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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Product Reviews => Topic started by: Andrew (A.J.) McGlynn on August 21, 2011, 04:17:02 pm

Title: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Andrew (A.J.) McGlynn on August 21, 2011, 04:17:02 pm
I am a full time tech associate for the student ministry of a large church in the Houston area. We recently purchased a Soundcraft Si Compact for our student center. I have had a couple weeks to get familiar with this console and would like to share what I have found since it’s a pretty new console.

I am going to start with the Pros
It is a very user friendly console. It is very easy to get around on and its layout just makes sense. There isn’t really any guessing.

Having all of the controls for gain/HPF/gate/comp/EQ all on the control surface is really handy. It drives me crazy when I have to cycle through bands of EQ to do an adjustment. I also really love the touch screen. It’s a little small but it works really well. The fader glow is really nice as well. There’s no guessing as to which layer of the console you are on. Having input delay is a really nice feature for a console in this price range.

Now on to some of the cons.
The console just lacks a lot of features that are standard on most consoles.

The patching of the console is very limited. It has 2 stereo channels with ¼” connectors on it. They default to be patched on Layer B. The console will not let you patch it to the main layer. You also cannot patch the FX returns to the main layer. You can only patch the FX returns to a stereo channel. So if you are using the 2 ¼” stereo channels, you can only use 2 of the 4 FX channels.

There are no EQ, dynamic, or channel libraries.  This is one thing that really bugs me about this console. What is the point of having a digital console if you cannot recall EQ settings?  You can only do it in scenes.

The FX engine has some issues. I have already mentioned the patching issue. One thing I do not like about the FX engine is the delay. There is no way to adjust note. You have to tap in the note that you want. I can’t think of a more elegant way to say this but the delay just sounds abrasive and not smooth.

The EQ section is missing some features as well. The LF and HF sections are shelving only. This is another thing that just makes sense to have on a digital console. I use 4 fully parametric EQs all the time, especially on the main bus. I found it limiting for the LF and HF to be shelf only. The EQ graph on the display does not always update as you adjust the EQ (I assume this is just a bug that will be fixed with a firmware update) The HPF does not show up on the EQ graph. This is not a huge thing but it would be nice if it was there.

I have not messed with the snapshot section a whole lot but one thing I have found is that there is no indication to which snapshot you are currently on when you boot up the console or if you move the cursor off the current scene.

There are no analog output cards available for this console. You get 16 outs and that is all. So if you want to use all 14 mixes and the 4 matrices, you are out of luck.

For us it is going to be used in our student center and will be run primarily by students. For our normal Sunday to Sunday routine it is going to work out well. It is simple and easy enough for just about anyone to use. If you are looking for a console that is very easy to use and does not take up a lot of space then this console is for you. If you are after a large feature set, then you are better off with something like the LS9


My bottom line is that it seems Soundcraft set out to build a console that would be an LS9 killer but they designed it off of the failures of the LS9 and not on its success.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Luke Landis on August 28, 2011, 09:13:45 am
Thanks for the review. I'm hoping others might chime in with some thoughts on this mixer...
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Ronnie.Reels on September 07, 2011, 01:43:20 pm
The hi and lo EQ section is shelving.  You just don't have Q control.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Ryan McLeod on September 16, 2011, 11:03:25 pm
I now have a pair of Si-C-32's with MADI cards and the compact stage box, and overall I'm quite happy with all of them. My only issues/concerns are (hopefully) upgradeable thru software:

I'd think the matrix outs are completely useless for 90% of live sound work, because I can't simply route the main mix out of the matrix. YES, I can patch the house mix to the main outputs as well as a second set of physical outputs, but I must do that in stereo and would have no independent level control at the console. In my mind, making  bus 15/16 availablie in the maxtrix should be software-fixable.

For those really small gigs where the punters get a little too close,
I'd really like to have a lockout option on the desk - password protection should be easy.

The headphone connection under fader #1 is a little annoying.

I agree with the channel libraries, but I've created a starting set of presets to recall on any jug and I think I'm fine without it. My Analog desks made me recall from memory or I had to use my ears.

I'm big on TCE and generally don't get along with Lexicon, but these effects seem like a reasonable compromise. I'm ok with them.

At first I hated the stereo returns on the second layer, but now I seem perfectly ok with them.

For what the desk is and it's price tag, I think that 16 outputs is perfectly acceptable.

