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Zed r16 or... Help me make a decision! Control Surfaces
Old 7th June 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 

Zed r16 or... Help me make a decision!

Hey Slutz! I thought that I finally had a decision made but I guess I need some wise counsel. I originally had planned to get a MCU Pro and an extender for the control surface aspect of my studio along with the Focusrite saffire pro40 for the preamp. But then I came across the Zed r16 and thought that it would solve all of my problems. The conflict is, would it be better to get the separate units since that is what they are singularly meant for(a preamp as a preamp and a controller that is just a controller) or would the zed be a wise investment? Cost wise, the mcu pro and the saffire pro equal out with the cost of the zed, but what about simplicity? Do you think it is better to keep it simple with the separate gear from a productivity and stability standpoint? It is late for me and maybe I am not voicing my concerns properly.(loooong day! ) But I am in great need of counsel guys..... Please help with any pros and cons for either way. Thanks.
Old 7th June 2011
  #2
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cavern's Avatar
 

Get the R-16.

Some of the reasons.
1-The converters are as good as anything in its price range.
2-The pre amps are better than anything in its price range.
3-So are the E.Q's.
4-You can mix ITB or OTB.
5-16 pres/18 recording imputs or more if you want to get creative.
6-Extremely flexible routing.
7-Ability to jam/practice and record it just by pushing record.
8-Did i mention 16 inserts.
9-16 direct outs(again if you want to get creative).
10-DAWS remote transport/fader midi control(beauty for ITB mixing).
11-Master inserts.
12-ability to listen to master mixes/u-tube/computer music/cd player by pushing a button, even if its on two different computers.
13- Makes for one of the best stereo systems i've heard in a long time providing your running good mains.
14-Ability to add ADAT.
15-Completely acceptable latency.(down to 64 for recording and mixing 16 tracks or less) on my computer.(AMD 965 Quad).128=30 odd tracks/256 unlimited so far for my workflow.(around 50 tracks).using a load of plug ins sometimes.
16-128 buffer for most virtual instruments is O.K.

Like i said,those are some of the reasons.
Then you get into "how does it sound"..It sounds good.
Old 8th June 2011
  #3
Gear Head
 

Thank you Cavern! I believe I am going to stick with the R-16. It would be the better way to go. Do you have one? If so, how is it when using an outboard pre-amp? I just want to make sure I can still use my ART Digital MPA tube pre with it along with some outboard compressors and such. Thanks again for confirming my decision.
Old 8th June 2011
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Dmusic4U:-

I have owned a D16 for 6 months and am in two minds about it.

Reason being quite simply all my stuff these days is mixed in the box. And as such I hardly touch the faders, balance pots and never touch any of the 4 aux knobs either. I hate owning stuff I never use.

Yes the faders can be mapped to MIDI but the auxes and pan pots cannot and this to me is a missed opportunity that would see these pots have regular use.

The EQ is fantastic. But I only use this on hardware going in. If I am using a VST sound source I just EQ in the box. Of course there is no instant recall that we are all spoilt with these days. Skip back 10 years and this is the norm. However try and live without it these days and its a bitch.
Because of this I find myself having to write down the EQ possessions and keep them in a file somewhere. Then if im working on multiple projects set them up to suit. Not the end of the world but a pain none the less.
Perhaps a better idea would have been midi sending knobs and the EQ was on the PC as a plug in that came bundles with it. Then You could buy different flavours of EQ.

Perhaps im missing the point of the whole zed R16 im not sure.

In a live situation you could buy a far cheaper mixer like the Zed 24 FX or something so I don't get how it will compete there either.

What I will say is the build quality is superb and A&H are to be complimented for giving this a try.

To bottom line it if you like mixing ITB like me, then R16 will become a simple in/out soundcard much like MOTU's 24 I/O However it will take up far more space.

