Tascam DP 32SD 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: Tascam DP 32SD 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 Tascam DP 32SD 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.

Tascam DP-32SD Digital Portastudio

Now the Tascam DP-32SD, let me draw some comparisons to its cousin, the DP-24SD, and delve into what makes it stand out. The DP-32SD steps up the game with its enhanced preamps and 32-track recording capability, minus the hard drive noise, since it runs on an SDHC card.

Key Features:

First off, think of the DP-32SD as a 20-track recorder with 8 mono tracks and 12 additional stereo or mono tracks. The absence of MIDI and S/PDIF inputs (found in its predecessor, the Tascam 2488Neo) might limit some, but it's not a deal-breaker for those focused on analog inputs. Its punch-in and out functions are tight, and the layout of the menu and LED buttons has been thoughtfully improved from the Neo model.

Tascam DP 32SD Review

Recording Quality

The recording quality is a massive win for the DP-32SD. Users rave about the stellar job it does, especially in multi-musician setups. With its ability to record at 24bit 48kHz without clicks, pops, or stutters, it’s a reliable choice for those seeking to avoid the complexities of a DAW.

Usability and Workflow

In terms of workflow, this machine is a powerhouse. For those who prefer to record up to 8 tracks simultaneously without a PC or MAC and don’t need MIDI sync, the DP-32SD is your go-to. It’s great for live band recordings too, being easily portable and capable of handling numerous simultaneous inputs.

Learning Curve

There’s a learning curve, especially if you're transitioning from a simpler recorder or a different brand. However, with resources like YouTube tutorials, you can get up to speed relatively quickly.

Build Quality

The build quality of the DP-32SD is impressive. It feels heavy and sturdy, indicative of a machine built to last. Though some knobs might feel a bit flimsy, this doesn’t detract from the overall solid construction of the unit.

Integration with DAW

While it's primarily a standalone recorder, the ease of transferring files to a DAW for further editing and mixing is a major plus. It's an excellent solution for those looking to blend analog recording with digital editing.

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: Tascam DP 32SD or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

Let's dive headfirst into the world of digital multitrack recorders, shall we? We'll be putting two heavyweights of the industry under the microscope – the Tascam DP-32SD and the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. Get ready for some serious audio interface action.

What's Cooking with Tascam DP-32SD

The Tascam DP-32SD is a legit piece of recording studio equipment, and if you're thinking it's just a beefed-up version of its little brother, the DP-24SD, well… you're probably right. But that doesn't make it any less impressive. It's got 32 tracks to play with, powered by enhanced preamps that are as smooth as butter on a hot pan. And don't worry about hard drive noise – this baby runs on an SDHC card. Key Features:

Think of it as a 20-track recorder that went on a serious growth spurt – we're talking 8 mono tracks and an extra 12 stereo or mono tracks. Yeah, there are no MIDI or S/PDIF inputs (like its predecessor), but if your heart beats for analog inputs, this isn't going to break it.

Capturing Sound Like a Pro

And oh boy does this thing capture sound like a champ. Multi-musician setups? No problemo. With its ability to record at 24bit 48kHz without breaking a sweat (or making any unwanted clicks or pops), you'll wonder why you ever bothered with complex DAWs in the first place.

Workflow Wizardry

In terms of workflow, this machine could probably juggle flaming chainsaws while walking on a tightrope. If you're the type who wants to record up to 8 tracks simultaneously without the need for a PC or MAC and don’t need MIDI sync, say hello to your new best friend. It's also great for live band recordings – it's portable, and can handle numerous simultaneous inputs like a boss. Not For The Faint Of Heart

Sure, there's a learning curve. But with a little help from YouTube tutorials, you'll be turning heads in no time.

One Solid Piece of Equipment

And let's not forget about build quality. This thing feels like it could survive a drop from orbit (not that we recommend trying). Sure, some of the knobs might feel a bit flimsy, but overall, this is one solid piece of equipment. Easy Peasy DAW Integration

While it’s made to stand alone, its ability to transfer files to a DAW for further tweaking is a big plus. Think of it as having the best of both worlds – analog recording coupled with digital editing.

Zoom LiveTrak L-8: More Than Meets The Eye

Moving on to the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. This music production tool packs professional features into a design that’s as portable as your favorite book. It's basically like having an audio Swiss Army knife at your disposal.

The Whole Package in A Small Package

This mixing console doesn't just pack backlighted buttons, effects, presets, recording options and even battery backup into its sleek frame – it does so while feeling sturdy and robust. And yes, despite being chock-full of features, it’s surprisingly user-friendly too!

Mac Compatibility and Customer Service

Now, before we get carried away, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Mac Mini M1 users, you might have a rough start. And don't expect much help from customer service either. However, direct USB connections seem to help.

Pre-Amps That Deserve A Standing Ovation

But let's talk about the six high-performance pre-amps, each with phantom power. Finding a portable recorder with this kind of quality is like finding a unicorn in your backyard. The menu-driven controls might seem overwhelming at first but persevere, my friend! Before you know it, you'll be tapping into recording possibilities you never thought possible.

A Podcaster's Dream

The L-8 isn’t just for recording though; it’s also a podcaster's dream come true! It's got phone integration and 6 assignable Sound Pads with 13 preset sounds to add some extra oomph to your podcast episodes.

Live Streaming Made Easy

For live streaming or solo acts, the L-8 is as easy as pie. Its effects are actually usable (unlike many other mixers), which is a big plus for live performances.

Top-Notch Audio Interface

As an audio interface, it’s top-notch – record at 48/32 and simply drag and drop your audio files into your DAW once you're done recording. Plus, plug it into a USB power bank for on-the-go recordings. The Final Showdown

So who wins this clash of the titans? Drum roll please… The crown goes to the Zoom LiveTrak L-8. While the Tascam DP-32SD is a solid piece of equipment, the L-8's versatility, portability, and user-friendly design make it a more practical choice for most users. Whether you're a podcaster, part of a small band or just love creating music on the go, the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 is your ticket to audio nirvana. Sure, it’s got its quirks (like only being able to use one effect for all tracks), but overall? This is one piece of kit that deserves a standing ovation.