PreSonus StudioLive AR12c Vs. Roland VR 1HD AV: 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. Roland VR 1HD AV.

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 Roland VR 1HD AV. 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.

Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer

I tested the Roland Video Switcher with audio capabilities for about a month, and here's my verdict: it's a compact powerhouse perfect for those tight on space but needing a robust video and audio solution.

Set-Up and Input Flexibility

Setting it up was a bit of a learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, the switcher's functionality was impressive. I connected a DSLR, a camcorder, and my laptop as input devices, alongside a 32GB storage device for still images and wave files. The lack of internal storage is a minor drawback, as all images and audio are stored on the external drive. Another minor hiccup is the need for images to be in Windows Bitmap File (.bmp) format, which requires a bit of extra work in conversion.

File Compatibility and Storage Tips

I encountered issues with a 128GB stick, but resizing BMP files to smaller than the maximum 1920 x 1200 pixels helped. Also, converting MP3 or MP4 files to wave format using Audacity or iTunes was necessary – a bit outdated, but manageable. It's a bit odd to still be using wave files in today's digital age, but overall, it didn't hamper the experience too much.

Streaming Capabilities and Support

A notable downside is that Roland doesn't include the USB A to B 3.0 cable needed for streaming, so be prepared to buy one separately. The setup is excellent for enhancing Zoom meetings or similar applications. However, don't expect to master it immediately – it requires some practice before using it for critical projects.

Reliability in Various Settings

The switcher has proven itself in different environments. From church services to educational settings, it's been reliable and easy to use. The build quality is solid, and the ease of streaming video and sound is commendable. However, there have been some issues post-software update, with the mixer crashing during live streams, which is something to watch out for.

Customer Support and Overall Satisfaction

When I faced connectivity issues with my iMac, product support was helpful in resolving them. Despite a few initial hurdles, I'm enjoying the switcher a lot. The ability to upload custom sound files and music adds a personal touch to the output.

Overall, this Roland Video Switcher is a great tool for anyone needing a compact, yet feature-rich, video and audio mixing solution. It's versatile, though it comes with a few quirks that require some workaround. But once you're past the learning curve, it opens up a world of creative possibilities.

Head 2 Head: PreSonus StudioLive AR12c or Roland VR 1HD AV

Alright, let's dive into the comparison between these two audio powerhouses: The PreSonus StudioLive AR12c and the Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer.

Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer: A Thrill Ride with a Few Bumps

Initial Impressions and Functionality:
When I first got my hands on the PreSonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer, it was like opening a treasure chest. This mixer comes loaded with features like SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, and stacks of free software. It's a Swiss army knife in the world of audio equipment – perfect for music production or podcasting. However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows.

Performance and Reliability Issues:

A Bit of Hurdle in Longevity:
This mixer performed like a champ for 2.5 years but then decided to take an early retirement. This would've been a minor hiccup if it wasn't for the steep repair costs that came along with it. The durability of this high-end piece of equipment was a letdown.

Customer Service Experience:

Better Luck Next Time:
When I contacted customer service about the failure, they said they couldn't help because it was out of warranty – not exactly what I wanted to hear when my expensive mixer stops working. Their lack of support left me feeling a bit like I'd been hung out to dry.

Sound Quality and Features:

All That Glitters is Not Gold:
The sound quality of this mixer is top-notch, with clear and crisp audio. The multi-track capabilities are user-friendly and the mixer is fairly simple to navigate. However, the display features for SD card recording could use a facelift.

Form Factor and Build:

A Beauty that Doesn't Last:
The mixer's compact form factor is a plus point. But the internal components seem to fall short in terms of longevity.

Overall Experience:

Reliability Issues Cast a Shadow:
Despite its impressive features and excellent sound quality, the reliability of the PreSonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer leaves much to be desired. This, combined with less than stellar customer service, can make it a hard sell. Next up, let's talk about the Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer.

Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer: Small but Mighty

Setting up this switcher was like learning to ride a bike – some initial stumbles but smooth sailing once you get the hang of it. The functionality was impressive, allowing me to connect multiple devices together with ease.

File Compatibility and Storage Tips:
There were some compatibility issues with larger files and certain formats. It felt like I had travelled back in time having to convert files into wave format – not exactly convenient in this digital age.

Streaming Capabilities and Support:

The Roland VR-1HD falls short by not including the necessary cable for streaming – so keep your Amazon cart ready. There have also been reports of the mixer crashing during live streams post-software update – something definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Customer Support and Overall Satisfaction:

Winning the Support Game:
When it comes to customer support, Roland takes the cake. They were helpful in resolving connectivity issues. Despite a few initial hiccups, the switcher has proven to be a reliable tool for enhancing video and audio output in various settings. After assessing both mixers, I crown the Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer as the clear winner. Despite its quirks – having to convert files and buy an additional cable – it offers robust functionality, solid customer support, and most importantly, consistent reliability. The PreSonus mixer may have some impressive features but when it comes to longevity and customer service, it falls short of expectations. Whether you're an audio enthusiast or professional streamer, you'll find the Roland VR-1HD is a reliable companion that's worth every penny.