There’s a long standing problem with the Zoom L-12 that I identified when I first reviewed the Zoom L-12 (and was frustrated it still existed as an issue a year later when I did a follow-up video): The functionality of the USB input from the Zoom L-12 in to a computer.
If you didn’t know, this Zoom L-12 has both USB input/output capabilities. There is the possibility of doing 2 x stereo channels from a computer in to the Zoom L-12, but there is also the possibility to capture all 14 channels in to a computer. The reason there are 14 channels on the input is because channels 1-12 correspond with the channel numbers you see on the Zoom L-12; however, there is also channel 13/14 which is an additional stereo pair of the Master Mix (left/right) of the Zoom L-12. This Master Mix input is an important aspect, especially for people like streamers who are needing to capture/stream a mix of their entire board. For example, when I’m streaming Better Podcasting I need to stream the mix of everything going in to my Mixer out to Twitch. The PROBLEM, however, is that because the Master Mix was on channel 13/14, when software that didn’t support more than 2-channels (such as Xsplit, OBS, etc) would only pick-up channel 1 and 2 — and treat that as the input. This meant that without additional work-arounds, it wasn’t possible to use the USB-input to capture the Master Mix from the Zoom L-12 in to stereo-based software. The work around that I ended up using was to take the output from the XLR Master Out and pass it to a Behringer UMC202 input.
However, it appears this problem is now solved.
This week I had commenter Tom Wilson post on my One-Year Follow-up video the following:
23:00 the driver software now lets you change the order of the inputs, to make the stereo mix inputs 1/2 on USB. Mic 1 then becomes input 3, and so on. I don’t know if this was a change to the firmware, since I’ve only had my unit for a couple of weeks, but that’s definitely how it works on Windows systems now.
Upon investigation, I discovered that Zoom rolled out an update to the driver a couple months ago (September 2020) to allow users to select the Master Mix as the channels 1/2 on the input. When selected, this means that two-channel based software (stereo) now sees the Master Mix as channels 1/2 – a solve to the issue outlined above. Whilst I have yet to try it in Xsplit/OBS, I did do a quick test within Audacity to confirm the results.
Here’s a screenshot of the Zoom L-12 Software Update history log (yes, this is the entire log):
As you can see, the log references a supplementary manual, which expands a bit further on this functionality.
In order to get this new functionality, begin by updating your driver (this is available on the Zoom L-12 support page). Once you’ve installed the latest driver, open up the Zoom L-12 configuration utility. For me, I had to manually locate it under “C:\Program Files\ZOOM\L-12 Driver\”.
From there, open the Channel tab and select the second option that shows Master under channel 1/2:
Close the utility and you’re all set.
As mentioned, I’ve only had a chance to give this a quick test in Audacity, so don’t have any practical application experience yet. Although I’m glad to see that this has finally been implemented, I’m disappointed that it took so long for the change to happen. This is an issue that I identified early on in the life of the Zoom L-12 (and reported to Zoom), as well Zoom made a change to the functionality when they launched the Zoom L-8 to address this exact issue. As you can see from the update log, there hasn’t been an update to the driver since the initial launch – which is disappointing in itself. But, I guess we can get some comfort that the issue is now fixed for existing Zoom L-12 users and those who may be buying the L-12 from this point forward.
I’ll report back when I’ve given this a practical test.