Zoom LiveTrak L-8 Review & Recording – Digital Mixer & Multitrack Recorder
All in one. Zoom calls this the ultimate board for creators, and that includes podcasters, singer, songwriters bands and also voice over artist.. So the L 8 is essentially an 8 track channel mixer, where you have 6 combo jacks here, one two, three: four: five: six, which accepts a microphone or line input., And we have two TS inputs here which are stereo. Now the Zoom LiveTrak L 8, is commonly Advertised as a 12 track recorder, but actually you can only record up to 10 inputs., That is your 6 combo jacks, combined with the 2 TS inputs, which are stereo, giving you 10 inputs.. So there are a few modes. You can run the LiveTrak in from a mixer mode, audio interface, mode and recorder mode, which we would get into in a while., And the amazing thing about the board is: it runs off a 5 watt power. Consumption.. That means, essentially, you can run, is off a USB connection to your computer to a smartphone or tablet from the power adapter from the wall, or just this a power bank to run this. That’s, pretty amazing right Now, I’m, going to unbox this or really re unbox. It because I want to show you what it comes with in a box. Let’s get to it., So I’ve rebox ed, the L 8 to unbox it again to show you what’s inside., Now keep in mind that in audio interface mode, its records only up to 48 Kilohertz, but in a recorder mode, it records up to 96 kilohertz.
So anyway, let’s unbox this.. So when you unbox, the L 8 you’ll see that it comes …, Nothing more than just your manuals. The TRRS cables, which are really important for a smartphone connection, especially in a podcasting use scenario.. We have your power adapter with a USB cable micro USB, which connects to your computer and a power adapter. If you were to use it with a wall socket.. So let’s put it all aside. And pull this up. And there you go. That’s your mixer., So that’s, the LiveTrak L, 8.. So we’re going to talk a bit more about what you see on the board, what you get when you buy the L 8, including what’s behind power sources, your SD card, Kensington, Lock and where you can put in your batteries, here. And, of course, the USB input. Here. As the mixer and portable audio recorder, the L 8 features 6 pre amps with Phantom power. Each with a maximum input gain of 54 decibels.. The gain range was slightly lower compared to some budget audio interfaces like the Focusrite Scarlett. at 56 decibels.. In my test, the gain was enough for most uses, although I felt that the preamps lack a little bit of warmth. Zoom pre amps have always sounded more neutral, transparent to me., So maybe that’s, something you want.. There are two more input channels which are a combo of line level and USB inputs.. You can use the onboard EQ low, cut and effects to fine tune.
Each of these channels. First by selecting the channel then choosing to cut or boost the EQ. Or choose effect, and you have a selection of effects from reverbs delay, chorus and vocal effects. On the mix mode. You can record up to 10 tracks as multitracks plus a stereo mix directly into an SD card. Or simply output, a master mix into a PA set up in a live performance or event setting. Again in the audio interface mode. It records only up to 48 kilohertz and that might sound like a deal breaker, especially if you are planning to use this, mostly as an audio interface., Compared to a lot of other standard audio interfaces in the market. This records only at 48 kilohertz. Right.. So we can see that immediately. The L 8 is more advertised or more made as a digital mixer compared to an audio interface.. But from experience for 48kHz is fine, because our human ears can only hear from 20Hz up to 20khZ and that makes 48kHz sample rate totally fine. Go look up the Nyquist Theorem. Now the L 8 also works as an audio interface., Where your number of inputs and Outputs are the same as in the mixer function. Just connect the mixer to your computer, switch it on click on audio interface, select, yes, with the jog dial and hit again to enter. That’s it.. If you are new to using mixers, you may find that the L 8 works a little bit differently from the common 2in2out audio interface.
, Because the L 8 acts more as a mixer. You would have route audio from your computer back into the mixer as inputs and that’s, either channel 7 or 8, which are stereo inputs before they go through the master channel again, so they can hear them on the main mixe. By default in audio interface mode. Your computer output is routed back into channel 7. Input 78.. However, you can select different output settings using your DAW.. This can feel a little bit confusing if you’re not used to using mixers.. Well, generally, you want act as though your computer takes up a stereo input on the L 8. As an example. Here I am using logic Pro and, as you can see, I can freely choose where to route my output audio into., Either channel 7 or channel 8.. As a podcast mixer and audio interface, the LiveTrak L 8 features 6 microphone, pre amps 6 soundpads for intros, outros, jingles ads and also sound effects., But one of the nicest features yet is the mix minus feature where, in the midst of a physical podcast or recording You could have a caller over the telephone or through an online app as a guest. Here’s, how it works.. So if you have a caller on your podcast you’d want the TRRS cable. Like this., Where this is the Tip Ring Ring and Sleeve., And basically this cable goes into the phone where your caller is calling in from, and this then goes into channel 8.
