Allen & Heath ZED 12FX Vs. Yamaha MG12XU: 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. Yamaha MG12XU.

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 Yamaha MG12XU. 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.

Yamaha MG12XU

Compact Powerhouse: Yamaha MG12XU

Surprisingly Small, Yet Highly Functional

The Yamaha MG12XU, smaller than anticipated, delivers on functionality. Perfect for various needs, it's a testament to Yamaha's reliability in audio equipment. The delivery was swift, and the product arrived well-protected and in immaculate condition. A clear choice for those seeking a compact yet powerful mixer.

Optimal Recording with Analog Console

Exceptional Instrument Recording

This mixer shines in analog recording, making instrument recording truly incredible. Its design and capabilities cater to both casual and professional users, offering quality sound recording in a compact package.

Yamaha's Unmatched Quality

Consistent Excellence Across Products

Yamaha's reputation for quality is well-earned, and the MG12XU reinforces this. The brand's consistent delivery of superior products makes it a go-to choice for many audio enthusiasts.

Headphone Output: Room for Improvement

Additional Amplification May Be Needed

Despite the overall impressive performance, the headphone output volume is a notable downside. Users might need to invest in a headphone amplifier, which is an additional cost and somewhat diminishes the mixer's value proposition.

Versatility and Clarity in Mixing

Substantial Build with Intuitive Features

The Yamaha MG12XU offers a versatile mixing experience with clear signal routing, as detailed in the user manual. Its substantial case, smooth controls, and impressive feature set place it above competitors like Mackie and Behringer. This mixer excels in various settings, from live performances to home studios.

USB Interface: A Mixed Bag

Good Analog Mixing, USB Driver Issues

While the analog mixing capabilities are commendable, the USB driver can be finicky, leading to distortions and static issues. However, once the right driver (version 2.03) is installed, the mixer performs flawlessly. This hiccup can be a bit frustrating but is manageable with some technical know-how.

Seamless Setup and Reliable Performance

Effortless Integration with Existing Systems

The setup process is straightforward, taking only about 30 minutes to fully integrate with various inputs. Its excellent signal-to-noise ratio and smooth, silent control operation make it a reliable component in any sophisticated audio setup.

Impeccable Packaging and Delivery

Secure Shipping, Excellent Condition

The packaging for the Yamaha MG12XU was done exceptionally well, ensuring the mixer arrived in perfect condition even when shipped internationally. The lack of any humming noise and the smoothness of the long-throw faders are highlights, offering a substantial improvement over previous mixers like Behringer.

Pre-Owned Yet Functional

Value for Money in Used Purchase

Purchasing this mixer used proved to be a wise decision. Despite being pre-owned, the mixer exhibited minimal damage and continued to function effectively, providing significant savings without compromising on quality.

Need for Better Support and Durability

Consider Other Options for Long-Term Use

While the Yamaha MG12XU offers excellent features, its durability and the lack of supportive customer service can be concerning. The mixer may encounter output issues over time, and the cost of repair might outweigh the benefits of keeping it. Prospective buyers should weigh these factors and possibly explore other mixers for more reliable long-term use.

Head 2 Head: Allen & Heath ZED 12FX or Yamaha MG12XU

The Power of Allen & Heath ZED 12FX

The Allen & Heath ZED 12FX is a real beast when it comes to audio mixing consoles. It shines brightly in delivering clean, clear sound, which is a testament to its superior recording capabilities. The preamps are the star of the show here, offering an impressive gain range and crystal-clear sound that is a step above other mixers.

Usability: The Learning Curve and Beyond

While there's a bit of a learning curve with this analog mixer – largely due to its less than stellar instruction manual – it ultimately rewards you with an intuitive layout and responsive controls. You'll find yourself sliding those faders and twisting those knobs with ease once you've spent some time familiarizing yourself with the console.

Digital Effects: A Sonic Playground

Where the Allen & Heath ZED 12FX really stands out from the crowd is in its digital effects. This mixer offers a commendable range and quality of effects, giving you plenty of opportunity to experiment with different sound textures. There's just one oddity: the send and returns are 1/8 jacks, which could limit their traditional uses.

A Question of Reliability

There's no sugar-coating it – there have been murmurs about long-term reliability issues with this mixer, particularly regarding failing pre-amps just after the warranty period. That's definitely something to consider if you're planning on using this mixer for heavy-duty live sound applications.

The Compact Powerhouse: Yamaha MG12XU

The Yamaha MG12XU, on the other hand, is surprisingly small yet highly functional. This compact mixer is a testament to Yamaha's reputation for quality and reliability in audio equipment.

Recording Capabilities: Analog Excellence

The Yamaha MG12XU shines when it comes to analog recording, offering exceptional instrument recording capabilities. It balances a user-friendly design with professional-level features, making it an excellent choice for both casual users and professionals alike.

Headphone Output: Room for Improvement

One notable downside of this mixer is the headphone output volume. You might find yourself needing to invest in a headphone amplifier, which can be an added expense and somewhat detracts from its value proposition.

Mixing Versatility and Clarity

Versatility is the name of the game with the Yamaha MG12XU. It offers clear signal routing, impressive features, and a substantial build that sets it above competitors like Mackie and Behringer. Whether you're using it in a live performance or home studio setting, this mixer delivers.

USB Interface: A Mixed Bag

While the Yamaha MG12XU excels in analog mixing, its USB interface can be finicky. However, once you've installed the right driver (version 2.03), your problems should disappear faster than a roadie after the encore.

The Verdict: Who Wears the Crown?

Both mixers have their strengths. The Allen & Heath ZED 12FX offers clean sound quality and impressive digital effects, but there are potential reliability concerns to consider. The Yamaha MG12XU shines with its compact size, excellent analog recording capabilities, and versatility despite some minor issues with headphone output volume and USB interface.

After weighing these factors carefully – drum roll please – I am declaring Yamaha MG12XU as the clear winner. It's a compact powerhouse that delivers on functionality and recording capabilities, offering a versatile mixing experience that can cater to both casual users and professionals. However, if you're heavily into experimenting with digital effects, the Allen & Heath ZED 12FX might be your cup of tea.

Remember, while this verdict is based on various critical factors, the best audio mixing console for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences. Happy mixing!