Zoom’s Livetrak mixing desk turns your iPad into a music studio

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Zoom livetrak l-12
Zoom’s wonder-box has real knobs and faders, just like a proper music studio.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom’s new Livetrak L-12 could be the only box you need to turn your iPad into a mobile music studio. In one unit, the L-12 combines a mixer, a 12-track recorder, and an interface that lets you hook up all your musical instruments and gadgets to your iPad. And that’s just the beginning.

Livetrak L-12 is the ultimate iPad music studio

The L-12 isn’t just for the iPad. It can be used as a standalone mixer and recorder, or hooked up to any computer via USB. But that USB connection is “class compliant,” which means that it needs no special drivers. It can connect to an iOS device if you hook it up with Apple’s Lightning to USB adapter.

When connected to an iPad, the L-12 lets you plug in guitars, microphones or any other musical instruments to one of its 12 inputs. Those inputs will then show up in recording software like GarageBand. Likewise, you can also play music tracks from GarageBand out through the L-12 and into speakers, or to a venue’s PA system. That is, you could use the L-12 as a mixing desk on stage, routing your live instruments, as well as your recorded tracks or even your iPad’s app-based music instruments, into the house’s sound system.

Or you can just hook up your instruments and record directly into the Zoom L-12, then transfer all the separate tracks into your iPad or Mac for editing later.

It’s an impressive piece of kit, not least because it only costs $600. It also does way, way more than I have touched upon here — for instance, it can have up to five custom headphone mixes for outputting to lots of places simultaneously (eg. headphones, the main PA, plus a metronome click track for the drummer). The L-12 will be available in September.