Soundcraft has come out with a new member of the Si Series, the Performer. The Performer looks a lot like the Si Compact consoles, but the Performer dips into two departments: sound and lighting.
It’s true. This console actually has DMX jack and will allow you to do basic control of lighting systems. What, are they crazy? I’m not sure I’ve met any sound designer or engineer who wishes to also be programming and controlling the lighting. But, clearly, this is catering to smaller venues where one person tends to do it all.
I can see the single console controlling sound and lighting being handy in clubs, churches, or small theatres...maybe. Beyond the DMX and lighting control, the console follows much of the Si Compact’s core traits. There are either 24 or 32 local input channels, depending on the model, with the potential to control up to 80 using a remote stage box and eight local line inputs. You generously get 20 auxiliary busses, four effect busses, and eight matrix busses, all of which you can layout as you desire on the completely flexible fader layers. You can also toss a lighting fader for the podium light right next to your podium mic fader. You’re a one-man show!
The surface is well lit with cool features like assignable fader glow, where you can illuminate faders in different colors, depending on function. Beyond that, it’s a very clean and simple console that looks easy to navigate. There is a blank top-half area that’s just begging for a display screen, but that must not have been in the cards.
DSP-wise, the console packs a punch. You get 4-band parametric EQ, delay, compression, and gate on every input, as well as BSS 28-band graphic EQ, delay, and compression on every output. The four effects busses are routed to the four onboard Lexicon digital effect engines.
Rounding out the hardware are two card slots that are ready to handle expansion needs: Aviom, MADI, CobraNet, or AES/EBU. And for a console this size, I’m pleased to say that there are eight VCA groups--impressive.
Finally, any new digital console that doesn’t embrace a wireless control option would be flawed. Since all the cool kids are doing it, the Si Performer can be controlled by the Soundcraft ViSi App installed on an iPad (it also works on the Si Compact and the Vi Series). From the iPad, you can control most aspects of the console, but the real benefit can be on the output side. A musician can conceivably mix (or at least adjust) his own monitor mix from the stage. So when he wants "more of me," he can just turn it right up. For the sound designer, being able to walk around the theatre and adjust the mix to matrix sends would be fantastic.
In the Si Performer, SoundCraft looked to build on their Si Compact series and add a new dimension by including lighting control and DMX integration--a good idea for some venues that might like to consolidate to one console. It's a basic lighting console tucked within a powerful sound console. Sure, why not?