Behringer Xenyx X1204USB Vs. Zoom LiveTrak L 8: 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 8.

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 8. 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-8

Zoom LiveTrak L-8: The Portable Powerhouse

I got my hands on the Zoom LiveTrak L-8, and let me tell you, it's like having a field recorder on steroids. This thing's versatile and solid – despite some calling it cheap, my experience says otherwise. I've got two of these, and they've held up well.

Professional Features, Battery-Powered Convenience

The L-8 packs features you'd expect from a pro-level unit – backlighted buttons, effects, presets, recording options, and even a battery backup. After 12 months of use, not a single hiccup. It's got a very robust feel to it. Beginners, intermediates, pros – this mixer's a solid buy for all. David Shanhun on YouTube showcases its capabilities well, so check him out for some real-world usage.

Mac Compatibility and Customer Service Woes

Now, it's not all perfect. I've had issues with my Mac Mini M1 – the mixer doesn't always stay connected after a power cycle. Customer service hasn't been a great help either. Bypassing my USB hub with a direct connection seemed to improve things, though.

Pre-Amps and Recording Excellence

What really stands out are the six high-performance pre-amps, each with phantom power. It's tough finding a portable recorder with this quality. The board's layered menu-driven controls can be overwhelming at first, but they open up a world of great recording possibilities. Those 6 assignable Sound Pads with 13 preset sounds are a blast, adding an extra dimension, especially for podcasters.

Great for Podcasting and Mixing

It's not just for recording; the L-8 is a fantastic tool for podcasting and mixing. The phone integration is a nice touch too. As an audio interface, it's a winner – plug it into a USB power bank, and you're set for high-quality recordings anywhere.

Live Streaming and Solo Acts

For church livestreaming or solo acts, it's a breeze to use. It's got way more features than I've tapped into yet, but it's been smooth sailing so far. The effects are usable, unlike many other mixers I've encountered, which is a major plus for live performances.

Recording and Interface Capabilities

As an audio interface, it's top-notch. You can record at 48/32, which is a step up from most interfaces offering a fixed 24-bit rate. The digital recorder is simple to use – just record your gig, pop the SD card into your computer, and drag and drop the audio files into your DAW.
Final Verdict

This mixer is a dream device for podcasters and small bands. It combines mixing and recording in a portable package that runs on batteries or power banks. The preamps sound amazing, making mics like the Shure Beta 58 sound fuller and richer. The only downside? You can use only one effect for all tracks, so no combining effects or using different ones on different tracks. But overall, highly recommended!

Head 2 Head: Behringer Xenyx X1204USB or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

Round One: The Behringer Xenyx X1204USB – A Survivor in the Mixer Jungle

The Long Haul

Now if we're talking endurance, this audio mixer is your guy. We're talking seven years of constant use and the Behringer Xenyx X1204USB isn't showing any signs of throwing in the towel. Sure, it's got a fader that crackles like an old vinyl and buttons that need a gentle nudge every now and then, but let's give credit where it's due – it's been a workhorse.

Driver Drama

Then there was the drama with the drivers for Windows 7 users. It wouldn't be a proper tech review without some software woes now, would it? My advice? Stick to the default drivers – they'll save you a world of blue screens and limited recording modes.

Navigating the USB Interface

Good but Could be Better

The USB interface on this digital audio mixer is kind of like your favorite coffee shop that doesn't do soy milk – it's good, but there are limitations. You're stuck with just 44.1K or 48K output based on the main bus when using USB out which can get annoying if you need to use both main mix out and USB output simultaneously.

The Board Features: A Mixed Bag

Packed with Preamps & Sound Effects

The built-in compressors and EQ are decent for an analog mixer at this price point. The preamps add a nice warm touch to your audio while the FX channel packs in a variety of sound effects. However, integrating AUX channel with master mix can be a bit of a juggle.

Final Thoughts

A Workhorse, But Not Without Its Quirks

For what it's worth, this multi-channel mixer is an absolute steal for the price. The USB interface could use some work and the preamps have their quirks – but as a live sound mixer and XLR to USB interface, it's been delivering faithfully.

Round Two: The Zoom LiveTrak L-8 – A Portable Powerhouse

Pro Features & Battery-Powered Convenience

Now let's talk about the Zoom LiveTrak L-8, it's like your local gym decided to pack everything into a portable bag. It's got all the features you'd expect from a pro-level unit with the bonus of battery backup. That's right – it even works unplugged!

Mac Compatibility & Customer Service Woes

Not All Smooth Sailing

But, hey, no product is perfect. There were some bumps along the road with Mac Mini M1 compatibility and some less-than-stellar customer service experiences.

The Pre-Amps & Recording Excellence of Zoom LiveTrak L-8

Beyond Standard Portable Recorders

This recording mixer really shines with its six high-performance preamps each with phantom power. It'll take you some time to understand its menu-driven controls but once you do, oh boy! You're in for a recording treat.

A Podcaster’s Dream & Mixing Marvel

Phone Integration & High Quality Recordings On The Go!

The L-8 isn't just a recording wonder, it's also a dream device for podcasters and small bands. Plus, the phone integration is pretty neat! Just plug it into a USB power bank and you're set for high-quality recordings anywhere.

Live Streaming & Solo Acts: A Breeze

Smooth Sailing with Usable Effects

As a live sound mixer, this one’s got your back. Whether it's church livestreaming or solo acts, this digital audio mixer makes it all seem easy. And did I mention the effects are actually usable? That's more than can be said for many other mixers out there.

The Verdict

And The Winner Is…

After an intense face-off between two very capable contenders, I have to give this one to the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. It's a portable mixer that offers superior recording capabilities, excellent preamps and is a delight for podcasters and small bands alike. Sure, you can't combine effects or use different ones on different tracks but given its overall performance and versatility – this one takes the cake!