Pretty much all that I’ve read n the ZED R16 has been positive, including the pre amps and the EQ. I’m looking at getting a desk eventually and this recording mixer is of my main choices. I want a desk that will meet all my recording needs. 16 channels should be enough for me.
I have a friend who’s had a Zed R16 as the main interface in their studio for a year or so before they closed. The desk is now in use in another studio – 4 years old and in absolute perfect condition without any maintenance.
The drivers were rock solid with reaper and my friend never experienced a single problem, build quality is outstanding for the price. I’d say the reviews are pretty spot on.
Regarding the sound of the mic pre’s and the headroom, the pre’s are slightly on the warm/thick end of the spectrum, they added a fair bit of weight to everything my friend recorded with them. They aren’t amazing, but you would need to be spending frankly silly money to get better, and certainly wouldn’t be the weakest link in most studios – in other words, good enough for professional work. The EQ was of a similar standard, certainly good enough for real work and very useful to get the right sound going in. Headroom was also never an issue, either during recording or using the desk to sum a mix.