Tascam DP 24SD 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: Tascam DP 24SD 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 Tascam DP 24SD 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.

Tascam DP-24SD Digital Portastudio

If you're looking for a sturdy powerhouse, this is it. The Tascam DP-24SD Digital Portastudio packs a punch with features and functionality that will impress anyone looking to delve into recording.

Recording Capabilities

This unit is a marvel for recording enthusiasts. It allows you to record up to 8 tracks quickly and efficiently. Its standalone nature means you can do everything from recording tracks to mixdown without needing a computer. The convenience of transferring the mixdown wave file from the SD card to a computer is a huge plus. The sound quality? It's studio-grade!

Intuitive Design

Despite its sophistication, the DP-24SD has a manageable learning curve. Especially with the wealth of YouTube tutorials available, it doesn't take long to get to grips with its features. It’s particularly ideal for home studio use or solo gigs, as you get professional-level results without a huge investment in time or money.

Build and User Interface

The build quality of the DP-24SD is solid and professional. The full-color display and 24 tracks with assignable inputs make it a versatile tool for various recording scenarios. However, some users might find the menu sequences a bit non-intuitive, requiring some practice to master.

Effects and Mastering

One of the standout features is its array of on-board effects. Although, it’s worth noting that the dynamic/compressor effects are only available for live recording, not for existing WAV/track files. This might limit its appeal for some users looking for more flexibility in post-production.

Overall Impression

For its price, the Tascam DP-24SD offers incredible capabilities. It's perfect for musicians who prefer a hands-on approach to recording and mixing, without getting bogged down in complex software. It's a dream machine for many, offering the most bang for the buck. However, be prepared for some firmware quirks and keep in mind the limitations regarding dynamic effects for pre-recorded tracks.
In summary, the Tascam DP-24SD is an excellent choice for those looking to create professional-quality recordings in a user-friendly, standalone device.

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: Tascam DP 24SD or Zoom LiveTrak L 12

Round One: Tascam DP 24SD Digital Portastudio vs Zoom LiveTrak L 12

The Tascam DP-24SD Digital Portastudio is a formidable opponent, a heavyweight contender in the audio interface arena. It's the digital multitrack recorder that packs a mean punch, throwing down with impressive recording capabilities and studio-grade sound quality. This portable studio is no joke. It's got an intuitive design that makes it easy to grapple with and a solid build that can withstand the rigors of regular use. However, it's not all sunshine and roses here. The menu sequences on this bad boy can be a bit of a brain-teaser, so you'll need to put in some time and patience to master them. Also, while it boasts an array of on-board effects, it's worth noting that the dynamic/compressor effects are only available for live recording. Sorry post-production enthusiasts – this might be a deal breaker for you. In short, the Tascam DP-24SD is like that trusty old friend who never lets you down but has a few quirks you need to get used to. It's perfect for musicians who prefer hands-on music production equipment without getting tangled up in complicated software.

Round Two: Zoom LiveTrak L 12 Steps into the Ring

Now let’s talk about our second contender—the Zoom LiveTrak L-12. This little giant isn't just an audio interface; it also doubles as a versatile mixing desk. Its compact size belies its powerful capabilities – don’t judge this book by its cover! In practice environments, this digital multitrack recorder shines brighter than your high school prom king or queen. The ability to connect multiple devices via USB makes jamming along with Spotify tracks as simple as pie (and who doesn't love pie?). The built-in metronome and easy SD card recording system are perfect for dissecting and perfecting those tricky sections. Plus, the five independent aux sends to 1/4″ headphone jacks provide personalized monitoring for each band member. This is a feature that not many recording consoles at this price range offer. The L-12's live performance capabilities are no slouch either – it's got flexible output options that can handle a full show, especially if you're using in-ear monitors. But let's not sugarcoat things here – the L-12 has its drawbacks too. The compression always writes to the recording, and the preamps could be better. Plus, the file naming system could use some work.

And the Winner Is…

This was a tough battle, but there can only be one winner. After careful consideration, I declare the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 the victor of this face-off! The L-12 clinches victory with its versatility in various environments – from studio to stage – making it an invaluable asset in any music production setup. Its strengths far outweigh its minor setbacks, and its comprehensive features make it a top choice for musicians and sound engineers looking for an all-in-one mixer and recorder. While both contenders put up a great fight, the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 stands tall as our champion today. It's not just an audio interface; it's a compact portable studio that adapts to your needs – whether you're practicing at home or performing live on stage. So there you have it folks! If you're in the market for a reliable digital multitrack recorder that will deliver high-quality results without breaking your bank account or your back (it really is compact!), then say hello to your new best friend – the Zoom LiveTrak L-12.