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A case for not buying Presonus


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As the owner of a small commercial studio, reliability and return on investment are critical to me. We all know that full timers like me are in it for love, not money. I buy ‘A’ stock equipment and software from reliable dealers so I have the assurance of customer support. A failure in the middle of a session is an unrecoverable business loss to me and the artists I work with. An extended outage means I’m not working at all. My gear gets great care in a clean, humidity managed control room. I take care of it, and when I have a problem I expect reasonable customer service.

Prior to purchasing a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 in 2013, I had been running a modded Digi 002 firewire setup for four years. The Digi was faultless and never once glitched. Failures started immediately upon moving the firewire cable from the 002 to the new StudioLive. The once well behaved PC and interface card went to war with the new Presonus driver and mixer. The Presonus driver frequently and randomly would stop working, or stop communicating with the mixer, forcing reboots of the PC, mixer, or both. Sessions were cancelled or stopped early. Business and my artists suffered. So started my saga with Presonus support.

After exhausting all the canned solutions and tests I could from the DUC and web self-service options Presonus prefers you to use, I started to contact them via email and phone. If you have not already read this in some other review, forum, or blog post by someone else, let me confirm – Presonus is reliably bad at communicating. They are slow to respond when they do respond, don’t have good case management, and don’t relay important information. It is very frustrating and I would estimate I have spent in excess of a hundred hours in conversations of very questionable value. Beyond these issues lies the larger issue, which is that Presonus won’t take responsibility for standing behind their products. Their support team seems to be charged with blaming any issue on someone else, maybe another manufacturer, maybe even their own customer (that would be you).

In my case, I was repeatedly told that my problem was the PC and/or the firewire card. Not forgetting that the prior Digi 002 had no issues in this regard at all, I have purchased two new PC’s based on this ‘diagnosis’.

But let me rewind. After the first of these PC purchases, and months of back and forth with Presonus, they had me ship the StudioLive to one of their repair vendors. I received it back with no information on what had been done to it. It worked for ten months, and then the same issue reappeared. This kicked off another lengthy period of frustrating service interactions and my replacement of the second PC. It was just recently that Presonus service revealed that the original service work done on the StudioLive over a year earlier had been to replace the firewire board in the mixer. Basically, I had been correct in suspecting the StudioLive for a year – during which time they deflected me into other unnecessary expenses, and my studio schedule suffered.

I recently contacted the small local dealer who I originally purchased the StudioLive from and he told me that he had stopped selling StudioLive mixers and purged himself of all product. He had similar complaints with their customer service. He had had his first StudioLive fail two hours after return from service.

If you are contemplating purchasing Presonus equipment, I caution you to first do a good web search and read the service experiences of others. Decide how important service and reliability are to you before you spend your hard earned money. Don’t end up with a story like mine.

– Happy tracking. Tim.

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This is the first I've heard of someone having issues with a StudioLive console. Not saying it doesn't happen, but I have not seen or heard anything to indicate that this is a consistent problem that is affecting lots of users.

 

I'm sorry you have had issues with your board. That sucks. :(

 

I had been running a modded Digi 002 firewire setup for four years. The Digi was faultless and never once glitched.

 

You were lucky. I know of many people who had power supply-related problems. I had to replace one in a Digi 002 myself once, and had to clean contacts a few times as well.

 

 

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I had an issue a couple of years ago with a PreSonus AudioBox 1818VSL and a Dell computer with USB 3 ports. I was on the phone with PreSonus and Dell and we eventually discovered a compatibility issue with the AudioBox and the particular Intel chipset used by Dell for the USB.

 

I found the reps for both vendors willing to help and, if necessary, take responsibility for the issue.

 

As it turned out, my friend decided to keep the Dell and I ended up buying the AudioBox which has been a flawless performer with both my MacBook and iPad.

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You know, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was that the squeaky wheel gets oiled... and when you have a reasonable complaint or request for help and you're not getting what you need, one of the best phrases you can use is "can I speak with your supervisor please?" If the supervisor isn't able to help, keep going up the line until you find someone who can.

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My buddy had all kinds of issues with his 8 channel Firebox when he got it. he brought it to me 3 times and I was able to get him going.

 

On his it was all driver issues running on a PC. He even contacted them and was told, those are the only drivers they have and they had no plans on improving them. Ever since then I steered clear of recommending them.

 

Presonus got their name supporting mac recording and pro tools. Their changeover to PC's has had allot of glitches from what I'm seeing and though the hardware is well designed and priced well its nothing but a boat anchor if you don't have reliable drivers.

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