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mbobev 16th May 2019 05:53 AM

ZOOM LiveTrak L-12
I have other zoom n2 n4 R24 recorders and I was hoping for an upgrade for my band recording, unfortunately I have the following issues with zoom livetrak l-12

After I have recorded a few tracks with dynamic and 48v mics:
I cannot play back more then one track at a time
in playback Fader volume does control the volume

Compressors sound distorted
EQ sound boxy to my ears
Channel low cut does not work
Channels 1/2 are noisy

Instead of the aggressive marketing, I wish Zoom have hired
actual musician to help them in the product development

Sorry guys I love my world unknown IS16 Phonic mixer

Overall sound quality of Zoom R24 is better then the new Zoom Livetrak l-12 to my ears. Do you have similar experience or there is something wrong with this particular recorder? (any way it is going back)

jukeboxjoe 9th August 2020 10:21 PM

I'm pleasantly surprised by this unit. I have not had any of other issues mentioned like features not working or noise or track bleed (and I've recorded on three separate L-12's). The built-in pre's, to my ears, are incredibly underrated at this price range. I A/B'd them against some external higher end pre's (Apogee Quartet, Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt, Sytek MPx4Aii, and Neve Portico 5017) and the L-12 pre's truly held their ground. I won't say they were better, but they certainly didn't just sound "okay" or "sufficient" as I've read in other reviews. In a true blind test (6 tracks of bass, acoustic guitar, and vocals) it was not easy to tell tell them apart from the more expensive preamps. Perhaps with higher track counts (or a sound engineer's ears) the difference would have been more apparent, but my ears are pretty finicky, and these pre's more than did the job.

As for the usability of this mixer, the manual is as straightforward as can be expected, and within one hour I could navigate through every nook and cranny of the mixer with no issues.

The one point I docked from the features was the compressors, which are super convenient but not as impressive as the preamps, and cannot be engaged as an effect after the recording (ie, you can only cook the compression into the recording). I'm assuming the difference in design would have driven the cost up, but it's one of the two things that stops this from being a DAWless solution for me. The obvious second thing is the lack of editing on the recordings.

But, as the name implies, this mixer is not a substitute for a DAW but meant to be a live tracker, and at that I think it excels. Recording to an SD and transferring the WAVs to my DAW of choice is extremely enjoyable and ergonomic. It interfaces flawlessly in Class Compliant mode with my iPhone and iPad, but I prefer recording directly to SD on the mixer (I'm an old school touchy feely tracker), and I love having the separate pre and post preamp levels visible per track. This is hard to go back from.

Though the chassis is plastic, and not as sturdy as a metal analog mixer, the look and feel of the whole mixer is nevertheless very professional and modern looking (and nicely light and compact). The startup LED process is also very nice eye candy.

All in all, I love the L-12 and the workflow made possible by it. It inspires me to record on the spot without having to boot up and set up my DAW. Transferring the WAV files for later editing couldn't be easier. It's like having the best of both worlds. The L-12 to track, and my DAW for editing later.