Allen & Heath ZED 12FX Vs. PreSonus StudioLive AR12c: 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. PreSonus StudioLive AR12c.

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 PreSonus StudioLive AR12c. 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.

PreSonus StudioLive AR12c

Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer: In-Depth Review After Extensive Use

Initial Impressions and Functionality

After over two years of using the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer, I've got a lot to share. Initially, this mixer impressed with its robust features – SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, and the abundance of free software it comes with. The multi-track software, particularly useful for recording and editing, adds significant value. Its form factor and features like the microphone preamps and USB-C connectivity seemed promising for a range of applications – from music production to podcasting.

Performance and Reliability Issues

Short Lifespan and Quality Concerns

The major downside, however, has been the mixer's reliability. It worked flawlessly for a period, but after 2.5 years, it abruptly stopped working. This was particularly frustrating as the mixer was handled with care and never subjected to any rough use. The lack of durability for a high-end piece of equipment is a significant drawback, especially considering the cost of repair, which can run into hundreds of dollars.

Customer Service Experience

Lack of Support and Warranty Concerns

My experience with customer service was less than satisfactory. When the mixer failed, I reached out, only to be told that it was out of warranty. While this is technically true, the expectation for a quality mixer to last beyond 2.5 years is reasonable. The company's approach to customer service and their unwillingness to provide support or reasonable repair options is a major red flag.

Sound Quality and Features

Excellent Audio but Some Limitations

On the positive side, the mixer's sound quality is excellent when it works. The microphone preamps, while needing to be turned up high for certain mics, provide clear and crisp audio. The multi-track capabilities are user-friendly and the mixer is fairly easy to navigate, even for those new to audio equipment. The inclusion of SD card recording and Bluetooth adds to its versatility, although the SD recording could benefit from more informative display features.

Form Factor and Build

Good Design with Some Build Quality Issues

The mixer's form factor is appealing – it's compact and fits well in various setups. However, the build quality seems to be a concern given the longevity issues I've experienced. The unit feels sturdy initially, but the internal components may not be as reliable.

Overall Experience

Mixed Feelings Due to Reliability Issues

In summary, while the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer offers a range of impressive features and excellent sound quality, its reliability is a major concern. The poor customer service and the mixer's short lifespan significantly overshadow its initial appeal. For those considering this mixer, it's crucial to weigh these factors. The possibility of encountering similar issues and the lack of support from Presonus might be deal-breakers for many potential buyers.

Head 2 Head: Allen & Heath ZED 12FX or PreSonus StudioLive AR12c

Allen & Heath ZED 12FX: The Lowdown

Alright, let's chat about the Allen & Heath ZED 12FX. It's like that dependable old friend who always shows up when you need them – reliable, consistent, and won't leave you hanging in the middle of a live gig. Trust me, it's seen its fair share of recording studios and live sound events.

This mixing console is a solid piece of professional audio equipment that takes the phrase “crystal-clear sound” seriously. It does not play around when it comes to delivering top-notch clarity with its preamps. These guys pack a punch and offer a generous amount of gain. I mean, they're not messing around here.

Usability: A Bit of a Learning Curve

Now, I will say this – there is a bit of a learning curve with this analog mixing desk due to a rather underwhelming instruction manual (sorry Allen & Heath). But hey, who doesn't love a challenge? Once you get past that initial hurdle though, it's smooth sailing from there. The faders and knobs are responsive and feel good in your hands – trust me; it’s like butter on toast.

Effects and Features: A Mixed Bag

The ZED 12FX really shines when it comes to effects; an area where many mixers fall short. The range and quality are pretty impressive for its class making studio recording sessions quite the experience! However – and this is a pretty big however – the dedicated send and returns being 1/8 jacks? Definitely an odd choice. It’s like ordering pizza with extra cheese but getting extra pineapple instead.

Reliability: A Possible Achilles Heel?

Now let’s talk about a little fly in the ointment. Some users have reported issues with long-term reliability, particularly with the pre-amps failing just after the warranty period. It's a bit of a gamble if you ask me, especially if you're planning to use this mixer heavily. So, it’s probably a good idea to keep a backup plan in your back pocket.

PreSonus StudioLive AR12c: The Long and Short of It

Moving onto the PreSonus StudioLive AR12c. This digital mixer is like that flashy new kid on the block who comes with all the cool toys – SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, DAW integration and even throws in some free software! It's got everything you need in a USB audio interface and then some.

Performance: A Rollercoaster Ride

However, this one has been quite the rollercoaster ride. Initially, it was all sunshine and rainbows with great features and excellent sound quality from its microphone preamps. But after about 2 years of use, things started to go south. The mixer abruptly stopped working – like that friend who promises to help you move but doesn't show up on moving day. Not cool.

Customer Service: A Rocky Road

When it came to customer service, let’s just say Presonus could use some lessons in customer relations 101. When my high-end audio gear stopped working just slightly after warranty (I mean come on!), they pretty much shrugged their shoulders and said “tough luck”. Now tell me, who needs that kind of negativity?

Sound Quality: A Saving Grace?

Despite these setbacks though, when it works – boy does it work! The sound quality is top-notch with clear and crisp audio from the preamps. It's also quite easy to navigate, even for audio newbies. The SD card recording and Bluetooth features are like the cherry on top of this mixed experience sundae.

Build: A Matter of Concern

As for the build quality, it’s a bit like a beautiful house with a shaky foundation – looks great on the outside, but might have some issues on the inside. The mixer might seem sturdy initially but given its reliability issues, I’d tread with caution.

So, after going through all these details and experiences with both mixers, it's time to crown a winner. Drumroll please… And the winner is – Allen & Heath ZED 12FX.

Yes, it has its quirks and potential reliability concerns too. But overall, it's the more reliable bet when compared to the Presonus StudioLive AR12c which has shown significant reliability issues and a rather disappointing customer service experience.

The Allen & Heath ZED 12FX comes out on top with its clean sound quality, impressive range of effects and a more user-friendly interface (once you get past that learning curve). So there you have it folks! The ZED 12FX takes home our imaginary trophy in this mixer face-off!