Recording my setup - easy or hard way?

Hi, I have spent a while planning my setup and buying gear. The more recent idea was that i need to spread the sounds across a number of machines so that i can multitrack all of the individual parts simultaneously which in theory will allow me to become much more productive.

I initially bought an 8 input interface (M Audio M Track 8) but have since decided that its not really enough inputs (i reckon i can make do with 12)

This has led me to the Zoom Livetrack L-12. Its a digital mixer that can record 12 channels at once to an SD card (no computer needed!) Or can be used as an audio interface. The inputs are all on the front which is vastly more preferable for me than the rack interface i have where theyre all at the back. This mixer, for a few days, appeared to be the perfect answer for my problem.

Then i came across a mackie mixer on Ebay. The 1642VLZ4 is beautiful. The routing options would allow me to record selected inputs seamlessly to my octatrack or another sampler through a send. Ill be able to drive the preamps if i want as its a proper analogue mixer. It has 8 direct outputs that can be flexibly routed to which i guess could go straight in to my M audio interface. This method will take much more thought to use, will give me less control over the individual tracks and probably makes no sense whatsoever when im trying to streamline the recording process and make it easy to finish tracks and be happy with them. Theyre really very different things and would be very different approaches to recording.

Who has used these mackie mixers? People who multitrack record their music from various boxes what insight can you give? The L-12 doesnt record any EQ to the individual files so it feels pointless even being in mixer format.

SHOULD i buy both and run one into the other??? Lol why am i such a daft bastard. Thanks for reading if you got this far. I really appreciate any thoughts shared, cheers.


I have no experience with either. I just want to respond to your thread because long time no talk.

I looked up that Mackie. That thing looks like it’d be super fun to use, a joy to mix on. If I’m reading your post correctly you’d be sacrificing the ability to fully multitrack. I think though what you’d gain would be a mass amount of enjoyment using that board.

I don’t see any reason though to have both mixers. I’d ditch the zoom and just run the 8 mackie outs to the interface you have, or something like that.

Let us know what you decide and link us to some demos.

1 Like

I’ve not had any experience with the Mackie console, But I do have a Behringer Xynyx 1222 12 channel/16 input and I cannot even begin to think how I would approach my workflow without it. Honestly Its the perfect size too and built in multi-fx (I think the Mackie has that as well) Now 12 channels doesn’t seem like alot but what keeps me coming back is the fact that my DAW is assigned to 1 channel, Thus freeing up 11 I/O channels with preamps ripe for the guitar and the mic(s) So I can effectivly have a stupid amount of virtual busses via Ableton and still squeeze in these dinosaur machines via MIDI. I’m just gonna say it, fuck the bullshit with getting a focusrite Digi I/O and get that mixer…Especially if you can plug that shits in with the USB.

1 Like

Thanks guys. The thing is i know how i get wrapped up in the idea of something and 9/10 its never what i actually want when i put it into practice… by then ive usually spent several hundred pounds lol

@JvS it has no USB at all its just a big old sexy mixer! Ive started, about 13 years too late, to listen to some aphex twin stuff. I was listening to analogue bubblebath 5 and it sounds beautiful. Lacking in hi end in such a nice way, punchy and parts sound overdriven through a desk to me. I dunno. Of course I dont believe that a simple mixing desk will somehow make all my shit sound like gold but i love the idea of it potentially imparting a sound in a good way. With the zoom at best you would hope that it doesnt have any impact on the sound at all as its just a digital recording device.

Fuck knowssss

1 Like

I’d just buy an interface that has enough inputs. That will streamline things. And I wouldn’t buy something weird either. Just an interface with plenty of inputs. I wouldn’t even mess around with that Zoom Livetrack personally.

1 Like

Well interfaces are weird. After 8 inputs they dont really keep going up, you either have to buy an expensive interface and then an extension using the adat connection on the interface or you have to spent a shit ton of money. The zoom thing is pretty much the only affordable interface with 12 inputs that just happens to have the functionality of being able to multitrack standalone.

That is true. I think it was @chasedobson told me that Behringer makes a pretty damn good ADAT. If you do your research you might be able to find an older model interface that links up with another of its model easily. At one point I almost bought another MOTU 828 MKII because apparently you can just link them easily to double your inputs.

Besides the hassle of plugging and unplugging is there a reason you want to multitrack everything at once? You could just get a patch bay and rig it to make switching the inputs to your interface easier.

1 Like

Yeah, ADA8200 is pretty sweet for the price:


I have a focusrite 8i6 with no adat connection, i have a semi newly bought m audio m track 8 with no adat connection. It would mean buying another interface and an extension and would cost me hundreds more than the zoom mixer and i would have to turn a computer on for it to work.

