Running a production company in the heart of Missouri, the owner of Strictly Audio STL, Bob Walther, provides services to cover local festivals from St. Louis all the way to southern Illinois. While the company’s Harman Soundcraft Si Expression 3 console is temporarily installed at the Atomic Cowboy nightclub, his newly purchased Si Expression 2 is responsible for providing mix capabilities at some of the region’s popular festivals.
The owners of the Atomic Cowboy, which has a capacity of 700 people, were most impressed that the Si Expression’s core functions can be remotely controlled via the Soundcraft ViSi Remote 2.0 iPad app. This added functionality allows the 32-channel Si Expression 3 console to be stored away behind a barricaded space, freeing up room for customers while the operator roams free through the crowd.
Besides the console, the audio system at the Atomic Cowboy includes a JBL STX825 loudspeaker on each side of the stage and two SRX728S subwoofers under the stage, powered by two Crown Audio I-Tech 6000 amplifiers, as well as three JBL SRX712M monitors powered by two Crown XTI2002 amplifiers. The sound is further enhanced by a dbx DriveRack, which provides control of equalization and loudspeaker management.
“The evening after the installation was completed, a show took place that exceeded the expectations of the club owners and myself,” says Walther. “I knew that going with a full Harman setup would eliminate guesswork and result in good synergy, but we couldn’t believe how good the system sounded right out of the box. The owners praised the equipment that was chosen for the club, as the clarity and detail were fantastic. The Crown amplifiers provided plenty of headroom at front of house and the monitors made the band very happy.”
“I was pleased with the performance and audio fidelity of the Si Expression 3, which were my main reasons for purchasing a Si Expression 2,” Walther adds. “The Si Expression Series remains far better than anything else within this price range. The lower channel count of the Si Expression 2 is more than sufficient for most of our local festivals and events, whereas the Si Expression 3 is used for regional touring groups, when not in use at the Atomic Cowboy.”
Having cut his teeth on analog equipment, Walther is averse to the cluttered menus found on some of the digital consoles in today’s market. However, the Soundcraft Si Expression consoles are designed with an appreciation for common sense; features such as FaderGlow™, the illuminated and color-coded fader-strip, speed up workflow and improve efficiency of operation.
“This console translates so well from the analog world, because it is designed in a very logical fashion,” Walther stated. “With some digital mixers out there, I almost feel like I’m translating a foreign language when attempting a live mix. With the Si Expression, I don’t even have to look at my hands, thanks to FaderGlow and the intuitive layout. Also, the onboard effects and compressors eliminated the need for a 4-foot-tall effects rack, which saved me a lot of room in the truck.”
Walther has recently used the Si Expression 2 in events such as the annual Crawfish Boil in downtown, where Cajun food is accompanied by a healthy dose of local musical acts. The Si Expression 3 temporarily installed in the nightclub will enjoy more spectacles such as the upcoming Mound City Music Fest over the weekend.