Rodecaster Pro vs. Zoom L8: Podcast Mixer Comparison Guide

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Over the last few years, audio content consumption through wireless and Bluetooth headsets has been on the rise. Zoom L8 units stand out among the most preferred brands in audio recording. On the other hand, Rode Rodecaster Pro ranks high in features, design, and performance. However, when choosing between both options, the following comparison can help you make the best decision depending on your needs.

What’s a Rodecaster Pro?

RODECaster Pro home setup. Image Source.

The Rodecaster Pro is a digital audio mixer with the power and flexibility to take your podcast from amateur to pro. With two USB microphones and XLR microphone inputs, you can record high-quality audio directly into your computer. In short, the Rodecaster Pro comes with everything you need to record professional audio. This includes a USB cable, XLR cables, mic stands, mic clips and windscreens, a desk stand, and the Mix Pad Pro mixing app—all in one convenient.

Related: RØDECaster Pro Preamps: Does a Preamp Improve Audio Quality?

What is a Zoom L8?

LiveTrak L-8 being used in a studio recording. Image Source.

The Zoom L8 is a 10-track digital recorder with a built-in mixer that makes recording songs, rehearsals, and live performances easier. You can mix music directly to SD cards at approximately 24-bit/96 kHz resolutions. An L-8 is simple enough for more casual recordings like podcasts, where you can also transfer your work to a digital audio workstation (DAW) for uncomplicated fine-tuning.

Comparing Features between Rodecaster Pro and Zoom L8

Making podcasts requires some technical know-how on audio and video recording software. With several recording units in the market, most people consider Zoom L8 and Rode Rodecaster brands because each has unique sound quality, build superiority, and versatility features. So let’s explore key features likely to guide you to the best fit.

File Management

The Zoom L8 offers various file management options ideal for musicians and engineers. You can use the SD card slot to expand the unit’s internal memory or add external storage via a USB drive or flash drive. What’s more, you can use the unit as an 8-track recorder, an audio interface, or a multi-track recorder/mixer combination.

Unfortunately, Rodecasters use microSD cards. The main downside is that microSDs are usually slower compared to SDs. In addition, they are too tiny and easy to lose or break. In this case, Zoom 8 takes the lead thanks to its reliability and ease of use.

Power

Both options operate through batteries. The Zoom L8 is powered by two AA batteries or a USB cable. However, a Rodecaster has a DC-USB cable that accommodates a USB battery. You only need a USB cable to power a Zoom 8, making it more convenient than a Rode.

Noise Reduction vs. Noise Gate

A noise reduction effect limits the amount going into your audio post. For example, the noise gate effect will only let sound through when the signal is above a set threshold. In addition, zoom 8 has a noise reduction feature that constantly suppresses background sounds.

Inversely, Rodecasters have the added privilege of adding noise gates to channels. A noise gate allows the signal through only when the mic picks up sound from your voice. As a result, the Rode has virtually no background noise or hiss, which is a plus over a Zoom 8.

Related: Noise Gate Hardware: Do I Need Noise Gates for Podcasting?

Headphones/Output Quality

The Zoom L8 has excellent headphones with great bass and upper end. You can use them for recording vocals, but not on high-end sounds. On the other hand, the Rodecaster Pro has lots of warmth in all ranges, especially when recording vocals or instruments. Yet, you may have to use a microphone with live bands for enhanced sound quality. Altogether, if you want something to capture your songs or provide feedback from a guitar amp, this is an excellent option at an affordable rate.

Transfer Speed

The Rodecaster is a high-speed device for transferring files. Nonetheless, a Zoom L8 allows you to share your files more quickly. For instance, when moving a 557 M file, the Rodecaster may take approximately a minute and 14 seconds. The Zoom L8 often takes a minute and two seconds.

Sound Pads

Sound Pads are the easiest way to transform a single instrument into an entire band. A Rodecaster has eight pads while zoom has nine. Still, a Rodecaster has the upper hand because you can use additional software to drag files to the unit. When using a Zoom 8, you can send files to the card and the unit. You can also convert your files with a Zoom 8 if need be.

Effects

Even if both units offer effects for every track, none give full slate effects to USB channels. This can be frustrating, but a Zoom 8 provides treble, bass control, low cut, and a limiter. Rodecaster has in-built Aphex effects, including aurel exciter, de-esser, bass, noise gate, and compressor.

PreAmps

There is a thin between the qualities of sound produced by both units. Zoom units boil down to 0 – +70 dB when comparing the specs. On the contrary, Rodecaster specs are 0dB – 55dB.

Recording Mode

Each unit provides individual tracks together with a stereo mixdown. With Rodecasters, you can only disconnect individual tracks recording and utilize the stereo mixdown. The silver lining is that users minimize unnecessary tracks, which takes plenty of storage in the storage card.

Price

The Rodecaster Pro is a more powerful unit, but it also costs significantly more than the Zoom L8. If you want to pay less for a unit that delivers excellent performance, the Zoom L8 is a great model. Currently, a Rodecaster Pro goes for approximately $599. A USB power cable may cost an extra $20.


For a quality Zoom 8, the asking price is roughly $499. You may have to pay an additional $49 for two Bluetooth adapters.

Bottom Line

Although the Zoom L8 is an excellent choice for a budget digital audio recorder, a serious audio professional or musician may find a Rodecaster more reliable. Rodecaster Pro delivers better value than the Zoom L-8 and has exquisite features such as an iPad mounting kit and Bluetooth connectivity. The Rodecaster Pro is also super easy to use and set up. You only need to connect it to your phone via Bluetooth or cable, and you are ready to stream.