 are plenty good enough to keep my ears happy.

The desk looks nice! The reddish plastic side cheeks are thankfully easily replaceable with real wood. Then it looks very tasty indeed.

Midi-mapping of the faders is fairly straightforward. So is transport control. I use it with Logic and it is a good match.

CONS

A&H documentation (and website) is woefully inadequate on certain aspects, particularly more advanced midi setup. The manual devotes little space to this and does not even explain what some buttons can do... the 'Shift' and '+' for example. A&H need to look at this. Likewise, the four midi-faders get one sentence. This does not even touch the surface of what you could really do with them. Some good videos and instructional material on this aspect would save a lot of head scratching, frustration and searching the internet for answers. This is a lovely desk and deserves better.

The documentation is again rather light on integrating it with the Mac core audio setup, specifically 'stereo out' routing which is not exactly obvious. This does deserve a fuller instruction set.

The faders are 60mm, not 100mm. That said, they do work well and are very precise.

CONCLUSION

Amazingly fine desk that will work beautifully in many small studios. It is well built, well designed, and sounds fantastic. You will need to do some research to get the best out of it, however, especially the midi possibilities as the documentation available is pretty inadequate in certain key areas. Best gear purchase I have made in a long while. I love it.

13th April 2012

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by matvey

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Allen and Heath Zed r16

I purchased the Allen & Heath ZED-R16 Firewire Mixer a couple of years ago, and I have to say that I am extremely happy with it! I am a co-owner of a small recording studio that is part of the Terra Sounds School of Music & Arts (located in Glenview, IL, one of the suburbs of Chicago); our target clientele consists mostly of local artists interested in recording quality demo CDs and albums on a budget. I focus on doing the best possible work using the highest-quality equipment we can afford, but to put it in perspective, we’re not using Neves & Neumanns over here (although I’ve had previous experience working with high-end gear in pro studios and have an idea for what the pro sound is all about).

Setting up the ZED-R16 on a Macbook Pro was a breeze, not a glitch in the process. Coming from low-end audio interfaces like M-Audio 1814 and Yamaha i88x, I was immediately taken away by the quality of converters and preamps! The device seamlessly integrates its analog and digital functions, allowing for maximum workflow flexibility. The EQ sounds awesome, as promised, and I use it instead of plug-ins whenever possible.

The part I am enjoying the most is that it’s extremely useful in situations when you need to set up live sound and record as well. I’ve had a plug-in or two on all 16 channels, as well as reverb and delay sends, and was still able to run live shows with ~10ms latency or less. Simply amazing! I’d say it’s the ultimate bang for the buck. You can hear a nice recording I made with the ZED right here: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/work-...h-zed-r16.html

20th September 2012

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by Slug1

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Allen and Heath Zed r16

Sound Quality
Stellar sound quality. Its not like I've used a Neve or SSL board before so I'm going off of my own ears and what I like to hear. This is a pure analog board from a sound point of view.

Ease of use
Everything worked fine from day one. Easy firewire hookup and set up on my Mac. Recognized by PT9 and was off and running with analog summing in no time. I didn't use the midi setup stuff much because I don't think that is the strength of this board.

Features
More than enough for standard analog summing to and from DAW. The EQs alone to me are enough to justify the cost of the board. Again, there are a lot of features that I don't even use. Would have been nice to be able to send the stereo inputs back to DAW. But all in all for an analog summing studio board, I'm not sure there is better.

Bang for buck
Would be incredibly high had it not been for the build quality of my board. I tend to buss drums, instruments, chorus vocals and lead vocals. So I usually send those stereo busses plus some individual tracks (kik, bass, lead voc) to ZedR16 inputs. Then sum that back into PT9. Was beautiful until within three months or so, I would get buzzy dropouts of different inputs. Usually I could giggle the fader up and down and it would fix it. But eventually one channel went out all together and others kept doing it. Then the big one. The digital board with FW and ADAT died exactly 13 months after I bought it, so of course it was out of warranty. I've used it without digital and its just a mess. I have to power it up several times to be able to capture a signal from a preamp that will go out through the main outputs. Its a marvelously sounding, well equipped, but low build quality board. I wanted to love this thing because the concept and A&H sound are great. But its built like crap. There I said it. So I'll be taking it to get it fixed soon, and will put it on ebay and try to get what I can for it. Will probably look into a Yamaha or Presonus StudioLive.

18th August 2013

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by bishopdante

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.25
Allen and Heath Zed r16

Encountered this thing in a project studio, drum booth, amp booth etc.

