I purchased the FIRST PRESONUS AR12 on 3-21-17 and I’m sending back the second one today, 4-25-17 because of manufacturer defects/problems with the PreSonus AR12.

I did a few video reviews on the PreSonus AR12 showing effect and setup. And two more video’s showing the problems I’ve encountered with both PreSonus AR12 units I’ve tested in the last 3 weeks.
Not a good first impression on quality and durability.

This journey began with a search for a mixer (for live) and something (easy to configure/use) for recording 2-4 individual tracks to Logic Pro X in the $500 range.  I was hoping to get something that would replace my Zoom R16, Apogee Duet 2 (a nightmare) and Behringer Xenyx 1622FX.  Maybe too much to ask in the $500 price range???  After paying so much for the Apogee Duet 2, recommended by Sweetwater and having such a bad experience with it, I’m not convinced I have to sell a body part to have a decent setup.

I was looking at the Behringer UFX1204, Allen & Heath Zedi 10fx, Allen & Heath Zed 10fx and the new PreSonus AR12 as all of these are hybrid, mixer, USB recorders.

I emailed my Sweetwater rep asking which one he preferred and if he recommended anything else with my requirements. Several days later I received a 2 line reply saying the “PreSonus AR12 is a very solid pick”.

My experience with Sweetwater is that they tend to be a bit snobbish if your not spending $1,000 or more. But, Sweetwater has a 2 year coverage (at no additional cost) which swayed my purchasing from them.  Though after inquiring about the details, the repairs are made by Sweetwater and if they can’t fix it you have to go through the manufacturer.  In the future that will not be a deciding factor on my purchase.

I received the first PreSonus AR12 a few days later and yes, it was pretty amazing. The sound was crystal clear, the USB interface was clean. A bit disappointing that the SD recording was only 1 stereo track (not 2 mono tracks, one track that they claim to be stereo) which was a minor drawback though not enough to send it back.

Immediately I setup to do a few video reviews/recordings with my new PreSonus AR12. My first video explored the effects available on the AR12, taking the user through each one, showing how to accessed them and how they sounded on the SD recording. The effect volume knobs were not very responsive. I could only hear the effects change at the 10 to 3 o’clock settings. Nothing before and no change after. Oh, well. Another minor setback.

I had been recording several hours within the span of several days before noticing a popping/crackling sound which I chalked up to my bargain cables. I realized the time had come to upgrade to pay the price and upgrade to the Mogami and Fender cables. Very disappointed I found that the popping/cracking was still there only clearer and more pronounced with the newer/upgraded cables.

It was time to call my, ever so helpful, Sweetwater rep, who transferred my call to Tech help, who transferred my call back to my rep after I demenaded a replacement unit which arrived 7 days later.

I video recorded the opening and the testing of the unit. Using each plugin with both XLR and TS cables, checking for volume, unwanted sound, hiss, hum. I checked all sliders and knobs to make sure they were sound free. Happy that I had a reliable, working, soundless, error free unit I went on to record a few music video’s. After a few days and several hours later a popping sound became very noticeable when using the SD recording or playback. I tried several different SD cards making sure they were properly formatted for the PreSonus AR12 and everyone of the SD cards had a loud popping on record and playback.

Sweetwater was pretty quick in deciding the unit was defective after verifying that I had forced a firm-ware update and used different SD cards that were properly formatted. Once again I was transferred to my Sweetwater rep. who wasn’t able to take my call.

My rep suggested that under $899 these units are not professional quality and recommended another hybrid mixer the QSC TouchMix. Which I think I’ll bypass for now. His suggestions have worked out so, well so, far.

As of today the first PreSonus AR12 has been returned and received by Sweetwater. A return RMA has been issued for the second PreSonus AR12 and I’m trying to decide whether I want to take a chance with another hybred mixer or stick with my trustworthy Behringer brands and get a separate audio interface?