Tascam Model 12 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 Model 12 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 Model 12 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 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-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 Model 12 or Zoom LiveTrak L 8

Let's Talk Tascam Model 12

I've got to tell you, the Tascam Model 12 is like a Swiss army knife of audio mixers. It's your recording interface, digital mixer, live sound mixer all rolled into one. But it isn't for the faint-hearted. You'll need to buddy up with the manual and devote some quality time understanding this beast.

Jack of All Trades

You need a versatile machine? The Model 12 has got your back. It can handle multi-track recording, play nice with your DAW and even connect via Bluetooth. And those dual inputs – they're a godsend! Got an XLR or 1/4 inch TRS? No problem – it can handle both.

A Word on Connectivity

Now, you might hit some bumps when connecting via USB 3.0 ports – stick to the USB 2.0 as recommended in the manual for smooth sailing.

Sound Quality and Power Supply

The sound output on this thing is cleaner than a whistle. And that Midi In and Out? Music to my ears! However, do note that phantom power is global here – so make sure to turn it off before powering up if your mics don't need it.

Your New Studio Mixer?

If you're looking to cut ties with complete reliance on a DAW and fancy some hands-on control over your music production gear, then this could be your ticket. Just remember: patience is key when figuring out its quirks.

Zooming Into Zoom LiveTrak L-8

On first glance, the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 might seem like your standard portable mixer. But, it's actually a powerhouse! This thing has got more professional features than you can shake a stick at – and it's all battery-powered.

Pro Features in a Portable Package

Backlighted buttons, effects, presets – the L-8 has got them all. And with its robust feel, it's one piece of podcasting equipment that won't let you down on the go.

Compatibility Issues

Now for a slight hiccup: if you're using a Mac Mini M1, be prepared for some connection issues. And customer service? Let's just say they've seen better days.

Recording Interface Excellence

What really sets this digital mixer apart are its six pre-amps with phantom power. Plus, those 13 preset sounds make it ideal for podcasting and mixing. You can even record at 48/32 – quite the step up from your regular 24-bit interfaces.

Perfect for Podcasting and Performances

Whether you're into live streaming church services or solo performances, the L-8 is your companion. The effects are more than just usable – they add that extra oomph to your live sound mix.

Final Showdown: Tascam Model 12 vs Zoom LiveTrak L-8

Alright folks, we've seen what both these audio titans have to offer. It's been a tough call but there can only be one winner here.

Drumroll please… The winner is the [Zoom LiveTrak L-8](https://amzn.to/3OgpKY4).

This portable powerhouse offers a world of features in a compact, battery-powered package. From its robust pre-amps to its impressive recording capabilities, it's an all-rounder that's perfect for podcasting, live performances, and on-the-go recording. Sure, it has some minor compatibility issues, but the sheer volume of professional features and overall ease of use make it the clear winner in this face-off.

The Tascam Model 12 is a worthy contender with its versatility and sound quality. But when it comes to an intuitive interface and portable design without compromising on pro-level features – Zoom LiveTrak L-8 takes the cake. It's more than just a portable mixer; it's a game-changer in your music production gear arsenal. Better luck next time, Tascam!