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Author Topic: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts  (Read 6249 times)

Dave Monck

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2013, 08:52:12 am »

Hello all.
Just a few observations on this desk.
I just finished 6 weeks on the road around Europe and the UK using a Soundcraft compact package made up of a
SI expression 3 for monitors
SI performer for FOH and a couple of stage boxes,all tied together over cat5.

First off, the EQ is great.
The shelves top and bottom aren't really an issue,you can get very useable sounding inputs.
This goes for the PEQ and GEQs on the outputs also,very quick and intuitive and they're on every output all the time.
The touch screen works fine, and I often found myself not selecting the EQ view so I could use the pop up readout more, for finer adjustments.
The output patching is versatile enough to allow all sorts of doubling and quick patching in the real world.
The input patching is very simple also, and takes seconds to do on the fly.
I don't use a lot of dynamics, a few compressors is all and a couple of hates, but the "inquire"feature to highlight all inputs with gates or comps on is very useful.
There is plenty of metering on the board and you can if you like switch down to the layer with all the output masters on for a fuller view,not something I found myself doing often though.

Ok a few cons.
For monitors, I use wedges and IEMs
I use the headphone output to monitor the IEMs but there is no dedicated wedge output with a dedicated fader.
You can obviously connect a listen wedge to the monitor output,but the level is regulated by the headphone output knob.
This is something of a problem for me as I spend most of the night reaching across the console to adjust levels between mixes.
There is a workaround.
I send the monitor out via an output socket to an unused line input, which I route to the stereo buss (I set all my aux post fade and don't use the stereo buss at all),
I then connect the listen wedge amp to the LR output, putting a separate although post headphone out, on the master LR fader.
This works OK, but isn't ideal as the moment I decide to use that stereo buss for another mix  I no longer have a wedge out.
I remember doing this same thing on the early yamaha m7s till they upgraded their software to provide a split in the monitor path and a routing option to to a fader independent of the headphone out.
Another slight con is that when mixing in a little reverb to an IEM mix, you get taken out of context when you hit the FX mix send, as it solos the mix,so you can't tell how much you are sending till you return to the IEM mix,of course once you get this about right, you can just adjust the returns to suit so it's no biggy.
Using the shared stage box means you have to trust your FOH man, as he's doing all the gains.
You have a trim on the monitor desk, but that's it.
Again, if you are touring this board with the same band,mics and engineers,this soon settles down and can actually save a lot of time.
We are using all 32 shared inputs on the stage box, plus another 8 analogue lines on a copper multi,through a passive splitter, and this 8way is taped to the cat5 to make a very lightweight and quick to deploy 40 in and 8 returns multi.
The performers scribble strips are very nice, and I'm jealous,but a dymo printer got my desk tagged clearly and a bit of PVC works fine in any case.
The ipad app is now, after being upgraded, very useable and very much more stable, it used to crash a lot last month especially when I plugged the charger in!
Now I can wander the stage dialling in input and output EQ and messing with delays and levels all from the performers spot.
Makes for much quicker sound checks.
I'd love to see FX basic editing on the ipad like rev time and tap tempo.
A library for EQs would also be an excellent addition, making EQ recalls for different wedges simple while retaining your input EQs,or indeed vice versa

All in all , the band,who are quite passionate about all things analogue, are very happy with onstage and FOH sound and the time saved every day being able to recall EQs and mixes.
I just bought an SI1 expression to use for my own projects and look forward to the promised offline editor so I can collate,edit and backup all my mixes.
PS,after a quick few gigs in Greece using their in house analogue desks I got very frustrated at all the actual walking from one end of a 40 input desk to the other!
A very nice desk.A great desk for the money.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 08:56:31 am by Dave Monck »

Andy Jones

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2013, 05:47:58 pm »

With reference to the gain structure when sharing 1 stage box between 2 desks. I thought that 'DOGS' was supposed to remove this issue. It needs to be turned on from the main screen setup.

