Allen & Heath ZED 12FX Vs. Tascam DP 32SD: 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. Tascam DP 32SD.

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 Tascam DP 32SD. 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.

Tascam DP-32SD Digital Portastudio

Now the Tascam DP-32SD, let me draw some comparisons to its cousin, the DP-24SD, and delve into what makes it stand out. The DP-32SD steps up the game with its enhanced preamps and 32-track recording capability, minus the hard drive noise, since it runs on an SDHC card.

Key Features:

First off, think of the DP-32SD as a 20-track recorder with 8 mono tracks and 12 additional stereo or mono tracks. The absence of MIDI and S/PDIF inputs (found in its predecessor, the Tascam 2488Neo) might limit some, but it's not a deal-breaker for those focused on analog inputs. Its punch-in and out functions are tight, and the layout of the menu and LED buttons has been thoughtfully improved from the Neo model.

Tascam DP 32SD Review

Recording Quality

The recording quality is a massive win for the DP-32SD. Users rave about the stellar job it does, especially in multi-musician setups. With its ability to record at 24bit 48kHz without clicks, pops, or stutters, it’s a reliable choice for those seeking to avoid the complexities of a DAW.

Usability and Workflow

In terms of workflow, this machine is a powerhouse. For those who prefer to record up to 8 tracks simultaneously without a PC or MAC and don’t need MIDI sync, the DP-32SD is your go-to. It’s great for live band recordings too, being easily portable and capable of handling numerous simultaneous inputs.

Learning Curve

There’s a learning curve, especially if you're transitioning from a simpler recorder or a different brand. However, with resources like YouTube tutorials, you can get up to speed relatively quickly.

Build Quality

The build quality of the DP-32SD is impressive. It feels heavy and sturdy, indicative of a machine built to last. Though some knobs might feel a bit flimsy, this doesn’t detract from the overall solid construction of the unit.

Integration with DAW

While it's primarily a standalone recorder, the ease of transferring files to a DAW for further editing and mixing is a major plus. It's an excellent solution for those looking to blend analog recording with digital editing.

Head 2 Head: Allen & Heath ZED 12FX or Tascam DP 32SD

Allen & Heath ZED 12FX: The Sleek Mixing Console with Extra Kick

When it comes to mixing consoles, the Allen & Heath ZED 12FX is an impressive piece of gear that doesn't shy away from a challenge. It serves up audio production with a side of zesty features and a refreshing clean sound that makes both studio recording and live performance a delight. The preamps are the stars of this show, providing crystal-clear sound that's as pure as freshly fallen snow in audio land. There's plenty of gain on tap too – just the thing when you're thirsty for more volume.

The Learning Curve and Usability

Now, let's talk about usability. The ZED 12FX might seem like a tough nut to crack at first, especially for beginners. The instruction manual isn't exactly your best friend here, but with a little patience and perseverance (and maybe some friendly YouTube tutorials), you'll soon have it tamed. Once you've gotten over the initial learning hump, things get smooth – quite literally. The faders and knobs glide like butter, allowing for precision adjustments during your audio production sessions.

Effects and Features

This mixing console also comes packed with effects that add some serious flavor to your sound palette. However, there's a peculiar choice by Allen & Heath here – they've opted for 1/8 jacks for the dedicated send and returns rather than sticking to industry standards. It's not a deal-breaker but might raise an eyebrow or two amongst traditionalists.

Reliability Concerns

On the downside, there have been whispers about potential long-term reliability issues – mainly preamps failing post-warranty period. It's akin to a ticking audio time bomb, but I haven't personally experienced this, so take it with a grain of salt.

Tascam DP-32SD: The Digital Recorder That Packs a Punch

Moving on to the Tascam DP-32SD Digital Portastudio. This digital recorder is no slouch when it comes to audio production. It's like the burly cousin of the DP-24SD with upgraded preamps and 32-track recording capability, all running smoothly on an SDHC card – so no more annoying hard drive noises.

Recording Quality

The DP-32SD delivers recording quality that's nothing short of stellar. It handles multi-musician setups like a seasoned pro, delivering 24bit 48kHz recordings without any hiccups – perfect for those focused on analog inputs and multitrack recording.

Usability and Workflow

When it comes to usability, this digital recorder is a real workhorse. It can handle up to eight tracks simultaneously – making it an ideal choice for live band recordings or home studio setups that don't require MIDI sync.

Learning Curve

There's a learning curve here too. But thanks to online resources (cue the YouTube tutorials again), you'll be making sweet music with your Tascam in no time.

Build Quality

The build quality of the DP-32SD is solid – much like its performance. Despite some knobs feeling slightly flimsy, this doesn't detract from the overall sturdy construction of the unit.

Integration with DAW

One significant advantage is its easy integration with DAW for further editing and mixing. It blends the best of both worlds – analog recording and digital editing – making it a potent choice for any audio production setup.

And The Winner Is…

After this sonic showdown between the Allen & Heath ZED 12FX and the Tascam DP-32SD, I'm crowning the Tascam DP-32SD Digital Portastudio as the winner. While both are excellent in their respective fields, what clinches it for the Tascam is its superior recording quality, simultaneous multi-track recording capability, sturdy build, and seamless integration with DAW. This digital recorder is a reliable workhorse that's perfect for both home studio setups and live performance scenarios. So there you have it folks – your audio interface champion. Now go forth and create some fantastic tunes!