Allen & Heath ZED 12FX Vs. Roland VR 1HD AV: 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. Roland VR 1HD AV.

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 Roland VR 1HD AV. 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.

Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer

I tested the Roland Video Switcher with audio capabilities for about a month, and here's my verdict: it's a compact powerhouse perfect for those tight on space but needing a robust video and audio solution.

Set-Up and Input Flexibility

Setting it up was a bit of a learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, the switcher's functionality was impressive. I connected a DSLR, a camcorder, and my laptop as input devices, alongside a 32GB storage device for still images and wave files. The lack of internal storage is a minor drawback, as all images and audio are stored on the external drive. Another minor hiccup is the need for images to be in Windows Bitmap File (.bmp) format, which requires a bit of extra work in conversion.

File Compatibility and Storage Tips

I encountered issues with a 128GB stick, but resizing BMP files to smaller than the maximum 1920 x 1200 pixels helped. Also, converting MP3 or MP4 files to wave format using Audacity or iTunes was necessary – a bit outdated, but manageable. It's a bit odd to still be using wave files in today's digital age, but overall, it didn't hamper the experience too much.

Streaming Capabilities and Support

A notable downside is that Roland doesn't include the USB A to B 3.0 cable needed for streaming, so be prepared to buy one separately. The setup is excellent for enhancing Zoom meetings or similar applications. However, don't expect to master it immediately – it requires some practice before using it for critical projects.

Reliability in Various Settings

The switcher has proven itself in different environments. From church services to educational settings, it's been reliable and easy to use. The build quality is solid, and the ease of streaming video and sound is commendable. However, there have been some issues post-software update, with the mixer crashing during live streams, which is something to watch out for.

Customer Support and Overall Satisfaction

When I faced connectivity issues with my iMac, product support was helpful in resolving them. Despite a few initial hurdles, I'm enjoying the switcher a lot. The ability to upload custom sound files and music adds a personal touch to the output.

Overall, this Roland Video Switcher is a great tool for anyone needing a compact, yet feature-rich, video and audio mixing solution. It's versatile, though it comes with a few quirks that require some workaround. But once you're past the learning curve, it opens up a world of creative possibilities.

Head 2 Head: Allen & Heath ZED 12FX or Roland VR 1HD AV

When it comes to audio mixers, the Allen & Heath ZED12FX is a force to be reckoned with. Its clean, clear sound quality is unparalleled. It's as if this digital mixer was designed with both studio recording and live sound in mind. The preamps are like little audio elves, working their magic to deliver crystal-clear sound that leaves you wondering, “How did they do that?”

Getting the Hang of the ZED12FX

The user experience can be compared to learning how to ride a bike – a bit wobbly at first with some scraped knees but once you've nailed it, it's smooth sailing. This digital mixer has faders and knobs that feel like they've been greased with unicorn tears – they are so smooth and responsive! However, let's not sugarcoat things; the instruction manual might as well have been written in Elvish for all the help it provides. But hey! Trial and error is part of the fun, right?

Sonic Wizardry

The effects on this beast… oh boy! They are nothing short of magical. The range and quality are top-notch considering this mixer's class. It feels like having your very own audio spellbook at your fingertips. There is one puzzling design choice though: send and returns being 1/8 jacks? It's like finding ketchup in your coffee; just doesn't quite fit in considering the rest of the board sticks to industry standards.

Longevity: A Question Mark?

Now we all love gear that ages like fine wine, don't we? However, there have been whispers about preamps failing post-warranty period (queue dramatic music). Fingers crossed I won't have to face such an ordeal!

The Full Picture

Overall, if you're looking to graduate from your basic audio interface and want to delve deeper into the world of mixers, the Allen & Heath ZED12FX is a fine choice, just make sure you've got a backup plan for potential reliability issues. Moving on to the Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer. This little powerhouse is like a Swiss Army knife for video and audio mixing needs – compact yet robust! It's perfect for those who are tight on space but have big dreams.

All about the Inputs

Setting it up was like solving a Rubik's cube – challenging but oh-so-satisfying once you crack it. The input flexibility allows you to connect any device from DSLRs to camcorders, laptops, or even your favorite 32GB storage device. Annoyingly though, all images and audio need to be stored externally as this mixer has less internal storage than an ant's backpack.

Streaming Savior or Sinner?

The VR-1HD does not include the USB A to B 3.0 cable needed for streaming (cue dramatic sigh). However, once you have that sorted, it's a breeze with Zoom meetings or similar applications looking crisper than ever before! But be warned; this isn't something you can master while watching Netflix in your PJs; it requires some practice.

Customer Support & Satisfaction

The customer support was helpful when I encountered connectivity issues with my iMac (thank goodness!). After overcoming a few hurdles, the Roland VR-1HD AV quickly became my go-to tool for video switching. Despite its quirks (looking at you BMP files and wave format), there's no denying that this little AV mixer is a gem when it comes to versatility and functionality in various settings from church services to educational environments. The Victor Emerges So who wins this Battle Royale of mixers? Drumroll, please… The winner is the [Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer](! Yes, it has a few quirks and it's not perfect. But what it lacks in perfection, it makes up for in versatility and compactness. It provides an impressive blend of audio interface and USB interface capabilities while also serving as a video switcher. Sure, the Allen & Heath ZED12FX may have superior sound quality and effects but the Roland VR-1HD trumps with its ability to handle both audio and video needs in a compact package. Whether you're looking to enhance your live sound or studio recording game, this little powerhouse has got your back!