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Author Topic: Si Expression vs StudioLive  (Read 17263 times)

Richard Carter

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Si Expression vs StudioLive
« on: April 17, 2013, 07:04:32 pm »

Our church is replacing a 15 yr old Mackie SR24-4 and we are looking at the Soundcraft Si Expression 2 and the Presonus Studio Live 24.4.2.

I own a 16 channel Presonus so am familiar with it but have no experience with the Si Expression.  Some of the major differences I see are:
Si Expression - motorized faders, no firewire recording I/F, live venue history
StudioLive - good recording, no motorized faders, slightly funky monitor mixing

Can anyone give me feedback on these two boards in a church setting.  Typical service is 1-3 guitars, occasional drum kit (electric w stereo, not full micing), live piano, 2 choir mics, 2 - 5 vocalists on individual mics, 3 - 4 pastors/speakers on wireless, lectern, one overflow location and 2 monitor mixes.
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Tommy Peel

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 07:37:16 pm »

You should look into the Behringer x32 also. It has motorized faders and firewire/usb multi-track. The one in installed at my parents church has been great.

Sent from my Milestone X using Tapatalk 2

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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 07:38:48 pm »

Our church is replacing a 15 yr old Mackie SR24-4 and we are looking at the Soundcraft Si Expression 2 and the Presonus Studio Live 24.4.2.

I own a 16 channel Presonus so am familiar with it but have no experience with the Si Expression.  Some of the major differences I see are:
Si Expression - motorized faders, no firewire recording I/F, live venue history
StudioLive - good recording, no motorized faders, slightly funky monitor mixing

Can anyone give me feedback on these two boards in a church setting.  Typical service is 1-3 guitars, occasional drum kit (electric w stereo, not full micing), live piano, 2 choir mics, 2 - 5 vocalists on individual mics, 3 - 4 pastors/speakers on wireless, lectern, one overflow location and 2 monitor mixes.

Do you need motorized faders?

Do you need to record?

Funky how?
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Richard Carter

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 07:50:38 pm »

Do you need motorized faders?

- We have three distictly different services so the motorized would be a little simpler than the manual recall on the Presonus.

Do you need to record?

- Mostly just 2 track for sermon but 3-4 programs a year (Christmas, Easter..) where we would like multitrack.

Funky how?

- Just the way the level LEDs serve multiple functions and you have to be sure you have selected the correct options on each Aus channel before you set levels.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 09:49:24 pm »

- We have three distinctly different services so the motorized would be a little simpler than the manual recall on the Presonus.

It's not so much the faders as the input gains.  Even then they have to be checked because everything is never exactly the same.....   There is no "auto-mixer" that requires no checks and adjustments.

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- Mostly just 2 track recording for sermon but 3-4 programs a year (Christmas, Easter..) where we would like multitrack.

I don't know about recording on the Soundcraft.  It's dead easy on the Presonus, though.

Quote

(funky monitors)
- Just the way the level LEDs serve multiple functions and you have to be sure you have selected the correct options on each Aus channel before you set levels.

You must engage the "Mix" button to dial in each channel to that particular Aux.
The correct LED display is automatically selected when you engage the "Mix" button for each Aux.  It doesn't get simpler than that. 

For those moving from analog to digital, the Presonus is the easiest I know.  In fact, I don't even consider it to be a fully "digital" board.  More like "digi-log" or a digital realm sound processor with a distinctly analog layout and feel.
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Samuel Rees

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Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 10:32:40 pm »

Si does require an additional purchase to make recording easy, but both options come with serious additional functionality: 1 - MADI card will do multitrack along with a MADI computer interface, plus allow you to add Soundcraft's digital snake (which also can also turn your 24 channel desk into a 40+ channel desk) 2 - Dante will do multitrack with no special hardware besides a gigabit Ethernet port (which is nice), and includes all the advantages of Dante networked audio as well.

IMHO, unless the Si is too difficult for the operators you have to handle, it's a pretty clear win for the Si. EDIT for clarity: that sounded derogatory, but O didn't mean it to be. If volunteer operators ease of use are of prime importance, the Presonus is pretty darn easy to use. If operators are able to have a little training, IMHO the Si is a clear win. Flying faders, total recall, four FX engines, remote control via iPad with no computer attached, lots of options for expanding inputs and I/O, or a FOH/Mon split down the road.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 10:42:07 pm by Samuel Rees »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 10:58:37 pm »

The SI expression is a real mid-market console for real engineers. The SL is a dumbed-down console for bands who mix themselves. You decide which best fits your church. Both will do the job.
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Jason Lucas

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2013, 06:52:56 pm »

The general opinion of the Si Compact and Performer boards seems to be that they're not that great. Haven't heard much about the expression other than that there was a lot of anticipation for it right before it came out. I'd personally like to hear what people who have used it think of it.

