Presonus StudioLive 1602 Vs. Rode Rodecaster Pro II: 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. Rode Rodecaster Pro II.

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 Rode Rodecaster Pro II. 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.

Rode Rodecaster Pro II

Real Talk: The RØDECaster Pro II Experience

High Expectations Met

When I first got my hands on the RØDECaster Pro, I was expecting something phenomenal. The multi-track recording with polywav files, one-button Bluetooth, USB in/out with mix-minus, and soundFX banks – it seemed like a complete package. It's like having your own audio production studio.

Initial Shortcomings

Lacking EQ Adjustments

However, it wasn't all perfect. The lack of basic three-frequency EQ control was a letdown. I thought the beautiful touchscreen would be perfect for this, but no luck. Not having these fundamental adjustments was a bit of a disappointment, especially considering its user-friendly design.

Microphone Compatibility

Not Just for Rode Mics

I don’t use a Rode mic – I’ve got Heil PR40s, which sound incredible with a Mackie mixer. So without onboard EQ, I had to tweak things in post-production. It’s a workaround, but not ideal. I’m curious to see how a Rode mic would fare, given their tuned presets.


Still Worth It?

Would I recommend the Rodecaster Pro? Absolutely. Despite some quirks, its potential is undeniable. It's a bit frustrating that I have to spend more time in post, which I hoped to avoid. But, I'm planning to test it with a Rode mic eventually.

Update: After Extended Use

Impressed by the Updates

After several months of use and with the release of the new software update, my view has shifted. The update addressed my concerns, adding controls for the onboard compressor, noise gate, de-esser, and more. It’s become a reliable workhorse for my podcast.

Power and USB Issues

A Frustrating Experience

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. There were power and USB issues that were quite troublesome. At one point, I couldn’t get the USB 1 to connect to anything, which was incredibly frustrating. This kind of issue is not what you expect from a premium product.

Final Thoughts

Great, But With Caveats

Overall, the RØDECaster Pro II is a powerful tool, but it comes with its own set of challenges. It's packed with features that any podcaster or content creator would love, but be prepared for some potential hiccups along the way.

Head 2 Head: Presonus StudioLive 1602 or Rode Rodecaster Pro II

Studio Session: The Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB

The Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB piqued my curiosity, so I took it for a spin. And boy, was it a smooth ride! If you're terrified of setting up new gear (like me on most days), you're in luck – this machine is plug-and-play personified. There's a buffet of YouTube tutorials to help you get your bearings and fine-tune those channels for different inputs. Fine-Tuned Audio Quality

The sound quality of this bad boy is like a perfectly aged whiskey – rich, full-bodied, and smooth as silk. It captures the nuances of live performances with such accuracy that you'll feel like you are on stage yourself.

A Word (or Two) about Customer Support

I can't say I had any major hiccups with the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB, but word on the street is that their customer support can be a bit hit or miss. One user even mentioned an issue with warranty support on a barely two-month-old unit which is just not cricket.

The Learning Curve: Friend or Foe?

No need to worry if you're new to this game – this board and its accompanying DAW are as beginner-friendly as they come. And if you've been around the block (like yours truly), you'll love how adaptable it is.

Freedom with Remote Access

One thing that sets the Presonus StudioLive 16 apart from the rest is its ability to be controlled remotely via a laptop and router. However, this might not be everyone's cup of tea as it requires additional gear for remote access.

All in All with the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB

Overall, the Presonus StudioLive 16 is a great choice for semi-pro studios, small churches, and clubs. The learning curve can be a bit steep if you're transitioning from analog to digital and the remote access setup might not float everyone's boat.

On Air: The Rode Rodecaster Pro II

When I first got my mitts on the Rode Rodecaster Pro II, I was expecting fireworks. And it did not disappoint. A Few Initial Hiccups

However, all was not rosy in the garden. The lack of basic three-frequency EQ control was a letdown considering its user-friendly design.

Microphone Compatibility: Not Just for Rode Mics

While I don’t use a Rode mic myself, this baby still worked pretty well with my Heil PR40s – though some post-production tweaking was necessary due to the lack of onboard EQ.

After Extended Use…

After several months of use and with a new software update, my initial concerns were addressed. However, power and USB issues did creep up which is not what you expect from a premium product.

The Final Verdict: Drumroll Please…

Weighing up both contenders, it's clear that each has its strengths and weaknesses. But if push comes to shove and I had to pick just one – drumroll please – it would be the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. The Presonus StudioLive 16 offers a seamless integration with the Studio One DAW, a great range of features and excellent sound quality. While it does have a bit of a learning curve and potential support issues, its overall performance outshines the Rode Rodecaster Pro II. The Rodecaster Pro II has undeniable potential and its feature-packed design is perfect for podcasters or content creators. However, it doesn't quite clinch the top spot due to some technical hiccups and lack of basic EQ control. So there you have it folks, the Presonus StudioLive 16 is my pick of the day!