@mashworth Thanks very much for the detailed information! I recently started working with an Si Performer 3, which I believe runs the same software as the Expressions. I’m considering the purchase of one of the digital I/O cards as well, and I had wondered if there would be any hope of getting it to work with Linux. And as you’ve discovered, the manual is a tad short on details in some places. So this is very helpful indeed. I have a Firewire interface available on the computer side (PCI card) so I’m potentially interested in how your friend makes out with the Multi-Digital card.
The Si Performer looks very nice. I’m drooling. Have you considered getting a mini stagebox 32 and an ethernet snake? In that situation the MADI-USB card is a better choice. I’m going to try out that combination this week. I will have to remap fader layers on the console to add the extra input channels. I expect that Ardour will still see them as channel numbers 1-32.
I don’t believe that Soundcraft has their own proprietary DAW. I think Ardour would be a nice companion. Behringer probably sells a lot more X32s. Perhaps someone who has one can start a thread on how to set that up? More people should find out about this tool.
In fact we’re planning to buy a Mini Stagebox 32 in the next few months, hopefully. The Performer has two option card slots, so that could give a little more flexibility with recording/other interfaces. It appears (although this is another area the manual seems confusing) that one of the slots has in/out capacity of 64/64 and the other is 64/56, but only 32 of those outputs are patchable, apparently. Looks as though the Mini SB 32 uses 32/16 and USB can support 32/32 (is this USB 2.0?) so in this case nothing’s lost using the MADI/USB card in either slot.
I tested the mini stagebox 32 today and remapped 28 channels to fader layers A and B on my console which has 14 input slots per layer. I remapped the direct outs to USB channels 33-60 and created an Ardour session with 32 tracks. I didn’t see any conflicts.
I’m puzzled by the toggle switch on the stagebox that says 56ch/64ch. I left it in the 64ch position. The 8 return output channels didn’t seem to consume any of the 32 MADI input channels or interfere with the USB channels.
Today I noticed that there is a Behringer X32 topic already with a lot of posts. I should have guessed.
ive used the experssions a few times and while it was an easy desk to use (once setup) from the point of someone with little digital experience i didnt find it that great a desk for the cost of it. However it did sound find, it did what you asked and the effects sounded very good.
the eq i found required doing alot more than you would think you had to do as if it wasnt doing much, quite a few engineers ive talked to say the same thing.
for the money id probably rather have an x32 or if a little more money is availible the m32. Patching is mutch easier and simpler and even though things are done in blocks of 8 there are ways round it.
Im not sure what everyones problem is with the x32. Truth be told it works and it works well at an incredible pricepoint.
anyway this isnt an x32 topic.
Thanks for the detailed information this will be of great help if i come across another si expression and need to record.
I was ready to buy an x32 but someone I know had to return his twice for broken faders. Have you had any problems?
I own a x32 and used it the last 2 years without any problems for many gigs and recording projects. In my opinion a very, very good mixer for that money. Behringer released the x AIR XR 18 (http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/XR18.aspx) which could be an alternative to the x32.
x32 is good mixer for money, the si expression is outdated and over priced .
behringer has made a hell of alot of the x32 so you are bound to quite a few reports of issues .
ive had touring bands come in with x32’s that have no issues.
if you have a bit of an extra budget you could go for the m32.
I agree that the x32 family provides more features at retail prices. I stumbled upon an inventory clearance sale and bought my Soundcraft at a big discount. The hardware and layout are very good but I realize that physical controls on digital mixers are actually a user interface to a computer program that runs DSP chips.
Touch screens are cheaper than hardware and I expect them to become the dominant control surface in the future. I haven’t used one yet that feels reliable all the time. Until then you’ll have to pry the fader from my cold, dead hands.
mashworth: don’t assume that digital mixers use DSP chips. The current versions of stock CPUs are entirely capable of handling the DSP requirements for contemporary mixers. Several companies do precisely this (and even run Linux internally).
I'm puzzled by the toggle switch on the stagebox that says 56ch/64ch. I left it in the 64ch position.The original MADI spec allowed for 56 channels. The 2003 revision of AES10 increased that to 64. That's at sample rates up to 48kHz - at higher rates fewer channels are available.
Touch screens are cheaper than hardware and I expect them to become the dominant control surface in the future.I don't see touch screens becoming the standard control interface for live mixers any time soon. The need to keep fingers on several physical controls simultaneously while watching what is happening on stage rules them out IMO.
mashworth: I’m curious, now that a few months have passed, did your friend meet with any success with the Multi Digital card? I’m potentially interested in the Firewire interface (true, it doesn’t seem very well supported any more, but I have a 2-port PCI FW card that I’m currently using with a Focusrite Saffire), although at this point my main question is whether the USB interface in the Multi Digital card behaves the same as the one in the MADI/USB card.
I’m about to buy a Mini Stagebox 32, and either the MADI/USB or Multi Digital card. The Si Performer models have 2 option card slots, and the stage box comes with a MADI card, so the Multi Digital card could be an option for me. I’m still leaning toward the MADI/USB card though, partly because of your report that it works, and partly because it would leave a slot open for something else in the future. Oh, and it’s cheaper too.
Slightly OT, but I play in a band with regular weekend gigs and we have our own PA but occasionally hire a sound contractor for larger gigs, they recently went to those Mackie boards with iPads and even with giving the benefit of the doubt to allow for a bit of a learning curve after a few different shows I couldn’t agree with mashworth (and others) more about faders vs. touch screens. Simple problems like monitor mixes that could be a addressed in seconds with a hardware fader or auxiliary knob can drag on for several minutes while screen page after screen page is flipped through on the iPad…
iPads are great to record the show or post to your fans on Social Media… as a control surface not so much IMHO. Technology improves many things, but certainly not everything
Depends on how it is used, but I need to come back to this later, I just got home from a nice 2.5+ week trip and am a bit tired.
I know I’m extremely late to this conversation, five years later and all… but, I am using a Soundcraft Expression SI console with Ardour + Arch Linux for live performances. I have my setup working just fine, mapping the channels I need into Ardour, doing my mixing and then sending the signal back out to the console on two channels.
I have encountered an issue though that I cannot figure out what the cause is. The auddio that gets sent back to the console to play live has some very faint clicking / popping sounds that happen randomly. These are not xruns. It is as sublte as a scratch on a vinal LP. It isn’t noticiable most of the time but if you know it’s there, it is very annoying. Our livestream that goes from Ardour into OBS does not have this same artifacting. I am nearly convinced that it is an issue between the console and the computer.
Has anyone else encountered the same issue when pushing sound back through the console through the USB add-in card?
looks very similar to this post a couple of days ago, maybe you’ll find some hints there:
Yes, that was my first post that I submitted but there was not much response. I found this old thread however and decided to ask the same quesiton in the hopes that others that have the console from this thread might have some experience dealing with the issue.
Hahaha, sorry, my bad…!
Just a quick update… This past week for whatever reason there was absolutely none of the sound artifiacts I was getting before. I was super happy but also totally confused on what it might have been that fixed the issue. I did do a complete system update (always do it weekly) so maybe it was something in the kernel that got updated to fix it. The other possibility is that I did change the periods / buffer in Jack Audio to 2 (had tried larger values for trouble shooting previously) and a buffer size of 128. I swear these are settings I have tried before in the past and still had the problem but if I’m looking at what I did change, these are the only settings. I will keep an ear out for it but for now, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope my troubles are behind me.