LEXINGTON, Nebraska — Clyde Reimers, Owner of Lexington, Nebraska live sound contractor CL1 Productions, is a veteran audio professional who’s seen it all, going back to the 1960s. Through the years, Reimers has embraced improved technology that makes his life easier, like the HARMAN Soundcraft® Si Expression 3 digital live sound console he recently purchased and used for the Miss Nebraska 2013 pageant.
For the pageant, Reimers used the 32-channel Si Expression 3 to play back more than 50 audio tracks and 30 tracks with audio and video. “Each contestant either performed live or provided their own track for accompaniment, and each track needed different EQ, compression, level matching and other tweaking,” he noted. Previously, Reimers would have to spend a lot of time before the pageant remixing and re-recording the tracks to get them sonically consistent–or even more daunting, make adjustments on the fly at the time of the show.
He took an entirely different approach using the Si Expression 3. “In the two weeks of rehearsals I made the adjustments to each track on the Si Expression 3 and saved each one as a separate scene that I could instantly recall during the show.” Reimers assigned each contestant a number and found that what was previously very stressful and time-consuming became as easy as pushing a button once to go from one track to the next during the course of the 3-hour show. Reimers did the same thing for the live performances, accommodating everything from 16 channels of wireless and an onstage grand piano to in-ear and wedge monitor mixes. “Previously I’d have to have a very big cheat sheet,” he noted.
Coming from a live theater sound background, Reimers finds the versatility of the Si Expression 3 to be so useful in this regard and in other aspects that he says he’ll “never look at an analog desk again.” In addition to the Miss Nebraska 2013 event, CL1 Productions has used the console for theater productions like “Nunsense,” air shows, corporate functions, music festivals and other events and in every case he’s been impressed by the Si Expression 3’s ultra-clean sound quality, lack of noise and immunity to ground loops.
“With many consoles you’ll hear that ‘pop’ when you turn the console on and off while the amps are still on. I’d have to ask the other crew members if it was OK to turn the console on or off.” At one festival notorious for its “horrible” AC power, Reimers always had to struggle with noise coming through the analog console. “Now, the Si Expression 3 is so quiet I can’t even tell if the PA system is on or not.”
At first Reimers thought the console looked almost stripped down but came to appreciate its logical—and extremely powerful—configurability. He’s used it on shows where the Si Expression 3 provided a main mix and six monitor mixes and still had six subgroups left. In another situation he found he could configure the console where three subgroups rather than eight provided all the mixing flexibility he needed. “You have to re-think the way you normally mix audio,” he notes. “The Si Expression 3 feels more like a VCA console where you can assign anything to do anything you want.” The ability to globally look at functions like panning, EQ, and other aspects is invaluable when he needs to troubleshoot, instead of having to cue every channel to see if one is misbehaving.
Although all the automation and functionality is extremely useful, Reimers notes that the Si Expression 3 is equally adept when he has to mix manually. During one production of “Nunsense,” he neglected to save any settings, and realized it while people were entering the theater. He was able to do the show “blind” with no problem, finding the console’s FaderGlow illuminated fader feature particularly useful in the darkened theater environment.
In fact, CL1 Productions is planning on purchasing another Si Expression 3. “When you go to the CL1 Productions website in the near future you’re probably going to see an ad that says, ‘Much analog equipment for sale—cheap!’”
For more information on CL1 Productions, please visit www.cl1productions.com
Photo Caption: Miss America 2011 and Miss Nebraska 2010 winner Teresa Scanlan with the Soundcraft Si Expression 3.
HARMAN (www.HARMAN.com) designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of audio, lighting and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson®, and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with Harman audio and infotainment systems. Harman has a workforce of about 14,300 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.