Presonus StudioLive 1602 Vs. Yamaha MG12XU: 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. Yamaha MG12XU.

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 Yamaha MG12XU. 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.

Yamaha MG12XU

Compact Powerhouse: Yamaha MG12XU

Surprisingly Small, Yet Highly Functional

The Yamaha MG12XU, smaller than anticipated, delivers on functionality. Perfect for various needs, it's a testament to Yamaha's reliability in audio equipment. The delivery was swift, and the product arrived well-protected and in immaculate condition. A clear choice for those seeking a compact yet powerful mixer.

Optimal Recording with Analog Console

Exceptional Instrument Recording

This mixer shines in analog recording, making instrument recording truly incredible. Its design and capabilities cater to both casual and professional users, offering quality sound recording in a compact package.

Yamaha's Unmatched Quality

Consistent Excellence Across Products

Yamaha's reputation for quality is well-earned, and the MG12XU reinforces this. The brand's consistent delivery of superior products makes it a go-to choice for many audio enthusiasts.

Headphone Output: Room for Improvement

Additional Amplification May Be Needed

Despite the overall impressive performance, the headphone output volume is a notable downside. Users might need to invest in a headphone amplifier, which is an additional cost and somewhat diminishes the mixer's value proposition.

Versatility and Clarity in Mixing

Substantial Build with Intuitive Features

The Yamaha MG12XU offers a versatile mixing experience with clear signal routing, as detailed in the user manual. Its substantial case, smooth controls, and impressive feature set place it above competitors like Mackie and Behringer. This mixer excels in various settings, from live performances to home studios.

USB Interface: A Mixed Bag

Good Analog Mixing, USB Driver Issues

While the analog mixing capabilities are commendable, the USB driver can be finicky, leading to distortions and static issues. However, once the right driver (version 2.03) is installed, the mixer performs flawlessly. This hiccup can be a bit frustrating but is manageable with some technical know-how.

Seamless Setup and Reliable Performance

Effortless Integration with Existing Systems

The setup process is straightforward, taking only about 30 minutes to fully integrate with various inputs. Its excellent signal-to-noise ratio and smooth, silent control operation make it a reliable component in any sophisticated audio setup.

Impeccable Packaging and Delivery

Secure Shipping, Excellent Condition

The packaging for the Yamaha MG12XU was done exceptionally well, ensuring the mixer arrived in perfect condition even when shipped internationally. The lack of any humming noise and the smoothness of the long-throw faders are highlights, offering a substantial improvement over previous mixers like Behringer.

Pre-Owned Yet Functional

Value for Money in Used Purchase

Purchasing this mixer used proved to be a wise decision. Despite being pre-owned, the mixer exhibited minimal damage and continued to function effectively, providing significant savings without compromising on quality.

Need for Better Support and Durability

Consider Other Options for Long-Term Use

While the Yamaha MG12XU offers excellent features, its durability and the lack of supportive customer service can be concerning. The mixer may encounter output issues over time, and the cost of repair might outweigh the benefits of keeping it. Prospective buyers should weigh these factors and possibly explore other mixers for more reliable long-term use.

Head 2 Head: Presonus StudioLive 1602 or Yamaha MG12XU

PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB: The Perfect Blend of Analog and Digital

Alright, let's dive right in. The PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB is a brilliant piece of equipment for any music buff, but it doesn't come without its quirks. Straight outta the box, the setup is as easy as pie with a ton of helpful YouTube tutorials to guide you through the process. The integrated recording software, Studio One, is an absolute joy to work with – intuitive and powerful. The sound quality? Top-notch! It captures the essence of live performance like a champ, delivering playback that's just as good as the live version.

A Few Speed Bumps on the Way

However, not everything's roses and rainbows. PreSonus' customer support can be a bit of a wild card. Some users have reported issues with warranty support on fairly new units which could be concerning if you run into problems down the road. Another thing worth noting is the learning curve – this board and its software are quite beginner-friendly but might require some learning if you're moving from analog to digital.

Remote Control and Portability: A Mixed Blessing

One cool feature that sets it apart from others? Remote control via laptop and router! It adds convenience in live settings but requires extra gear which may not be ideal for everyone. In short, this mixer delivers top-quality sound capture & playback, seamless integration with DAW but requires careful consideration on potential support issues and learning curve.

The Yamaha MG12XU: Compact but Mighty

Next up is the Yamaha MG12XU. This little guy may seem small but packs quite a punch when it comes to functionality. It's a testament to Yamaha's reliability in audio equipment. When it comes to analog recording, this mixer shines like a star, delivering exceptional instrument recording.

Consistent Quality with Minor Hiccups

Despite its impressive performance, the headphone output volume leaves something to be desired. An additional headphone amplifier might be needed which could add to the cost and somewhat diminish the mixer's value proposition. The USB interface can be a little finicky, presenting some distortions and static issues. However, once you get the right driver installed (version 2.03), it operates flawlessly.

Versatility and Clear Signal Routing

The Yamaha MG12XU offers versatile mixing experience with clear signal routing as detailed in the user manual. Its robust build, smooth controls, and impressive feature set make it stand out from competitors. However, while this mixer offers excellent features, its durability and lack of supportive customer service can be concerning for long-term use.

And the Winner is…

After weighing all the pros and cons of both mixers, I've decided that the clear winner has to be…*drumroll please*…the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. While both mixers have their strengths and weaknesses, what tips the scales in PreSonus' favor is its higher channel count (16 vs 12), seamless integration with DAW software (Studio One) which makes recording a breeze, scene-saving capabilities perfect for live shows, remote access feature offering added convenience in live settings. Although it does require some learning if you're transitioning from analog to digital and the customer support might be a bit hit or miss, it offers a wider range of features and capabilities which make it the better choice for semi-pro studios, small churches, and clubs.