Allen & Heath ZED 12FX vs Behringer Xenyx X1204USB: Compared and Rated

Choosing the right mixer when there are so many on the market these days isn't easy.
Especially when many of them are built for one specific need but being marketed as an all-rounder 🙄
But not to worry, I've got ya!
I have taken a deep dive into two beasts in the audio-mixing game and gone head to head with them: Allen & Heath ZED 12FX vs. Behringer Xenyx X1204USB.

We're looking at things like:

  • Sound Quality: This is the heart of the matter, right? How each mixer holds up in delivering crisp, clear audio. Are we talking about a mixer that makes your tracks sound like they're live from the garage, or are we hitting studio-quality sound?
  • Ease of Use: Nobody wants to spend hours figuring out which button does what. I’ll break down the user interface of both Allen & Heath ZED 12FX and Behringer Xenyx X1204USB. Are they plug-and-play easy, or will you need a PhD in mixology to use them?
  • Features and Functions: Ie. What's under the hood? Let's find out what sets them apart.
  • Durability: No matter your reason for buying, you want something that's gonna last, not fall apart after a few light sessions.
  • Price Point: Yep, money talks. When it comes to prices, we need to see which mixer gives us more bang for our buck. Is the higher price of one justified by its features, or is the other a hidden gem at a bargain price?
  • Customer Reviews and Feedback: What's the word on the street? Sometimes real-world use tells a different story than what the sales page says.

Allen & Heath ZED-12FX

After using the Allen & Heath ZED12FX for about six months, I think it's a solid piece of gear, especially for those transitioning from basic to more advanced mixing needs. The sound quality is notably clean and clear, making it a reliable choice for both studio and live environments. Working with it, I've found that the preamps deliver a crystal-clear sound, and there’s an impressive amount of gain available, which is a step up from some lower-priced mixers I've used in the past.

Learning Curve and Usability

Although the mixer is fairly user-friendly, I believe beginners might find it a bit challenging at first, mainly due to the underwhelming instruction manual. It's more about trial and error unless you're already familiar with mixers. However, once you get the hang of it, the layout and controls become intuitive. The faders and knobs are smooth and responsive, adding to the overall ease of use.

Effects and Features

The ZED12FX stands out for its effects. The range and quality are commendable for a mixer in this class. It adds significant value, especially if you're into experimenting with different sound textures. However, the dedicated send and returns being 1/8 jacks is a bit puzzling. It's an odd choice considering the rest of the board adheres to industry standards. This might limit some traditional uses, but it's not a deal-breaker.

Reliability Concerns

One of the downsides I've noticed is the question of long-term reliability. I've heard about issues like pre-amps failing just after the warranty period, which can be a major concern if you're planning to use this mixer heavily. While I haven't faced this issue personally, it's something to keep in mind.

Overall Experience

In terms of overall experience, the Allen & Heath ZED12FX has mostly been a positive journey. The sound quality, ease of use (once you get past the learning curve), and the additional effects make it a worthy investment for someone looking to upgrade from a basic setup. Just be wary of the potential long-term reliability issues and ensure you have a backup plan in place.

Behringer Xenyx X1204USB

I want to focus on the things the sales page doesn't tell you. And that's the good, bad, and the ugly.

I test and play around with mixer's all day, and the Xenyx is one of those ones you keep around. It's a good price for pretty much anybody to get their hands on, and if you're grabbing one second hand, you're all set.

So, I've know this mixer for seven years, and on some personal projects, I'm still using it almost 24/7. Some faders crackle, and a few buttons need a nudge now and then, but that's expected without regular maintenance.

Honestly, it's been a flawless experience for my needs, mainly as an XLR to USB interface.

The USB Interface

Good, But With Limitations

The USB input's a bit tricky; it lacks volume control and EQ adjustments. And if you're using the USB out, you're stuck with just 44.1K or 48K output, based on the main bus. This can be a bit limiting if you need to use both the main mix out and the USB output simultaneously.

Board Features: Hits and Misses

Quality Preamps with a Warm Touch ✅🔥

The preamps are surprisingly good, though they add a warm coloration to the audio. So that's either a positive or negative depending on your preference.

The built-in compressors and EQ are decent for the price.

The AUX channel's integration with the master mix, however, can be a bit limiting.

The FX channel, with its variety of sound effects, is a nice touch.

Final Verdict: Great Value, But Not Without Flaws

For its price, this board is a fantastic deal. No doubt about it!

It's not perfect, though – the USB interface could be more versatile, and the preamps, while good, have their quirks.

But considering the price, it's a solid choice for a range of audio needs, from small-scale live events to home studios.

Head 2 Head: Allen & Heath ZED 12FX or Behringer Xenyx X1204USB

Rollin' with the Allen & Heath ZED-12FX

Stepping up your audio game with this piece of gear is like upgrading from a compact car to a luxury sedan. The Allen & Heath ZED-12FX is an audio mixer that promises a crisp, clean sound that's as clear as a bell.

Whether you're working in a studio or rocking at live events, this digital mixer doesn't mess around when it comes to sound quality.

And let's talk about its preamps. They are like crystal-clear water in an untouched spring, offering plenty of gain to boot.

But hey, nobody said mastering this mixing desk would be as easy as pie. It's not exactly novice-friendly and the instruction manual?

Mmm…let's just say it leaves much to be desired. But don't fret – once you've climbed over that initial learning curve, the faders and knobs on this USB mixer will feel as smooth and responsive as butter on hot toast.

Now onto effects – if you're an effects junkie, the ZED-12FX will feed that addiction like no other. The range and quality are top-notch, perfect for those who love playing around with sound textures on their audio interface.

Sure, the 1/8 jacks for send and returns are puzzling – it's like finding a pair of sneakers in a room full of high heels! But hey, it doesn't make this live sound mixer any less of a catch.

The only thing that might make you sweat bullets is the question of long-term reliability. A few folks have complained about preamps waving the white flag just after the warranty period ends – not cool if you plan on making this studio mixer your main squeeze.

Journeying with the Behringer Xenyx X1204USB

This audio mixer is like that reliable old buddy you can count on – it's been with me for seven years, working almost round the clock.

Sure, it's got a few quirks – some faders crackle and buttons need a nudge – but hey, nothing that regular maintenance won't fix.

Let's talk about the Behringer drivers for Windows 7. Installing them was scarier than a horror movie marathon! My advice? Stick to the default drivers – they're like your trusty old jeans, comfortable and reliable.

Navigating through its USB interface can feel like walking through a maze blindfolded.

It lacks volume control and EQ adjustments, and you're stuck with either 44.1K or 48K output based on the main bus when using the USB out. It can put a cramp in your style if you need to use both main mix out and USB output at once.

The board features of this compact mixer are a mixed bag – some hits, some misses. The preamps give your sound a warm touch while the built-in compressors and EQ do their job decently. But here's the kicker: this analog mixer integrates its AUX channel with the master mix in a way that can feel limiting.

But hey, at this price point, who's complaining? It may have its quirks but it still delivers solid performance whether used as a home studio mixer or for smaller live events.

The Verdict

After weighing in all factors – sound quality, usability, effects quality and reliability – I'm going to have to crown Allen & Heath ZED-12FX the winner. Despite its potential reliability issues, its superior sound quality, comprehensive effects range, and intuitive design once mastered gives it the edge over the Behringer Xenyx X1204USB.

It's like choosing between a sleek sports car and a reliable family sedan – both have their strengths, but in this race, Allen & Heath ZED-12FX takes the checkered flag. However, if you're on a budget or just starting on your audio journey, don't discount the Behringer Xenyx X1204USB – it's still a worthy contender in its own right.