Mackie Mix12FX 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: Mackie Mix12FX 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 Mackie Mix12FX 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.

Mackie Mix12FX 12-Channel Compact Mixer

After getting the Mackie Mix12FX 12-Channel Compact Mixer for personal use, I've had some time to really dive into what it offers. This mixer isn't in my studio setup; it's more for my personal, smaller-scale audio projects. Let's break down my experience with it.

Initial Impressions and Build Quality

First off, the mixer feels sturdy. Mackie is known for their solid construction, and this mixer is no exception. It's compact, which is perfect for my needs, fitting nicely into my personal workspace without taking up too much room.

Input and Output Options

The 4 Mic/Line Inputs with 3-Band EQ & HPF are quite handy. They provide enough flexibility for most of my projects, which typically involve a couple of microphones and some line-level devices. The addition of Stereo RCA Tape Inputs & Outputs is a nice touch, allowing for more connectivity options.

Sound Quality and Features

Sound-wise, the Mix12FX delivers. The 3-Band EQ on each channel gives me enough control to tweak the sound to my liking. The built-in effects are a bonus, although I wouldn't say they're studio-grade. They're more than sufficient for adding a bit of flavor to the mix during practices or casual recording sessions.

Additional Accessories

The G-MIXERBAG-1212 Padded Nylon Mixer Bag is a lifesaver. It's great for keeping the mixer safe during transport. As for the PB-S3410 3.5 mm Stereo Breakout Cable, it's been essential for connecting my laptop or phone to the mixer, especially when I want to play along with tracks or incorporate other media into my sessions.

User Experience

For personal use, this mixer hits the sweet spot. It's uncomplicated, making it easy to set up and start using without a steep learning curve. The pan, level, and overload indications on each channel are clear and straightforward, helping me avoid any mishaps during use.

Powering Condenser Mics

The availability of 48V phantom power is a big plus, as it allows me to use condenser mics without needing an external power source. This feature is particularly useful for higher-quality vocal recordings.

Overall Thoughts

In conclusion, the Mackie Mix12FX is a reliable, compact mixer that's perfect for personal use. It offers a good balance of features and sound quality for its size and price. While it might not have the bells and whistles of more expensive studio mixers, it's more than adequate for small-scale projects and practice sessions. The additional accessories like the padded bag and breakout cable only add to its value. For anyone looking for a straightforward, effective mixer for personal use, I'd definitely recommend the Mackie Mix12FX.

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: Mackie Mix12FX or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

Mackie Mix12FX 12-Channel Compact Mixer: The Down-to-Earth Dynamo

Let's dive into the world of the Mackie Mix12FX, a compact audio mixing console that's perfect for the on-the-go audio enthusiast.

Unboxing and First Impressions

This digital mixer is built like a tank and fits snugly in your workspace, without being an obnoxious desk hog. Mackie has a reputation for robust construction and they haven't skimped out here.

Inputs, Outputs, and All That Jazz

The 4 mic/line inputs with their handy 3-band EQ & HPF are flexible enough to cater to most of your audio needs – from plugging in your mics to connecting your line-level devices. And let's not forget about the Stereo RCA Tape Inputs & Outputs; these babies add more connectivity options to this portable mixer.

The Sound of Music (or Podcasts)

When it comes to sound quality, this audio interface doesn't disappoint. The 3-band EQ lets you shape your sound, while the built-in effects processor adds some nice pizzazz to your mix. Sure, these effects may not be top-tier studio-grade, but they pack a punch during casual recording sessions.

Extra Goodies

An unexpected bonus? The G-MIXERBAG-1212 Padded Nylon Mixer Bag which is perfect for transporting this compact mixer without any heart-stopping mishaps. Also, the PB-S3410 3.5 mm Stereo Breakout Cable is a must-have for connecting laptops or phones to the mixer.

User-Friendly Interface

Now onto user experience: this mixer is straightforward and intuitive. The pan, level, and overload indications are clear as daylight, making it a breeze to use. Plus, the inclusion of 48V phantom power means you can use condenser mics without any external power source – a boon for high-quality vocal recording. Zoom LiveTrak L-8: The Portable Powerhouse

Next up, we have the Zoom LiveTrak L-8, a portable audio mixing console that packs a punch.

A Pro's Playground

This mixer is loaded with professional features like backlighted buttons, effects, presets, and recording options. It feels robust and durable, making it suitable for all levels of audio enthusiasts.

Mac Compatibility… Kind of

However, there's a minor hiccup when it comes to Mac M1 compatibility – the mixer sometimes disconnects after a power cycle. Customer service hasn't been particularly helpful here. A direct connection instead of using a USB hub seems to help though.

Premium Pre-Amps

The six high-performance pre-amps are the real stars here. Each comes with phantom power which is tough to find in other portable mixers. The layered menu-driven controls may seem overwhelming at first but they open up endless recording possibilities.

Mixing Magic

This digital mixer doubles as an excellent tool for podcasting and mixing. The phone integration is a creative touch and its usability as an audio interface makes it versatile for all kinds of projects.

Solo Acts & Streaming

For solo performers or live sound streaming, this device operates smoothly with practical effects that enhance your live performances.

Recording Prowess

As an interface for recording, it's top-notch. You can record at 48/32, which is a step up from the usual fixed 24-bit rate. The digital recorder is simple to use and gives you easy access to your audio files. Choosing a Winner

After giving these two mixers a thorough run, I have to tip my hat to the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. While the Mackie Mix12FX is a reliable companion for small-scale projects, the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 outshines it in terms of versatility and superior sound quality. It's an all-in-one portable mixer, audio interface, and effects processor that stands out in recording sessions and live performances alike. While it may have its minor hiccups with Mac M1 compatibility, its high-performance pre-amps and exceptional features make it a clear winner in this comparison. The Zoom LiveTrak L-8 truly is the Swiss Army knife of portable mixers.