Id be more the interested in how others use theres. As said perhaps I am missing the point.
Old 8th June 2011
  #5
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cavern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmusic4u View Post
Thank you Cavern! I believe I am going to stick with the R-16. It would be the better way to go. Do you have one? If so, how is it when using an outboard pre-amp? I just want to make sure I can still use my ART Digital MPA tube pre with it along with some outboard compressors and such. Thanks again for confirming my decision.
Yes i have one.
Im happy with the onboard pres. I sold my other pres.but you can go through the insert with the ART or line if your already using the insert for compression.

*Kola..You can use the rotary midi knobs to control panning in your app.for 12 channels.
Old 8th June 2011
  #6
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evangelista's Avatar
 

I've had one for about 6 months and love it. I've been making records for over 15 years and count it amongst my best purchases.

I don't use it for MIDI/DAW control, just the analog side and D/A (I mostly use other stuff for pres and A/D, though not exclusively).

If you have questions about my workflow specifics, feel free to ask!
Old 8th June 2011
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Hi cavern,

Yeah I know re the 12 rotaries mate, but thanks.

I think the Zed 16 is very well made and if you like it your going to love it. However to me its a very confused product.

As such OP if you live in the UK why don't you buy mine. 6 month old and boxed etc. Immaculate due to no use lol
Old 9th June 2011
  #8
Gear Head
 

Thanks for the replies guys! I keep hearing a lot about the pre's on the board and that is a definite plus for me but I really need to be sure that the control over my DAW is smooth also. I am running logic now w/reason but I do have protools installed (I just had not had the time to commit to learning it yet) and I do a lot of mixing. I can understand the issue of not knowing where things are on the board (eq settings). I would mainly use the board for the pre's and I would probably only use the eq after the audio had already been tracked(going back to the board from the DAW). Mainly because I would rather the audio go in clean and be able to do whatever later rather than have it recorded w/ eq and not really be able to take it out later. But the DAW control is what really got my attention when I first heard of this. I would LOVE to have motorized faders but I feel as though it is something that I could live without.(even though I am loving my Faderport more every mixdown!) I would really hate to be in a situation where I purchase it and find that for me it is only really useful as a glorified mic pre! I mix everything ITB (for now) so again, the control over the DAW has to be where it keeps my workflow smooth and does not add complications. Hence the original purchase idea of the saffire pro40 and MCU. I would really be interested to know all of your workflow specifics.
Kola,how and when do you use the boards eq? Do you ever bring the tracks from the DAW to mix the eq in from the board or do you only do everything going in? Did you ever try to do the whole midi control thing and had issues or was it just not a priority for you? Did you find that it complicated things and/or slowed down the creative process?
Cavern,how is the fader control in the DAW and do you use any of the knobs for controlling plug ins? How do you use the board in your flow?
Evangelista,If you do not use the control aspect of it,what(if anything) are you using? Are the pre's really that good to warrant using the board just for them? I am really curious to know what you use and how your flow goes! Especially because you are happy with your purchase!

Thanks for all of the replies! I know this got a little long but you guys have been awesome! Just a bit about my workflow(if it helps with any suggestions):
I compose/write music, songs and instrumentation and mix,arrange,record and produce. Lately,due to word of mouth,the artist comes in and sings their song and want me to put music to it and arrange it. From instrumentation to vocals and beyond! I will do just about any style of music,except for the heavy,heavy metal( i cant get into all that screaming and the whole "... Kill a chicken..eat yur mom!..." stuff!) I do a lot of gospel/christian music but I do cover other genres as well.I mainly work in logic with a bunch of virtual instr. and I do rewire with reason at times. I do all the mixing and automation ITB with my trackpad and for the last 2 months the faderport. I like to work in my creativity so having to stop and figure out why a fader is not working or which pot is that for would be counter-productive. I kind of like things that "just work" if you know what I mean...? Now, I don't mind taking the time to set something up properly,midi channels,pots,etc... but I would like to not have to set them every time I open a project,especially if I have something in my head and want to get it down quickly. Well, lets hear it! Thanks again!
Old 9th June 2011
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Kola,how and when do you use the boards eq? Do you ever bring the tracks from the DAW to mix the eq in from the board or do you only do everything going in? Did you ever try to do the whole midi control thing and had issues or was it just not a priority for you? Did you find that it complicated things and/or slowed down the creative process?
Hi mate. I use my hardware synth and EQ them on the way into the DAW. I must say this is a strong plus point of the Zed 16. Its so much faster than a VST EQ to get things sounding great.
Then I normally take a recording of stems with and without EQ added that can is just a flick of a switch.

