Field Report: Allen & Heath Zed-14

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The Zed-14 features unique USB send/return controls and two sizes of headphone jacks

The Zed-14 features unique USB send/return controls and two sizes of headphone jacks

The return functions can be routed to their respective channels or directly to the LR main bus via an under-panel switch. Similar RCA jacks labeled REC OUT are mounted above channel 11-12. These however are a stereo LR main output. Essentially, whatever is mixed on the master output is sent to the REC OUT jacks. Channel 11-12 also accommodates the USB RTN feature. The USB return from a PC or Mac can be assigned to either channel 11-12 or the LR main bus. Channel 13-14 has RCA jacks above its channel strip as well that carry the ALT OUT output allowing the LR main mix or the monitor assignments to be sent to monitoring speakers without affecting the main output. For example, near-field reference monitors could be used on-site, and sources or recording playback could be referenced without routing the material through the main mix.

Channel 13-14 also contains the USB connector and USB output selector. Using the selector, AUX 1-2, AUX 3-4 or the LR mains can be routed to a PC or Mac for recording. Each AUX 1 and AUX 2 send on the stereo channels can be configured either as two mono sends or as a stereo pair, depending on the position of the under-panel STEREO switch on each stereo channel. This feature is useful for creating a second stereo mix for recording.

The output

Allen & Heath

The output section contains four ¼" TRS AUX send outputs, XLR main outputs with insert points, a ¼"" TRS mono output (a sum of the left and right main output), and headphone jacks. If you forgot your headphone adapter, the Zed-14 has a 3.5mm headphone jack next to the ¼" headphone jack. Both work in parallel. The output section of the Zed-14 houses the 48V phantom power switch, 12 segment LED meter where 0 reflects 0dBu at the outputs, headphone volume control, and the monitor select switches. By switching the monitor select, the user can route the AUX1 and AUX2 stereo mixes, 2TRK RTN, and USB RTN to the headphones or ALT OUT output. Just above the 100mm master LR faders (+10dB gain above 0 unity) are the AUX 1 and AUX 2 master controls.

While widely known for its large-format mixing consoles, Allen & Heath puts most of the same components in the Zed-14 as in its larger products. The Zed-14 is robust in its construction, and its amplifier circuitry is ultra-quiet. Each channel is modular, so replacing a fader or entire channel is easy and cost-effective. The Zed-14 weighs 14.3 pounds and is optionally rack-mountable. When critical and pristine sound is paramount, the Zed-14 mic preamps are second to none. I experimented with the Sennheiser e835, Rode NT1, and Shure SM7B, and found the Zed-14 to be essentially transparent. When a critical mix is necessary, especially if auxiliary sends and recordings are needed, the Zed-14 is an invaluable tool at a simple or extensive remote event.

Wygal is the programmer, engineer and Web designer for WRVL in Lynchburg, VA.

Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.

These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.

It is the responsibility of Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.

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