IK Multimedia iRig Pro 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: IK Multimedia iRig Pro 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 IK Multimedia iRig Pro 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.

IK Multimedia iRig Pro

Unboxing and First Impressions

The IK Multimedia Quattro I/O is a compact yet feature-rich audio interface that stands out in its class. It's impressively lightweight and efficient, making it a versatile choice for musicians and audio engineers alike. When I first unpacked it, its intuitive control surface, reminiscent of other IK Multimedia devices, immediately struck a chord with me.

Recording and Input Quality

Crystal Clear Recordings with Zero Lag

My initial tests involved recording simple tracks into Logic using a microphone and guitar direct line. The input levels were a breeze to set, resulting in crystal clear recordings with no noticeable lag. The device was instantly recognized by Logic, offering seamless integration. The onboard phantom power efficiently powered my condenser mic, though it required some fine-tuning to achieve the perfect level.

Build and Connectivity

Sturdy Design with Versatile Connection Options

The build quality of the Quattro I/O feels durable, and its provision of MIDI in and out, high-end XLR output, and a variety of power options (battery or USB) add to its versatility. Its compatibility with computers and mobile devices is a significant advantage, making it a great choice for both studio and mobile use. The inclusion of all necessary cables and a tripod attachment is a thoughtful addition, enhancing its usability in live settings.

Standalone Mixer Functionality

Limited EQ Controls, but Stellar Sound Output

As a standalone mixer, the Quattro I/O performs admirably. While it lacks EQ controls on the surface, the quality of sound output when paired with external mic preamps or effect pedals is outstanding. This capability makes it a valuable tool for live performances.

Portability and Power Efficiency

Battery Life and Mobile Device Compatibility

The device's portability is enhanced by its ability to run on battery power when used standalone or with mobile devices. While I haven't fully tested the battery life limits, its performance in this mode has been reliable. The quick response from IK Multimedia support regarding a missing serial number/registration card was impressive and speaks volumes about their customer service.

Pros and Cons

Deep Feature Set with Room for Improvement

Pros: The Quattro I/O excels in its compact and lightweight design, making it easy to transport. Its deep feature set, including excellent mic pres, flexible input/output options, and compatibility across devices, sets it apart. Its functionality as a standalone mixer and inclusion of 48-volt phantom power are also noteworthy.
Cons: Despite its many strengths, there are some limitations, particularly for specific uses such as DJ'ing streaming, as some users have reported issues with sound quality and device freezing. Additionally, some users have found difficulties in processing effects on iPads.

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: IK Multimedia iRig Pro or Presonus StudioLive 1602

Unboxing the IK Multimedia iRig Pro, I was immediately greeted by a lightweight, compact piece of music production gear. My first impression, “This audio interface comparison is going to be fun!” The control surface's intuitive design had me nodding appreciatively, recalling other IK Multimedia devices I've used.

Recording and Input Quality

Testing the waters with some simple tracks recorded into Logic via microphone and guitar direct line, the iRig Pro hit all the right notes. Setting input levels was a breeze, yielding crystal-clear recordings sans any noticeable lag. The seamless integration with Logic and efficient phantom power for my condenser mic further sweetened the deal.

Build and Connectivity

A sturdy design that promised durability coupled with MIDI in/out, high-end XLR output, and versatile power options (battery or USB), made this studio equipment a standout in its category. Its compatibility with computers and mobile devices is a huge advantage for studio use and on-the-go music production alike.

Standalone Mixer Functionality

As an audio mixer comparison goes, the iRig Pro holds its own against bigger competitors. It might lack EQ controls on the surface but boy does it deliver on sound output! Pair it with external mic preamps or effect pedals and you've got yourself a stellar live sound equipment.

Portability and Power Efficiency

Did I mention that this portable recording device runs on battery power when standalone or paired with mobile devices? An added bonus is IK Multimedia's responsive customer support – they were quick to help when I came across a missing serial number/registration card issue. In short, if you're looking for an audio recording interface that's lightweight yet feature-rich, versatile in connectivity options, stands up as a standalone mixer (albeit limited EQ controls), and offers excellent customer support, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option than the iRig Pro. Now let's shift gears and check out the Presonus StudioLive 1602. Straight from the box, this studio equipment promises ease of setup. And true to its word, configuring individual channels for various inputs was a piece of cake, thanks to the abundance of YouTube tutorials.

Sound Quality and Recording Capabilities

The StudioLive 1602 delivers top-notch sound quality live and recorded. The accuracy in playback is impressive, capturing the essence of live performance without any loss in sound quality – a testament to its prowess as a digital mixer vs analog mixer.

Customer Support: A Mixed Bag

While my experience with Presonus' customer support was smooth sailing, I've heard other users having less-than-stellar experiences with warranty issues on relatively new units. So, it seems like your mileage may vary here.

User-Friendliness and Learning Curve

For beginners and intermediate level users alike, learning to use this board alongside its accompanying DAW is a breeze. You can record jam sessions, concerts and even phone calls easily with this audio recording interface.

Remote Access and Portability

The ability to control the mixer remotely via laptop adds convenience especially in live settings but it does require extra gear (laptop & router) which could be cumbersome for some users. To sum it up, if you're looking for a semi-pro studio equipment that feels somewhat analog-like with scene-saving capabilities and offers remote access (although it requires some setup), then StudioLive 16 could be your go-to choice. However do keep in mind potential support issues and steep learning curve if transitioning from analog to digital. Drumroll please… After comparing these two powerhouses of music production gear closely, I declare the IK Multimedia iRig Pro as the clear winner! Its superior portability, versatile connectivity options, standalone mixer functionality and excellent customer support edge out the Presonus StudioLive 1602. It's best suited for music producers and musicians who require a lightweight, compact yet feature-rich audio interface that delivers on both studio and mobile use. The StudioLive 16, though a solid choice for semi-pro studios, small churches and clubs, falls short due to its steeper learning curve and potential customer support issues.