When mixing fx. As you say the bus is solo'd when you select your fx so you lose you wet/dry balance. If you turn off the lit 'solo' button you get your wet/dry mix so you hear how much or how little fx you are adding.

I've only used my Si2 three times up to now and love it. There was nothing wrong with my analogue board other than the beast of a multicore but the difference between the 2 formats is amazing. Regular band members and even some audience members have commented!
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 06:13:17 pm by Andy Jones »

Dave Monck

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 08:45:10 pm »

Hi Andy.
DOGS doesn't give you control over gain when sharing between two consoles it kind of stabilises the gain.
All my shows have been with it turned on.
You can still trim on the slave console but you just need to know when FOH Has settled down.
Turning SOLO off when you are in an FX mix doesn't But how the hell does anyone know what any gods will is, if that will is expressed solely through venal and corrupt humans and their own petty desires and ambitions?
So leave the Gods out of it, this is all down to men. you a wet and dry mix , it just means you hear nothing.
Very happy with ipad upgrade,just lacking FX CONTROL.
Also an offline editor is getting kind of crucial.
Look forward to future upgrades.

Samuel Rees

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2013, 09:14:06 pm »

I did another 2-days of many monitor gigs on my Si this weekend. Rock-Christmas-theatre-and etc event. I used snapshots for every song which was cool, so I just hit "next" through all the monitor ins and outs. Never some that on my own desk before. Worked excellent. But, I'n still perpetually annoyed that I can't make my LR the cue fader... I had all of my inputs already in use so I couldn't do that workaround you mentioned.
SoundCraft Si Compact 24

Dave Monck

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2013, 04:50:29 am »

Hiya Sam,
Yes it's a pain isn't it?
Let's hope Harman get a software upgrade to include a monitor to LR fader routing option.
I mentioned it in depth to my FOH who has a very good working relation with Soundcraft so maybe they're listening ; )
I just bought the SI 1for my own use and it's already looking like a good call for some smaller gigs over Xmas and I'm hoping to get one 4 piece on stereo IEMs now I have 14 aux to play with.
As an extra we managed to get the new multi out card and recorded several shows of 32 chans straight into logic on a macbook with no fuss at all, so the old digi recorder is for the bin!

Gus Housen

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Re: Soundcraft Si Expression 3- initial thoughts
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2014, 11:37:48 am »

Other than dicking around the shop to go over workflow I haven used this console personally yet but My Crew has used it several times and so far has been very happy with using it. One of my guys has house gig with a LS9-16.

So far they have used it about 10 times, and every time they use it they like it better every time. no one has whined about the scribble strips and the remote function is very usable The preamps are great and the work surface is very intuitive. It was very easy to go from analog to this console. The guy who has  house gig with the LS-9 likes the remote function very well and feels it compares well although the ls-9 has a few more features. So far the crew is pleased

I was looking for a sub 10K console with a realistic budget of sub 5K. That pretty much put me in for a behringer x-32 or a Presonus. I borrowed a presonus which immediately glitched out at a club gig ( luckilly , the guy was able to patch in and remix on the old house console before the show) That and the non motorized faders pretty much killed that purchase.

The behringer looks great, reveiws great and was a the only contender, but its a behringer and although the expression 3 is on the low end I could see convincing some  c national into using it. I couldnt see that on the behringer.

I had looked at a LS-9 but no real deals were out there and really I wanted a new console and really sound craft has typically had better sounding preamps.  My really only concern was the scribble stripps and would it feel like a soundcraft or mor like a spirit or folio. The screen was also of some concern

What really sealled the deal was the special December price. I was able to pick up the console for less than 3K. When I got it I was pleasantly surprised it has a substantial feel and the aux and house equalization looked very usable ( we still havent gotten rid of the monitor eq's and we use a driverack 480 for house processing) The screen isnt really used that much, I can being a pain in the summer  but for know everyone is very happy.

From a Numbers guy perspective this has been a excellent buy, the price and functionality are right. This console does a lot and seems to do it very well. I cant say since the new Midas has came out that I wouldn't have purchased it, just for the name, but I dont regret the purchase.
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