Behringer XR18 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 XR18 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 XR18 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 XR18

This is another mixer I got hold of just to review. It has a semi-hefty price-tag but what I will say is this: the Behringer XR18 is a unit that delivers far more than its price suggests. After several months of continuous use, I've faced zero reliability issues, making it a standout in its category.

Unbeatable Feature Set for the Price

The XR18's feature set is its biggest selling point. There's a wealth of options here that you'd struggle to find in other mixers within this price range. The audio quality is top-notch, and the control options are extensive. It's particularly great for those who need comprehensive control in a live setting or a studio environment.

Minor Downsides

Despite its strengths, there are a few areas where the XR18 could improve. One noticeable absence is the ability to do time-alignment, a feature available in the higher-class X32. There's also the matter of the built-in Wi-Fi, which can be a bit unreliable in live situations. I always ensure a hard-wired connection during critical events to avoid any potential connectivity issues. Lastly, there's a bit of a learning curve when switching between the software interfaces on different platforms, like iPad and computer.

Robust Software and Solid Hardware

The software is robust, offering comprehensive control over the unit, albeit with some platform-specific quirks. Hardware-wise, the unit feels solid and well-built, suitable for regular gigging.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you need a feature-rich mixer and the XR18 ticks all your boxes, go for it. It's an excellent investment, especially considering its price point. Sure, it has a couple of minor drawbacks, but these are easily outweighed by its overall performance and reliability. Whether for live use, studio work, or even podcasting, the XR18 is a versatile choice that won't disappoint.

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 XR18 or Zoom LiveTrak L 12

Behringer XR18: The Live Sound Champ

Hold onto your hats, folks! We're about to dive into a world of knobs, faders, and audio frequencies. Welcome to the Behringer XR18. This digital mixer comparison is about to get real spicy. The XR18 is a portable audio recorder that packs a punch way above its weight class.

Features? We Got ‘Em!

The main draw of the XR18? It's feature-packed like a Swiss army knife at a camping convention. A studio recording gear that keeps on giving, this multi-track recording device offers top-notch audio quality and extensive control options. It's perfect for both live sound equipment scenarios and tucked-away-in-the-studio situations.

The Not-So-Great Bits

Of course, it's not all rainbows and unicorns. The XR18 lacks time-alignment (it must have been out getting coffee when that feature was handed out). Plus, its built-in Wi-Fi occasionally acts like a moody teenager – reliable one minute and throwing tantrums the next.

Zoom LiveTrak L-12: The Musical Multitasker

Next up in our audio mixer comparison is the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 – or as I like to call it, “the little mixer that could.” This portable audio recorder is surprisingly powerful despite its compact size.

Practice Makes Perfect

The L-12 shines during rehearsal sessions. Plug in your computer via USB for easy access to your favorite tunes on Spotify or use the built-in metronome for those tricky sections that require some extra elbow grease.

All About That Bass…and Treble…and Everything In Between

As a recording studio equipment, the L-12 is no slouch. It can capture your musical brainwaves in the heat of the moment with its standalone recording capability. Plus, it plays nice with DAWs for those post-recording tweaks.

Live and Kicking

The L-12 may be small, but it's mighty enough to handle a full live show, especially when used with in-ear monitors. You've got multiple output options and straightforward live show recording. The only thing it won't do is carry your gear to the stage (sorry!).

A Few Stumbles…

Despite its many talents, even the L-12 has a few “could do better” areas. Its compression isn't exactly top shelf, and navigating its file naming system can feel like getting lost in a digital maze.

And The Winner Is…

Drumroll please… In this digital mixer comparison showdown between Behringer XR18 and Zoom LiveTrak L-12, I'm handing the trophy to… Behringer XR18! The XR18's unbeatable feature set for the price sways this contest in its favor. Sure, it has a couple of minor drawbacks (I mean who doesn't?), but these are more like tiny speed bumps on an otherwise smooth road to audio mixing nirvana. The XR18 is an all-around workhorse that delivers reliability and performance whether you're rocking out on stage or hunched over your studio desk at 3 am trying to nail that perfect mix. However, let's not discount the Zoom LiveTrak L-12. It's still a fantastic option for musicians and sound engineers. If you need a versatile, all-in-one mixer and recorder that's compact yet mighty, the L-12 is your guy. But at the end of the day, the Behringer XR18 takes home the gold in this audio mixer comparison.