Presonus StudioLive 1602 Vs. Tascam Model 16: 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 16.

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 16. 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 16

I picked up one of these used to review for a few hundred. Here's the lowdown:

Initial Impressions

Right out of the box, the Tascam Model 16 felt like a good deal. Even though I got it ‘Used-Acceptable', it appeared brand new and functioned perfectly, saving me a significant amount. It's a testament to Tascam's build quality that a used unit can still perform like a fresh piece.

Usability and Versatility

The Model 16 is incredibly user-friendly. Its intuitive design blends low-tech ease with high-tech versatility. For someone who finds computer software a flow-breaker while recording, this Tascam is a dream. It allows recording directly to an internal SD card and then mixing on a computer, offering the best of both worlds.

Quality of Sound and Inputs

The sound quality is fantastic, making it perfect for both recording and live sound. However, I was initially taken aback by the “virtual” tracks 15/16 and the designated Bluetooth channel, limiting its effective input channels. It's a minor issue but something that should be clearer in the product description.

Recording and Playback Experience

When it comes to recording, the Model 16 shines. The process is straightforward, and playback quality is impressive. I especially appreciated the analog summing and HDDA preamps, which add a warm, rich tone to the recordings. The unit’s simplicity in recording makes it ideal for capturing live performances.

Software and Connectivity

A drawback is the mixer's limited software side. Unlike its smaller sibling, the Model 12, the 16 lacks MIDI connectivity, making time syncing with external gear a bit of a hassle. Additionally, the absence of FX return means using external effects requires sacrificing tracks, which can be limiting.

Overall Performance

Overall, the Tascam Model 16 is a solid performer with great sound and build quality. Its drawbacks are mostly in the finer details of software and input/output flexibility. It's a great piece of gear for those looking to record live performances or who want an easy-to-use interface for home recording. Despite its limitations, the Model 16 offers enough features and quality to justify its price.

Head 2 Head: Presonus StudioLive 1602 or Tascam Model 16

Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB: An Analog-Digital Hybrid

Right out of the gate, the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB impresses with its easy setup and software integration. With a little help from YouTube, you'll be routing your mics, drums, and guitars in no time flat.

Studio One: A Software Gem

The bundled DAW, Studio One, is a real treat – it's intuitive, powerful and plays nice with the mixer. I even snagged a 50% off deal on the pro version and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

Sound Quality: Live Music at Its Best

Now onto the sound quality – we're talking top-tier stuff here. The accuracy of playback is sublime; it captures live music as if you're right there in the audience.

Customer Support: It's a Jungle Out There

Though I had no personal run-ins with customer service issues, I've heard tales of warranty woes from some Presonus users. It's a bit like playing Russian roulette with their support team – sometimes you hit the jackpot; other times…not so much.

User-Friendly: A Godsend for Newbies

If you're just starting out in the world of sound mixing or if you're at an intermediate level like yours truly, this board is a dream come true. It's user-friendly and versatile enough for recording jam sessions or even phone calls.

Remote Access: A Double-Edged Sword

One of the standout features is the ability to control the mixer remotely via a laptop and router. While it adds a layer of convenience, especially in live settings, it can also be a bit of a hassle for those who prefer less gear.

Tascam Model 16: Used But Not Abused

Even though I got my hands on a used Tascam Model 16, it felt brand new and performed like a champ. It's proof that Tascam's build quality can withstand some rough handling.

Usability: High-Tech Meets Low-Tech

The Model 16 is incredibly user-friendly, blending high-tech versatility with old-school simplicity. For those who find computer software more of a hindrance than help while recording, this Tascam is your Holy Grail.

Sound Quality: Fantastic but Limited

The sound quality on this bad boy is fantastic. However, the “virtual” tracks 15/16 and the designated Bluetooth channel do limit its effective input channels – something to keep in mind.

Recording: Straightforward and Impressive

Recording with the Model 16 is as easy as pie, and playback quality is equally impressive. Thanks to analog summing and HDDA preamps, your recordings will have that warm, rich tone we all crave.

Software: A Few Hiccups

Where things get a little hairy is with software integration. The absence of MIDI connectivity means syncing time with external gear can feel like solving a Rubik's cube blindfolded. Plus, using external effects requires sacrificing tracks – not ideal in many scenarios.

The Verdict

After a detailed comparison, the clear winner here is the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. The seamless integration with the Studio One DAW, top-notch sound quality, and user-friendly interface give it an edge over the Tascam Model 16. While both mixers have their pros and cons, the StudioLive 16 stands out as a versatile tool for semi-pro studios, small churches, and clubs. Sure, it has a bit of a learning curve and some potential support issues. But for a digital mixer that feels analog and offers remote access (albeit with some setup), it's tough to beat.