PreSonus StudioLive AR12c Vs. Tascam DP 24SD: 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. Tascam DP 24SD.

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 Tascam DP 24SD. 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.

Tascam DP-24SD Digital Portastudio

If you're looking for a sturdy powerhouse, this is it. The Tascam DP-24SD Digital Portastudio packs a punch with features and functionality that will impress anyone looking to delve into recording.

Recording Capabilities

This unit is a marvel for recording enthusiasts. It allows you to record up to 8 tracks quickly and efficiently. Its standalone nature means you can do everything from recording tracks to mixdown without needing a computer. The convenience of transferring the mixdown wave file from the SD card to a computer is a huge plus. The sound quality? It's studio-grade!

Intuitive Design

Despite its sophistication, the DP-24SD has a manageable learning curve. Especially with the wealth of YouTube tutorials available, it doesn't take long to get to grips with its features. It’s particularly ideal for home studio use or solo gigs, as you get professional-level results without a huge investment in time or money.

Build and User Interface

The build quality of the DP-24SD is solid and professional. The full-color display and 24 tracks with assignable inputs make it a versatile tool for various recording scenarios. However, some users might find the menu sequences a bit non-intuitive, requiring some practice to master.

Effects and Mastering

One of the standout features is its array of on-board effects. Although, it’s worth noting that the dynamic/compressor effects are only available for live recording, not for existing WAV/track files. This might limit its appeal for some users looking for more flexibility in post-production.

Overall Impression

For its price, the Tascam DP-24SD offers incredible capabilities. It's perfect for musicians who prefer a hands-on approach to recording and mixing, without getting bogged down in complex software. It's a dream machine for many, offering the most bang for the buck. However, be prepared for some firmware quirks and keep in mind the limitations regarding dynamic effects for pre-recorded tracks.
In summary, the Tascam DP-24SD is an excellent choice for those looking to create professional-quality recordings in a user-friendly, standalone device.

Head 2 Head: PreSonus StudioLive AR12c or Tascam DP 24SD

Presonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer: A Comprehensive Look

First Impressions and Functionality

The PreSonus StudioLive AR12c had a lot going for it initially. The SD recording feature, Bluetooth connectivity, and the bundled software had me hooked from the get-go. It was like a Swiss army knife for my audio needs – music production and podcasting just got a whole lot easier. The preamps were pretty impressive too, and the USB-C connectivity was a nice touch.

Performance Reliability: Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

Lifespan and Quality Concerns

Unfortunately, this mixer couldn't keep up with my expectations. It gave up the ghost after just 2.5 years of careful use. This is definitely not what you want to see from a high-end piece of gear like this one, especially considering that repairs can cost an arm and a leg.

Customer Service Experience: Not Exactly Five Stars

Lack of Support and Warranty Issues

When things started to go south, I reached out to their customer service — only to be told that my mixer was out of warranty. Well, yes technically it was but come on! I mean, I didn’t expect it to break down so soon. Their unwillingness to provide support or reasonable repair options left me feeling cold.

Sound Quality and Features: Silver Linings?

Great Audio but Some Caveats Exist

But let's not dwell on the negatives alone. The mixer’s sound quality is pretty top-notch when it's working. The preamps are powerful and the audio is crisp and clear. SD card recording and Bluetooth were handy features to have as well, although I wish they had given more thought to the SD recording's display features.

Form Factor and Build: Good Looks with Bad Habits

Design Appeal Marred by Quality Issues

The mixer’s design is compact and fits right into various setups. But the question remains – does it look better than it performs? The build quality left a lot to be desired, especially considering the issues I've had with its durability.

Overall Experience: A Roller Coaster Ride of Sorts

Pleasant Surprises Overshadowed by Unpleasant Experiences

In conclusion, the PreSonus StudioLive AR Series Mixer is a mixed bag of good features and bad experiences. It's like a promising movie that doesn't deliver in the end. If you're planning on buying this mixer, I'd advise you to tread cautiously. Now, let's move on to our next contender – the Tascam DP-24SD Digital Portastudio.

Recording Capabilities: The Real Deal?

The Tascam DP-24SD can handle up to 8 tracks at once like a boss, making recording a breeze. You can record tracks to mixdown without even touching your computer! This standalone nature combined with studio-grade sound quality gives it an edge.

Design: Easy on the Eyes and Mind

User-Friendly Operation

Despite packing in complex features, this Portastudio is surprisingly easy to use. It's ideal for solo gigs or home studios, and you don't need to be an audio wizard to get professional results.

Build and Interface: Solid as a Rock

The Tascam DP-24SD is robust and professional, with a full-color display and 24 tracks with assignable inputs. However, mastering the menu sequences might require some patience.

Effects and Mastering: A Mixed Bag

The array of on-board effects is impressive but comes with limitations. The dynamic/compressor effects are only available for live recording, not for existing WAV/track files. This might put off users who need more flexibility in post-production.

Overall Impression: A Worthy Contender?

The Tascam DP-24SD brings a lot to the table for its price. It's perfect for musicians who want a hands-on approach without getting tangled in complex software. But be prepared for some firmware quirks and remember the limitations regarding dynamic effects. And now, drum roll please… Our clear winner is the Tascam DP-24SD Digital Portastudio. Despite some minor quirks, it offers superb recording capabilities, ease of use, and solid build quality that truly delivers value for your money. On the other hand, the PreSonus StudioLive AR12c falls short due to its reliability issues and poor customer service experience despite having great features. So if you're looking to create professional-quality recordings without breaking the bank or your patience, the Tascam DP-24SD is your ticket to audio paradise.