Tascam Model 12 Vs. Yamaha MG12XU: 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 Model 12 vs. Yamaha MG12XU.

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 Model 12 and Yamaha MG12XU. 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 Model 12

The Tascam Model 12 is going to require you read the manual a few times, for sure! But once you get past the initial learning curve, you'll find it's a versatile machine, capable of multi-track recording, interfacing with a DAW, and even Bluetooth connectivity.


It's a great choice for those who need an all-in-one device. The Model 12 acts as a smaller sibling to the 16 and 24 channel versions, offering a good balance of functionality and size. Its dual inputs (1 – 10) that accept both XLR and 1/4 inch TRS are particularly handy.


When it comes to connectivity, USB hookups work best when connected directly to the motherboard USB 2.0 sockets, as recommended in the manual. Some users have reported issues when connecting to USB 3.0 ports, so it's something to be mindful of.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is a big plus for the Model 12, with users noting its clean output over headphones or monitors. The Midi In and Out are a great addition, expanding its utility for various setups.

Phantom Power

A slight downside is the global Phantom Power option, which could be more useful if managed by software for each channel. It's crucial to ensure the Phantom Power is off before powering a new unit to protect any connected mics that don't require it.

Software Integration

For those using DAWs, the Model 12 functions well as an interface, though it requires some initial setup. It leaves a lot of room for experimentation and finding a workflow that suits individual needs.

User Tips

Some user tips to consider: the Sub Button on each channel arms the Headphones bus, essential for monitoring. The effects only work if all the Solo buttons are disarmed. And remember, you don't need to press the Play button alongside the Record button when making a track, which is a departure from older tape-based systems.

Overall Impression

While the Tascam Model 12 might have a steep learning curve and some quirks, it's a solid piece of equipment offering great value. It's an excellent choice for anyone looking to step away from complete reliance on a DAW, offering a more hands-on approach to recording and mixing. Just be ready to spend some time with the manual to unlock its full potential.

Yamaha MG12XU

Compact Powerhouse: Yamaha MG12XU

Surprisingly Small, Yet Highly Functional

The Yamaha MG12XU, smaller than anticipated, delivers on functionality. Perfect for various needs, it's a testament to Yamaha's reliability in audio equipment. The delivery was swift, and the product arrived well-protected and in immaculate condition. A clear choice for those seeking a compact yet powerful mixer.

Optimal Recording with Analog Console

Exceptional Instrument Recording

This mixer shines in analog recording, making instrument recording truly incredible. Its design and capabilities cater to both casual and professional users, offering quality sound recording in a compact package.

Yamaha's Unmatched Quality

Consistent Excellence Across Products

Yamaha's reputation for quality is well-earned, and the MG12XU reinforces this. The brand's consistent delivery of superior products makes it a go-to choice for many audio enthusiasts.

Headphone Output: Room for Improvement

Additional Amplification May Be Needed

Despite the overall impressive performance, the headphone output volume is a notable downside. Users might need to invest in a headphone amplifier, which is an additional cost and somewhat diminishes the mixer's value proposition.

Versatility and Clarity in Mixing

Substantial Build with Intuitive Features

The Yamaha MG12XU offers a versatile mixing experience with clear signal routing, as detailed in the user manual. Its substantial case, smooth controls, and impressive feature set place it above competitors like Mackie and Behringer. This mixer excels in various settings, from live performances to home studios.

USB Interface: A Mixed Bag

Good Analog Mixing, USB Driver Issues

While the analog mixing capabilities are commendable, the USB driver can be finicky, leading to distortions and static issues. However, once the right driver (version 2.03) is installed, the mixer performs flawlessly. This hiccup can be a bit frustrating but is manageable with some technical know-how.

Seamless Setup and Reliable Performance

Effortless Integration with Existing Systems

The setup process is straightforward, taking only about 30 minutes to fully integrate with various inputs. Its excellent signal-to-noise ratio and smooth, silent control operation make it a reliable component in any sophisticated audio setup.