It took me 20 minutes to become comfortable, I'm good doing FOH or mons on them, they sound great and have caused me no issues - I know I was early to adopt and I'm ok with being early, and I'm confident that these will do me well for a long time.

Also... From a design point-of-view, it "feels" like what an LS9 would be if it was born in 2010. Once there is a software upgrade I think I'll be ecstatic - and the clients Love the faderglow  ;D
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Ronnie.Reels on September 18, 2011, 02:34:18 pm
I now have a pair of Si-C-32's with MADI cards and the compact stage box, and overall I'm quite happy with all of them. My only issues/concerns are (hopefully) upgradeable thru software:

I'd think the matrix outs are completely useless for 90% of live sound work, because I can't simply route the main mix out of the matrix. YES, I can patch the house mix to the main outputs as well as a second set of physical outputs, but I must do that in stereo and would have no independent level control at the console. In my mind, making  bus 15/16 availablie in the maxtrix should be software-fixable.

For those really small gigs where the punters get a little too close,
I'd really like to have a lockout option on the desk - password protection should be easy.

The headphone connection under fader #1 is a little annoying.

I agree with the channel libraries, but I've created a starting set of presets to recall on any jug and I think I'm fine without it. My Analog desks made me recall from memory or I had to use my ears.

I'm big on TCE and generally don't get along with Lexicon, but these effects seem like a reasonable compromise. I'm ok with them.

At first I hated the stereo returns on the second layer, but now I seem perfectly ok with them.

For what the desk is and it's price tag, I think that 16 outputs is perfectly acceptable.

It took me 20 minutes to become comfortable, I'm good doing FOH or mons on them, they sound great and have caused me no issues - I know I was early to adopt and I'm ok with being early, and I'm confident that these will do me well for a long time.

Also... From a design point-of-view, it "feels" like what an LS9 would be if it was born in 2010. Once there is a software upgrade I think I'll be ecstatic - and the clients Love the faderglow  ;D

ALT + MTX will allow you to send LR or Mono to any matrix.  I do wish for monitor use one could be able to assign Mon volume knob to a fader for cue volume. 
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Tim Padrick on September 18, 2011, 05:42:42 pm
The hi and lo EQ section is swept shelving.  You just don't have Q control....but who cares on highs and lows anyways.

When the console gives me a choice, I seldom use shelving on the lows.  The slope is too shallow, and I get too much change where I don't want any change.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Brett Gilbert on October 01, 2011, 03:33:08 pm
Here's another gripe... the encoders above the faders are VERY limited, they should have more options listed on the touch screen.  I use Tascam DM-4800 at work and the rotary encoders can not only flip with the faders but they can control virtually anything, from aux levels to the ACS functions, etc. 

Soundcraft really needs to add more features to these. I do not like having to switch to the aux/mtx/efx fader mode to adjust levels. I would like to see the encoders be able to go into bus mode to lets say channel 1 is selected and each encoder is map to bus 1,2,3.. etc. Then the next layer of the encoder is mtx 1,2... fx1,2... etc.

BTW, maybe I'm overlooking the obvious but they say the bus can either be an aux or bus, when I think of using a bus I typically want to group like channels and mix them down, but I cannot find where to assign a bus back to L/R?  Is it some alt-key sequence or destination patch?
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Ronnie.Reels on October 01, 2011, 04:05:01 pm
Here's another gripe... the encoders above the faders are VERY limited, they should have more options listed on the touch screen.  I use Tascam DM-4800 at work and the rotary encoders can not only flip with the faders but they can control virtually anything, from aux levels to the ACS functions, etc. 

Soundcraft really needs to add more features to these. I do not like having to switch to the aux/mtx/efx fader mode to adjust levels. I would like to see the encoders be able to go into bus mode to lets say channel 1 is selected and each encoder is map to bus 1,2,3.. etc. Then the next layer of the encoder is mtx 1,2... fx1,2... etc.

BTW, maybe I'm overlooking the obvious but they say the bus can either be an aux or bus, when I think of using a bus I typically want to group like channels and mix them down, but I cannot find where to assign a bus back to L/R?  Is it some alt-key sequence or destination patch?


After you enter bus mode and you arrive at that layer just "select" that bus  and then just select LR or mono to assign. 
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Brett Gilbert on October 02, 2011, 12:54:53 pm

After you enter bus mode and you arrive at that layer just "select" that bus  and then just select LR or mono to assign.

