So you’re looking to invest in better equipment for your podcast. Great! That means you understand the power of a quality audio setup. If you’re currently browsing through potential options, you’ve likely run across the ZOOM PodTrak P8.
This mixer hardly needs an introduction: it’s one of the most popular tools for recording, mixing, and editing multitrack podcasts. It’s also high-quality enough to record your business podcasts.
That said, the ZOOM Pod Trak P8 isn’t the best fit for every business, especially when considering its sampling rate and cost. We built this guide to help you make an educated decision before choosing the right podcast mixer for your needs.
Let’s dive in.
- ZOOM PodTrak P8 at a glance
- ZOOM PodTrak P8 features
- ZOOM PodTrak P8 hardware
- How to use the ZOOM PodTrak P8
- Alternatives to the ZOOM PodTrak P8
- The bottom line on the ZOOM PodTrak P8
ZOOM PodTrak P8 at a glance
So what are the technical specs of the ZOOM PodTrak P8? We outlined the details in this comprehensive chart:
|Recording Media||USB Connector||Sampling Rate||Recording Format||Inputs and Outputs||Included Items||Price|
|SD cards up to 512GB||USB Type-C (sold separately)||44.1 kHz||16-bit/44.1kHz quality||8 channels in, 2 channels out||PodTrak P8;AD-14 AC Adapter; and aQuick Guide||$549.99 USD|
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at this mixer’s included features.
ZOOM PodTrak P8 features
The ZOOM PodTrak P8 is an audio recorder and mixer designed to simplify complex podcast environments. Its parent company ZOOM (no, not that Zoom) has a long reputation of producing high-quality audio products — and the ZOOM PodTrak P8 is no exception.
Its best features include:
- Six mic inputs: Each microphone knob offers 70 dB of gain, which means you can add extra pep to older mics. There’s also a menu with sound options for each mic so you can adjust the comp, tone, and preamp.
- Three remote interview plugins: You can record audio with offsite guests using a TRRS cable for phones, a BTA-2 Bluetooth adapter, or a USB port for computers. Callers receive a mix-minus return so they don’t hear echo or feedback while on the call.
- Six headphone outputs: You can adjust the volume of each output separately so you don’t accidentally overwhelm your guests.
- Eight faders: With these faders, you can easily adjust volume levels for mics, master mixes, and remote interview guests.
- Nine sound pad buttons: You can play jingles, sound effects, pre-recorded ads, or custom audio to make your podcast unique. You can also create four sound ‘banks’ with up to nine sounds and easily switch them out while recording.
- Touchscreen: The ZOOM PodTrak P8 comes with a full-color touchpad you can use to adjust audio, playback recordings, and boost tone or base settings.
- Audio interface mode: You can record your podcast directly to a computer so you don’t need to transfer files later. This also allows you to livestream your podcast if desired.
- Built-in editing: While it may not be a dedicated editing software like Adobe Audition, you can still use the ZOOM PodTrak P8 to perform basic audio edits. You can trim, split, and adjust the volume of any pre-recorded tracks.
ZOOM PodTrak P8 pros
- Six mic inputs offer much-needed flexibility for podcasters looking to host multiple guests
- Sound pads let you customize audio snippets with 36 separate options
- Extra-large SD card capacity can handle longer episodes
- Intuitive touchpad helps you start recording quicker
- Phantom power available on all inputs
ZOOM PodTrak P8 cons
- This unit is a somewhat pricier than other podcast mixers, including comparable alternatives like the TASCAM Mixcast 4 (more on this later)
- No built-in vocal effects like you can get with other mixers
- Somewhat limited recording format compared with other mixer alternatives
ZOOM PodTrak P8 hardware
It’s easy to get a feel for the ZOOM PodTrak P8. Since the intuitively color-coded design generally speaks for itself, the biggest learning curve starts with recording your first podcast.
Each P8 mixer comes with:
- Eight faders and on/off controls
- Nine sound pads with adjustable audio
- Six headphone inputs and audio knobs
- Six microphone inputs and live switches
- A full-color touchscreen for monitoring, adjusting, and editing audio
- Intuitive buttons for recording, pausing, stopping, playing, or flagging your audio.
You may have to purchase a few accessories sold separately, including:
- Zoom BTA-2 Bluetooth adapter
- Rechargeable batteries
- Mics and stands
How to use the ZOOM PodTrak P8
You don’t need to be a pro to record with the ZOOM PodTrak P8. But you do need to familiarize yourself with its layout before pressing record.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your hardware:
- Plug your AC adapter into the ZOOM PodTrak P8 and connect your first microphone.
- Place your SD card into the appropriate chamber and turn on the machine.
- Complete the setup information on the touchpad (preferred language, date and time, and on-air enablement).
- Attach your headphones to the Mic 1 position and switch on your mic.
- Adjust your faders to the proper position and adjust your headphone volume.
- Use the touchpad to adjust specific audio settings (like tone) to your preferences.
- Test your sound pad buttons and adjust the volume (you can import custom sounds using the USB port).
- Hit RECORD on the bottom right and capture your podcast audio.
- When you’re done, tap the PAUSE or STOP button to end the recording.
- You can edit your audio directly on the touchpad or move your SD card to a laptop to extract files.
- Be sure to name your recording correctly so you can identify the right track before publication and promotion.
There are a lot of fun features included in this mixer, so don’t be afraid to take your time exploring. You can check out this introductory video for extra guidance from ZOOM’s experts.
Alternatives to the ZOOM PodTrak P8
Does the ZOOM PodTrak P8 miss the target for you? One of our recommended alternatives may be what you’re looking for.
TASCAM Mixcast 4
The TASCAM Mixcast 4 is similar to the ZOOM PodTrak P8 in terms of layout, color scheme, and touchpad features. It’s slightly less expensive and supports fewer mic inputs, but records in a higher recording format (if that’s a higher feature on your list).
We wrote a guide to the TASCAM Mixcast 4 so you can compare and contrast their features at a glance.
It’s hard to go wrong with the Maonocaster E2, especially if you’re upgrading from an older mixer. While you won’t have a touchpad and are limited to just two mic inputs, it’s a cost-effective way to get great audio for your B2B podcast.
If you’re interested in getting an in-depth look and our thoughts on this mixer, you can learn more about it in our guide.
For an even smaller mixer with even more cost savings, the Maonocaster Lite may have what you’re looking for. You only get four customizable sound pad buttons, but this is likely all you need for your existing business podcast. It’s also a great alternative if you want a less complex interface, since every button comes with a label (and you don’t have to worry about touchpads).
For more information about the Maonocaster Lite, check out our full guide here.
The bottom line on the ZOOM PodTrak P8
The ZOOM PodTrak P8 is a prosumer solution for experienced business podcasters. While it may be more expensive than other alternatives, the price is worth the extra features.
Once you’ve recorded a new podcast episode on your PodTrak, be sure to consider how you plan to edit it. Our team at The Podcast Consultant is also happy to audit your existing podcast episodes, or help you launch a new podcast. We are here for you if you feel you want the help of a seasoned expert to take the guesswork out of building your production pipeline.
Want to learn more about how TPC can help? You can check out our podcasting services for B2Bs today. If you have specific questions or want to hop on the phone, you can book a discovery call to chat about next steps.