Allen & Heath ZED 12FX Vs. Soundcraft Ui16: 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. Soundcraft Ui16.

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 Soundcraft Ui16. 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.

Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled Digital Mixer

I got my hands on the Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled 16-Input Digital Mixer about a month or two ago, and let me tell you, it's been an interesting ride. This mixer has its highs and lows, and I'm here to give you the full scoop.

The Good: Features and Flexibility

The Ui16 is packed with features that can make any tech-savvy sound person drool. First off, the ability to control it from a tablet or phone is a total game-changer. It makes sound checks a breeze, especially if you're running solo. The mixer comes with a range of inputs and outputs, offering ample flexibility for various setups. The built-in effects, including Lexicon reverbs and dbx dynamics, are top-notch, giving your sound that professional edge.
The mixer's wireless functionality is a big selling point. Although I did encounter some range issues, these were easily fixed with an external router or booster antenna. And hey, the built-in WiFi works decently enough for most situations.

User Experience: A Mixed Bag

Now, the interface… it's HTML-5 based, responsive, and packed with features. But, there's a learning curve, especially if you're new to digital mixers. The navigation can be a bit quirky, often redirecting you to the bootup screen, which can be annoying. And the manual? It's got some errors, so don't rely on it too heavily.

I did try connecting it to various devices. It worked seamlessly with my Android and iOS gadgets, but older computers might struggle. A tablet is definitely the way to go for the best control experience, as phone screens can feel cramped.

Performance and Sound Quality

Sound-wise, the Ui16 delivers. It's quiet, efficient, and the sound quality is impressive for its price range. I've used it in a church setting and for small events, and it's been great in both contexts. It's also surprisingly easy to use once you get past the initial setup.

WiFi Woes and Workarounds

The WiFi issues some users have reported are real. If you're planning to use this mixer actively during a performance, be prepared for potential dropouts. However, if you set your levels and leave them be, like I do, you might not even notice. And yes, investing in a better antenna or positioning the mixer wisely can mitigate these issues.


Overall, the Soundcraft Ui16 is a solid piece of equipment with a few quirks. It's not perfect – the WiFi can be finicky, and the interface has its idiosyncrasies – but the quality and flexibility you get at this price point are hard to beat. If you're willing to tackle a slight learning curve and can handle the occasional WiFi hiccup, this mixer could be a great addition to your audio setup. Just remember, it's more suited for scenarios where constant tweaking isn't necessary.

Head 2 Head: Allen & Heath ZED 12FX or Soundcraft Ui16

Allen & Heath ZED12FX: A Solid Bet for Studio and Live Sound

Hovering over the Allen & Heath ZED12FX, I can't help but appreciate its clean, sleek design. It's a mixing console that's been with me for half a year now and it's proven to be a reliable companion when it comes to both studio recording and live sound scenarios. The preamps on this bad boy deliver clear, crisp audio, which is crucial when you're dealing with high gain. No more dealing with those pesky distortions that lower-priced mixers are notorious for. The sound quality is pure and unadulterated, like sipping on that first cup of morning coffee.

Usability: A Little Trial, A Lot of Triumph

Now don't get me wrong – this isn't your grandpa's analog mixer. There's a bit of a learning curve at the start, mainly because the instruction manual might as well be written in hieroglyphics. But once you've mastered your ABCs (or in this case, your XLR inputs), things become smooth sailing. The faders and knobs have a smooth glide to them, making the audio interface feel responsive and intuitive. It's like having an orchestra at your fingertips – minus the violinists giving you dirty looks.

Effects: A Mixed Bag

One thing about the ZED12FX that makes me go “Hmm” is its effects processor. The range and quality of effects are pretty impressive. However, they made an oddball decision to use 1/8 jacks for their dedicated send and returns which may limit some traditional usage scenarios.

Beware: Long-Term Reliability Issues?

Listen up folks, I've heard some chatter about possible long-term reliability issues. Preamps failing post-warranty isn't the kind of surprise anyone wants. Though I haven't experienced this personally, it's something to keep in mind if you're considering this as your go-to audio interface.

Soundcraft Ui16: A Digital Mixer for the Tech-Savvy

Shifting gears to the Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled 16-Input Digital Mixer, this piece of tech is like a swiss army knife – compact yet feature-packed. It's a remote-controlled USB mixer that puts control literally in your hands thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi router.

The Good: Features Galore and Flexibility

The Ui16 lets you tweak your live sound through your tablet or phone, which is a game-changer for any audio engineer who's had to run from stage to console during soundcheck. The digital mixer has a variety of inputs and outputs – XLRs, USBs, you name it – offering a great degree of flexibility.

User Experience: A Touch Quirky

Here's where things get interesting. The HTML-5 based interface is loaded with features but comes with its own quirks. The navigation can make you feel like you're in an episode of “Lost,” often redirecting you back to square one. And don't even get me started on the manual – it has more errors than my high school math homework.

Sweet Sound Quality & Performance

Sound-wise, the Ui16 delivers like a well-trained pizza guy – fast and efficient. The sound quality is impressive for its price range, making it suitable for various contexts.

Uh-Oh's: WiFi Woes and Workarounds

However, there seems to be a gremlin in the Wi-Fi. Occasional dropouts can make you pull your hair out if you're constantly tweaking your mix during performances. But if you're like me and prefer to “set and forget,” it shouldn't be much bother.

And The Winner Is…

After some deep consideration, I'm crowning the Soundcraft Ui16 as the winner here. Despite its quirks, the Ui16 offers a level of convenience and flexibility that makes it stand out from its analog counterpart, the Allen & Heath ZED12FX. Its remote-controlled feature is a game-changer for live sound scenarios, and its sound quality is nothing short of impressive for its price point. And even though it might give you a bit of WiFi trouble, with some clever workarounds, it's not a deal-breaker. So there you have it folks! The Soundcraft Ui16 takes home the trophy today! It's ideal for those who are comfortable with digital mixers and are looking for a compact yet feature-packed solution for their audio interface needs. Onwards and upwards!