The downside for me comes from being spoilt by todays total recall.

As an analogue mixer (away from as PC) the Zed 16 is great, but so is many other A&H mixers costing a third of the price at best.

Also the in outs a re of the best quality and as good as anything else your going to get.


I just wish ALL of the knobs sent MIDI so you could sync it up to your DAW. IE a twiddle of the pan knob turned the pan knob on your DAW (After mapping) Same for the four aux knobs and even the EQ. Then you could use the onboard EQ or your daws and assign the parameters accordingly to suit yourself.

Hence how I come to the conclusion its a very confused product. Its neither one thing or another.

I must stress the workmanship is ultra high and there is nothing cheap about it.
Old 9th June 2011
  #10
Gear Head
 

O.k....Starting to understand more .... Now,I use my midi keyboard to control my sounds. Once recorded,it is possible to bounce that midi to an audio file and run that through the boards eq right? Is there any degradation in sound or quality that you may have noticed or know of? I don't plan on using this outside of the studio environment but it is good to know that it is versatile and is a quality product! So is it all 16 faders that are midi capable? And how many knobs? Is it only the midi area where the transport controls are?(based from pictures i have seen)
Old 9th June 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 

I had to make a similar decision between interface + control surface + monitor controler and the Zed.

For all it is, the Zed turns out to be a steal ( I managed to get one for $1650). Obviously, the biggest the trade off is comprehensive daw control vs the ability to easily bring your tracks into the mixer.

I've been experimenting with mixing OTB on it, and while I'm definitely having fun and enjoying some of the results, I'm still not 100% sure that it's the road I'll end up going down. So, much like kola, I think of having this big thing on my desk that I don't use to it's full potential.

But then again, this big thing is awesome, does pretty much everything I need it to and much more and has solved a lot of problems for me.

I run a Faderport alongside it and map the Zed faders for ITB work. I don't really feel like I'm missing much.
Old 9th June 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

Your right about it being about the workflow.I listed all the different things you can do with it wich is the reason i like it.
We jam every saturday so i use it as a live board as well.
I record mostly clean and mix down almost exclusively analog with insert hardware/hardware reverb on the sends and record the 2 track to a CDRW-2000 via XLR ins.I prefer it when its not so clean/perfect.
I use few plugins,mostly track eq for high/low filters/delays and such.

Having said that though,i only record my own stuff and a few friends of friends so i have the time to do it this way and enjoy it.
If i had lots of clients,i would probably mix ITB mostly for speed and recall and use more plugins no doubt.

As for your question about the daws fader control,i have it all working but rarely use it.The tracking motion is very smooth and responsive,at least in nuendo,wich is the only app i've ever used.
I have the midi knobs assigned to pans and the switches to mutes.The 4 midi sliders are extra faders.
The tranport buttons work well.I use those all the time.
I have done ITB mixes with it using the faders for fader riding and recording automation.
It all worked well, just not my thing.
I like that it gives me all those different choices though because my workflow could change again as it has many times in the past.
Old 9th June 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmusic4u View Post
O.k....Starting to understand more .... Now,I use my midi keyboard to control my sounds. Once recorded,it is possible to bounce that midi to an audio file and run that through the boards eq right? Is there any degradation in sound or quality that you may have noticed or know of? I don't plan on using this outside of the studio environment but it is good to know that it is versatile and is a quality product! So is it all 16 faders that are midi capable? And how many knobs? Is it only the midi area where the transport controls are?(based from pictures i have seen)
Yeah,you can record the midi tracks to audio and do whatever from there.
I have found that virtual instruments sound better once effected on the board and recorded back to the app.

