PreSonus StudioLive AR12c 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 AR12c 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 AR12c 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 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.

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 AR12c or Rode Rodecaster Pro II

Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer: A Rollercoaster Ride

Straight out the gate, the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer was like a kid in a candy store. The SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, and a plethora of free software all wrapped up in one device? Yes, please! But alas, some candies are just too good to be true.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

A Tale of Two Halves

This mixer is like that charming date who whispers sweet nothings into your ear but never calls back. For 2.5 years we had a good run – recording music, creating podcasts – until one day it decided to pack its bags and leave without as much as a farewell note. Not cool, Presonus, not cool.

Customer Service: A Ghost Town

The Sounds of Silence

Reaching out to customer service felt like shouting into the void. The only response being an echo reminding me about warranties and the harsh reality that my beloved mixer was beyond salvation. A truly haunting experience.

What's Left Behind

Crumbs from A Better Time

Despite its heartbreaking exit, I must admit the Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer did have its golden moments. The sound quality was crisp and clear as spring water when it worked. Its compact form factor fit well into my setup like an old comfy chair.

RØDECaster Pro II: The Comeback Kid

First Impressions Are Not Always Right

When I first met the RØDECaster Pro II, it was like a shiny new toy – full of promises. However, the lack of basic three-frequency EQ control made me feel like I'd been shortchanged. But hey, nobody's perfect, right?

Compatibility and Adjustments

Playing Nice with Others

The RØDECaster Pro II didn't play well with my Heil PR40s at first. It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. But after some post-production tweaks, we started to get along.

The Plot Twist

Second Chances Do Exist

Just when I was about to write off the Rodecaster Pro II, it pulled a rabbit out of its hat. A new software update came along that addressed my concerns and more! It was like seeing an ex turn their life around. You can't help but feel proud.

But Wait… There's More!

Nothing Is Ever Perfect

Let's be real, though – the RØDECaster Pro II has its quirks as well. Power and USB issues? Check. Frustrating user experiences? Double check. But unlike my old flame, Presonus, this one is willing to work on its issues.

And The Winner Is…

In this epic battle between audio titans, there can only be one winner. Drum roll please… The award goes to the Rode Rodecaster Pro II. Sure it has its flaws but its commitment to keep improving is commendable (take notes Presonus). While it might not be perfect, it's a reliable partner for any content creator or podcaster. So here's to the Rodecaster Pro II – the comeback kid that won my heart (and my podcast).