Presonus StudioLive 1602 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: Presonus StudioLive 1602 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 Presonus StudioLive 1602 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.

Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB

After having a little play around with the Studio Live 16 from PreSonus, here's my verdict:

Setup and Software Integration

Straight out of the box, the setup was a breeze. There are tons of YouTube tutorials available that make configuring individual channels for various inputs like mics, drums, and guitars pretty straightforward. The recording software, Studio One, is a gem – intuitive and powerful. I even upgraded to the professional version because of a sweet 50% off deal they were running, and I'm glad I did.

Sound Quality and Recording Capabilities

The sound quality, both live and recorded, is top-notch. There's a certain accuracy in playback that makes the live music sound just as it's being played. The mixer does a great job in capturing the essence of live performance without any loss in sound quality.

Customer Support: A Mixed Bag

While I personally didn't run into major issues, I've heard some chatter about PreSonus' customer support being a hit or miss. One user mentioned an issue with warranty support on a unit just 45 days old, which is concerning. It seems like your experience might vary depending on the problem at hand.

User-Friendliness and Learning Curve

For beginners, this board and the accompanying DAW are a godsend. They're easy to learn and use. Even if you're at an intermediate level, like me, you'll find the Studio Live 16 to be quite adaptable. You can record jam sessions, concerts, and even phone calls with ease.

Remote Access and Portability

A standout feature is the ability to control the mixer remotely via a laptop and router, which adds a layer of convenience, especially in live settings. However, some users might find this setup a bit cumbersome, as it requires extra gear (laptop and router) for remote access.

Overall Experience

Overall, the Studio Live 16 is a great piece of equipment for semi-pro studios, small churches, and clubs. Its integration with Studio One DAW is seamless, and the mixer itself offers a great range of features. However, the learning curve can be a bit steep, especially if you're transitioning from analog to digital, and the remote access setup might not be ideal for everyone.

In short, if you're looking for a digital mixer that feels somewhat analog, has scene-saving capabilities, and offers remote access (with a bit of setup), the Studio Live 16 could be a solid choice. Just keep in mind the potential support issues and the learning curve involved.

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: Presonus StudioLive 1602 or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

After spending some quality time with the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB and the Zoom LiveTrak L-8, it's time to put on my audio geek glasses and spill the beans.

Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB: The Semi-Pro's Companion

This beauty is like a sweet melody that just keeps getting better with every note – or in this case, feature. The setup is as easy as pie, as long as you're not too intimidated by all those knobs and sliders. Its recording software, Studio One, is like the rhythm guitarist of a band – always there, keeping everything in sync. The sound quality? Oh boy, it's like listening to Mozart play live in your living room. This mixer truly captures the soul of your music without missing a beat. However, just like that one band member who sometimes forgets to show up for practice (looking at you, drummers), Presonus' customer support can be hit or miss. A bit concerning if your shiny new mixer decides to throw a tantrum. The learning curve is pretty friendly for beginners and intermediates alike; it's like learning a new instrument – challenging at first but rewarding once you get the hang of it. The remote access feature may feel like carrying an extra amp to your gigs (you'll need a laptop and router), but once set up, it’s just another chord in your repertoire that adds depth to your performance.

Zoom LiveTrak L-8: The Roadie's Best Friend

Now let's talk about this little rockstar – it’s like having your own personal roadie in a box! It packs a punch with professional features and is as reliable as that one band member who always shows up on time. The L-8's compatibility issues with the Mac Mini M1 are like a sour note in an otherwise harmonious performance. And customer service? Well, let's just say they could do with a bit of tuning. This mixer has six high-performance pre-amps – it’s like having your own personal sound engineer on hand. They give your mics the power they need to really sing. The menu-driven controls might feel like learning a new song, but once you get the hang of it, you're in for a delightful jam session. The L-8 is also great for podcasting and mixing; it's like having your own recording studio in a box. The phone integration feature is as useful as a guitar tuner – you never knew how much you needed it until you had it. Its live streaming capabilities are perfect for church services or solo acts – think of it as your very own sound engineer who knows exactly how to make you shine. As an audio interface, the L-8 is top-drawer. Its digital recorder offers 48/32 recording capabilities – now that’s hitting high notes! And did I mention how easy it is to transfer recordings from the mixer to your DAW? It’s like handing off the setlist to your bandmates. Final Verdict

Drum roll, please…the clear winner in this sonic showdown is the Zoom LiveTrak L-8! It's versatile, portable, and packed with professional features that make recording and mixing a breeze. The Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB puts up a good fight with its sound quality and user-friendly design but falls short due to potential support issues and its somewhat cumbersome remote access setup. The L-8, on the other hand, is like that one band member who can play multiple instruments – it records, mixes, and even powers your mics. It’s the perfect companion for podcasters and small bands looking for a portable solution without compromising on sound quality. So whether you're a solo artist looking to capture your performances or a podcaster needing a reliable mixer, the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 is ready to take center stage in your setup. Just remember – it likes to be the star of the show, so no combining effects on different tracks!