All 16 faders are midi active,i have 2 banks set up so i can operate 32 channels by switching between midi banks 1 and 2.
I could set up 4 banks for 64.

There are 12 knobs/8 switches with a shift button and 4 midi sliders.

You can view the manual here.
http://www.allen-heath.com/webfm_send/934
Old 9th June 2011
  #14
Gear Addict
 

I think to make my point more clear, I would have preferred the Zed 16 to be nothing more than a audio interface / soundcard and MIDI controller.

IE all the knobs and buttons actually sent MIDI data. Then I could have used the hands on control AND had the instant recall.

Assigning the 12 knobs as pan pots for your 16 channels still leaves you without panning for the remaining 4. Also with all 12 of your MIDI pots used up how do you then control your 64 auxes at 4 auxes per channel?

I think there currently is a huge gap in the market for a digital audio interface / soundard with controls like an analogue mixer that sends MIDI on all knobs and faders. Something the Zed 16 could have so easily been.

Imagine a 16 channel hardware control just like the Zed16 offers but you get access to your SSL channel strip VST and total recal. All as A&H had to do was MIDI from each knob and it was there!
Old 9th June 2011
  #15
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evangelista's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kola View Post
I think to make my point more clear, I would have preferred the Zed 16 to be nothing more than a audio interface / soundcard and MIDI controller.

IE all the knobs and buttons actually sent MIDI data. Then I could have used the hands on control AND had the instant recall.

Assigning the 12 knobs as pan pots for your 16 channels still leaves you without panning for the remaining 4. Also with all 12 of your MIDI pots used up how do you then control your 64 auxes at 4 auxes per channel?

I think there currently is a huge gap in the market for a digital audio interface / soundard with controls like an analogue mixer that sends MIDI on all knobs and faders. Something the Zed 16 could have so easily been.

Imagine a 16 channel hardware control just like the Zed16 offers but you get access to your SSL channel strip VST and total recal. All as A&H had to do was MIDI from each knob and it was there!

It's a nice idea, but it would make me wholly uninterested in the product.

I mostly use the the R16 for summing, eq, and monitoring. I haven't hooked up the DAW control portion, and likely never will.
Old 9th June 2011
  #16
Gear Head
 

Great points and responses! I think I am still on the track to making my purchase of the zed. I really like the fact that I can eq my midi tracks through the board for a different sound. I am looking to do some new things so this could really work for me! After the midi is mapped,does it have to be re-mapped for each session or is it a instant recall kind of thing? I ask because I use to have to set up a remote zero sl in the environment window for every project I wanted to use it on. That was sooooo much of a pain that I only use it as a plugin controller now,which it actually excels at! I am looking over the manual for the zed now. The one I downloaded a while ago was not as in depth as what they have on their sight now! Thanks!
Old 9th June 2011
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
I mostly use the the R16 for summing, eq, and monitoring. I haven't hooked up the DAW control portion, and likely never will.
Hi Evan

Im baffled why you wouldn't just buy the far cheaper Zed 20 or whatever?

If all you require is an analogue mixer without DAW / FW functions you could have saved £1000 or more.
Old 9th June 2011
  #18
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evangelista's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kola View Post
Hi Evan

Im baffled why you wouldn't just buy the far cheaper Zed 20 or whatever?

If all you require is an analogue mixer without DAW / FW functions you could have saved £1000 or more.

Hi,

First of all, it's Ivan, not Evan.

Good question. I use the DA on the R16 for 16 channels during mixing. I also use the pres when I run out of "good stuff" during basic tracking. They sound better than the lower Zed line.

Also, I wanted something I could use for multi-channel location recording in the future. In that case, I will use the firewire hookup to my laptop (which has a current OS, unlike my studio machine), though it's unlikely that I'll be using any DAW control features on the R16 in that scenario, either.

