Soundcraft Ui16 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: Soundcraft Ui16 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 Soundcraft Ui16 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.

Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled Digital Mixer

I got my hands on the Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled 16-Input Digital Mixer about a month or two ago, and let me tell you, it's been an interesting ride. This mixer has its highs and lows, and I'm here to give you the full scoop.

The Good: Features and Flexibility

The Ui16 is packed with features that can make any tech-savvy sound person drool. First off, the ability to control it from a tablet or phone is a total game-changer. It makes sound checks a breeze, especially if you're running solo. The mixer comes with a range of inputs and outputs, offering ample flexibility for various setups. The built-in effects, including Lexicon reverbs and dbx dynamics, are top-notch, giving your sound that professional edge.
The mixer's wireless functionality is a big selling point. Although I did encounter some range issues, these were easily fixed with an external router or booster antenna. And hey, the built-in WiFi works decently enough for most situations.

User Experience: A Mixed Bag

Now, the interface… it's HTML-5 based, responsive, and packed with features. But, there's a learning curve, especially if you're new to digital mixers. The navigation can be a bit quirky, often redirecting you to the bootup screen, which can be annoying. And the manual? It's got some errors, so don't rely on it too heavily.

I did try connecting it to various devices. It worked seamlessly with my Android and iOS gadgets, but older computers might struggle. A tablet is definitely the way to go for the best control experience, as phone screens can feel cramped.

Performance and Sound Quality

Sound-wise, the Ui16 delivers. It's quiet, efficient, and the sound quality is impressive for its price range. I've used it in a church setting and for small events, and it's been great in both contexts. It's also surprisingly easy to use once you get past the initial setup.

WiFi Woes and Workarounds

The WiFi issues some users have reported are real. If you're planning to use this mixer actively during a performance, be prepared for potential dropouts. However, if you set your levels and leave them be, like I do, you might not even notice. And yes, investing in a better antenna or positioning the mixer wisely can mitigate these issues.


Overall, the Soundcraft Ui16 is a solid piece of equipment with a few quirks. It's not perfect – the WiFi can be finicky, and the interface has its idiosyncrasies – but the quality and flexibility you get at this price point are hard to beat. If you're willing to tackle a slight learning curve and can handle the occasional WiFi hiccup, this mixer could be a great addition to your audio setup. Just remember, it's more suited for scenarios where constant tweaking isn't necessary.

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: Soundcraft Ui16 or Zoom LiveTrak L 12

Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled Digital Mixer: Cutting Edge, but a Tad Quirky

The Soundcraft Ui16 is the James Bond of digital mixers. Sleek, packed with features, and can be controlled remotely from your phone or tablet. It's like having a personal assistant for your audio setup! But just like Mr. Bond, it has its quirks – some charming, others… let's just say you'll need to develop a solid sense of humor.

The feature set is impressive. I mean, who wouldn't want an on-board effects processor that boasts Lexicon reverbs and dbx dynamics? Add in the multiple input and output options and you've got yourself a Swiss Army knife of audio interfaces. But much like trying to operate an actual Swiss Army knife, there's a learning curve with this one.

The interface can be tricky to navigate and might even test your patience with unexpected bootup screen appearances (it has a thing for dramatic entrances). Connecting the Soundcraft Ui16 to older devices might feel akin to teaching your grandma how to use Snapchat. Oh, and did I mention the WiFi issues? You might experience dropouts during performances but hey, who doesn't love a little suspense? Just get yourself an external router or booster antenna and you should be fine.

Still, when it comes to performance and sound quality, the Soundcraft Ui16 delivers like a pro. The sound is crisp and clear – perfect for church settings or small events. Once you get over that initial setup hurdle (and trust me, it's worth it), this portable mixer shines.

Zoom LiveTrak L-12: The Jack of All Trades

If the Soundcraft Ui16 is James Bond, then the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is MacGyver. It's practical, versatile, and always ready to save the day. Whether it's practice sessions, live performances or podcasting, this digital mixer has got you covered.

The L-12's strength lies in its versatility. It's a rehearsal powerhouse with individual monitoring and built-in effects. The metronome and recording features make it a valuable companion for practice sessions. And when it comes to live sound mixing? The L-12 can step up as a sub-mixer or handle the whole shebang with aplomb.

Recording spontaneous musical ideas is as easy as pie with this mixer. And its seamless integration with DAWs makes it an excellent studio mixer for further editing and multitrack recording. The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is even pandemic-proof – adapting well to socially distanced rehearsals.

But let's be honest, even MacGyver had his flaws (I mean, who carries around duct tape and paper clips all the time?). The preamps could be better, the compression writes to recording consistently (which isn't always ideal), and you'll need to manually adjust faders when switching mixes.

The Winner: Zoom LiveTrak L-12

While both mixers offer impressive features and performance, there can only be one winner here – we're not in kindergarten anymore! So after some serious deliberation (and a few cups of coffee), I'm crowning the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 as our victor.

Why? Because versatility wins the day! Sure, Soundcraft Ui16 might have that 007 charm but the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is a reliable, all-round workhorse that can adapt to any situation. Whether you're using it as a podcasting mixer, for live performances, or multitrack recording in a studio environment – this digital mixer won't let you down.

The L-12's flexibility, combined with its robust feature set, makes it an invaluable tool for musicians and sound engineers alike. So why settle for James Bond's occasional quirks when you can have MacGyver's trusty versatility? Get yourself the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 and be ready to tackle any audio challenge that comes your way!