Gear Icons: Allen & Heath

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Gear Icons: Allen & Heath

Allen & Heath
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

They have solutions for venues, performances and installations of all sizes, and they’ve been selling solutions for decades.

Allen & Heath are one of those companies, the select few, that you’ll see in just about every musical environment no matter where you are. Be it a dive bar in Melbourne, Australia, or a performance at China’s Pingtan International Performing Arts Center, you’re hearing Allen & Heath.

Allen & Heath

Their range of practical interfaces in the ZEDi range, like the AH ZEDi-8, serve as a wildly versatile audio interface, converter and mixer, all with EQ and routing options available for however you want to use it. This hybrid workflow is a long way from Allen & Heath’s humble beginnings: the quadraphonic mixers of the 70s for the likes of The Who and Pink Floyd. Allen & Heath’s MOD1 console can be seen in Pink Floyd’s Live At Pompeii performance. The Who and Pink Floyd were the stars of their day, and today is no different; Allen & Heath consoles are trusted to mix live performances by Lewis Capaldi, Bring Me the Horizon and Billie Eilish, with droves of Allen & Heath products being used to produced, mix and amplify the stars of tomorrow.

Read up on all the latest interviews here.

Returning to the ZEDi-8 though, we have an unbelievably functional mixer and interface. In Allen & Heath’s own words, the ZED series as a whole is ”for the makers”. At its core, the ZEDi-8 is a two-in, two-out audio interface.


It has two XLR inputs, with global phantom power, switchable to line/instrument inputs to connect your keys, synth, guitar or bass directly without the need to mic it up. From here there’s high and low EQ for a little treatment, also featuring a low-cut switch and finally a Mix send to balance your channels of audio for live performance or recording; a function that elevates the ZEDi-8 above most others in the competition.

An example of this in use would be a guitar and mic plugged into an Inst and Mic input each, with a sampler or drum machine into one of the stereo channels, allowing you to demo and write, all the while recording your ideas as they come to you.

Having a mixer for yourself for live performances is endlessly helpful, and a great investment. For writing and producing, it’s helpful to record your ideas to review later, and the ZEDi-8 combines these. You can switch between the USB interface portion of the unit receiving its signal from either the M1 & M2 (Mono 1 & 2) inputs, like a traditional interface, or balance four channels together and record the Master output via USB.

Beyond the first two mono channels, there’s two stereo channels, again for keys or synths or even stereo guitar effects (get creative!) These can also be balanced and sent to the master output, to record to your interface or amplify for live performance – or both!

Back to our example though, for a moment, you could record a basic guitar and vocal track through mono channels, isolating the tracks together into your DAW for more control. Then, you could improvise a guitar solo over a section by playing the guitar and vocal through one of the stereo inputs, and recording only the guitar solo via one of the mono inputs. All of a sudden you’re building a song! The functionality allows you to derive great sound from your ideas very easily, with multiple workflows available depending on the level of control you’d like from the end product.

And all of this is just the music functionality! For podcasts and streamers, the ZEDi-8 allows for two mics, multiple line connections, headphones and USB recording and connection.

Decades of experience producing products for both the studio and live have culminated in the ZEDi series as a whole, the ZEDi-8 specifically being a uniquely portable though functional solution: you get a whole lot in a tidy package.

Larger solutions include the ZEDi-10FX that has more channels and onboard effects, and even looking beyond the ZEDi series, there’s solutions to whatever your needs may be. Allen & Heath’s history as a live sound heavyweight has led them to their dLive consoles that can offer up to 128 channels into 64 buses, while the hugely popular Avantis series offer 64 channels and 42 configurable buses for incredible function and customizability. A true gear icon, Allen & Heath ensure every product has the functionality needed to solve problems and ultimately provide great sounding audio to the end user, whoever that may be!

Allen & Heath Sri Lanka

Their humble beginnings as a company producing hand-built mixing consoles have led them through a lifetime of problem solving, a company constantly pushing the envelope and packing as much as they can into every product they can. The name of the game is flexibility, and Allen & Heath have it in droves, these solutions leading to flagship products like the dLive console or the ZEDi series of interfaces and mixers.

The ZEDi series, Allen & Heath’s range of ‘mini mixers’ offer function in droves, both providing a great option for mixing a live performance and a great sounding audio interface. What’s more, it’s also a great long term investment to be used as a personal mixer in the future! One of those products you’ll find a use for no matter what your needs are.

Allen & Heath are focused on the sound, and offer a huge array of ways to achieve it, no matter whether you’re wrangling your first demos into shape or riding faders in front of 10,000 people. 

For local enquiries, visit Technical Audio Group (TAG).