Midas MR18 Vs. Zoom LiveTrak L 8: Reviewed & Compared

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: Midas MR18 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 Midas MR18 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.

Midas MR18

After thoroughly testing the Midas MR18 for a few months, I'm ready to spill all the details – the good, the bad, and the not-so-pretty. This mixer is a powerhouse in a compact package, perfect for both live sound and recording. Here's the full breakdown for anyone eyeing this mixer.

Sound Quality and Performance

Right off the bat, the sound quality is top-notch. The MR18 delivers a pristine audio experience with impressively low latency. Whether you're mixing live or laying down tracks in a studio, the clarity and warmth of the sound are remarkable. Plus, the variety of outputs offers immense flexibility, making it a versatile choice for various audio setups.

Build and Connectivity

The mixer is built tough with Neutrik connectors, ensuring robust and reliable connections. This is a big plus for anyone who's had to deal with flimsy ports in the past. The MR18's ease of configuration is another high point. It offers numerous signal routing options, catering to both planned and spontaneous audio needs. The price-to-quality ratio is exceptional, putting it ahead of competitors like the X-Air 18, especially with its superior Midas converters.

User Interface and Software

The software is intuitive and musician-friendly, not overly complicated like some gear designed with tech whizzes in mind. There's a wealth of online resources and user communities, which is a godsend for troubleshooting and getting creative with your setup. As an audio interface, it boasts 18 inputs and outputs, offering ample connectivity for most studio and live situations.

Challenges and Considerations

However, it's not all smooth sailing. While the MR18 is user-friendly, there's still a learning curve, especially if you're not used to digital mixers. It might take a bit of time to fully grasp all the features and make the most out of this mixer.

Also, while it works great as an audio interface, those who are looking for more integrated DAW control might find its capabilities a bit limited. It's more suited for live mixing and straightforward recording setups rather than complex studio productions.

Final Verdict

All in all, the Midas MR18 is a solid investment. It's especially great for live sound applications and straightforward recording needs. The sound quality is exceptional, and the flexibility in routing and connectivity is a major win. Just be ready to spend some time getting to know this mixer inside out. For its price point, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. Just remember, while it excels in many areas, it might not be the perfect fit for those needing advanced studio integration.

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: Midas MR18 or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

Let's Talk Midas MR18

So, you've got your eye on the Midas MR18, huh? Well, buckle up because I'm about to give you the 411 on this bad boy. First off, the sound quality is like sipping a perfectly aged whiskey – smooth, rich and with a kick that lets you know it's not messing around. The Midas MR18 rolls out with impressively low latency and shows off its versatility with a plethora of outputs for every audio setup imaginable. This mixer is built like a tank – bristling with Neutrik connectors that laugh in the face of flimsy ports. Its ease of configuration is a godsend for those who've been burned by overly complicated gear before.

When it comes to software, the MR18 keeps things intuitive and musician-friendly, just like that one bandmate who always knows where to find the best late-night burrito joint post-gig. With 18 inputs and outputs, connectivity won't ever be an issue here.

But hold up – it's not all roses and rainbows. The learning curve on this thing is steeper than that one impossible hill on your bike route. And while this mixer shines in live mixing and straightforward recording setups, those looking for intricate DAW control might find it lacking.

Zooming In On The LiveTrak L-8

Moving onto its counterpart – the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. This lil' powerhouse is like having a Swiss army knife in your audio arsenal. From backlighted buttons to effects and presets galore, I had more fun exploring this thing than I did playing the latest Call of Duty installment. The L-8 proudly sports six high-performance pre-amps, each with phantom power. It's like finding a unicorn in a field of horses – rare but oh-so-worth-it. The menu-driven controls could be daunting for newbies, but once you get the hang of them, they open up a world of recording possibilities.

This mixer is not just for recording; it's also a fantastic tool for podcasting and mixing. The phone integration is as handy as having pockets on a t-shirt – an absolute game changer. And let's not forget the effects – these are actually usable, which is more than I can say for some other mixers out there.

But the LiveTrak L-8 has its quirks too – it doesn't always play nice with Mac Minis and customer service can be as elusive as Bigfoot. And though I love the effects, you can only use one across all tracks – which feels like being handed a box of crayons and being told to only use blue.

And The Winner Is…

Okay, here's the moment you've been waiting for – drumroll please… and the winner is…the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. Why? Because its portability and versatility are unmatched; it's like having a fully-equipped recording studio in your backpack ready to go at any time. The battery backup option is like having an ace up your sleeve during power outages or on-the-go gigs. The preamps alone put this thing in another league, making mics sing like never before. Despite its few quirks (hey, nobody’s perfect), the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 takes the cake by offering more bang for your buck and putting fun back into mixing and recording. So, for podcasters, small bands, and road warriors alike – this is your mixer.