Presonus StudioLive 1602 Vs. Tascam Model 12: 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. Tascam Model 12.

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 Tascam Model 12. 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.

Tascam Model 12

The Tascam Model 12 is going to require you read the manual a few times, for sure! But once you get past the initial learning curve, you'll find it's a versatile machine, capable of multi-track recording, interfacing with a DAW, and even Bluetooth connectivity.


It's a great choice for those who need an all-in-one device. The Model 12 acts as a smaller sibling to the 16 and 24 channel versions, offering a good balance of functionality and size. Its dual inputs (1 – 10) that accept both XLR and 1/4 inch TRS are particularly handy.


When it comes to connectivity, USB hookups work best when connected directly to the motherboard USB 2.0 sockets, as recommended in the manual. Some users have reported issues when connecting to USB 3.0 ports, so it's something to be mindful of.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is a big plus for the Model 12, with users noting its clean output over headphones or monitors. The Midi In and Out are a great addition, expanding its utility for various setups.

Phantom Power

A slight downside is the global Phantom Power option, which could be more useful if managed by software for each channel. It's crucial to ensure the Phantom Power is off before powering a new unit to protect any connected mics that don't require it.

Software Integration

For those using DAWs, the Model 12 functions well as an interface, though it requires some initial setup. It leaves a lot of room for experimentation and finding a workflow that suits individual needs.

User Tips

Some user tips to consider: the Sub Button on each channel arms the Headphones bus, essential for monitoring. The effects only work if all the Solo buttons are disarmed. And remember, you don't need to press the Play button alongside the Record button when making a track, which is a departure from older tape-based systems.

Overall Impression

While the Tascam Model 12 might have a steep learning curve and some quirks, it's a solid piece of equipment offering great value. It's an excellent choice for anyone looking to step away from complete reliance on a DAW, offering a more hands-on approach to recording and mixing. Just be ready to spend some time with the manual to unlock its full potential.

Head 2 Head: Presonus StudioLive 1602 or Tascam Model 12

Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB: The Smooth Operator

Let's start with the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. This is a mixer that knows how to make a great first impression – its setup is a breeze and it's as intuitive as it gets. If you're the type of person who dreads the thought of reading through manuals, this might be your new best friend! It's especially user-friendly for beginners, yet versatile enough for intermediates to enjoy tinkering with. The sound quality – oh boy, let's talk about that! It gives off an accuracy in playback that's so good, you'd swear you were at a live concert instead of your own living room jam session. The mixer captures every note, every beat, every strum like a pro. But here's where it gets tricky – customer support can be a mixed bag. While some users reported smooth sailing, there were others who found themselves navigating choppy waters when things went south. The ability to control the mixer remotely via laptop and router is quite cool, though not everyone might appreciate the extra gear required for this feature.

Tascam Model 12: The All-Rounder

Now onto the Tascam Model 12. This one requires some patience and time investment upfront; its manual isn't exactly bedtime reading material! But once you've cracked its code, oh boy are you in for a treat! This all-in-one device is as versatile as they come with dual inputs accepting both XLR and TRS – quite handy indeed! Sound quality is another strong point; clean output over headphones or monitors makes it a joy to use. The global Phantom Power option could be better if it was manageable on a per channel basis, but hey, nobody's perfect. Software integration for DAWs works like a charm although, again, it needs some initial setup. But once that's done, the Model 12 lets you play around and find your unique workflow.

And the Winner Is…

After thoroughly reviewing both mixers, the crown has to go to… drumroll please… the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. Why? Well, its ease of setup and intuitive software integration make it an absolute joy to use right out of the box. The sound quality is simply unmatched, and its user-friendliness for beginners is unparalleled. These factors outweigh the potential hiccups with customer support and slight inconvenience of needing extra gear for remote control. That being said, the Tascam Model 12 is still a worthy contender – especially for those willing to invest time in learning its quirks and appreciating its versatility. It's like choosing between two delicious desserts – you can't really go wrong with either! But remember folks – there can only be one winner here! Congratulations Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB – you truly live up to your name: Studio Live indeed!