Impeccable Packaging and Delivery

Secure Shipping, Excellent Condition

The packaging for the Yamaha MG12XU was done exceptionally well, ensuring the mixer arrived in perfect condition even when shipped internationally. The lack of any humming noise and the smoothness of the long-throw faders are highlights, offering a substantial improvement over previous mixers like Behringer.

Pre-Owned Yet Functional

Value for Money in Used Purchase

Purchasing this mixer used proved to be a wise decision. Despite being pre-owned, the mixer exhibited minimal damage and continued to function effectively, providing significant savings without compromising on quality.

Need for Better Support and Durability

Consider Other Options for Long-Term Use

While the Yamaha MG12XU offers excellent features, its durability and the lack of supportive customer service can be concerning. The mixer may encounter output issues over time, and the cost of repair might outweigh the benefits of keeping it. Prospective buyers should weigh these factors and possibly explore other mixers for more reliable long-term use.

Head 2 Head: Tascam Model 12 or Yamaha MG12XU

Let's Talk Versatility: Tascam Model 12

More Than Just a Pretty Face

The Tascam Model 12, a digital mixer, is like that friend who always seems to know something about everything – it's a jack of all trades. With its ability to juggle multi-track recording, DAW interfacing, and Bluetooth connectivity, it's no wonder this audio mixer is making waves in the studio equipment market.


A word of advice when dealing with this tech-savvy friend: it prefers the USB 2.0 ports straight from your motherboard. Some users have noticed the Model 12 throwing a fit when plugged into USB 3.0 ports. Just remember to play by its rules, and you'll get along just fine.

A Symphony in Your Ears

Clean Sound Quality

One thing you'll love about the Tascam Model 12 is its impeccable sound quality. It's as if Mozart himself is conducting a symphony right inside your headphones or monitors. And with the addition of Midi In and Out, this mixing desk has got all bases covered for various setups.

Phantom Power: Handle with Care

A Little Quirk You Should Know About

Like every genius, there's a quirk to handle – the global Phantom Power option on this recording console. This is one feature that could do with some software management per channel to avoid mic mishaps.

Taming the Beast: Software Integration

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

For the DAW users out there, the Model 12 can function as an interface, but it's like taming a wild horse. With some patience and setup time, you'll have this beast running smoothly, offering you endless opportunities for experimentation and workflow optimization.

Compact Powerhouse: Yamaha MG12XU

Small but Mighty

On the other side of the ring, we have the Yamaha MG12XU. This compact analog mixer is like a pocket Hercules – small in size, but mighty in functionality. Known for their reliable audio equipment, Yamaha has delivered yet again with this live sound mixer.

The Analog Advantage

Take Your Instrument Recording to New Heights

The MG12XU really shines when it comes to analog recording. It's like having Eric Clapton personally record your guitar sessions. Both casual and professional users will appreciate its compact design that delivers quality sound recording.

Beware of Low Volume Headphone Output

Be Prepared to Boost That Sound!

One chink in the Yamaha's armor is its headphone output volume. You might need to pull out some spare change for a headphone amplifier because let's face it – nobody likes whispering headphones!

USB Interface: It’s Complicated!

Once You Get Past Driver Issues…

The USB interface on this studio mixer is like dating – exciting but can be complicated! Once you get past the initial static and distortion (with the right driver installed), it’s smooth sailing. So don't give up on this relationship just yet!

Reliability and Durability: A Mixed Bag

May Not Be a Long-Term Commitment

While the Yamaha MG12XU has a lot going for it, its durability and support may leave you wanting. Over time, this mixer might start showing signs of wear and tear, and the cost of repair could give your wallet a heartache.

And the Winner Is…

Drum Roll, Please!

So who takes the cake in this face-off between the Tascam Model 12 and Yamaha MG12XU? The winner is…the Tascam Model 12! Despite its steep learning curve and some quirks, its versatility, sound quality, and functionality make it an unbeatable choice for anyone looking for a hands-on approach to recording and mixing. Yes, you'll need to spend time with the manual (and probably develop a love-hate relationship with it), but trust me – it's worth it!