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Author Topic: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions  (Read 3416 times)

John T. Cotton

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Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« on: February 07, 2018, 12:42:36 pm »

I'm thinking about a small Soundcraft console for some side gigs.  I work a lot with Midas and Yamaha, so I'm pretty savvy with AES50 and Dante, but MADI and the Soundcraft infrastructure are pretty new to me.
Two main questions-
Is there any difference in audio quality between the older Mini-Stageboxes (32 or 16) and the new 32i/16i?  I can see that the new boxes don't have AES outs or removable MADI cards.  Any other differences?

Is  there no way to loop a MADI path through devices?  It seems a waste to have a physical path capable of 64x64, and only be able to use it for one 32ch device. 

Thanks for any input.
John C.
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John T. Cotton

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Mac Kerr

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 01:28:28 pm »

Is  there no way to loop a MADI path through devices?  It seems a waste to have a physical path capable of 64x64, and only be able to use it for one 32ch device. 

Generally, without external devices there is no way to loop through MADI devices. A device like the RME MADI Router will merge multiple streams and allow you to place signals within the output stream.

Mac
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John T. Cotton

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 02:42:54 pm »

Generally, without external devices there is no way to loop through MADI devices. A device like the RME MADI Router will merge multiple streams and allow you to place signals within the output stream.

Mac
I'm beginning to see that.  I saw the RME piece,  but I suspect it will be a bit pricey for the low budget scenarios I get into. I get the pricey gear on my regular jobs, but on my own I remain ever Frugal.  I was hoping maybe someone had worked up a low budget hack of some sort. 
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 03:13:35 pm »

The 32 and 32i differ in that the 32i offers fewer features than the 32, you can compare them at the Soundcraft web site. I use a 32 and have had zero, none, nada, nyet, no issues with the box at all, other than having to clear my input routing when I moved the I/O card to another slot. The 32 will support FOH and monitor world at the same time. I am not sure if the 32i will.

My board is a Performer 1. I use the USB MADI card for both I/O and recording function (USB to DAW), have had no issues with either stage sound or recording 32 channels, and still use the 16 channels on the back of the board for I/O to sound modules, etc. as needed. I can expand to another 32 channels with ease if needed bringing my channel count up to 80.

The 32, according to the people I spoke with at Soundcraft, uses the same pre-amps as the Studer systems, and Studer stage boxes will work perfectly with the Expression and Performer series boards.

The last word is this. I do not use specially made Ethernet cables for "sound". I use quality CAT6 cable, made in the USA, and plug in a 326' regardless of where the box is located. There have been no issues concerning signal loss, noise, or any other crapola you can think of.

Hope this helps.
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John T. Cotton

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 03:35:09 pm »

Thanks Bob.  I appreciate the input.  I read conflicting reports on which preamp is in the 32 so it's good to hear your info. Glad it's all working well for you.  It seems there have been some price drops on Impacts (at least on B-Stock), so that's the way I'm leaning at the moment.

The 32 and 32i differ in that the 32i offers fewer features than the 32, you can compare them at the Soundcraft web site. I use a 32 and have had zero, none, nada, nyet, no issues with the box at all, other than having to clear my input routing when I moved the I/O card to another slot. The 32 will support FOH and monitor world at the same time. I am not sure if the 32i will.

My board is a Performer 1. I use the USB MADI card for both I/O and recording function (USB to DAW), have had no issues with either stage sound or recording 32 channels, and still use the 16 channels on the back of the board for I/O to sound modules, etc. as needed. I can expand to another 32 channels with ease if needed bringing my channel count up to 80.

The 32, according to the people I spoke with at Soundcraft, uses the same pre-amps as the Studer systems, and Studer stage boxes will work perfectly with the Expression and Performer series boards.

The last word is this. I do not use specially made Ethernet cables for "sound". I use quality CAT6 cable, made in the USA, and plug in a 326' regardless of where the box is located. There have been no issues concerning signal loss, noise, or any other crapola you can think of.

Hope this helps.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 05:39:38 pm »

I have both the 32 and the 32i.
I use the 32 to power my Venue 360 via AES leaving me 8 analog outs for monitors.
The 32i gives me 12 analog outs; L, R, Sub, Delay, and 8 left for monitors.
If I use the 32 without the Venue od AES converters, I'm down to 4 or 5 monitors.
With the Impact or Performer you can run two cards and two stageboxes for 64 channels.
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Jon Dees

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 05:55:24 pm »

I have one 32 in for warranty repair right now. Got really squirrelly with lots of digital noise on the stagebox inputs.

The Soundcraft console development mantra is to not include multiple obvious useful features and then ignore user feedback. Very aggravating.

There are two methods I have seen to add more than 32 remote I/o - one is to buy the compact stagebox, redo the card setup and buy DACs to deal with the AES outs. You could also purchase the Dante card and used BSS Blu-100s and a Blu link-Dante converter off eBay to add 12 channels at a time - this is my plan for the future.

Based on the lack of software development on the Soundcraft products I would take a hard look at the SQ6 if you can fit in its footprint.

I have both the 32 and the 32i.
I use the 32 to power my Venue 360 via AES leaving me 8 analog outs for monitors.
The 32i gives me 12 analog outs; L, R, Sub, Delay, and 8 left for monitors.
If I use the 32 without the Venue od AES converters, I'm down to 4 or 5 monitors.
With the Impact or Performer you can run two cards and two stageboxes for 64 channels.
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Steve Payne

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 06:05:17 pm »

The 32 and 32i differ in that the 32i offers fewer features than the 32, you can compare them at the Soundcraft web site. I use a 32 and have had zero, none, nada, nyet, no issues with the box at all, other than having to clear my input routing when I moved the I/O card to another slot. The 32 will support FOH and monitor world at the same time. I am not sure if the 32i will.

My board is a Performer 1. I use the USB MADI card for both I/O and recording function (USB to DAW), have had no issues with either stage sound or recording 32 channels, and still use the 16 channels on the back of the board for I/O to sound modules, etc. as needed. I can expand to another 32 channels with ease if needed bringing my channel count up to 80.

The 32, according to the people I spoke with at Soundcraft, uses the same pre-amps as the Studer systems, and Studer stage boxes will work perfectly with the Expression and Performer series boards.

The last word is this. I do not use specially made Ethernet cables for "sound". I use quality CAT6 cable, made in the USA, and plug in a 326' regardless of where the box is located. There have been no issues concerning signal loss, noise, or any other crapola you can think of.

Hope this helps.

The Soundcraft and Studer boxes may be interchangeable, I don't know as I have never tried.  I do know that any stage boxes in the Vi / Si lines are interchangeable as long as they are madi.  I also know that their are basically 3 levels of mic pres in the Soundcraft lines and that NONE of them are the same as the Studer pres.  Studer mic pres are discreet circuits.  Not so with the Soundcraft pres.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 01:52:47 am »

That's why the Studer stuff cost 10 times the Si stuff.
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Steve Payne

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Re: Soundcraft Stagebox and MADI questions
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 01:35:04 pm »

That's why the Studer stuff cost 10 times the Si stuff.

yes, among other things... :-)
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