Mixing consoles come in all shapes and sizes. From the leviathans that take up entire control rooms in recording studios to the ultra-compact devices with only a couple of inputs, they all have a specific purpose. That is why I’m always keen to try any new mixer. I often find that there is a specific role that many work well in, even when they appear to be just another compact mixer. This is certainly the case with the new ZEDi8 mixer from Allen & Heath. At first glance, it did appear to be just another compact mixer, but a closer look reveals a host of clever ideas that’ll help this create a unique identity of its own.
NEAT AND TIDY
We are not overloaded with unnecessary channels on this device. You don’t have to have a lot of channels for a mixerto be useful, just the right combination of channels is all that is needed. In this case, there are four input channels, two mono and two stereo. Both mono channels can operate from the microphone preamp, or the line level input, which can both be switched to instrument inputs if desires. This is a very handy addition for someone wanting a compact mixer for guitar and vocal work in a small solo or duo act. An additional input channel is supplied as a stereo feed from the USB connection too, so you can use a computer or similar device to run backing tracks via USB if you want. Each of these five input channel strips have independent headphone switches, so you can listen to any or all of them through your monitor headphones if you like.
GETTING OUT THERE
On the output side of things, there are a couple of handy features to be aware of. Firstly, the main outputs are supplied on XLR connections, which isn’t all that common on a mixer of this size and is so very handy for running directly to powered speakers. This means you have a balance output that will work over long distances with standard microphone cables to get the signal to your powered speakers. The USB connection also acts as an output so you can record directly to a computer with this. Allen & Heath have cleverly thought of everything and allowed a range of sources for the USB output to be selected. Most importantly, you can choose to have the two mono input channels feed to the left and right of the USB input, essentially turning this into a USB audio interface, where the first two channels are used as direct inputs for recording and overdubbing. All this is pretty handy and very well thought through for a mixer of this size. It is definitely worth looking into if you are in the market for a compact mixer, interface or both.
Hits and Misses
Mic, Line and Instrument levels on mono channels
Doubles as a USB audio interface
Balanced XLR outputs
Somewhat lightweight plastic housing