Behringer Xenyx X1204USB Vs. Zoom LiveTrak L 12: Head To Head Comparison – READ BEFORE YOU BUY!!

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: Behringer Xenyx X1204USB vs. Zoom LiveTrak L 12.

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 Behringer Xenyx X1204USB and Zoom LiveTrak L 12. 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.

Behringer Xenyx X1204USB

I want to focus on the things the sales page doesn't tell you. And that's the good, bad, and the ugly.

I test and play around with mixer's all day, and the Xenyx is one of those ones you keep around. It's a good price for pretty much anybody to get their hands on, and if you're grabbing one second hand, you're all set.

So, I've know this mixer for seven years, and on some personal projects, I'm still using it almost 24/7. Some faders crackle, and a few buttons need a nudge now and then, but that's expected without regular maintenance.

Honestly, it's been a flawless experience for my needs, mainly as an XLR to USB interface.

The USB Interface

Good, But With Limitations

The USB input's a bit tricky; it lacks volume control and EQ adjustments. And if you're using the USB out, you're stuck with just 44.1K or 48K output, based on the main bus. This can be a bit limiting if you need to use both the main mix out and the USB output simultaneously.

Board Features: Hits and Misses

Quality Preamps with a Warm Touch ✅🔥

The preamps are surprisingly good, though they add a warm coloration to the audio. So that's either a positive or negative depending on your preference.

The built-in compressors and EQ are decent for the price.

The AUX channel's integration with the master mix, however, can be a bit limiting.

The FX channel, with its variety of sound effects, is a nice touch.

Final Verdict: Great Value, But Not Without Flaws

For its price, this board is a fantastic deal. No doubt about it!

It's not perfect, though – the USB interface could be more versatile, and the preamps, while good, have their quirks.

But considering the price, it's a solid choice for a range of audio needs, from small-scale live events to home studios.

Zoom LiveTrak L-12

Zoom LiveTrak L-12: A Multifaceted Digital Mixer

Practical Design, Impressive Functionality

After spending three months with the Zoom LiveTrak L-12, I've found it to be an invaluable tool for a musician, offering versatility in numerous situations. Its compact size belies its powerful capabilities, making it ideal for various settings from practice to live performances.

Rehearsal and Practice Sessions Elevated

Integrated Metronome and Recording Ease

The L-12 excels in practice environments. Its ability to connect multiple devices, such as a computer via USB for playing along with Spotify, is highly convenient. The built-in metronome and easy recording to SD cards are perfect for pinpointing and working on challenging sections. The recording feature is intuitive, simply arm the desired tracks, and you're set.

Rehearsal Powerhouse

Individual Monitoring and Built-in Effects

In low-volume rehearsals, particularly where everyone uses headphones, the L-12 is a game-changer. With five independent aux sends to 1/4″ headphone jacks, it offers personalized monitoring for each musician. The built-in effects, like reverb for vocals, add to the mix's quality.

Writing and Recording Made Simple

Instant Recording and DAW Integration

Capturing spontaneous musical ideas is effortless with the L-12. Its standalone recording capability, combined with the metronome, allows for quickly laying down initial ideas and building upon them. The seamless integration with DAWs for further editing is a significant advantage.

Live Performances and Mixing

Flexible Output Options for Shows

Though more suited as a sub-mixer, the L-12 can handle a full show, especially when using in-ear monitors. It offers up to five different mixes for in-ear monitoring and has both XLR and balanced 1/4″ outputs for speakers. Recording live shows for later mixing is a breeze.

Adaptable for Socially Distanced Rehearsals

Effective for Diverse Rehearsal Setups

The current pandemic has made music rehearsals challenging, but the L-12 adapts well to different scenarios. Whether it's playing in separate rooms or outdoors, it allows for effective mic setups and clear monitoring of all instruments. The ability to quickly transfer recordings to a DAW like Logic Pro X is highly convenient.

