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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Jun-16 > ALLEN & HEATH ZED series


With more people peering from out of their computers into the world of hardware for music production, the studio mixer is making a comeback in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Andy Jones looks at two models in the ZED series from Allen & Heath, which appeal to two very different groups of musicians…

Choice 9/10 MusicTech

Every month, I seem to be writing about hardware making a comeback within the recording studio. But, to be clear here, I’m not talking about a complete reversal of the ‘computer only’ route of music production in the early noughties and a return to the 70s, where tape and valves ruled. No, all I’m talking about is a shift from the computer acting as the conduit for everything to set-ups where the workload and flow is shared and, more importantly, the emphasis is moved away from the Mac or PC.

So, rather than the computer providing all of the sounds and outboard processing that it once did, analogue components are being brought back into the mix – still more highly regarded than their digital or virtual counterparts. And with more analogue gear, more hardware mixing is needed: hence, a resurgence in the humble hardware mixer.

Yet it’s the small format mixer that we’re hearing more about than any other, and this is the mixer of choice for a few reasons. The first is the prevalence of YouTube videographers, who need to mix simple soundtracks; then there’s the popularity of the guitarist/singer-songwriter (he or she needs a mic and a guitar, and that is it); and last but not least, there is the ‘ex totally-in-the-box producer’, who is just starting to experiment with external gear, so only requires a few extra channels of input. This might be the person who was using Reason or Live for everything, but who has been tempted by the addition of an analogue synth or expensive mic-pre for better recording, so requires additional (but not many) connections.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech magazine is on sale Thursday May 19th, and this month we bring you a glimpse of a dynamic new touchy-feely music making future in our whopping cover feature looking at getting literally hands-on with your music. Also we bring you 6 ways to create a cool studio, 6 of the best mixers, the latest reviews, tutorials for every major DAW and a sad farewell to the Moog Voyager…