The only thing I don't like about the Expression is also the only thing I don't like about the StudioLive (and one of several things I don't like about the Roland boards): No LED scribble strips.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 07:03:49 pm by Jason Lucas »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2013, 07:12:47 pm »

The general opinion of the Si Compact and Performer boards seems to be that they're not that great. Haven't heard much about the expression other than that there was a lot of anticipation for it right before it came out. I'd personally like to hear what people who have used it think of it.

The only thing I don't like about the Expression is also the only thing I don't like about the StudioLive (and one of several things I don't like about the Roland boards): No LED scribble strips.

the SI Performer has scribble strips.
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Nicolas Poisson

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 04:22:52 am »

the SI Performer has scribble strips.

But the price difference between SI-Performer and SI-Expression is much too high compared to what you get IMHO (full parametric on low and high bands, scrib, DMX toy). I think there are better competitors in the Performer price range (GLD-80). The price of the performer should be much too high for the OP anyway.

Quote
The general opinion of the Si Compact and Performer boards seems to be that they're not that great.

Funny how this is subjective. My feeling is that these boards are great according to the general opinion. They were great when launched, they were even greater at less than half the initial price. What wasn't great is the price drop for people having paid the initial price.
However I guess one have to define what "great" means first.

Given the fact that the SI-Expression allows to recall everything including preamps gain, I think it wins other the SL. The SI is very easy to use and can be learned in 5 minutes. The brand new A&H QU-16 is another choice.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 05:34:14 am »

The brand new A&H QU-16 is another choice.
That depends on when they plan to purchase the mixer.  And with the Si Expression 2 and StudioLive 24.4.2 references it also looks like they are maybe looking for something with at least 24 mic/line inputs.

To expand on Dick's questions, it's one thing to compare consoles without any reference to the application and another to compare then in terms of a particular application.  There can be many differences between products but whether a difference matters and which option may be more appropriate can depend on the specific application.

Along similar lines, explaining why you are replacing the existing mixer can often offer some useful information.  Is the old mixer failing has to be replaced or does it work fine but you simply want something newer or more capable?  Or are there certain aspects that you find lacking in your use that might be directly relevant to selecting a replacement?
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Richard Carter

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2013, 04:33:56 pm »

Thanks for everyone's inputs - I think we are going with the Si Expression - Soundcraft will actually have a demo truck at Guitar Center here in Houston on Friday April 26 so we will get to see it.  One note - Presonus just announced price reductions of about $300 on the StudioLive consoles.

Thanks again.
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Mike Maly

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Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2013, 01:57:50 am »

I had this very dilemma myself. I was deciding between the SI Expression 3 or the StudioLive 32.  I currently own the StudioLive 24 but have mixed on multiple digital consoles. These were the biggest differences I noted in the two consoles:

The SI Expression has recallable everything. The StudioLive can recall everything except preamp gain.

The SI Expression has a shelving only hi and low EQ, the StudioLive 32 is fully parametric in all spots and also has adjustable slopes for hi/low shelving.

SI Expression has motorized faders which means layer mixing, StudioLive has a physical fader for every input.

SI Expression has 4 Lexicon effect engines featuring modulation effects while StudioLive has 4 rev/delay engines.

SI Expression has an iPad app that only allows for fader control to bus outputs and graphic EQ for those busses. StudioLive features a full user experience via iPad except for preamp gain, aux masters, FX to main masters. (This feature is very important for my uses as I do not always have a prime FOH position and this also allows for bands that I normally mix to control their own mixes and panning)

SI Expression requires extra add-ons to enable recording to laptop. StudioLive is one FireWire 800 cable to my MacBook, start the free included Capture software, title my session, click "Arm All" and record. As long as the board inputs do not clip my recording doesn't clip.

These were the biggest difference points for myself personally. They both sound great, it's hard to make a product sound bad these days, everything is pretty good. I won't even consider the B brand...

It should be noted that Soundcraft claims the iPad app will be gaining more functionality. I'm not sure I trust their mobile app writing skills; just go download the Vi editor and tell me it works bug-less. :(

I preordered my StudioLive 32 last week. They should ship out end of June, early July.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2013, 09:39:16 am »

I preordered my StudioLive 32 last week. They should ship out end of June, early July.
Based on the initial announcements they should have already shipped and I keep reading different stories on the actual release date, so how firm is that date and are pre-orders creating any potential additional delays for people ordering now?
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George Dougherty

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 11:33:53 am »

On top of all the other things to note, the expression series, like the studiolive does have a fader for every mic input. The expression also has multiple layers allowing for custom layouts instead of the fixed 1:1 routing of the Studiolive.

