Midas MR18 Vs. PreSonus StudioLive AR12c: Reviewed & Compared

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: Midas MR18 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 Midas MR18 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.

Midas MR18

After thoroughly testing the Midas MR18 for a few months, I'm ready to spill all the details – the good, the bad, and the not-so-pretty. This mixer is a powerhouse in a compact package, perfect for both live sound and recording. Here's the full breakdown for anyone eyeing this mixer.

Sound Quality and Performance

Right off the bat, the sound quality is top-notch. The MR18 delivers a pristine audio experience with impressively low latency. Whether you're mixing live or laying down tracks in a studio, the clarity and warmth of the sound are remarkable. Plus, the variety of outputs offers immense flexibility, making it a versatile choice for various audio setups.

Build and Connectivity

The mixer is built tough with Neutrik connectors, ensuring robust and reliable connections. This is a big plus for anyone who's had to deal with flimsy ports in the past. The MR18's ease of configuration is another high point. It offers numerous signal routing options, catering to both planned and spontaneous audio needs. The price-to-quality ratio is exceptional, putting it ahead of competitors like the X-Air 18, especially with its superior Midas converters.

User Interface and Software

The software is intuitive and musician-friendly, not overly complicated like some gear designed with tech whizzes in mind. There's a wealth of online resources and user communities, which is a godsend for troubleshooting and getting creative with your setup. As an audio interface, it boasts 18 inputs and outputs, offering ample connectivity for most studio and live situations.

Challenges and Considerations

However, it's not all smooth sailing. While the MR18 is user-friendly, there's still a learning curve, especially if you're not used to digital mixers. It might take a bit of time to fully grasp all the features and make the most out of this mixer.

Also, while it works great as an audio interface, those who are looking for more integrated DAW control might find its capabilities a bit limited. It's more suited for live mixing and straightforward recording setups rather than complex studio productions.

Final Verdict

All in all, the Midas MR18 is a solid investment. It's especially great for live sound applications and straightforward recording needs. The sound quality is exceptional, and the flexibility in routing and connectivity is a major win. Just be ready to spend some time getting to know this mixer inside out. For its price point, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. Just remember, while it excels in many areas, it might not be the perfect fit for those needing advanced studio integration.

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: Midas MR18 or PreSonus StudioLive AR12c

Midas MR18: The Sound Maestro

Let's first dive into the Midas MR18. This mixer is like a little black dress – compact, versatile, and always on point. It's a total sound powerhouse that you'll want to take home to meet your mom – or at least your bandmates. With exceptional sound quality and low latency, it's like Midas touched this mixer with his golden hand. The Neutrik connectors are as sturdy as a superhero's shield, ensuring you won't be let down by flimsy ports mid-performance. Connectivity and Configuration

The MR18 also offers an impressive array of signal routing options for spontaneous jam sessions or meticulously planned gigs. It’s got the flexibility of a gymnast and the robustness of a weightlifter wrapped into one. Plus, its price-to-quality ratio would make even Scrooge McDuck smile.

Software That Doesn’t Make You Swear

The intuitive software makes setup as easy as falling off a log – but without the bruises! There's no need for tech wizardry here, just plug in and play. Plus, there’s an online community that’s got your back if you're ever in a pickle.

Room for Improvement?

But hey, nobody’s perfect! If you’re new to digital mixers, there might be a small learning curve – kind of like riding a bike for the first time. It might take some time before you’re doing wheelies with all its features. Also, if you're looking for more advanced DAW control for complex studio productions, this might not be your prince charming.

PreSonus StudioLive AR12c: A Rollercoaster Ride

Next on the list is the PreSonus StudioLive AR12c. This mixer entered the scene like a Hollywood heartthrob with its robust features and free software. The microphone preamps and USB-C connectivity had us at “hello”.

Performance Issues?

However, the honeymoon period was short-lived. After 2.5 years of smooth sailing, it hit an iceberg and stopped working – not exactly what you’d expect from a high-end piece of equipment.

Customer Support: A Love-Hate Relationship

Our love story with PreSonus took a turn for the worse when we called their customer service. Their response was colder than a winter in Westeros, leaving us out in the cold with our broken mixer.

Sound Quality and Features

It’s not all doom and gloom though! When it works, this mixer delivers crisp audio that’s as clear as a Malibu morning. The multi-track capabilities are easy to navigate even if you're as tech-savvy as my grandma, making it perfect for beginners. Plus, who can resist Bluetooth connectivity and SD recording?

The Final Showdown

So, after going through all the highs and lows with these two mixers, it's time for the final verdict. And like any good reality show, there can only be one winner. Drumroll please…The crown goes to Midas MR18. Why? It's simple: reliability is key when it comes to audio equipment. You need to trust that your gear won't fail you in your moment of glory – whether that's during a live gig or while recording your next hit in the studio. While the PreSonus StudioLive AR12c started strong, its reliability and customer service left us feeling like we'd been ghosted. On the other hand, Midas MR18 offered consistent performance, excellent sound quality, and a supportive online community. This mixer is like a trusted friend – always there when you need it. Sure, it might not be perfect for complex studio productions, but for most live and straightforward recording situations, it's a solid choice. In the end, as much as we love a good underdog story, the Midas MR18 takes home the gold. So if you're looking for a reliable mixer with top-notch sound quality that won't bail on you after a couple of years – this might just be your match made in audio heaven.