Sounds kinda harsh and clicky/scratchy, probably full of budget op-amps, also very easy to overload channels by boosting with the EQ, which is not exactly bad sounding, has a pretty subtle effect, not very punchy sounding. Worryingly wobbly plasticky buttons, but nice simplistic layout and good solid sockets. Very short faders. None of the knobs felt strange or crackled.

Unfortunately, the desk spontaneously hit the deck, mix bus amplifiers seem to have bitten the dust. Was not being driven even into the red. However, the desk was liquid damaged (wine) during a previous session, developed exactly this fault, was repaired, but the fault spontaneously reappeared. Also rather concerned that PFL still produced sound, and sounded a *lot* better than the mix bus did, like a curtain being lifted off the sound.

The problem with having your mixer and your sound card in one box is that if it breaks, you're going to have to do without your pres, I/O, and mix bus. Given the choice, I'd be using separate modules, so that if something fails it doesn't take everything else with it.

As it is the studio is down to being a two-track studio until the desk comes back. Last time it took 6 weeks.

___

If I was buying an analogue mixer for tracking and mixing, I'd buy an old broadcast desk. Add some Apogee AD8000s, and the price would have been similar to what these guys paid for the thing new. It was a few grand £. That way with a modular system, you can send modules out for repair individually.

18th June 2015

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by RalphOxygen

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Allen and Heath Zed r16

I am using the Zed R16 for over two years now and at this price point nothing compares to it. The pre's are clean and low noise. Ok they are not Neve or API or UA etc but again at this price point they are very good. The EQ's are also very decent. I mainly use the eq's for monitoring and headset mixes and record the input directly after the pre amp to my DAW. This is just one example of its routing flexibility. In this way I can make a nice headset mix (or 2)for the musicians and only record the unprocessed signal(s). Super handy!
Further more it is a piece of equipment that solves most problems project studio's have (2 headset mixes, talkback, 4 auxes, two sets of studio speaker outs and you can connect all the faders and a bunch of rotary knobs via midi to your daw). I own some pre-amps that I can connect via ADAT and the ZED can also send out ADAT to an external audio interface. This flexibility makes it a very well crafted audio interface and analogue mixing console. I am a happy user .

16th August 2015

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by Mantik

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Allen and Heath Zed r16

Sound Quality

I use it as an analog summing mixer for digital stems of my DAW. The sound quality is greatly improved compared to digital mixing by the ZED R16. There is no AU/VST beeing able to achieve this difference. Bass clarity and punch is seriously on top level. Seperation and recieved deepness is on a new level. Stereo feels wider. Dynamics feel more rich. Every elements seems to get an own character and grabness of its own. Its a stellar sounding board. Everything will get a true analog touch software wont be able to achieve. I will never want to exchange this device. One of the most groundbreaking studio-improvements I have ever done. It feels subtile in the beginning, but as more I work on it as more I recognize the large gap to digital summing/mixing.

Ease of use
Full integration to DAW processing is very easy. You can record external or mix internal audio sources (no patchbay needed) You can tape the analog sum back into the DAW and use masterbus-effects on it. Or you can monitor the analog sum directly. On top you can add different monitor setups. When working with DAW Midi-faders and knobs help a lot.

Features
Its an all around mothership for small projects. Fits perfectly in small studios with a lot of options. Only groups are missing, but It can be avoided.

Bang for buck
Sound quality is very rich, the market price or ebay-price is a very good investment.

20th March 2021

Allen & Heath ZED-R16 by QLOfLandfill

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Allen and Heath Zed r16

The board is amazing now that I've got it fully set up. The eq is amazing for the price point and other features while the pres are the best I've found to compliment my tlm 103 microphon. Honestly I bought this board at 1k cad down from 3k cad at a sale and best thing I've ever gotten for my studio. Now that I've figured out how to get the midi 100% working every time (2 months of research and testing. Finally sent my bome template to Allen & heath and they're fixing it. For anyone who's still having trouble change the timer out from B0 00 7f to 90 00 00 and create a new translator that's in 90 00 00 and out 90 00 7F works perfectly)

Still having some learning curves pop up but for the most part extremely happy with this

Only cons really lack of motorized fader upgrade options and the firewire ports which short circuit if plugged in upside down once and cost 500 to replace. Overall I'm happy with this board and would recommend it best piece of gear I've ever owned in my home studio. Gives me a very pro sound which I have never achieved before.