Tascam Model 12 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 Model 12 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 Model 12 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 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.

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 Model 12 or Zoom LiveTrak L 12

Tascam Model 12: The Manual-Lover's Delight

Buckle up, folks. The Tascam Model 12 is not for the faint-hearted. It's like a Rubik's cube of audio mixers – you're going to need to spend some quality time with the manual to unlock its secrets. But once you crack the code, oh boy, it's a game-changer.

Versatility and Connectivity

The Tascam Model 12 is like an all-rounder in cricket – it can do many things and do them well. Its dual inputs that accept both XLR and 1/4 inch TRS are like Batman's utility belt – there when you need them. But remember, it likes its USB hookups connected directly to the motherboard USB 2.0 sockets – just like how your grandma likes her tea served at exactly 85 degrees Celsius.

Sound Quality and Phantom Power

The Tascam scores highly on sound quality, with users often raving about its clean output over headphones or monitors. However, its global Phantom Power option requires a little more finesse – it’s like having a pet tiger; you need to handle with care! Always ensure the Phantom Power is off before powering a new unit – nobody wants fried mics for breakfast.

Software Integration

In our digital recording console comparison, we found that despite being slightly old school in its approach (think Indiana Jones), the Tascam Model 12 integrates well with DAWs once you manage the initial setup. It’s kind of like adding sriracha sauce to your pizza; it might seem weird at first but could end up being exactly what you needed.

Zoom LiveTrak L-12: The Swiss Army Knife of Audio Mixers

Okay, let's shift gears now to the Zoom LiveTrak L-12. This little guy is like a Swiss Army knife – small, compact, and filled with handy tools. It's ideal for various settings from practice to live performances – perfect for those impromptu jam sessions in your garage.

Rehearsal and Practice Sessions

In our multitrack recorder comparison, we found the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 shines brightly during rehearsals and practice sessions. That built-in metronome? A life-saver for keeping everyone on beat. And recording to SD cards is as easy as pie. It connects multiple devices too – kind of like how bacon connects with literally any food.

Writing and Recording

The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 makes capturing spontaneous musical ideas simpler than ordering a latte at Starbucks. Its standalone recording capability is like having a personal recording studio in your pocket. Plus, when it comes time for editing, it integrates with DAWs smoother than butter on a hot toast.

Live Performances and Mixing

This little dynamo may seem more suited as a sub-mixer but don't be fooled – it can hold its own in a live show scenario too! Its flexible output options make it an ideal choice in our live sound mixer comparison. Just remember to manually adjust those faders when switching mixes – they're not motorized, sadly.

The Final Showdown: Tascam Model 12 vs Zoom LiveTrak L-12

Alright folks, it's judgement time in this audio mixer comparison: Tascam Model 12 or Zoom LiveTrak L-12? Drumroll, please… The winner is… the Zoom LiveTrak L-12!

While the Tascam Model 12 puts up a strong fight with its versatility and sound quality, the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 steals the show with its compact size, impressive functionality, and seamless DAW integration. It's like choosing between a classic car and a Tesla – both have their charm, but one just has that extra oomph!

So, there you have it folks – our victor in this portable audio interface comparison. But remember: every musician is unique. So whether you're an old school rocker or an urban hipster DJ, choose what suits your style and your needs best. Happy mixing!