Dale Hanson took time off the road to handle eight different acts at The Bedford in London and mixed the evening away on a Soundcraft Si3-its first public, commercial gig. Along with the other Si3 beta testers covering theatre, touring and house of worship applications in Europe and the USA, Dale has taken the Si3 through its test paces but this gig was the ultimate beta test! In typical pro fashion, Dale was calm and collected. "The show was a bit like live TV with eight acts performing a couple of songs each during the evening without any change over time at all really. Not many digital consoles can cope with that type of challenge but the Si3 worked really well. I found that you can use so many different functions at the same time to be really useful. Having control of EQ, Dynamics, Bus Sends and Effects without having to reassign anything was great."
The Si3 is Soundcraft's latest 'mid range' addition to its growing digital family. It follows the Studer Vista 5 SR (Tours including: Celine Dion, Rascal Flatts, Billy Joel, Katie Melua, Keith Urban) and both Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi4, which were just announced with upgrades to 96 and 72 inputs to mix at PLASA (Tours: Bob Dylan, The Feeling, Deep Purple, Diana Krall and Rufus Wainright).
"Although we label the console mid-range in terms of price, that certainly doesn't limit its capabilities. It's a large format console at a mid-size console price point," added James Shears, Soundcraft's Si3 Product Manager. "Amongst many other new features, it has 64 inputs, 24 group busses, Lexicon processing and Distributed Display Technology.”
Very analogue in feel, the Si3 follows the company's digital operational philosophy of 'where you look is where you control' established by Studer on the Vista and OnAir ranges and continued on the Soundcraft Vi Series. Soundcraft has eliminated the need for a large, central screen and instead put the information screens right where you went them; next to the controls. Shears adds, "This console is perfect for users growing out of their smaller digital consoles and looking to upgrade at a sensible price and especially suitable for current analogue users who haven't yet made that switch. That's why we've designed the user interface to be so 'analogue familiar.' Basically, just take your analogue console out and drop the Si3 in it's place - simple!"
"The pre amps sounded really nice and had plenty of headroom,” Hanson adds. “I found that I needed minimal EQ on the night, which is always a good sign. The dynamics were easy-to-use and sounded smooth. I particularly liked the Lexicon reverbs, as they sounded great. The fact that the FX returns appear as normal channels is also great as I could easily send one effect into another; for example; very analogue!"
"It was a great feeling to see the Si3 go through its paces in a real life situation," said Shears. "We'll be running a series of Si3 gigs to provide engineers the chance to come and play with it after the launch at PLASA."