Zoom LiveTrack L-12 Review

Zoom is an affordable brand offering quality musical equipment, which makes their products great value for money. Their field recorders, multi-effect pedals, reverb units, and hand-held recorders are pretty popular among musicians. The Zoom LiveTrack L-12 is one of their best digital mixer recorders that give serious competition to other names in the market. 

When you look at it for the first time, the L-12 will look like any standard mixer. But this bad boy has a 12-channel mixer with mono and stereo strips. The mixer comes with built-in effects, EQ, and individual compression. It is an incredibly functional model with every feature that you could ask for.

The L-12 not only offers integration with DAW but also runs the speakers themselves. Perfect for a demo or a live recording, this mixer offers an incredibly fast recording setup and allows you to pull off various studio tricks. This all-in-one mixer recorder is perfect for anyone who wants to utilize their space in a better way. You can use the record engine any time you want. No need to wait for a longer duration.

R16 Reimagined

Zoom LiveTrak L-12 Digital Mixer & Multitrack Recorder, for Music, Podcasting, and More, 12-Input/ 14-Channel SD Recorder, 14-in/4-out USB Audio Interface, 5 Powered Headphone Outputs
  • 12 discrete channels (8 mono plus 2 stereo) with XLR or 1/4-inch connectivity
  • Frequency characteristics 44.1 kHz:-1.0 dB: 20 Hz - 20 kHz,96 kHz: -3.0 dB: 20 Hz - 40 kHz.14 -track Simultaneous recording, 12-track playback
  • 5 powered headphone outputs, each with a customizable and savable mix
  • 14 -in/4-out USB audio interface connectivity
  • Scene saving function, up to 9 scenes saved at a time

The LiveTrak L-12 is an improved and reimagined version of R-16. It is a USB device that works with any recording system that allows a USB connection. It is a very compact mixer and recorder that you can take out of your studio to gigs and to your friend’s party. Made from plastic, the L-12 is slightly bigger than R16 but still looks compact. It has a very user-friendly top panel layout and more than enough spaces between the buttons. But you will need to carry a power supply for the walls all the time as it cannot run from internal batteries.

The LiveTrak is a 12-track recorder as compared to R16. However, it records all twelve tracks altogether, unlike R16. 

The Difference

The L-12 has way different mixing functions as compared to the R16. While R16 allowed the data to be transferred to DAW via a Mackie Control protocol, LiveTrak does not have this feature anymore. Instead, LiveTrak has meters of twelve segments that run with the faders. 

All the Projects in LiveTrak can save up to 9 scenes. Each scene will have digital mixer settings of all kinds so that whenever it is recalled, things will be easier for you.

However, the fader in L-12 cannot recall the scenes without the Projects. Whenever you add a new Project, it will get the same settings from the previous Project, but these will not be in the form of scenes. 

The Mixer

As compared to the R16, the mixer in LiveTrack is a HUGE improvement. For instance, you won’t find any shifted functions and confusing features that were only available in the menu. Every feature is simply laid out on the panel. The scenes system is also lightning-fast and user-friendly. 

However, there are also some downsides. For instance, the mute buttons are really that useful when compared to solo buttons. Their only benefit is that they mute all the cue mixes altogether. But when it comes to soloing a channel, there is no simple way. You will practically have to drag all the faders for other channels down.

Moreover, there is no way to reverse the polarity of the recorded or input track. It was possible on R16, but there’s no way you can do that on L-12. It will be an issue for you if you record other instruments more often.

Usability

The Zoom LiveTrack L-12 has a very straightforward manual, and you will get accustomed to it in like 45 minutes. The compressor in L012 is very convenient but cannot be used to engage as an effect. Moreover, there is no option to edit the recordings. 

Body

Packed in a plastic chassis, the L-12 definitely does not compare to the metal mixers but still has a robust design and feel. You will feel like you are using a professional mixer and a super charming LED startup that will leave you in awe.

Editing

You will be disappointed to learn that there is no editing option in L-12. You will have to transfer the WAV files and edit them via DAW. It also does not have any insert effects. Because originally, the L-12’s features are actually designed to improve the capabilities of DAW. It works best with the software. Moreover, its recorder can be used simultaneously while the recording is playing on a computer, giving you a convenience that’s not available in any other mixer at this price.

Zoom LiveTrak L-12 Digital Mixer & Multitrack Recorder, for Music, Podcasting, and More, 12-Input/ 14-Channel SD Recorder, 14-in/4-out USB Audio Interface, 5 Powered Headphone Outputs
  • 12 discrete channels (8 mono plus 2 stereo) with XLR or 1/4-inch connectivity
  • Frequency characteristics 44.1 kHz:-1.0 dB: 20 Hz - 20 kHz,96 kHz: -3.0 dB: 20 Hz - 40 kHz.14 -track Simultaneous recording, 12-track playback
  • 5 powered headphone outputs, each with a customizable and savable mix
  • 14 -in/4-out USB audio interface connectivity
  • Scene saving function, up to 9 scenes saved at a time

The Final Word

To sum up, the Zoom LiveTrack L-12 is a very decent option that makes your workflow seamless. We were surprised when we tested it and saw the value it offers at this price point. We didn’t face any issues with the features; both the preamps and post amps are also very impressive. It also makes it easier to send WAV files for editing. The compact design makes it easily portable. Use it with DAW, and you will have an amazing system at your disposal. 

If you are an aspiring musician planning to buy LiveTrack L-12, you can go ahead and purchase it without question. It is a great mixer that offers value for money. Make sure to make the most of it by using it with DAW.