PreSonus StudioLive AR12c 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 AR12c 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 AR12c 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 AR12c

Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer: In-Depth Review After Extensive Use

Initial Impressions and Functionality

After over two years of using the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer, I've got a lot to share. Initially, this mixer impressed with its robust features – SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, and the abundance of free software it comes with. The multi-track software, particularly useful for recording and editing, adds significant value. Its form factor and features like the microphone preamps and USB-C connectivity seemed promising for a range of applications – from music production to podcasting.

Performance and Reliability Issues

Short Lifespan and Quality Concerns

The major downside, however, has been the mixer's reliability. It worked flawlessly for a period, but after 2.5 years, it abruptly stopped working. This was particularly frustrating as the mixer was handled with care and never subjected to any rough use. The lack of durability for a high-end piece of equipment is a significant drawback, especially considering the cost of repair, which can run into hundreds of dollars.

Customer Service Experience

Lack of Support and Warranty Concerns

My experience with customer service was less than satisfactory. When the mixer failed, I reached out, only to be told that it was out of warranty. While this is technically true, the expectation for a quality mixer to last beyond 2.5 years is reasonable. The company's approach to customer service and their unwillingness to provide support or reasonable repair options is a major red flag.

Sound Quality and Features

Excellent Audio but Some Limitations

On the positive side, the mixer's sound quality is excellent when it works. The microphone preamps, while needing to be turned up high for certain mics, provide clear and crisp audio. The multi-track capabilities are user-friendly and the mixer is fairly easy to navigate, even for those new to audio equipment. The inclusion of SD card recording and Bluetooth adds to its versatility, although the SD recording could benefit from more informative display features.

Form Factor and Build

Good Design with Some Build Quality Issues

The mixer's form factor is appealing – it's compact and fits well in various setups. However, the build quality seems to be a concern given the longevity issues I've experienced. The unit feels sturdy initially, but the internal components may not be as reliable.

Overall Experience

Mixed Feelings Due to Reliability Issues

In summary, while the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer offers a range of impressive features and excellent sound quality, its reliability is a major concern. The poor customer service and the mixer's short lifespan significantly overshadow its initial appeal. For those considering this mixer, it's crucial to weigh these factors. The possibility of encountering similar issues and the lack of support from Presonus might be deal-breakers for many potential buyers.

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 AR12c or QSC TouchMix 8

Presonus StudioLive AR12c vs QSC TouchMix-8: Gear Face-off

Presonus StudioLive AR12c: Feature-Packed but Finicky

The Presonus StudioLive AR12c strutted into the scene with a chest puffed full of features. It promised to be everything from your music production buddy to your podcasting companion. We're talking SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, and a generous dose of free software – it had me at hello. But did it live up to the hype? Let's dive in.

A Mixer with Moods

While everything was peachy for the first couple of years, the mixer decided to throw a tantrum after 2.5 years and just stopped working. I'm not sure if it was its way of asking for a vacation or just poor build quality, but let's just say, it wasn't my idea of a good time.

Customer Service – A Ghost Town

Reaching out to customer service felt like yelling into an empty canyon – echoes and tumbleweeds, no real help. Apparently, my mixer was over its warranty period which is fair enough, but you'd expect a mixer in this price range to give you more than 2.5 years of good company.

Sound Quality and Features – The Silver Lining

The Presonus StudioLive AR12c still manages to shine when it comes to sound quality – crisp audio that would make an audiophile weep (in a good way). The SD card recording and Bluetooth features are handy additions too if you're into that sort of thing.

QSC TouchMix-8: Small but Mighty

Next up, the QSC TouchMix-8. This little dynamo packs a punch and replaces racks of EQs, compressors, and gates. Not to mention, its noise level is quieter than a mouse tiptoeing on cotton wool. Perfect for gigs or filming.

Power and Portability – Travel Buddy Material

Planning to hit the road with this mixer? Just remember that the AC adapter has more voltages than my teenage mood swings. But don't sweat it – with a 12-volt, 17-amp AGM battery and a mini sine wave inverter, you're good to go.

Touch Screen – Could Use Some TLC

The touch screen is a bit like that one friend who’s overly sensitive – it could use some tweaking. And while we're at it, let's throw in higher resolution graphics for the RTA and an LED screen update for those sunny outdoor gigs.

Reliability Issues – Deja Vu?

Now, this might sound familiar (hello Presonus), but there have been instances of aux sends acting up and the board freezing. And let's not forget about that laggy virtual fader movement on the touch screen – not exactly music to my ears.

Sound Quality and Effects – On Point

Sound quality? Check. Top-notch effects? Check. Compressor dials in just right? Triple check! The dynamics are as stellar as a shooting star.

And the Winner Is…

So, who takes the crown in this showdown? It's a tough call, but I'm handing the title to…QSC TouchMix-8! Despite its minor quirks, it delivers power and performance in a compact package that's hard to beat. Plus, its sound quality and effects can easily go toe-to-toe with other portable digital consoles in this range. The Presonus StudioLive AR12c might have given it a run for its money if it weren't for the reliability issues and customer service ghosting. So, if you're after big power in a small package, QSC TouchMix-8 is your mixer.