Recording - September 2015 - 16

B Y M I K E M E T L AY

The British firm Soundcraft has been in the
business of creating great mixers, large and
small, for many years, but its recent offerings
have been aimed primarily at the live market. It's been several years since we've
reviewed a Soundcraft console, but the Si
Impact piqued our interest-as both a 40input console and a 32 x 32 USB interface,
we could see it being used in live venues, in
studios, or both. Time for a closer look!
Meet the Si Impact
The newest of Soundcraft's Si Series, the Si
Impact weighs in at 44 pounds and is 29.5"
x 19.7" x 6.3"-large enough to be usable
without feeling cramped but small enough to
be relatively straightforward to transport.

Soundcraft Si Impact
Fast, intuitive, and incredibly powerful-live or in the studio
The front panel is divided into several
sections that are logically arranged for
easy access. There are 26 moving faders,
24 for the Control Channels plus one for
the L/R Main Mix and one that can be
used as a Mono Mix control or a Bus
Master fader for certain submixes. Each
Control Channel has a basic set of selection controls that serve multiple clearlydiscernible functions, and a color LCD
"scribble strip" that displays the track
name (color coded by channel type),
metering for signal level and gain reduction, and other indicators such as having
an active gate that's closed.
Above the Control Channels is the
Assignable Channel Strip (ACS), a full
control panel for the built-in DSP effects
and other settings available to the various
inputs and buses. It's divided into five
individually-defeatable sections: Input,
Gate, Compressor, EQ, and Output.
Each control has its own LED-ringed
encoder or backlit button, so that current
settings are instantly and clearly displayed the moment a channel is selected.
A 5" color touchscreen provides easy
access to deeper functional control, including the four built-in Lexicon effects processors. Shortcuts and quick access tricks
abound: there's a big FX button for instant
access, four Tap Tempo buttons (one for
each processor!), and a large push-click
encoder for adjustments that are too fine for
a fingertip, as well as an alternate scrolling/
16

RECORDING September 2015

input method. Two LED meters provide output and monitor levels, an isolated encoder
controls both the Monitor output level and
that of the 1/4" headphone jack hidden
under the left front edge of the console. The
Si Impact is rounded out with a variety of
other function buttons whose uses I'll discuss
in a minute. There are two front-panel USB
ports: one for loading software updates and
one for charging portable devices (or for a
USB-powered lamp).
The rear panel of the Si Impact is
packed with connections, but they're surprisingly "generic"-this is a modern digital console, where anything can be routed to anything else, so there's no particular need for dedicated ins and outs. You
get 24 XLR mic/line inputs with preamps,
8 combination XLR/TRS inputs for mic,
line, or instrument inputs, and 16 outputs
on XLR (the last two of which are designated Main L/R by default). There's also
a BNC word clock connection, an XLR
AES digital output, a data link for the
HiQnet networking protocol (used to control other devices in a live or installed situation), and two removable/replaceable
option card slots. The Si Impact has two
slots for digital network option cards from
Soundcraft's ViSi line; we'll talk about the
preinstalled MADI/USB card later.
The dividing line
Digital mixers are becoming more and
more common even in small studios, but

many of our readers are probably used to
analog consoles, where a particular input,
output, or fader has only one purpose. By
contrast, the physical ports and controls
on the Si Impact have almost no one-toone correlation with the inner workings
and buses of the console itself.
For example, I've mentioned the 24
Control Channels. Each has a fader, buttons for On, Select, and Solo, and an
LCD display. But there are four layers of
parameter assignments (chosen with the
A/B/C/D buttons beside the Main Out
fader) for these Control Channels, so you
actually have 96 distinct sets of controls
that cover inputs, outputs, FX sends, subgroups, and other buses.
As with other digital consoles, the potential for getting lost is considerable. Yes,
every time you switch layers, the LCD "scribble strips" recolor and relabel themselves so
you can see what's what, but the Si Impact
also includes a function that greatly speeds
up that process and removes a lot of potential for mistakes. It's called FaderGlow.
Each fader on the Si Impact has a thin,
bright LCD running alongside it.
Depending on which functions you've
selected, the LCD will flag the channel's
current setting. If there's no FaderGlow, a
channel is either unassigned (in which
case the LCD scribble strip will be dark) or
it's a conventional mono input. White
FaderGlow means a pair of adjacent
mono channels have been linked. Yellow



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2015

Contents
Recording - September 2015 - Intro
Recording - September 2015 - Cover1
Recording - September 2015 - Cover2
Recording - September 2015 - 1
Recording - September 2015 - 2
Recording - September 2015 - 3
Recording - September 2015 - 4
Recording - September 2015 - 5
Recording - September 2015 - Contents
Recording - September 2015 - 7
Recording - September 2015 - 8
Recording - September 2015 - 9
Recording - September 2015 - 10
Recording - September 2015 - 11
Recording - September 2015 - 12
Recording - September 2015 - 13
Recording - September 2015 - 14
Recording - September 2015 - 15
Recording - September 2015 - 16
Recording - September 2015 - 17
Recording - September 2015 - 18
Recording - September 2015 - 19
Recording - September 2015 - 20
Recording - September 2015 - 21
Recording - September 2015 - 22
Recording - September 2015 - 23
Recording - September 2015 - 24
Recording - September 2015 - 25
Recording - September 2015 - 26
Recording - September 2015 - 27
Recording - September 2015 - 28
Recording - September 2015 - 29
Recording - September 2015 - 30
Recording - September 2015 - 31
Recording - September 2015 - 32
Recording - September 2015 - 33
Recording - September 2015 - 34
Recording - September 2015 - 35
Recording - September 2015 - 36
Recording - September 2015 - 37
Recording - September 2015 - 38
Recording - September 2015 - 39
Recording - September 2015 - 40
Recording - September 2015 - 41
Recording - September 2015 - 42
Recording - September 2015 - 43
Recording - September 2015 - 44
Recording - September 2015 - 45
Recording - September 2015 - 46
Recording - September 2015 - 47
Recording - September 2015 - 48
Recording - September 2015 - 49
Recording - September 2015 - 50
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Recording - September 2015 - 53
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Recording - September 2015 - 57
Recording - September 2015 - 58
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Recording - September 2015 - 60
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Recording - September 2015 - 65
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Recording - September 2015 - 72
Recording - September 2015 - Cover3
Recording - September 2015 - Cover4
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