PreSonus StudioLive AR12c Vs. Yamaha TF1: 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. Yamaha TF1.

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 Yamaha TF1. 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.

Yamaha TF1 Digital Mixing Console

I've been using the Yamaha TF1 on and off for about 4 years now, and I've got a pretty solid grasp on what it brings to the table. Let's dive into the good, the bad, and the, well, kind of ugly.

Initial Impressions and Learning Curve

When I first got the TF1, I was pretty stoked. It's a Yamaha, after all. But it's important to note that this isn't built by the same folks who make the more professional QL/CL consoles. It's more of a consumer-level product. The user interface feels a bit like a game on a smartphone. It's intuitive for newbies, but for a pro, it's a bit too simplistic. There's a learning curve, sure, but it's not as steep as with some other consoles.

Limited Functionality and Routing

Here's where the TF1 might let you down. The routing options are pretty limited, especially when it comes to Dante routing. And you're stuck with the Dugan auto-mixer on the first bank of channels, with no option to reassign it. This lack of flexibility can be a bit frustrating if you're used to more control.

Performance: Pros and Cons

The TF1 is pretty solid for its price point. It competes well with mixers like the X32 or the Soundcraft Impact. The sound quality is decent, and it's pretty reliable for live music or corporate events. However, if you're an experienced sound engineer, you might find it a bit too basic.

User Experience: Mixed Feelings

The interface… let's just say it's a bit of a love-hate situation. If you're comfortable with tablet-style controls, you might like it. But if you're more of a knobs-and-buttons person, it can be frustrating. The output patching, especially with a TIO involved, is not the most user-friendly.

On the plus side, the price is attractive. It's a decent console for someone on a budget. It does the job, and from the audience's perspective, it sounds fine.

Final Thoughts

So, after using the Yamaha TF1 for a significant amount of time, I've got to say – it's okay. It's not going to blow your mind, but it's not going to disappoint you too much either. It's great for settings where you've got volunteers running the show, thanks to its simplicity. But if you're looking for something with more depth, more flexibility, you might want to look elsewhere.
If you're considering the TF1, my advice is to really think about what you need from your mixer. If you're okay with the limitations and are looking for something easy to use, it's a solid choice. But if you're after more advanced features, you might want to explore other options in the same price range.

Head 2 Head: PreSonus StudioLive AR12c or Yamaha TF1

The Showdown of the Mixers: PreSonus StudioLive AR12c vs. Yamaha TF1

Let's get straight to it, shall we?

PreSonus StudioLive AR12c: This mixer strutted into my life over two years ago, boasting a feature list that would make any audiophile blush. SD recording? Check. Bluetooth connectivity? Uh-huh. A slew of free software for recording and editing? You betcha.

It was like a Swiss Army knife of mixers, ready to tackle everything from music production to podcasting. And, it had microphone preamps and USB-C connectivity that looked like they could really go the distance.

But as time went on, I realized that this lovely piece of equipment was more like a beautiful car with a faulty engine. After 2.5 years, it simply refused to start one fine day – no warning signs, no gradual deterioration, nothing! It just stopped working.

When I reached out to customer service about this sudden failure, they hit me with the dreaded “out of warranty” line – a gut-punch for anyone who's invested in high-end tech. And let's not even talk about repair costs – let's just say you might want to start saving up now if you're considering getting one.

Still, when it was working, the sound quality was top-notch; the audio was clear and crisp thanks to its microphone preamps and multi-track capabilities. The inclusion of SD card recording and Bluetooth added a nice touch too. But alas, all these features feel somewhat hollow when faced with reliability issues.

Yamaha TF1: On the other hand is this contender from Yamaha that I've been tinkering with for about four years now. This isn't your high-end Yamaha QL/CL console, but a more consumer-level product.

The user interface on this one is more like a smartphone game than a professional console. It's intuitive for newbies, but pros might find it too simplistic. And don’t get me started on the limited routing options and lack of flexibility for reassigning the Dugan auto-mixer.

The TF1 delivers pretty solid performance at its price point and competes well with mixers like the X32 or the Soundcraft Impact. Its sound quality is decent and it's reliable for live music or corporate events.

But here's the kicker: If you're a knobs-and-buttons kind of person, you might find its tablet-style controls somewhat annoying. Also, output patching isn't exactly user-friendly when a TIO is involved.

And The Winner Is…

Drumroll, please…The Yamaha TF1! Yes, it has its limitations and might not satisfy every audiophile's demands for flexibility and control. But let’s face it – reliability matters in this game, and that’s where Yamaha TF1 takes the cake.

It may not be perfect, but it gets the job done without any sudden breakdowns or expensive repair costs lurking around the corner. The TF1 is an easy-to-use console that doesn't require an advanced degree in audio engineering – making it perfect for settings like community events or churches where you've got volunteers running the show.

So there you have it folks! In this titanic tussle between mixers, Yamaha TF1 clinches the win, proving that sometimes, simplicity and reliability trump flashy features and fancy software.