Presonus StudioLive 1602 Vs. QSC TouchMix 8: 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: Presonus StudioLive 1602 vs. QSC TouchMix 8.

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 Presonus StudioLive 1602 and QSC TouchMix 8. 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.

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.

QSC TouchMix-8

I Got My Hands on the QSC TouchMix-8: Still Impressed

I got my hands on the QSC TouchMix-8 when it first came out, and man, it's still a game-changer. This little beast replaces racks of EQs, compressors, and gates. The best part? Everything's super easy to access. You don't need a cheat sheet for menus because there's no annoying digging through sub-menus. Plus, the noise level? Ridiculously low, perfect for on-location gigs or filming.

Power and Portability

If you're thinking of going mobile with this mixer, keep in mind the AC adaptor is proprietary, supplying several different voltages. While you won't need a gas generator, rigging an outboard battery means getting a 12-volt, 17-amp AGM battery and a mini sine wave inverter. Trust me, this board's powerful enough to lay down all your tracks on an optional SSD drive for processing through your favorite DAW.

Touch Screen: A Mixed Bag

Now, let's talk touch screen. The sensitivity can be a bit frustrating at times, and the graphics could use a higher resolution, especially for the RTA. An LED screen update would be nice, particularly for outdoor gigs.

Reliability Issues

One thing to note – there have been a few issues with the aux sends and the board freezing up. I've also noticed some lag when moving the virtual faders on the built-in touch screen, which can be pretty annoying. But remember, no mixer is perfect.

Sound Quality and Effects

The sound quality? Spot on. The effects are top-notch, easily rivaling other portable digital consoles in this range. The mic pres are good, and the compressor lets you dial in precisely. It’s a bit bright, but the dynamics are stellar.

Overall Verdict

Despite its few quirks, the QSC TouchMix-8 is a fantastic, powerful mixer in a compact package. It's got big power and a small footprint, making it a solid choice for those needing a robust feature set in a portable design. Just be prepared to deal with that touch screen and keep an eye on those aux sends.

Head 2 Head: Presonus StudioLive 1602 or QSC TouchMix 8

StudioLive 16.0.2 USB: The Jack of All Trades

Let's dive straight into the deep end with the StudioLive 16.0.2 USB from PreSonus. This beauty packs a punch in terms of setup and software integration. You needn't worry about getting lost in translation; there are truckloads of YouTube tutorials ready to guide you through every nook and cranny.

The Sound Quality and Recording Capabilities

The sound quality? Picture this: you're standing in a live concert, the music resonating through every fiber of your being. That's how accurate the playback is on this monster. And recording? It's like capturing a butterfly without harming its wings – all the essence, zero loss.

Customer Support: Well, There's Some Room for Improvement Here

Presonus' customer support seems like a lottery; sometimes you win, sometimes you don't – especially when it comes to warranty issues on relatively new gear (45 days old). So, buyer beware!

User-Friendliness and Learning Curve

On the bright side, whether you're a newbie or somewhere in between, this board is as user-friendly as they come. Heck, it even lets you record phone calls (take that for versatility)!

Remote Access: Handy but Requires Some Extra Gear

One standout feature has to be the remote access via laptop and router. Imagine adjusting your mix from anywhere in your venue without breaking a sweat! But it might not be everyone's cup of tea since it needs some extra gear.

Overall Experience

To sum it up, if you're looking for an intuitive digital mixer that feels a bit analog, offers scene-saving capabilities, and lets you control it remotely (albeit with a bit of setup), the StudioLive 16 might be your knight in shining armor. Just bear in mind the potential support issues and the learning curve.

QSC TouchMix-8: The Compact Powerhouse

Next up, we have the QSC TouchMix-8. Forget about racks of EQs, compressors, and gates; this little beast replaces them all without breaking a sweat. But that's not all – no more squinting at cheat sheets for menus; everything is right there! Plus, it's as quiet as a mouse.

Power and Portability

Planning to go mobile with this mixer? Take note, the AC adaptor is proprietary. But once you rig up an outboard battery with a mini sine wave inverter, this board packs enough power to lay down all your tracks on an optional SSD drive for processing through your favorite DAW.

Touch Screen: Like Dancing With Two Left Feet

The touch screen… well, let's just say it could do with some fine-tuning. The sensitivity can be as erratic as a puppy on steroids, and the graphics could use some sprucing up – especially for outdoor gigs.

Reliability Issues

It seems like this board has its share of teething issues too – aux sends being temperamental and freezing up incidents are not unheard of. And don't get me started on the lag when moving virtual faders on the built-in touch screen.

Sound Quality and Effects

But let's not be too hard on the QSC TouchMix-8. The sound quality is spot-on (I mean SPOT-ON), and the effects? Top-notch! It might sound a bit bright, but the dynamics are stellar.

Overall Verdict

Despite its quirks, the QSC TouchMix-8 packs a punch in a compact package. Perfect for those needing robust features in a portable design. Just be prepared to tango with that touch screen and keep an eagle eye on those aux sends.

The Final Showdown: And the Winner Is…

Drumroll, please… After weighing up the pros and cons of both mixers, I'm pinning my colors to the mast and declaring the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB as the clear winner. While both mixers have their merits, it's the seamless integration of StudioLive with Studio One DAW, easy learning curve for beginners, remote access capabilities (despite needing extra gear), and superior sound quality that tips the scales in its favor. But remember folks, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to mixing boards. If you're after power in a portable package, then by all means give QSC TouchMix-8 a spin. But if you're looking for an intuitive digital mixer with top-notch recording capabilities and remote access potential – then put your money on Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB.