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Z&H Designs: New pro-audio brand

Launching with four all-analogue designs

Z&H Designs HVC250 Stereo 5-Band Parametric EQ Sontec MEP-250Z&H Designs HVC250 Stereo 5-Band Parametric EQ

Z&H Designs are a new pro-audio designer and manufacturer founded with the aim of developing high-quality outboard gear that revives sought-after classic designs, but while still meeting the needs of modern studio users. At launch, there are four devices in the company’s range: a five-band EQ and a peak limiter (both in rackmount form), and a pair of 500-series EQ modules, with more planned to follow! 

Despite launching in 2024, the work towards creating Z&H started back in 2019. Jaky Zheng, an audio engineering instructor and studio owner, helped to gather together a ground of top designers, engineers, craftsmen and co-creators based in the UK, US and EU. Together, they began developing equipment designs and putting prototypes to work in real studio sessions, refining the designs and ideas based on feedback from engineers. 

Z&H Designs HVC250 Stereo 5-Band Parametric EQ Sontec MEP-250All of Z&H Designs' units are hand-built and individually tested before shipping to customers.The final designs available at launch are all hand-built in Shanghai by an experienced team, and following a five-year pursuit of sourcing parts, the company decided to manufacturer many of the components themselves. They say that it was quite an investment to do so, but has meant that they are in full control of the quality, shape, colour and so on — an added bonus is that they’re available to build custom units to order, if required.

Equal attention has been paid to the all-important power supply design, and each final unit is tested individually before being shipped to the customer. Z&H are clearly confident in their approach, as they’re offering a five-year warranty on all of their equipment. 

HVC250 Stereo 5-Band Parametric EQ

Z&H Designs 1178 Stereo Peak Limiter UREI analogue outboard

The HVC250 offers Z&H’s take on Sontec’s MEP-250, with five bands of EQ offering a ±12dB gain range and Q values ranging between 0.67 and 4, with the high and low bands capable of being switched between peak or shelf filters. It employs a discreet all-analogue circuit design that features 14 independent op-amps, with high quality components sourced from the likes of Nikon, Philips, Motorola and ON. 

1178 Stereo Peak Limiter

As its name suggests, the next offering is based on a UREI 1178, packing in two channels of FET compression that can be used in dual-mono, stereo or Mid-Side modes. As well as the selection of operation modes the unit also offers some handy extras like a mix control for built-in parallel compression, and a switchable side-chain high-pass filter that can be engaged at 60, 120 or 180Hz. 

V560 Graphic EQ & V250 Parametric EQ

Z&H V560 Graphic EQ & V250 Parametric EQ 500-series analogue outboardZ&H V560 Graphic EQ (left) & V250 Parametric EQ (right).Along with the two rackmount units, the current range also includes a pair of 500-series EQ modules. The first, V560 Graphic EQ, draws its inspiration from API, providing 10 bands with a gain range of ±12dB, while the second provides a compact, single-channel alternative to the Sontec MEP-250 equipped with four parametric bands. 

Pricing & Availability

Z&H Designs’ units are available to order now, with pricing as follows:

  • HVC250 Stereo 5-Band Parametric EQ: $2699£2123
  • 1178 Stereo Peak Limiter: $1899£1583
  • V560 Graphic EQ: $595£499
  • V250 Parametric EQ: $529£440.50

Prices include VAT.

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