UK-based analogue hardware experts Audient have continued to impress studio people of the world with their product range. The ASP8024 mixer, for example, strikes a perfect balance between quality, convenience and price, while their line of rackmountable outboard comprises attractive products for the mid-market punter.
Their latest offering is the Zen, a compact mixing console that bears all the hallmarks of yet another Audient gem. Its an analogue console with facilities for DAW control that’s designed to be the hub of a project studio. It features a similar dual-input design to the ‘big’ consoles, with both DAW sends and returns handled through the same channel strip.
Available in a single frame size of 16 channels, the Zen has two stereo and two mono buses, for grouping signals together, but each input channel has direct outputs for sending to a multi-channel audio interface or multi-track recorder. Four auxiliary buses enable further mixes to be set up, for headphones and effects-processing feeds and the like.
Unlike classic recording consoles, the Zen doesn’t feature per-channel EQ or dynamics; instead it provides balanced inserts for users to implement their own external processors. However, built into the Zen’s master section is a stereo bus compressor that can help to ‘glue’ a mix together.
The Zen is available in a number of configurations, with motorised faders and mic preamps available as optional extras. The most basic (and cheapest) version that has only line-level connections and manual faders, costs £7676 including VAT, while mic pres and moving faders cost an extra £1150 and £1725 respectively on top of the price of the base model. The fully equipped Zen, which has mic preamps and moving faders retails for £10,551 including VAT.
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