QSC TouchMix 8 Vs. Zoom LiveTrak L 12: 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: QSC TouchMix 8 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 QSC TouchMix 8 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.

QSC TouchMix-8

I Got My Hands on the QSC TouchMix-8: Still Impressed

I got my hands on the QSC TouchMix-8 when it first came out, and man, it's still a game-changer. This little beast replaces racks of EQs, compressors, and gates. The best part? Everything's super easy to access. You don't need a cheat sheet for menus because there's no annoying digging through sub-menus. Plus, the noise level? Ridiculously low, perfect for on-location gigs or filming.

Power and Portability

If you're thinking of going mobile with this mixer, keep in mind the AC adaptor is proprietary, supplying several different voltages. While you won't need a gas generator, rigging an outboard battery means getting a 12-volt, 17-amp AGM battery and a mini sine wave inverter. Trust me, this board's powerful enough to lay down all your tracks on an optional SSD drive for processing through your favorite DAW.

Touch Screen: A Mixed Bag

Now, let's talk touch screen. The sensitivity can be a bit frustrating at times, and the graphics could use a higher resolution, especially for the RTA. An LED screen update would be nice, particularly for outdoor gigs.

Reliability Issues

One thing to note – there have been a few issues with the aux sends and the board freezing up. I've also noticed some lag when moving the virtual faders on the built-in touch screen, which can be pretty annoying. But remember, no mixer is perfect.

Sound Quality and Effects

The sound quality? Spot on. The effects are top-notch, easily rivaling other portable digital consoles in this range. The mic pres are good, and the compressor lets you dial in precisely. It’s a bit bright, but the dynamics are stellar.

Overall Verdict

Despite its few quirks, the QSC TouchMix-8 is a fantastic, powerful mixer in a compact package. It's got big power and a small footprint, making it a solid choice for those needing a robust feature set in a portable design. Just be prepared to deal with that touch screen and keep an eye on those aux sends.

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: QSC TouchMix 8 or Zoom LiveTrak L 12

QSC TouchMix-8: A Powerhouse in a Small Package

Let's get real here – the QSC TouchMix-8 is the digital mixer equivalent of stuffing an elephant into a phone booth. This pint-sized package kicks out some serious power, replacing racks of EQs, compressors, and gates, while keeping things user-friendly. The noise level? Practically whisper quiet. Perfect for live sound at on-location gigs or when you're filming and need to keep things hush-hush.

Small Size, Big Power

Thinking about taking your audio mixers on the road? Good news! You don't have to lug around a gas generator to power this baby up. But take note – the AC adapter for this portable mixer is proprietary and dishes out several different voltages. To rig an outboard battery, you'll need a 12-volt, 17-amp AGM battery and a mini sine wave inverter. Not your average Sunday afternoon DIY project, but trust me – it's worth it.

The Touch Screen: A Love-Hate Relationship

The touch screen is like dating someone who's super hot but has an annoying laugh – you love it, but it can be frustrating at times. The sensitivity can leave you wanting more, and let's not get started on the graphics. They could definitely do with some sprucing up in terms of resolution. An LED screen update wouldn't go amiss either.

A Few Hiccups Here and There

Alright, so there have been reports of the QSC TouchMix-8 having issues with aux sends and freezing up like a deer in headlights from time to time. And if you're moving virtual faders on its touch screen at lightning speed – expect some lagging behind like that one friend who never keeps up on a night out.

How's the Sound? Stellar!

But don't let those quirks deter you. The sound quality is akin to biting into a perfectly cooked steak – juicy, rich, and satisfying. It's a bit bright, but the dynamics are top-notch. The effects are like the cherry on top of an already delicious sundae – easily competing with other portable digital consoles in this range.

Zoom LiveTrak L-12: Jack of All Trades

On to our next contender – the Zoom LiveTrak L-12. This bad boy is like that multi-talented friend we all have – excelling in just about everything from practice sessions to live performances. It's compact yet mighty, making it a go-to for numerous situations.

Built for Practice and Rehearsals

The L-12 seems tailor-made for practice environments. It connects multiple devices (yes, your computer too), which makes jamming along to Spotify a breeze. The built-in metronome and easy recording to SD cards make identifying and working on challenging sections as straightforward as ABC.

Your Personal Recording Studio

Need to capture spontaneous musical ideas? The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 has got you covered. Its standalone recording capability combined with the metronome allows you to lay down initial ideas faster than ordering pizza online.

A Partner for Live Performances

The L-12 might be more suited as a sub-mixer but don't underestimate it – it can handle live performances like a champ, especially when using in-ear monitors. Plus, recording live shows for later mixing is as easy as pie.

A Few Drawbacks Worth Mentioning

Nothing’s perfect though – there are some areas where the L-12 could do better. The preamps are adequate but not the best in the business. The compression always writes to the recording and isn't top-notch. And, let's not forget about the file naming system – it's a bit like navigating through a maze.

And…The Winner Is…

After weighing up all the pros and cons, I'm crowning the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 as our champion among these two multi-track recording powerhouses. Why? It truly is a versatile all-in-one mixer and recorder which shines in various environments from studio to stage. While it does have its limitations, its advantages definitely tip the scale in its favor, making it a highly recommended tool for musicians and sound engineers alike. Don't get me wrong – the QSC TouchMix-8 is still an impressive contender in its own right, but when it comes down to versatility and practicality – the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 takes home the trophy.