Well I feel silly, you would think they would have put that in the manual somewhere, I read through it several times and couldn't find it anywhere but I guess when they say the ACS functions virtually identical to when it's an input channel is correct.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Ronnie.Reels on October 02, 2011, 06:37:47 pm
Well I feel silly, you would think they would have put that in the manual somewhere, I read through it several times and couldn't find it anywhere but I guess when they say the ACS functions virtually identical to when it's an input channel is correct.

I assign my aux fed sub bus to mono and walla you have a main gas for subs right next to LR on main layer
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Benjamin Krumholz on October 10, 2011, 10:21:00 am
I now have a pair of Si-C-32's with MADI cards and the compact stage box, and overall I'm quite happy with all of them. My only issues/concerns are (hopefully) upgradeable thru software:

I'd think the matrix outs are completely useless for 90% of live sound work, because I can't simply route the main mix out of the matrix. YES, I can patch the house mix to the main outputs as well as a second set of physical outputs, but I must do that in stereo and would have no independent level control at the console. In my mind, making  bus 15/16 availablie in the maxtrix should be software-fixable.

You can absolutely route the L/R bus to a matrix. Hold the Alt Key while pressing your desired Matrix Send key. Then the L/R fader becomes a send and not for matrix master.. Had to read the manual to figure that one out..

In my opinion the sound and expansion options for this console make it better then the yamaha LS series.
The effects are awesome, and mixing to buses and matrix is very easy.
Downfalls are limited but its nothing that can't be fixed with later software revisions. The screen is small and hard to navigate using your touch.. Another thing that I don't like is the rate the knobs change the parameters.. Turn the knob fast or slow and the numbers change at the same rate.. So it takes a while to make large changes in parameters using the knobs.
Love these boards.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Jamin Lynch on October 24, 2011, 01:43:11 pm
I am a full time tech associate for the student ministry of a large church in the Houston area. We recently purchased a Soundcraft Si Compact for our student center. I have had a couple weeks to get familiar with this console and would like to share what I have found since it’s a pretty new console.

I am going to start with the Pros
It is a very user friendly console. It is very easy to get around on and its layout just makes sense. There isn’t really any guessing.

Having all of the controls for gain/HPF/gate/comp/EQ all on the control surface is really handy. It drives me crazy when I have to cycle through bands of EQ to do an adjustment. I also really love the touch screen. It’s a little small but it works really well. The fader glow is really nice as well. There’s no guessing as to which layer of the console you are on. Having input delay is a really nice feature for a console in this price range.

Now on to some of the cons.
The console just lacks a lot of features that are standard on most consoles.

The patching of the console is very limited. It has 2 stereo channels with ¼” connectors on it. They default to be patched on Layer B. The console will not let you patch it to the main layer. You also cannot patch the FX returns to the main layer. You can only patch the FX returns to a stereo channel. So if you are using the 2 ¼” stereo channels, you can only use 2 of the 4 FX channels.

There are no EQ, dynamic, or channel libraries.  This is one thing that really bugs me about this console. What is the point of having a digital console if you cannot recall EQ settings?  You can only do it in scenes.

The FX engine has some issues. I have already mentioned the patching issue. One thing I do not like about the FX engine is the delay. There is no way to adjust note. You have to tap in the note that you want. I can’t think of a more elegant way to say this but the delay just sounds abrasive and not smooth.

The EQ section is missing some features as well. The LF and HF sections are shelving only. This is another thing that just makes sense to have on a digital console. I use 4 fully parametric EQs all the time, especially on the main bus. I found it limiting for the LF and HF to be shelf only. The EQ graph on the display does not always update as you adjust the EQ (I assume this is just a bug that will be fixed with a firmware update) The HPF does not show up on the EQ graph. This is not a huge thing but it would be nice if it was there.

I have not messed with the snapshot section a whole lot but one thing I have found is that there is no indication to which snapshot you are currently on when you boot up the console or if you move the cursor off the current scene.

There are no analog output cards available for this console. You get 16 outs and that is all. So if you want to use all 14 mixes and the 4 matrices, you are out of luck.