One of the big wins for me in a church environment would be the expandability.  The studiolive mixes 32 channels and that's it. If you need 33 channels its time to start cutting or submixing.  On the expression you have the option to add inputs and more mix channels.

+1 on all the scribble strip comments and one of the reasons I really like the X32 in addition to the dedicated 8 fader master section. DCA's don't make that much sense to me unless they're easily at hand.  You could probably accomplish that with a custom layer on the expression, but its nice having a physical separation. Fader glow probably does it as long as you can see it outdoors. 

The biggest advantage of the Studiolive is the remote control and built-in recording features.  They're nothing to scoff at, though the board unfortunately doesn't connect directly to the network and is reliant on a computer living between everything. Not a problem in a church environment maybe, but good to know if that isn't already available and you need to buy something to get all the remote control working.

Master section also brings up a deal killer for me on the Studiolive in a church environment. No matrix mixes. X32 has 6 and the Si Expession has 8.  For different zone feeds and broadcast outputs these are a must have in my book so you don't have to eat up any of the auxes and cut into fx use, monitor mixes or feeds like subs.  If you don't do it now, you might down the road and having to buy a new board or drop features isn't any fun if you could have made a better choice before.
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Mike Maly

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Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2013, 02:37:12 pm »

George, good addition to the list of differences. Remember that the StudioLive 32 will not be required to connect to a laptop for mobile control. Just add the router via USB.
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Richard Carter

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2013, 05:21:27 pm »

Will be seeing the Si Expression at Guitar Center Soundcraft demo tomorrow - all the comment will help me on what to look for.  More after I see the demo.
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Samuel Rees

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Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2013, 05:54:14 pm »

There's not much new to see except the price tag! It's nearly identical to its predecessor the Si Compact. Nearly indistinguishable in fact... and it's been out for years.
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George Dougherty

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2013, 10:06:21 pm »

George, good addition to the list of differences. Remember that the StudioLive 32 will not be required to connect to a laptop for mobile control. Just add the router via USB.
Really good to hear.  That was a pain and a problem on two that I used where the connection would infrequently drop and require jumping through all the hoops to get it going again.  Not fun when using the iPad out front for FOH because the desk has to live SOS.
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George Dougherty

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2013, 10:07:11 pm »

There's not much new to see except the price tag! It's nearly identical to its predecessor the Si Compact. Nearly indistinguishable in fact... and it's been out for years.
Physically yes.  The biggest difference seems to be DSP upgrades allowing for more channel processing which users may or may not need.
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Samuel Rees

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Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2013, 11:06:15 pm »

16 extra channels to mix... barely a DSP upgrade, IMHO.
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Nicolas Poisson

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2013, 04:04:07 am »

+1

The biggest difference is not in the channel count. The SI-Compact already has decent channel capability (40 inputs). The SI-Expression, is claimed to manage up to 66 channels. But there is very little chance the interface is efficient enough to manage a complex show requiring 66 channels. Even 40 is probably too much in most cases.

The SI-Expression has more felxible layer customization than the Compact, and that is the main difference. Channel count and functionnality improvement are purely firmware updates, the hardware is exactly the same.
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Samuel Rees

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Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2013, 11:52:19 am »

Agreed!
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Richard Carter

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Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2013, 06:51:43 pm »

We got to see the Si Expression at the Soundcraft truck at Guitar Center today.  I like some things about the Presonus but overall was sold on the Si.  Tom Der, the Soundcraft "US Brand Liaison", took us through it and confirmed for me that this is more of a scaled down professional board were as the Presonus is a scaled up home studio board.  The layers and ability to reassign (patch) inputs could be handy and the "FaderGlow is nice - though Tom admitted it could wash out in brighter/outdoor light.

The Si also has a USB port to save your settings.

One interesting note - the board has a main power switch on the back that is a true disconnect and a second switch on the top that is more like a "come out of sleep."  If you use a power sequencer, the board takes 25-30 seconds to power up which could cause some issues.  There is a jumper you can get to under the bottom panel that causes the board to come up as soon as power is applied to help this.

He also said he thought the Firewire card should be out in May, would support 32 channels of recording and would probably be around $500 list.  He also said he did not think the Si would ever have the Smaart integration that the Presonus has and, while the iPad app is pretty simple today, it would "probably" get more features.

We also got to see the Vista 9 console - beautiful for only $200K!!

Si Expression 2 should get ordered from Full Compass on Monday.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Si Expression vs StudioLive
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2013, 06:51:43 pm »


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