Behringer XR18 Vs. Presonus StudioLive 1602: Head To Head Comparison – READ BEFORE YOU BUY!!

Choosing the right mixer when there are so many on the market these days isn't easy.
Especially when many of them are built for one specific need but being marketed as an all-rounder 🙄
But not to worry, I've got ya!
I have taken a deep dive into two beasts in the audio-mixing game and gone head to head with them: Behringer XR18 vs. Presonus StudioLive 1602.

We're looking at things like:
  • Sound Quality: This is the heart of the matter, right? How each mixer holds up in delivering crisp, clear audio. Are we talking about a mixer that makes your tracks sound like they're live from the garage, or are we hitting studio-quality sound?
  • Ease of Use: Nobody wants to spend hours figuring out which button does what. I’ll break down the user interface of both Behringer XR18 and Presonus StudioLive 1602. Are they plug-and-play easy, or will you need a PhD in mixology to use them?
  • Features and Functions: Ie. What's under the hood? Let's find out what sets them apart.
  • Durability: No matter your reason for buying, you want something that's gonna last, not fall apart after a few light sessions.
  • Price Point: Yep, money talks. When it comes to prices, we need to see which mixer gives us more bang for our buck. Is the higher price of one justified by its features, or is the other a hidden gem at a bargain price?
  • Customer Reviews and Feedback: What's the word on the street? Sometimes real-world use tells a different story than what the sales page says.

Behringer XR18

This is another mixer I got hold of just to review. It has a semi-hefty price-tag but what I will say is this: the Behringer XR18 is a unit that delivers far more than its price suggests. After several months of continuous use, I've faced zero reliability issues, making it a standout in its category.

Unbeatable Feature Set for the Price

The XR18's feature set is its biggest selling point. There's a wealth of options here that you'd struggle to find in other mixers within this price range. The audio quality is top-notch, and the control options are extensive. It's particularly great for those who need comprehensive control in a live setting or a studio environment.

Minor Downsides

Despite its strengths, there are a few areas where the XR18 could improve. One noticeable absence is the ability to do time-alignment, a feature available in the higher-class X32. There's also the matter of the built-in Wi-Fi, which can be a bit unreliable in live situations. I always ensure a hard-wired connection during critical events to avoid any potential connectivity issues. Lastly, there's a bit of a learning curve when switching between the software interfaces on different platforms, like iPad and computer.

Robust Software and Solid Hardware

The software is robust, offering comprehensive control over the unit, albeit with some platform-specific quirks. Hardware-wise, the unit feels solid and well-built, suitable for regular gigging.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you need a feature-rich mixer and the XR18 ticks all your boxes, go for it. It's an excellent investment, especially considering its price point. Sure, it has a couple of minor drawbacks, but these are easily outweighed by its overall performance and reliability. Whether for live use, studio work, or even podcasting, the XR18 is a versatile choice that won't disappoint.

Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB

After having a little play around with the Studio Live 16 from PreSonus, here's my verdict:

Setup and Software Integration

Straight out of the box, the setup was a breeze. There are tons of YouTube tutorials available that make configuring individual channels for various inputs like mics, drums, and guitars pretty straightforward. The recording software, Studio One, is a gem – intuitive and powerful. I even upgraded to the professional version because of a sweet 50% off deal they were running, and I'm glad I did.

Sound Quality and Recording Capabilities

The sound quality, both live and recorded, is top-notch. There's a certain accuracy in playback that makes the live music sound just as it's being played. The mixer does a great job in capturing the essence of live performance without any loss in sound quality.

Customer Support: A Mixed Bag

While I personally didn't run into major issues, I've heard some chatter about PreSonus' customer support being a hit or miss. One user mentioned an issue with warranty support on a unit just 45 days old, which is concerning. It seems like your experience might vary depending on the problem at hand.

User-Friendliness and Learning Curve

For beginners, this board and the accompanying DAW are a godsend. They're easy to learn and use. Even if you're at an intermediate level, like me, you'll find the Studio Live 16 to be quite adaptable. You can record jam sessions, concerts, and even phone calls with ease.

Remote Access and Portability

A standout feature is the ability to control the mixer remotely via a laptop and router, which adds a layer of convenience, especially in live settings. However, some users might find this setup a bit cumbersome, as it requires extra gear (laptop and router) for remote access.

Overall Experience

Overall, the Studio Live 16 is a great piece of equipment for semi-pro studios, small churches, and clubs. Its integration with Studio One DAW is seamless, and the mixer itself offers a great range of features. However, the learning curve can be a bit steep, especially if you're transitioning from analog to digital, and the remote access setup might not be ideal for everyone.

In short, if you're looking for a digital mixer that feels somewhat analog, has scene-saving capabilities, and offers remote access (with a bit of setup), the Studio Live 16 could be a solid choice. Just keep in mind the potential support issues and the learning curve involved.

Head 2 Head: Behringer XR18 or Presonus StudioLive 1602

Behringer XR18: The Underdog That Packs a Punch

When you first lay eyes on the Behringer XR18, your initial reaction might be, “Hey, this doesn't look like my traditional mixing console.” And you'd be right. This digital audio mixer is a beast in sheep's clothing. It offers a feature set that leaves other stage performance gear quaking in their boots. It's like that quiet kid at school who turns out to be a chess grandmaster. The audio quality this little box churns out is pure gold. It's as if the sound waves have been hand-polished by elves before being gently released into your eardrums. Talk about taking live sound seriously! But what about the control options, you ask? Well, let's just say they're more extensive than the director's cut of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Whether you're running a state-of-the-art recording studio or just need to bust out some serious decibels at your cousin's wedding, the XR18 has got you covered. But hey, nobody's perfect – not even our friend Behringer XR18. The inability to do time-alignment and sometimes shaky Wi-Fi can sort of feel like finding an onion ring in your fries – unexpected and slightly off-putting. But trust me, once you get used to managing these quirks (and keep that ethernet cable handy), it becomes part of its charm.

Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2: The Polished Performer

Now let's talk about the Presonus StudioLive 1602. This mixing console is as sleek and professional as they come – like a well-fitted tuxedo in a world of baggy jeans. Its setup and software integration are as smooth as butter on hot toast, making it a favorite among recording studio equipment. Let's not forget about the sound quality. Oh, the sound quality! The StudioLive 16.0.2 captures live music with such accuracy, it's like having your own personal band playing inside your head. But the cherry on top has to be its user-friendliness. Even if you're new to the world of digital audio mixers, you'll feel right at home with this one. It's like your first day at school – daunting at first, but before you know it, you're acing exams and high-fiving teachers in the hallway. However, no mixer can be all things to all people. While its remote access feature is as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce, the additional gear required can be a bit bothersome for some users. And let's not even get started on those customer support issues – sometimes it feels like trying to find Waldo in a crowd scene.

And the Winner Is…

After deep consideration and much chin-stroking, I declare the Behringer XR18 as our champion! While both contenders put up an excellent fight, it's the XR18's unbeatable feature set and top-notch audio quality that take home the gold. The Behringer XR18 is like that trusty Swiss Army knife you always keep in your pocket – reliable and packed with useful tools for every situation. Whether you're into live performance or studio work (or even if podcasting is more your thing), this versatile little beast is ready to deliver. That said, don't count out our runner-up just yet! If seamless software integration and user-friendliness are high on your priority list, the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 is still a solid choice. Just remember to keep that customer service number handy, just in case. So there you have it, folks! The battle of the mixers has been decided. May your tunes be sweet and your mixes be epic!