For us it is going to be used in our student center and will be run primarily by students. For our normal Sunday to Sunday routine it is going to work out well. It is simple and easy enough for just about anyone to use. If you are looking for a console that is very easy to use and does not take up a lot of space then this console is for you. If you are after a large feature set, then you are better off with something like the LS9


My bottom line is that it seems Soundcraft set out to build a console that would be an LS9 killer but they designed it off of the failures of the LS9 and not on its success.

I have an SiC-24 and really like it. I find it much better and easier to operate than the LS9. Sure there are a few things I wish they would have added. But I don't think any manufacture makes a console (key phrase coming) "in this price range" that will satisfy all your needs.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Adam Robinson on October 29, 2011, 12:17:59 pm
While I haven't looked into most of the things Andrew went over when exploring this console, it's lack of a 4-band fully parametric EQ removed it from the running in my search to move several compact corporate audio rigs digital.

Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Samuel Rees on December 13, 2011, 10:08:46 pm
While I haven't looked into most of the things Andrew went over when exploring this console, it's lack of a 4-band fully parametric EQ removed it from the running in my search to move several compact corporate audio rigs digital.

I just bought one, thought I'd chime in. Its funny, it has been "bothering" me that they are just shelving, but I've still been ultimately getting the sounds I want. I wonder if I won't just 'get used to it'. It did occur to me that they could possibly use a software update to make them either fixed q bands or shelves, I don't know if thats something they want to do but its just a though. On the contrary regarding the FX, I really like them so far and I've found the 'studio delay' to be quite manageable and effective. I realize that one mans "awesome" is another mans "utter crap", though.

Just did the 1.1 software update, and Soundcraft has some info on their Facebook page about V2 which is in beta:

   Selective Copy & Paste
•   Security lockout
•   Assignable fader layers
•   Snapshot control via MIDI in and MIDI out
•   Ability to send Left, Right and Mono separately to each matrix bus
•   Console can be word clock slave or master
•   Global Isolate of individual buses
•   Patching of stereo inputs to any channel

The production release of V2 has been slated to provide the following:

•   Showing HPF setting on EQ screen
•   Delay displayed in meters feet and ms and filter width in Q and octaves
•   Support for forthcoming ViSi iPad on-line control
•   Support for CobraNet® and Aviom®
•   Minimum 25% speed improvement on all processes

Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Brian Wilkinson on December 14, 2011, 11:02:48 am
I just bought one, thought I'd chime in. Its funny, it has been "bothering" me that they are just shelving, but I've still been ultimately getting the sounds I want. I wonder if I won't just 'get used to it'. It did occur to me that they could possibly use a software update to make them either fixed q bands or shelves, I don't know if thats something they want to do but its just a though. On the contrary regarding the FX, I really like them so far and I've found the 'studio delay' to be quite manageable and effective. I realize that one mans "awesome" is another mans "utter crap", though.

Just did the 1.1 software update, and Soundcraft has some info on their Facebook page about V2 which is in beta:

   Selective Copy & Paste
•   Security lockout
•   Assignable fader layers
•   Snapshot control via MIDI in and MIDI out
•   Ability to send Left, Right and Mono separately to each matrix bus
•   Console can be word clock slave or master
•   Global Isolate of individual buses
•   Patching of stereo inputs to any channel

The production release of V2 has been slated to provide the following:

•   Showing HPF setting on EQ screen
•   Delay displayed in meters feet and ms and filter width in Q and octaves
•   Support for forthcoming ViSi iPad on-line control
•   Support for CobraNet® and Aviom®
•   Minimum 25% speed improvement on all processes

Cool!! I just ordered one of these puppies. I am replacing a Presonus 24 and got used to the ipad app with it.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Samuel Rees on December 15, 2011, 05:48:01 pm
Definitely "like" their facebook page if you can. Best source of news from soundcraft strangely! Another user here turned me on to it. For example they also just told every one to "look out" for an ipad control announcement soon.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Andrew (A.J.) McGlynn on December 16, 2011, 09:22:07 pm
Definitely "like" their facebook page if you can. Best source of news from soundcraft strangely! Another user here turned me on to it. For example they also just told every one to "look out" for an ipad control announcement soon.

Thanks so much Samuel. V2 solves a majority of the problems I have with this console. I might just end up keep mine.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Samuel Rees on December 16, 2011, 09:41:35 pm
Thanks so much Samuel. V2 solves a majority of the problems I have with this console. I might just end up keep mine.

