Currently riding high with tours and engineers thanks to the incredible success of the Vi Series digital consoles, Soundcraft is turning heads in many industries with the Si3 digital console.
This new desk is designed for live use on both touring sound systems and in fixed installations and its intuitive operation and high input and bus count makes it a perfect choice for house of worship sound systems. Theatre applications have also found the versatility and excellent sonic quality has been a tremendous upgrade to their sound system.
A distinct advantage of the Si3 is the single chassis construction which includes all input and output connections and the power supply – so it can literally drop in and replace an existing analog desk as almost certainly no additional cabling would be required to install it. This compact footprint desk can directly handle 64 mono inputs, four stereo inputs and has full connectivity for all 35 output busses (24 Aux/Group, eight Matrix and Left/Right/Centre mix buses), something you don’t find often on digital consoles at the price level of the Si3. Add to this four Lexicon® effects processors, 12 VCA groups, eight Mute groups and bar graph metering for all 35 bus outputs and you begin to see what a package the Si3 is.
So what about the operating surface, is it easy to use? The obvious lack of what is now standard fare on most digital consoles, a large central screen, brings hope that cumbersome centralized channel operation is a thing of the past, and indeed when you look at the controls in detail you see it may well be. Although the Si3 does have a small central touch screen, it is really there for console management, cue-lists, labelling etc. All the normal day-to-day mixing operations are carried out adjacent to the channel faders continuing Soundcraft and Studer’s philosophy of ‘where you look is where you control.’ An amazingly crisp and bright OLED display clearly shows important channel data for every fader on the desk, while in the centre section, OLEDs provide the same for the output faders.
Under the hood of the Si3 is an array of new technology, most notably EMMA, a single-board digital mixing console with an embedded operating system. This compact pcb holds not only the processing and DSP to run the mixer with its EQ and dynamics, but also four Lexicon AudioDNA chips to provide the Si3 with arguably the best effects available in the pro audio world. The team of developers at Soundcraft was responsible for the entire development and coding of this new mixing core which is also the base core of further new console designs already in development.
But how does it sound? Needless to say with the wealth of experience in digital platform development that Studer and Soundcraft have with the Vista and Soundcraft Vi Series, the Si3 has inherited the same sound quality pedigree, and coupled with company founder Graham Blyth’s talents in mic pre-amp design and the extensive development of the integral dynamics and gates and Lexicon FX, sound quality is a given.