IK Multimedia iRig Pro vs. Zoom LiveTrak L 8: Compared And Rated

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: IK Multimedia iRig Pro 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 IK Multimedia iRig Pro 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.

IK Multimedia iRig Pro

Unboxing and First Impressions

The IK Multimedia Quattro I/O is a compact yet feature-rich audio interface that stands out in its class. It's impressively lightweight and efficient, making it a versatile choice for musicians and audio engineers alike. When I first unpacked it, its intuitive control surface, reminiscent of other IK Multimedia devices, immediately struck a chord with me.

Recording and Input Quality

Crystal Clear Recordings with Zero Lag

My initial tests involved recording simple tracks into Logic using a microphone and guitar direct line. The input levels were a breeze to set, resulting in crystal clear recordings with no noticeable lag. The device was instantly recognized by Logic, offering seamless integration. The onboard phantom power efficiently powered my condenser mic, though it required some fine-tuning to achieve the perfect level.

Build and Connectivity

Sturdy Design with Versatile Connection Options

The build quality of the Quattro I/O feels durable, and its provision of MIDI in and out, high-end XLR output, and a variety of power options (battery or USB) add to its versatility. Its compatibility with computers and mobile devices is a significant advantage, making it a great choice for both studio and mobile use. The inclusion of all necessary cables and a tripod attachment is a thoughtful addition, enhancing its usability in live settings.

Standalone Mixer Functionality

Limited EQ Controls, but Stellar Sound Output

As a standalone mixer, the Quattro I/O performs admirably. While it lacks EQ controls on the surface, the quality of sound output when paired with external mic preamps or effect pedals is outstanding. This capability makes it a valuable tool for live performances.

Portability and Power Efficiency

Battery Life and Mobile Device Compatibility

The device's portability is enhanced by its ability to run on battery power when used standalone or with mobile devices. While I haven't fully tested the battery life limits, its performance in this mode has been reliable. The quick response from IK Multimedia support regarding a missing serial number/registration card was impressive and speaks volumes about their customer service.

Pros and Cons

Deep Feature Set with Room for Improvement

Pros: The Quattro I/O excels in its compact and lightweight design, making it easy to transport. Its deep feature set, including excellent mic pres, flexible input/output options, and compatibility across devices, sets it apart. Its functionality as a standalone mixer and inclusion of 48-volt phantom power are also noteworthy.
Cons: Despite its many strengths, there are some limitations, particularly for specific uses such as DJ'ing streaming, as some users have reported issues with sound quality and device freezing. Additionally, some users have found difficulties in processing effects on iPads.

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: IK Multimedia iRig Pro or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

IK Multimedia iRig Pro: Unboxing and First Impressions

Compact and Intuitive

Let's get down to business. The IK Multimedia iRig Pro, a music production gear with a reputation for being both compact and feature-rich, makes an entrance that's hard to ignore. It's lightweight, efficient, and the intuitive control surface will make you feel right at home if you're familiar with IK Multimedia devices.

Recording Quality and Input Levels

No Lag and Seamless Integration

On my maiden voyage with the iRig Pro, I did some recording using a microphone and guitar direct line into Logic. The results? Crystal clear recordings without any discernible lag. The device was instantly recognized by my digital audio workstation, making it feel like part of the family right away. And just like that pushy relative at Thanksgiving dinner, it demanded some attention to fine-tune the onboard phantom power for my condenser mic.

Build Quality and Connectivity Choices

Durable Design with Versatile Options

This studio recording device is built to last. It comes equipped with MIDI in and out, high-end XLR output, and varied power options (battery or USB), making it adaptable to your needs. Its compatibility with computers and mobile devices is a huge plus for anyone looking for both studio and mobile use.

Standalone Mixer Functionality

Limited EQ Controls but Stellar Sound Output

Now let's talk about its chops as a standalone mixer. While it may not have EQ controls on its surface, this little powerhouse delivers outstanding sound output when paired up with external mic preamps or effect pedals – making it a valuable part of your live sound setup.

Zoom LiveTrak L-8: Power-Packed Portable Mixer

A Field Recorder on Steroids

Next up, the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. This beast of a portable mixer feels like a field recorder that's been hitting the gym – hard. Despite some naysayers calling it cheap, my experience says otherwise. It's solid and versatile, and after 12 months of use, not a single issue.

Professional Features with Battery-Powered Convenience

Robust Feel and Wide-Ranging Capabilities

Equipped with professional features such as backlighted buttons, effects, presets, recording options, and even a battery backup, it's got something for everyone from beginners to pros. However, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows; there were some compatibility issues with my Mac Mini M1 that left me scratching my head. Thankfully, bypassing my USB hub with a direct connection seemed to help.

Pre-Amps and Recording Excellence

Quality Pre-Amps & Layered Menu-Driven Controls

One of the things that really stands out about this recording equipment is its six high-performance pre-amps – each boasting phantom power. The board's layered menu-driven controls may seem overwhelming at first but they open up an array of fantastic recording possibilities.

The Verdict: And The Winner Is…

After giving both these power-packed devices a thorough testing in various scenarios from podcasting to live performances to studio recordings – I have to admit choosing one was no small feat. But alas! There can only be one winner. So without further ado…The Winner Is…Zoom LiveTrak L-8 Why? It not only offers a plethora of professional features but also delivers incredible versatility and reliability. From its robust build to its high-quality pre-amps and fantastic recording capabilities, it's a dream piece of podcasting equipment for both beginners and pros alike. Whether you're a small band looking to record your gigs or a podcaster wanting to add an extra dimension to your episodes, this device has got you covered. Sure, the iRig Pro isn't far behind with its portability and impressive feature set. But when it comes down to it, the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 just edges it out with its superior recording functionality and overall versatility. It's not just an audio interface; it's a complete package that guarantees high-quality recordings anywhere you go. And let's not forget – this baby can run on batteries or power banks, making it the ultimate portable mixer!