Yeah its definitly shaping up to be a substantive release. Have you done the 1.1 upgrade yet? That had a few key features as well.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Gary Creely on April 06, 2013, 10:40:48 am
I think it would be a good time to revive this topic.

A few things have changed since the last post on this mixer, that really change the landscape.

The first thing is the product has matured, and the number of the issues that were mentioned earlier have been addressed with software updates. From what Harmon tells me there is a significant software upgrade on horizon. In addition there is a significant ipad application upgrade as well- Lord knows they need one.

So now it is not the "Si compact" it is the "Si expressions". These are essentially the same mixers, the two main differences is a new paint job, and the expressions has more fader layers, and enough DSP for 64 channels. The compact only had enough DSP for 48 channels.

In addition there is now a 16X8 and a 32X16 mini input box (madi) option which cost $1000 & $2500 respectively.

The big piece of news with this mixer ultimately is the price, at $2500 for a 16 channel, and $3500 for a 32 channel this is a game changer.

This is a game changer not only in regards to competing with Yamaha ( I can imagine why you would get a Yamaha for 3 times as much), but it is now bringing a respectable fully digital console at near cost parity with comparable analog boards.

Add to that the very affordable mini stage boxes, and this system becomes very hard to compete with. As a design build firm this mixer at this price point has become hard to ignore.

It will be interesting to see how other companies respond, and I am sure they will. I'm interested to see Allen & Heath's announcement coming up in the next week or so.

What I find most compelling about the price point of the sound craft is that it is the exact same board that cost nearly 300% more just a couple years ago. It is not a new cheaper product, but rather the same product that was made dramatically cheaper.

in terms of a review of the mixer I will give you a few of my feelings. First is that the mixer to my ears sounds a little better than the Yamaha, but is pretty much in a similar league. Since the Yamaha is really what sound craft was going after what this mixer I will continue to compare it to the Yamaha. I believe the area where the sound craft pulls way ahead of the Yamaha is in its ease of use. As a firm who sells to primarily churches it would be difficult to overstate how important ease-of-use is for my customers. Some of the criticisms that I was reading earlier in this thread are really high end user details, like only having two bands of fully parametric equalization ( although I have to admit it is odd that they force the high and low eg to only be a shelving filter). The fader glow feature might seem like a novelty at first glance, but I have found that to be actually rather useful. I don't know about you guys but I have been on digital mixers and lost track of where I was, and started mixing an auxiliary send not realizing I was not on the front of house mix. The fader glow let you immediately know that you are on an aux, and whether or not it is pre-or post-fade.

For what it's worth I find it a very easy to use and capable digital board. The only product on the market that could compete with it in terms of price versus feature set would be the Behringer X32. I don't mean to be a gear snob, but Behringer will have some heavy lifting to convince me based on their track record that I would want to ever install their equipment. Basically the new sound craft expressions sets apart because of its price point, and the fact that sound craft is a respected manufacturer in the industry.

Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Mike Reigh on April 07, 2013, 08:58:08 pm
How well does fader glow work during the day outdoors?  We have an Expression 3 on order and do a lot of summer festival work and am wondering if I'll have a difficult time seeing it.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Gary Creely on April 07, 2013, 09:32:43 pm
How well does fader glow work during the day outdoors?  We have an Expression 3 on order and do a lot of summer festival work and am wondering if I'll have a difficult time seeing it.

Good question. In my context they are always indoors, so I can't say for sure. It is pretty bright thought, and I think it would be visible.
Title: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: Samuel Rees on April 07, 2013, 10:13:25 pm
It does get dim I'm light sure, but you can turn the fader glow light to 100% and you can tell its lot. Fader glow is surprisingly helpful, IMO. Especially when there are no scribble strips.
Title: Re: Soundcraft Si Compact
Post by: shibir shakya on May 31, 2013, 01:42:03 pm
Hi,
It been about a year I've been using SI Compact 32. A problem that has occurred is that few faders when put in unity, doesnt stay in unity when flip the pages. Like If i set the channel 28 fader to unity, then goto page B and then back to page A, the fader is not in unity.
Title: Posting rules
Post by: Mac Kerr on May 31, 2013, 02:11:54 pm
Hi,
It been about a year I've been using

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions (http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/board,36.0.html) in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
Title: Re: Posting rules
Post by: shibir shakya on May 31, 2013, 02:22:50 pm
ive done it.