Furthermore, I'm told the mix bus on the R16 is better than on the lower Zed series. I don't know it that's actually true, as I've never compared, but I will say this:

I really like the R16 mix bus. Not in the same league as some of the "giants" (Neve, SSL, Trident, etc.) but is very responsive to how hard it's being pushed, with (to me) pleasing results.
Old 9th June 2011
  #19
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kola View Post
Hi Evan

Im baffled why you wouldn't just buy the far cheaper Zed 20 or whatever?

If all you require is an analogue mixer without DAW / FW functions you could
have saved £1000 or more.
Sorry, i'm a bit lazy and didn't read everything in the thread.. but..

I believe he meant that he doesn't use the MIDI stuff on the R16 to
control the DAW, still using the FW interface.

I just want to say that i think the the MCU + Saffire is a better option if
you mix ITB and will continue to do so for a long time. But if you want a
flexible system that has almost everything the R16 is a solid choice.

The lack of recall is the biggest downside in my opinion. If your doing
different projects at once it's a real PITA.

It's ok if you first track everything and when every song is tracked you start to mix,
but jumping between different mixes is really time consuming.

Also the R16's Pres and EQ is different from the other ZED-series.

Very happy GSR24 owner here. It's my first console and it makes everything
so much easier. But if i wouldn't want to mix OTB i wouldn't have bought it (or the R16).

... Great board, but not the best option if working ITB.

my two cents.
Old 9th June 2011
  #20
Gear Addict
 

Ivan or Evan

Quote:
Hi,

First of all, it's Ivan, not Evan.
Then how comes your user name is Evan what I was referring too?

I think the way you mix out of the box you cant really go wrong with the Zed 16 so see how you would love it.

Mastercrab

Quote:
Great board, but not the best option if working ITB.
I think thats pretty much sums it up and is in line with what me and Ivan have agreed above. Hence how he loves it.

Most annoying thing is, if the rest of the pots transmitted MIDI also it would be a product for us ITB mixers too as opposed just an in out interface sound-card.
Old 9th June 2011
  #21
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evangelista's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterCrab View Post

The lack of recall is the biggest downside in my opinion. If your doing
different projects at once it's a real PITA.

It's ok if you first track everything and when every song is tracked you start to mix,
but jumping between different mixes is really time consuming.

It can be limiting, true. I have two basic ways I use the R16 for mixing:

- in the case of projects helmed by confident, creative musicians who revel in "committing", recall isn't in issue. This describes about a quarter of my clientele. I print very basic stems (usually just instrumental and vox, sometimes BUs and leads get different stems), but they basically never get used. With these clients, if they don't like a mix, it's usually the overall vibe, not "I can't hear the third shaker in the second bridge", so we do another mix all together. I should mention that I love these people.

- otherwise, if I need recall, I just use the R16 as a summing mixer with 8 stereo groups. I might bump the high shelf on a couple of channels here and there, but nothing that takes me more than 3 seconds to document. It works well for me.

All the above is for music. If I'm mixing a commercial that has six audio tracks or whatever I just stay ITB.
Old 9th June 2011
  #22
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evangelista's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kola View Post
Ivan or Evan



Then how comes your user name is Evan what I was referring too?

Because my name is Ivan Evangelista.
Old 9th June 2011
  #23
Gear Addict
 

So I was half right then anyhow
Old 9th June 2011
  #24
Gear Head
 

Well,it seems as though I have a few things to still consider! Maybe the saffire and mcu will be a better option after all? I will be mixing itb more than 90% of the time. I know the faders can still be useful there but the whole recall thing is iffy for me. Especially if I am working on a lot of tracks and have to bank back and forth. I love the concept of the r16 but I am really torn between the two options! I love the eq and the summing otb but I think in the long run it may bother me to always have to know my individual track settings. Gotta think!
Old 9th June 2011
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Not sure if your challenged on space like I am, my studio is so small every cm counts, but unless your going to use all of the functions, its a large thing to have around. Roughly 2 ft wide x foot n a half deep.
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