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Tascam, Zoom or Clarett - quality on a budget
Old 29th July 2020
  #1
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Tascam, Zoom or Clarett - quality on a budget

So I've been thrown into the mix and now stressed over simplicity and functionality.
I was gifted a Lenovo Yoga -i7 10thgen, 12G :(, 512SSD.
I am considering a Clarett 4pre but was recommended I'd be more comfortable with a Tascam model 12. Then I was turned on to a Zoom L12. I don't understand enough to get passed the preamps should be better on the Tascam but given the price range I need to be realistic. I've also heard bad things about pop's crackles and bleeding on the Zoom... I do believe that for recording final tracks for virtual theater, the Clarett sound is way superior aaaaand will give me better sound and have better range and headroom than the mixers. Also, seriously considering Cakewalk just to move away from windows issues I know nothing about but heard plenty. Considering DAW controller finalist Novation launchkey [or Arturia Ess- runner up] .
My experience was most recently based on live sound familiar with Mackie profx16 mainly for Caribbean percussion and vocals. Before that, I used a good ol presonus fire studio as an interface for recording rehearsals or specific ideas. I always had a mac and used protools, like most of us blind faithfuls - but mostly as a musician- not engineer.

Whew... thanks for any help
My mics are 2 AT2020s and an SM57 with 3 additional 58s
Old 29th July 2020
  #2
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Old 29th July 2020
  #3
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Richie Witch's Avatar
I spent two weeks with a Zoom interface on Windows before sending it back. Got it to work for a couple days, but things went south from there, with intermittent crackles and pops, and then my laptop just stopped recognizing it half the time. My laptop's built-in sound card did a better job, performance-wise.

Maybe I had a defective unit, but I dumped the Zoom and moved on to something else. I've owned Focusrite, MOTU, Mackie, and Native Instruments interfaces without any problems.
Old 29th July 2020
  #4
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
I guess the big question is do you want a mixer style recorder, or a simple audio interface style box. The feel and workflow of them will be significantly different.

The Zoom and Tascam you posted will record without a computer. The Clarett requires a computer. Those are two very different work styles.
Old 29th July 2020
  #5
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DirkP's Avatar
I'm very satisfied with the Tascam Model 12, although I own a SPL Crimson and a Motu Ultralite MKIV. The advantage of the Zoom Livetrak are the 5 headphone outputs with individual monitor mixes. Great for recording a band. The sound of the Tascam is really good and I prefer to have individual potis for compressor, eq and other settings on each channel. It is great to have Midi and that it can be used as a DAW controler (works great). The Model 12, unlike the Model 16 and 24 is a fully digital mixer just like the Zoom. Another feature is that you can record dry but mix with eq, comp and effects. I think you can't do this on the Zoom, but not sure.
Old 29th July 2020
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie Witch View Post
I spent two weeks with a Zoom interface on Windows before sending it back. Got it to work for a couple days, but things went south from there, with intermittent crackles and pops, and then my laptop just stopped recognizing it half the time. My laptop's built-in sound card did a better job, performance-wise.

Maybe I had a defective unit, but I dumped the Zoom and moved on to something else. I've owned Focusrite, MOTU, Mackie, and Native Instruments interfaces without any problems.
I'll definitely steer clear of the Zoom. Much appreciated. ThanksπŸ™
Old 29th July 2020
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
I guess the big question is do you want a mixer style recorder, or a simple audio interface style box. The feel and workflow of them will be significantly different.

The Zoom and Tascam you posted will record without a computer. The Clarett requires a computer. Those are two very different work styles.
Thanks so much for your reply. I like hands on control. But I think a DAW is a must because I need to incorporate VSTs through a keyboard along with analog inputs of bomba drum (similar sound to a large timba and djembe), Spanish guitar and cuatro (similar in sound to lute or 12 string with a capo), and voices. These would all be recorded individually and mixed for use in virtual theater. Should that favor one or the other?
Old 29th July 2020
  #8
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by G12 View Post
Thanks so much for your reply. I like hands on control. But I think a DAW is a must because I need to incorporate VSTs through a keyboard along with analog inputs of bomba drum (similar sound to a large timba and djembe), Spanish guitar and cuatro (similar in sound to lute or 12 string with a capo), and voices. These would all be recorded individually and mixed for use in virtual theater. Should that favor one or the other?
If you like hands on control looks like it's between the Tascam and the Zoom.

I have Tascam and Zoom products that I love, but I haven't used either of the ones you're looking at.

But I can vouch for Tascam and Zoom making appealing audio products.

They'll probably have some quirks, but that's the nature of the game at these price points. I'm sure both would be usable, I would start digging into the features and see which one sticks out for you.
Old 30th July 2020
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkP View Post
I'm very satisfied with the Tascam Model 12, although I own a SPL Crimson and a Motu Ultralite MKIV. The advantage of the Zoom Livetrak are the 5 headphone outputs with individual monitor mixes. Great for recording a band. The sound of the Tascam is really good and I prefer to have individual potis for compressor, eq and other settings on each channel. It is great to have Midi and that it can be used as a DAW controler (works great). The Model 12, unlike the Model 16 and 24 is a fully digital mixer just like the Zoom. Another feature is that you can record dry but mix with eq, comp and effects. I think you can't do this on the Zoom, but not sure.
Thanks so much. Do you feel the preamps feel clearer than other equipment you've used?
Old 30th July 2020
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyxx View Post
If you like hands on control looks like it's between the Tascam and the Zoom.

I have Tascam and Zoom products that I love, but I haven't used either of the ones you're looking at.

But I can vouch for Tascam and Zoom making appealing audio products.

They'll probably have some quirks, but that's the nature of the game at these price points. I'm sure both would be usable, I would start digging into the features and see which one sticks out for you.
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Old 30th July 2020
  #11
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DirkP's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by G12 View Post
Thanks so much. Do you feel the preamps feel clearer than other equipment you've used?
I'd say very good in relation to price. The ones on the SPL Crimson and my SSL SiX are better, but I wouldn't swear that I could tell them apart in a blind test.
The preamps on channel 7(/8) and 9/(20) are a bit noisier than the other ones. I use them with very loud instruments like BD and Snare. I was a bit surprised that not all channels have the same preamps on the 12.
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