Tascam Model 24 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 24 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 24 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 24

Classic Analog Feel with Modern Capabilities

The Tascam Model 24 really brings back that classic feel of a mixing desk, blending nostalgia with modern functionality. It's user-friendly, and the sound quality is top-notch. The integration with my Mac for DAW use was seamless, making the transfer of tracks a breeze. It's a great way to step back from a purely digital interface and enjoy the tactile experience of an analog mixer.

Old School Vibe Meets Modern Tech

The feeling of using this Tascam mixer is akin to the experience I had with my first 4-track cassette in the '80s, but with the added benefits of today's tech. It's an excellent blend of the past and present.

Sturdy and Reliable

In terms of build and reliability, I haven't encountered any issues during my use. It's a solid piece of equipment that feels like it can withstand regular use and the occasional rigors of transport.

Pros and Cons

On the upside, the mixer offers great sound quality and an easy learning curve. It's particularly appealing for those looking to combine the hands-on feel of traditional mixing with modern recording capabilities. The built-in audio interface, compressor, preamps, and equalizers are like getting multiple pieces of equipment in one.

However, there are a couple of limitations. It only has two monitor sends, and the instructions provided can be a bit lacking. Some users may find the need to rely on online resources or videos to fully grasp all its features.

Overall Impression

The Tascam Model 24 is a fantastic choice for musicians or engineers looking for an analog-style mixer with the conveniences of modern technology. It's particularly suitable for home studios or small live setups. While it may have a couple of shortcomings, they are outweighed by its overall functionality and performance. This mixer provides a unique and satisfying experience for those who appreciate the charm of analog with the benefits of digital technology.

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 24 or Zoom LiveTrak L 12

Let the Audio Mixer Showdown Begin: Tascam Model 24 vs. Zoom LiveTrak L-12

Alright, let's dive into the world of audio mixers. We've got two heavy-hitters in the ring today: the Tascam Model 24 and the Zoom LiveTrak L-12. Each one brings its own strengths to the music production gear game, but there can only be one winner. Let's see how they stack up.

Old School Cool Meets New School Rules: The Tascam Model 24

The Tascam Model 24 has a certain charm that makes you feel like you're back in the '80s, jamming on your first four-track cassette. But don't let that fool you – this digital mixing console is packed with all the modern tech you need for top-notch sound quality and recording ease. It's sturdy, reliable and designed to withstand regular use – perfect for home studios or small live setups. Plus, it offers an easy learning curve (although, fair warning: you might have to turn to YouTube for some instruction). On the downside though, it only has two monitor sends which might be a little limiting for more complex setups.

The Compact Powerhouse: The Zoom LiveTrak L-12

Now let's talk about our other contender. The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is a practical design marvel. Despite its compact size, this multifaceted digital mixer is veritably bursting with functionality. It excels in practically any environment – from practice sessions with built-in metronomes and easy-to-use recording interfaces to low-volume rehearsals with five independent aux sends (1/4″ headphone jacks included) for personalized monitoring. Plus, it's adaptable enough for socially distanced rehearsals (thank you, Pandemic Era!). It allows for effective mic setups and clear monitoring of all instruments, even if you're playing in separate rooms or outdoors. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. The L-12 has a few areas that could use some improvement. The compression isn't top-notch and the preamps are just okay. Also, the file naming system can be a bit cumbersome to navigate and there's no option for individual stereo or mono pairs for monitor outputs in live situations.

And the Winner Is…

Drumroll, please… After careful consideration, I'm crowning the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 as the champion of this audio mixer showdown! Yes, it has its drawbacks – what piece of studio equipment doesn't? But when we're talking about versatility, functionality and value for money in your music production gear arsenal, this multitrack recorder is hard to beat. So while I do tip my hat to the Tascam Model 24 for its nostalgic charm and user-friendly interface, it's the Zoom LiveTrak L-12 that will be taking home the gold today. Whether you're an aspiring musician looking for a versatile recording interface or a sound engineer needing a reliable digital mixing console – this little beast has got you covered. And remember folks: in music as in life, it's not about how big your equipment is; it's what you do with it that counts. Rock on!