Soundcraft Signature 22MTK 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: Soundcraft Signature 22MTK 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 Soundcraft Signature 22MTK 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.

Soundcraft Signature 22MTK

Everything The Product Sales Page Doesn't Tell You About The Soundcraft Signature 22MKT

I tested the Soundcraft Signature 22MKT for a couple of weeks. I know, not that long, but it's been a revelation every day.

I work with a local piece band and they've been able to lay down live recordings in one take, capturing everything onto separate tracks in the DAW.

The ability to record up to 22 tracks simultaneously has been a game-changer in this respect.

Sound Quality and Support

Warm, Analog Sound

The sound quality is exactly what we were looking for. The mixer provides a broad, balanced frequency range, delivering that warm, analog sound.

Plus, the onboard effects buses allow for creative mixing. Not to mention, the support from Soundcraft has been exceptional, both before and after purchase.

Who Is The 22MKT For? Not Beginners

Difficult Setup and Poor Documentation

I always have to give the good, bad and the ugly… so here it is:

It's not all smooth sailing. Setting up the mixer with Windows was a nightmare, with no useful online resources.

The manual was no help either. It's a great board for those who know what they're doing and know their way around boards, but I can definitely see how for a beginner, it would be a steep and frustrating learning curve.

Early Impressions ✅

Impressive Functionality

In the early days of testing out the 22MTK, I was impressed with its routing capabilities, especially to outboard gear.

The onboard Lexicon effects are a bonus, and the ability to use DAW plugins during live play is a huge plus. However, the lack of an on/off switch and inserts is a bit puzzling.

Channel Issues and Sturdiness

Some Quality Concerns

Unfortunately, I soon ran into issues with channel one having low gain and a hum. This was unexpected, especially considering the mixer hadn't seen much use.

While the mixer is generally sturdy, these issues do raise some concerns about its long-term reliability.

Perfect for Specific Needs

Ideal for Unique Applications

This mixer was perfect for running a mic through guitar pedals. Its small footprint and built-in effects make it versatile for creating unique sounds. It's a solid choice for those needing a compact mixer with good functionality.

Soundcraft 12MTK: A Better Choice For Beginners

I know I have kind of shifted between the 12 and the 22 and thats because they are pretty much the same thing, you either need the extra channels (22MTK) or oyu don't (12MTK).

But the like its big bro, the Soundcraft 12MTK offers good sound quality and is fairly lightweight. The preamps are notable, as is the mid-range EQ. However, there are significant design flaws, like the problematic gain ratio and the lack of an on/off switch, which can be frustrating. It's a good mixer overall but be prepared for some quirks.

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: Soundcraft Signature 22MTK or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

Soundcraft Signature 22MTK: The Ace of Analog

Got Talent, Need Tracks?

The Soundcraft Signature 22MTK is the gizmo to lay your bets on if you're in a band and need to lay down live recordings pronto. This digital mixer is a game-changer with its ability to record up to 22 tracks simultaneously. So, no more overdubs or endless retakes. This audio interface has got you covered.

Sound Quality and Support: Analog Aces High

Analog Audio for the Win

With the Soundcraft Signature 22MTK audio interface, we're talking about a broad and balanced frequency range that delivers that warm, analog sound we all crave. Plus, the onboard effects buses are like cherries on top of your sonic sundae. And just in case you're wondering about customer support? Top-notch.

Learners Beware: Setup Snags Ahead

A Rough Ride for Rookies

Now, before you get too excited, let's talk about setup with this recording console. It's not exactly plug-and-play. We're talking serious convolution here – it's like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube while blindfolded. If you’re a beginner in studio equipment handling, be prepared for a steep learning curve.

The Early Verdict: Functionality Finesse

A Bit of This and That

This mixer has impressed me with its routing capabilities and onboard Lexicon effects. Live play with DAW plugins is another feather in its cap. But the lack of an on/off switch and inserts? That's like a pizza without cheese. Still, for those in need of a compact mixer with high functionality, this could be your pick.

Zoom LiveTrak L-8: The Pocket-Sized Powerhouse

Field Recording, Leveled Up

Now let's talk about the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. This portable mixer is like having a field recorder on steroids. It's solid and versatile, despite some naysayers labeling it ‘cheap'. I've got two of these babies, and they're still kicking.

Battery-Powered Beast: Professional and Portable

Pro Features, Portable Convenience

This multitrack recording console boasts pro-level features – effects, presets, backlighted buttons – you name it. And all this goodness comes battery-backed! Whether you're a beginner or a pro at live sound mixing, this mixer is worth considering.

The Downside: Mac Mayhem and Customer Service Woes

Mac Mini M1 Meltdowns

The Zoom LiveTrak L-8 isn't perfect though. It doesn't always stay connected to my Mac Mini M1 after power cycling. And customer service? Let's just say they aren’t winning any awards for their troubleshooting skills.

Pre-Amps Perfection: Recording Excellence

Quality Pre-Amps Galore!

But let me tell you, the six high-performance pre-amps on this digital mixer are pure gold. Plus, they all come with phantom power. This board's layered menu-driven controls might be overwhelming at first, but they open up a world of fantastic recording possibilities.

Podcasters Paradise: Mixing Magic

Podcasting and Mixing, Sorted!

This mixer is not just about recording. It's a fantastic tool for podcasting and mixing. The phone integration is a nice touch too. Plus, plug the L-8 into a USB power bank, and you're ready to record top-quality audio anywhere.

The Final Showdown: Who Takes the Crown?

After putting both the Soundcraft Signature 22MTK and Zoom LiveTrak L-8 through their paces, we have a clear winner – the Zoom LiveTrak L-8! This mixer hits the sweet spot between professional features and portability. Sure, it may not offer the warm analog sound of its competitor or provide different effects on different tracks. Still, its fantastic preamps and high-quality recordings make it a dream device for podcasters and small bands alike. Plus, you can take this bad boy anywhere with its battery power capabilities! So if you're in search of a portable mixer that packs punchy performance into every XLR input/output, look no further than the Zoom LiveTrak L-8.