PreSonus StudioLive AR12c Vs. Soundcraft Ui16: 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. Soundcraft Ui16.

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 Soundcraft Ui16. 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.

Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled Digital Mixer

I got my hands on the Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled 16-Input Digital Mixer about a month or two ago, and let me tell you, it's been an interesting ride. This mixer has its highs and lows, and I'm here to give you the full scoop.

The Good: Features and Flexibility

The Ui16 is packed with features that can make any tech-savvy sound person drool. First off, the ability to control it from a tablet or phone is a total game-changer. It makes sound checks a breeze, especially if you're running solo. The mixer comes with a range of inputs and outputs, offering ample flexibility for various setups. The built-in effects, including Lexicon reverbs and dbx dynamics, are top-notch, giving your sound that professional edge.
The mixer's wireless functionality is a big selling point. Although I did encounter some range issues, these were easily fixed with an external router or booster antenna. And hey, the built-in WiFi works decently enough for most situations.

User Experience: A Mixed Bag

Now, the interface… it's HTML-5 based, responsive, and packed with features. But, there's a learning curve, especially if you're new to digital mixers. The navigation can be a bit quirky, often redirecting you to the bootup screen, which can be annoying. And the manual? It's got some errors, so don't rely on it too heavily.

I did try connecting it to various devices. It worked seamlessly with my Android and iOS gadgets, but older computers might struggle. A tablet is definitely the way to go for the best control experience, as phone screens can feel cramped.

Performance and Sound Quality

Sound-wise, the Ui16 delivers. It's quiet, efficient, and the sound quality is impressive for its price range. I've used it in a church setting and for small events, and it's been great in both contexts. It's also surprisingly easy to use once you get past the initial setup.

WiFi Woes and Workarounds

The WiFi issues some users have reported are real. If you're planning to use this mixer actively during a performance, be prepared for potential dropouts. However, if you set your levels and leave them be, like I do, you might not even notice. And yes, investing in a better antenna or positioning the mixer wisely can mitigate these issues.


Overall, the Soundcraft Ui16 is a solid piece of equipment with a few quirks. It's not perfect – the WiFi can be finicky, and the interface has its idiosyncrasies – but the quality and flexibility you get at this price point are hard to beat. If you're willing to tackle a slight learning curve and can handle the occasional WiFi hiccup, this mixer could be a great addition to your audio setup. Just remember, it's more suited for scenarios where constant tweaking isn't necessary.

Head 2 Head: PreSonus StudioLive AR12c or Soundcraft Ui16

The Bout: PreSonus StudioLive AR12c vs Soundcraft Ui16

So, you're in the market for a new mixer and you've narrowed it down to two heavyweights: The PreSonus StudioLive AR12c and the Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled Digital Mixer. Both of these mixers have their strengths and weaknesses, so let's dive into the nitty-gritty details of each.

Rumble in the Audio Jungle: PreSonus StudioLive AR12c

First up, we have the PreSonus StudioLive AR12c. This mixer really knows how to make a first impression. With features like SD recording, Bluetooth connectivity, and a smorgasbord of free software, it's like walking into an all-you-can-eat buffet – only instead of food, you’re feasting on audio goodness. However, after 2.5 years of use and abuse (you know who you are), this mixer decided to take an early retirement. Imagine your favorite band just walking off stage mid-concert without so much as a wave goodbye. Ouch. Customer service? Well, let's just say they wouldn’t win any awards for their warmth or helpfulness. The phrase “out of warranty” seemed to be their mantra. Fair enough, but when your high-end mixer kicks the bucket before its third birthday, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence. On a brighter note (pun intended), when this thing is alive and kicking, it delivers excellent sound quality. The microphone preamps do need to be cranked up for some mics, but hey – sometimes we all need a little pick-me-up. And while it's pretty user-friendly (even for those of us who still can't set the clock on our microwaves), the SD recording could use a bit more pizzazz in terms of display features.

Soundcraft Ui16: The Tech-Savvy Troubadour

Next up, we have the Soundcraft Ui16. This mixer is like that tech-savvy friend who always has the latest gadgets. Being able to control it from a tablet or phone? Game-changer. And with built-in effects like Lexicon reverbs and dbx dynamics, you'll be dropping jaws at your next gig. But let's not get too starry-eyed just yet. The user interface requires a bit of patience and perseverance. It's like trying to navigate through a maze blindfolded – you might hit a few dead ends before finding your way. One major hiccup is its WiFi connectivity. It's like trying to stream Netflix on dial-up internet – possible, but frustratingly inconsistent. However, if you're the set-it-and-forget-it type, you may not even notice. Despite these quirks, once you've mastered its idiosyncrasies and navigated through its labyrinthine interface, this mixer serves up some serious sound quality.

And The Winner Is…

Well folks, after going over these mixers with a fine-tooth comb, I'm handing this victory to the Soundcraft Ui16 Remote-Controlled Digital Mixer. Despite its digital eccentricities and occasional WiFi wobbles, it offers professional-grade effects and sound quality at an affordable price. While both mixers bring something unique to the table (or studio), the Soundcraft Ui16 edges out the PreSonus StudioLive AR12c in terms of longevity, flexibility, and overall value for money. Don't get me wrong, the PreSonus has a lot going for it – but when it comes to a long-term investment, I'm putting my chips on the Soundcraft Ui16. After all, no one wants their mixer to become an expensive paperweight after just a few years. So there you have it – the Soundcraft Ui16 takes home the gold. But remember folks, each mixer has its own character and appeal. It's like choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream – it really comes down to personal preference.