IK Multimedia iRig Pro Vs. PreSonus StudioLive AR12c: 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 AR12c.

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 AR12c. 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 AR12c

Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer: In-Depth Review After Extensive Use

Initial Impressions and Functionality

After over two years of using the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer, I've got a lot to share. Initially, this mixer impressed with its robust features – SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, and the abundance of free software it comes with. The multi-track software, particularly useful for recording and editing, adds significant value. Its form factor and features like the microphone preamps and USB-C connectivity seemed promising for a range of applications – from music production to podcasting.

Performance and Reliability Issues

Short Lifespan and Quality Concerns

The major downside, however, has been the mixer's reliability. It worked flawlessly for a period, but after 2.5 years, it abruptly stopped working. This was particularly frustrating as the mixer was handled with care and never subjected to any rough use. The lack of durability for a high-end piece of equipment is a significant drawback, especially considering the cost of repair, which can run into hundreds of dollars.

Customer Service Experience

Lack of Support and Warranty Concerns

My experience with customer service was less than satisfactory. When the mixer failed, I reached out, only to be told that it was out of warranty. While this is technically true, the expectation for a quality mixer to last beyond 2.5 years is reasonable. The company's approach to customer service and their unwillingness to provide support or reasonable repair options is a major red flag.

Sound Quality and Features

Excellent Audio but Some Limitations

On the positive side, the mixer's sound quality is excellent when it works. The microphone preamps, while needing to be turned up high for certain mics, provide clear and crisp audio. The multi-track capabilities are user-friendly and the mixer is fairly easy to navigate, even for those new to audio equipment. The inclusion of SD card recording and Bluetooth adds to its versatility, although the SD recording could benefit from more informative display features.

Form Factor and Build

Good Design with Some Build Quality Issues

The mixer's form factor is appealing – it's compact and fits well in various setups. However, the build quality seems to be a concern given the longevity issues I've experienced. The unit feels sturdy initially, but the internal components may not be as reliable.

Overall Experience

Mixed Feelings Due to Reliability Issues

In summary, while the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer offers a range of impressive features and excellent sound quality, its reliability is a major concern. The poor customer service and the mixer's short lifespan significantly overshadow its initial appeal. For those considering this mixer, it's crucial to weigh these factors. The possibility of encountering similar issues and the lack of support from Presonus might be deal-breakers for many potential buyers.

Head 2 Head: IK Multimedia iRig Pro or PreSonus StudioLive AR12c

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

When it comes to first impressions, the IK Multimedia iRig Pro made quite an impact. This audio interface is compact, lightweight, and loaded with features that make it a standout in its class. It's like a Swiss Army Knife for audio recording – versatile, efficient, and always ready to get the job done. The intuitive control surface immediately felt familiar, as if I've been using it for years.

Recording and Input Quality

Audiophile Approved Sound Quality

I dove right into testing with my trusty microphone and guitar direct line. Setting input levels was as easy as opening a bag of chips at midnight – no fuss or mess involved. The result? Crystal clear recordings with no lag whatsoever. Logic recognized the device instantly, making integration smoother than my attempts at latte art. The onboard phantom power did require some tweaking to optimize for my condenser mic, but hey – even geniuses need fine-tuning.

Build and Connectivity

Designed for Durability and Versatility

The IK Multimedia iRig Pro feels sturdy enough to withstand a few bumps during those impromptu jam sessions in your home studio setup. Its range of connection options – MIDI in and out, high-end XLR output, battery or USB power – make it as adaptable as an octopus doing yoga. Plus, it plays well with both computers and mobile devices, making it a top choice whether you're holed up in your studio or on the move.

Standalone Mixer Functionality

Crisp Sound Output Despite Limited EQ Controls

As a standalone mixer, the iRig Pro is no slouch. Sure, it doesn't have EQ controls on its surface, but pair it with external mic preamps or effect pedals and you'll be rewarded with sound output that's as stellar as a clear night sky.

Portability and Power Efficiency

Ready to Roll Anytime, Anywhere

The iRig Pro's portability gets a massive boost from its ability to run on battery power. I haven't fully tested the limits of its battery life yet – but so far, so good. The IK Multimedia support team also deserves a shout-out for their swift response when I had issues with a missing serial number/registration card.

Presonus StudioLive AR12c: Promising But Has Its Pitfalls

On the other hand, we have the Presonus StudioLive AR12c. Initially, this audio mixing beast won me over with features like SD recording and Bluetooth connectivity. Plus, it came bundled with heaps of free software – talk about an early Christmas! Its microphone preamps and USB-C connectivity seemed ideal for music production and podcasting.

Performance and Reliability

A Downward Spiral of Durability Concerns

However, after about 2.5 years of use, my Presonus unit conked out faster than an overplayed pop song on the radio. For a high-end piece of gear used in studio recording and handled with care, this was quite disappointing.

Customer Service Experience

A Hard Pill to Swallow

To make matters worse, the customer service team at Presonus was about as helpful as a chocolate teapot. Despite my equipment being just outside the warranty period, I was left high and dry with no support or reasonable repair options.

Sound Quality and Features

Impressive Audio but Limited in Scope

On the upside, when it's working, the StudioLive AR12c does deliver excellent sound quality. The mic preamps provide clear and crisp audio, although they do need to be cranked up a notch for certain mics. It's user-friendly and easy on the eyes, but could use some improvements in its SD recording display features.

Overall Experience

A Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions

All in all, while the Presonus StudioLive AR12c has a lot going for it in terms of features and sound quality, its reliability issues are a significant drawback. Poor customer service and lack of durability significantly marred my experience with this mixer.

And The Winner Is…

The IK Multimedia iRig Pro Takes the Crown!

After careful consideration (and many cups of coffee), it's clear that the IK Multimedia iRig Pro comes out on top. Its compact design, versatile connectivity options, excellent input quality, and robust build make it a superior choice for both studio recording and portable recording device applications. While both have their pros and cons, in this case – reliability trumps all. After all, what good is an audio interface if you can't rely on it to perform when you need it most?