. Make sure that you select this so that the audio is input from this cable here.. The mix minus function avoids sending back the main mix to the caller so that we are able to eliminate feedback and also echo.. Another neat feature on the L 8, whether in podcast or mixer mode is that there are 4 independent mix, outputs with independent gains., Essentially removing the need for an external headphone pre amp.. You can create different mixes for each of your guests in a podcast session. Monitoring different mixes., For example, each of your guests can have a mix where they only hear the other 3 guests, excluding themselves. It’s, quite easy to create different mixes., While in mixer mode simply select the different mixes and then adjust the levels accordingly.. Now there are a few things about the L 8 that you want to take note of.. First, when switching between mixes, I found that I had to reset the faders by pulling them down and pushing it back to the volume I wanted. Again., The mixer retains the volume on each channel as you switch between mixes, but it somehow forgets the position of the fader., So nothing will happen.. If you continue to push the faders from where they are., You would have to ‘reset’ it.. Another thing I wish I had when recording on the L 8 is the existence of onboard compressors and limiters, especially when recording something with a wide dynamic range like guitars or drums.
. A limiter will ensure the signal isn’t, clipped., Well. Portable recorders, like the Zoom, H6 and H8, had onboard digital compressors and limiters., So it’s a little strange that they didn’t include it for the L 8.. Third, if you’re planning to use the L 8 for live streaming or online, video calls hoping to use a few microphone inputs. Take note that most online video call apps like Zoom or Skype, only take in one channel. That’s right., So you have to choose which channel to send into apps like Zoom or Skype.. Alternatively, you could use something like Loopback on a Mac or Voicemeeter on Windows to create virtual inputs for those apps.. Lastly, I also found that there was no way to reset the effects, pan pots and EQ. Once that have been set., You would have to turn them back to zero, quite annoyingly. And for now a quick demonstration on the LiveTrak L 8, because at the end of the day you want to create something with the mixer.. So here we have all set up.. Now watch this. I’m going to power the mixer with a power bank.. So this is the USB from the L, 8. I’ll put it inside. And basically, what I’m going to do is turn it on.. You can see it’s already on here. Now, first of all, for the most part of this video, the voice over is recorded with a microphone the Audio Technica AT2035 that goes into the pre amps, obviously not right now, but the voice over that you heard throughout this Video is recorded via this microphone here and the preamps on the L 8.
. So right now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to record and show you the effects of a guitar when recording with the Zoom L 8.. So I got my guitar here and I have a line out from the bottom., And this is going to go into Channel 1 on the mixer. And to begin recording on the L 8 into an SD card as a portable recorder.. All we really have to do is to arm the record tracks. I’m going to arm channel 1. Arm. The master track as well. Hit on record and all we have to do is to click on play. And it’ll begin recording. I’m. Recording this. So you can hear the whole process as we go through the whole recording. Yeah.. Now the next thing to do is I’m going to gain my guitar here. So you can see that I already have a bit of gain up. Here. Push up the faders. And the master as well., And I want to put in a bit of effects to my guitar here. So we can use the effects onboard. Gon na click on effects, and you can choose whichever effects that you want. That is available on the board., So one of the downsides is there are no compressors on the board.. So when you do some heavy strumming that might be affected. Anyway, I’m going to choose – maybe Hall 2 and I’m going to select channel 1, which is my guitar.
Going to dial in effects. All right I’m going to push up the effects return channel get some of This effect in. There we go. And right now, it’s recording so I’m just going to play something quick. So we can hear this on video. And, of course you can also do things like EQ. So, while its selected, I can EQ off the lows. If I want to and make it brighter by dialing in the EQ trebles. And once I’m done, all I really have to do is click on stop and the recording will be saved.. We will have recordings from channel 1 and also the master outs on the board.. So to begin recording using the L 8 as an audio interface into your DAW. We just have to select an input channel. So I’m going to go to my first channel and select input 3.. You can see that we have input 1 up to 12., Showing you the inputs that we have on the L 8., And the reason why I’m choosing input 3 is because, by default, input 3 means channel 1 on the L, 8., So I’m going to arm my Track. And see that we already have a signal coming in to the channel here. So I’m going to make sure the gains are alright. And all we have to do then is to hit on record. And play away.. And I hope you find a quick demonstration of using the L, 8 useful.
. All in all, the LiveTrak L 8 is a nice digital mixer to have mainly because of how versatile and multifunctional it is. Use it as a standalone digital mixer, audio interface, or bring it around with you as a 10 track. Portable audio recorder for podcasting and also live streaming.. What I felt that can be improved on the device is the addition of compressors and limiters., And also its preamps.. The pre amps currently sound to me a little bit uninspiring and lacking of that depth, but for most users it should be OK. And I can see it fitting into the workflows of many types of creators.. This one has definitely won me over with its small form factor and I’m going to be keeping this as a device that I use in my workflow.. So let me know what you think about the LiveTrak L 8. In the comments section below. And I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and responses.