The decision making is actually getting harder and i need to work it out because theres 22h left on an ebay auction for the Mackie mixer i would want.

Im pretty set on the mackie mixer now i know how the sub groups work… you can assign any channel to the 8 sub outs so i would be able to squeeze 12 inputs for example throught the 8 outputs with some sounds sharing a track. I could have the outs from the mixer permanently plugged into the the back of the M audio interface which is great because fuck trying to get round the back and unplug things all the time. The only problem with it is that it would require the computer present to record and i cant tell you how excited I would be to remove the computer from the room entirely. that would make my nips expand.

Im only going to know how things will work out by just fucken buying one of them and seeing what happens so i guess ill ride the ebay wave in 22 hours and try and use my instincts to decide whether to buy or not lol I probably dont have enough cash anyway atm

I would still love to hear anybodies experiences as it is all valuable insight, thanks

Ah. Sorry man. I don’t have a good suggestion really. That Mackie mixer looks awesome.

It has gotten me in trouble money wise…but I never knew if I was going to like something until I could try it…which meant buying it.

The only thing I can think to say is on all the analog mixing boards I used the headroom disappeared fast fast fast. It isn’t like digital. Maybe that doesnt matter for how you work. Also…I never owned a board where overdriving channels sounded good.

1 Like

Hmmmmmm youre killing me man because i know youre right haha if i get the mackie i’ll probably know within 30 mins of using it if i fucked up or not.

Edit: ahhhh fuck i bought the mackie.


I know you already bought the Mackie, but you might read this thread. At least in regards to driving stuff. I think the thing you might be looking for there is tape, which that thread is related to VCRs.

I know it doesn’t necessarily help you with your non-pc build but something I’ve been wanting to experiment with myself. Tape warble, driving, tempo change, etc. Think it might be pretty neat. Though some of those old tape recorders are alittle high. But there are some neat 4track ones out there. Also, the reason I don’t go after a digi one.

I hope you like the Mackie. If for nothing else, the ease to get you sorted with your gear.

I’m actually on the fence about buying a bigger AI or, for the first time, a mixer myself. I don’t care to limit my PC usage so I’m thinking a mixer would be fine with enough inputs. I can then solo stuff to record individually into the daw.

Let us know how it goes.

1 Like

I mean if you basically just want all your shit to be plugged in all the time, a mixer isn’t a bad way to go. And it sounds like the Mackie mixer was going to have some other uses for you as well.

1 Like

Honestly just get The Interruptor Wow n Flutter and de la Mancha Unstable (both freeware/abandonware, but I still use both of them) and a decent tape vst.

However, you should defo check out this dude on Instagram he does cool shit with four tracks all the time. actually @bbb I think you recently posted a VST that is related to him in some fashion.

I’ve played with cassette and VHS and never got much that was worth the hassle of recording to tape then back into the computer. So people are really successful at using VSTs or the real thing to get a certain sound, I’ve mostly only ever come up with a muddy mess.


If it’s the one I think it is, it’s pretty neat. Will definitely check him out, and the plugins.

It was some kind of weird delay plug in I think.

1 Like

Yea, Replika or Drifmaker. Both neat. Driftmaker is free.

It was a free one, I downloaded it : ) Haven’t installed yet, but great find. Anyway…/OT

Thanks for linking that dude. Already enjoying.

Yeah, as far as the drive that i was talking about, I dont imagine it being something i do heavily to one sound as an obvious effect but more of a mainly undetectable cumulative effect that colours the finished track as a whole. Maybe not it doesnt Matter too much.
Edit: what i mean is that if its gonna be useful it will be best used in a very subtle way.

Whats really exciting for me is that it presents a big change to workflow. Without it i would be endlessly plugging and unplugging different synths and samplers, effects etc to route them in different ways and to change which of the sound modules gets a direct input into my interface.

In theory i can leave everything plugged into the mixer in the same place, route the channels to whichever of the 8 buses i like, and then the 8 bus outs just stay plugged into the 8 inputs on my interface. I also have the alt 3/4 outs of the mixer permanently going into the inputs on my octatrack. That way i can sample anything thats going into the mixer, choosing which channels i want to send to be sampled, with no danger of feedback. I can EQ the sound and add effects to whatever im sampling (which massively enhances sound sculpting capabilites when resampling) and the whole time i can leave my octatrack outputs plugged into a channel on the mixer no problem.

If i can get that to work it and learn it so its muscle memory i will be absolutely sailing. Did any of that make sense? Lol

Even if it doesnt work out like that its a 16 channel mixer so i can use it to sum things down into a format where i can record it all across 8 channels