Areas for Improvement

Minor Setbacks, But Still a Top Choice

Despite its many strengths, the L-12 has a few areas that could be improved:
1. The compression always writes to the recording and isn’t of the highest quality.
2. The preamps are adequate but not exceptional.
3. The file naming system, while functional, can be cumbersome to navigate.
4. The lack of motorized faders means manual adjustments are necessary when switching mixes.
5. There's no option for individual stereo or mono pairs for monitor outputs in live situations.
Despite these minor issues, the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 stands out for its versatility and comprehensive features at its price point.

Final Verdict

A Robust, Versatile Mixer for Various Needs

Concluding, the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is an excellent choice for musicians and sound engineers looking for a versatile, all-in-one mixer and recorder. Its strengths in various environments, from studio to stage, make it a valuable asset. While it has some limitations, its advantages far outweigh them, making it a highly recommended tool in the music and recording industry.

Head 2 Head: Behringer Xenyx X1204USB or Zoom LiveTrak L 12

Playing Favorites: Behringer Xenyx X1204USB vs. Zoom LiveTrak L-12

Now, I've had a long and fruitful relationship with the Behringer Xenyx X1204USB. It's my go-to USB mixer and has served me incredibly well over the past seven years as my primary audio interface for calls. I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few crackling faders and sticky buttons, but isn't that part of the charm? It's like an old pair of jeans – broken in just right. As far as mixing consoles go, you'd be hard-pressed to find one more durable and reliable.

However, let's not ignore the elephant in the room: Behringer's drivers for Windows 7 users can be a bit… temperamental. Remember that time you tried to assemble IKEA furniture without the instructions? Yeah, it felt like that. System crashes, reduced recording modes – it was a techno horror story! Do yourself a favor – stick with default drivers.

The USB Interface Dance

The USB interface on this baby is solid but comes with its own set of quirks. For instance, there's no volume control or EQ adjustments for USB input – somewhat of an oversight when designing this digital mixer. And if you're using USB out, your options are limited to 44.1K or 48K output based on the main bus. That can be a bit of a drag when you need to use both the main mix out and USB output at the same time.

The Board's Bells and Whistles

I've got to hand it to Behringer; they've packed in some quality preamps that add a nice warm touch to the audio. The built-in compressors and EQ hold their own for studio equipment in this price range. The AUX channel's integration with the master mix could use some tweaking, though. But hey, the FX channel with its range of sound effects is a sweet cherry on top.

Now, let's switch gears and talk about the new kid on the block – Zoom LiveTrak L-12. This compact powerhouse has been my faithful sidekick for the past three months and has proven itself in a variety of situations, from practice sessions to live performances.

A Practice Session Powerhouse

This little gem shines brightest during rehearsals. We're talking easy connectivity to multiple devices like your computer (hello Spotify jam session), built-in metronome and intuitive recording to SD cards – perfect for those tricky sections that need some extra love.

Recording Made Easy Peasy

When inspiration strikes, you want an audio production tool that captures your genius without fuss. Enter Zoom LiveTrak L-12. Its built-in metronome and instant recording capability make it a breeze to lay down those spontaneous musical ideas. And the seamless integration with DAWs for further editing is a godsend.

Live Sound Hero

While more suited as a sub-mixer, this little guy can handle live sound for an entire show, especially when using in-ear monitors. It offers flexible output options and personalized monitoring for each musician – talk about being the life of the party!

Despite its strengths, the L-12 does have its shortcomings: Compression is always written to the recording and isn't top-notch. The preamps are adequate but don't expect them to blow your socks off. Navigating the file naming system may take some patience (and strong coffee). And while we're at it, why no option for individual stereo or mono pairs for monitor outputs in live situations?

The Final Showdown

So who wins this battle of titans? Drumroll, please… It's the Zoom LiveTrak L-12. Yes, I know I've had many a late-night recording session with my Behringer Xenyx X1204USB and we share some unforgettable memories. However, when it comes to versatility and comprehensive features, the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 steals the show.

It's robust and adaptable, making it an excellent choice for musicians and sound engineers looking for an all-in-one mixer and multitrack recorder. From studio to stage, it proves its mettle time and again. Sure, there are areas for improvement but hey, nobody's perfect! So here's raising a toast to our winner – may you continue to rock the world of audio production!