The Zoom L-12 is a multichannel mixer, audio interface and recorder. And it may well do all of this on the identical time!
The construct high quality is properly made regardless of being all plastic. The knobs, buttons, and fader really feel stable sufficient to final. See under for an inventory of all of the gear I used to make this video.
The primary characteristic of the L-12 that impresses me most is its means to each document to the SD card (multi-channel) whereas additionally being an audio interface, sending multi-channel audio to your laptop at the exact same time. Most mixers with in-built recorders and even recorders which can be additionally interfaces, make you select which perform you wish to use, not permitting you to do each on the identical time.
At present, the one different system I’ve used that permits this means is the MixPre collection from Sound Gadgets. For the worth level of this mixer, it is a enormous benefit and for me it’s the largest promoting level.
On the again of the L-12 you have got an on/off swap which isn’t a trivial addition. Different mixers I’ve reviewed don’t embrace a swap and should be unplugged with a view to energy off. And if you flip off the Zoom L-12, your settings are written to the SD card in order that subsequent time you flip it again on, you start the place you left off.
Different choices embrace a USB thumb drive for loading and off-loading settings. You even have a swap that makes the L-12 appropriate with iOS gadgets. I didn’t get to check this out however that’s a pleasant characteristic to have. The Zoom connects to a pc by way of bidirectional USB2.0 which is quick sufficient to ship 14 separate audio channels in addition to carry again 4 channels of audio from the pc. The system information to SD playing cards each SDHC and SDXC with a in-built tester to let in case your SD card will work with the L-12. There’s additionally a management enter that permits for the connection of gadgets resembling a foot pedal however that is one thing extra for musicians than podcasters. And eventually you get a a Kensington Safety Slot for connecting a lock so to stroll away out of your system if utilizing it in public.
You get eight combo (XLR/Line-in) inputs which give you the flexibility to attach as much as eight microphones, every with its personal preamp with 60db of achieve. Channels one and two have Hello-Z energy whereas three by means of eight present a pad (-20db) for line in inputs. All channels present 48 volts of phantom energy for condenser microphones. And the preamps themselves are good. I can simply energy a dynamic mic like the Sennhieser e835 (as heard within the video), utilizing ~75% of the achieve. After this level, it sounds just like the preamps would possibly introduce a bit of little bit of noise however total they’re clear.
Under the achieve/trim knob, every microphone channel contains one-knob compression. This does a very nice job of stopping clipping whereas additionally serving to to keep up a constant audio degree. Essential to notice that as you elevate the compression you’ll additionally elevate the achieve as a result of the compressor contains make-up achieve. In order you improve the quantity of compression, I discovered that about greater than half manner was a pleasant stability for stopping peaking, you’ll wish to lower your achieve with a view to preserve the identical degree and achieve staging as when you find yourself not utilizing any compression.
When achieve staging my microphone, I used to be glad with my peaks bouncing as much as -20 to -18db. This produced a clear sign with loads of headroom and I used to be in a position to elevate this to loudness requirements in put up with out introducing any undesirable noise.
With this digital mixer, your channel stops really signify six completely different customized setups. Along with the grasp combine, you get 5 customized setups which let you create 5 completely different “scenes” that may all be routed to their very own output. For podcasters this implies which you could create as much as 5 completely different mix-minus setups! The setup is a bit of completely different than utilizing aux-sends on an analog mixer however the consequence is similar. See the video for the best way to obtain a mix-minus setup on the L-12 or discuss with my full information for establishing a mix-minus on any mixer with an aux/fx ship. Every of those channels additionally contains the flexibility to setup a customized EQ.
The 5 separate headphone outputs additionally substitute one other piece of drugs that podcasters with a number of individuals in studio typically use, a headphone amplifier. Every of the 5 headphone outputs on the L-12 has it’s personal achieve knob so every particular person related to one of many 5 outputs can management the extent of audio going to their very own headphones. The headphone preamps are additionally clear (with out added noise) not like the Zoom F8 that I’ve which has one headphone output and creates noise when turned up larger than 75%. I used to be pleased to listen to that the L-12 headphone preamps have been clear and allowed me hear precisely the audio that was going into the mixer.
Every channel additionally features a mute button. Nonetheless, this doesn’t work the best way I’d need it to. The mute solely follows by means of to the grasp combine. So if you press mute on any channel, the person tracks being recorded to the SD card in addition to the audio going out of the USB is just not affected by the mute. Due to this the mute has little worth, no less than to me.
Channels 9/10 can be utilized as a USB return. The L-12 will carry audio again out of your laptop with it’s personal fader management or this channel together with 11/12 can be utilized as a line-in, stereo enter. As of this overview, channel 11/12 may also be set to return audio by way of USB however in my checks this didn’t work on a Mac. Hopefully this and the mute buttons will likely be up to date in future firmware updates. It could even be good if I might see the audio ranges on the LCD show for every monitor that’s being recorded to the SD card.
The management knob within the recorder part lets you press it in and create a marker in your audio, sadly it doesn’t appear to translate to your recorded information or in your recording software program. The markers are saved in a challenge file on the SD card and you’ll transfer between every marker contained in the interface of the recorder solely.
As with all multichannel interface, when utilizing with Skype, solely channel one will have the ability to interface with Skype. In an effort to get round this and have Skype obtain all channels from the mixer, you have to setup a further piece of software program resembling Audio Hijack so to cross the audio by means of an intermediate stage that can collect all channels right into a single output for Skype.
If you happen to’re in search of a multichannel audio interface, the Zoom L-12 is a tool I’d critically contemplate. The addition of a recorder built-in actually makes this system definitely worth the value. The recorder offers you with the flexibility to document a backup which for me is essential in any recording setup. Different mixers that give you this many aux sends (most solely go as much as 4) price simply as a lot because the L-12 and don’t present as a lot performance.
Gear used to make this video*:
PICTURE PROFILE: PP7: S-Log2
EDITED AND GRADED: Adobe Premiere Professional CC utilizing Lumetri Coloration Presets (tweaked to my liking).
*all hyperlinks needs to be thought of affiliate hyperlinks. I encourage you to buy round for one of the best costs on the time you might be viewing this. You possibly can learn my ethics assertion by way of https://thepodcastersstudio.com/ethics. Thanks!