Thank you for spending the time to do this test! Recently I've been researching mic pres quite a bit in thinking about adding to my current collection: FMR RNP and Groove Tubes Brick.
Listening to sound samples online I wasn't finding much that really impressed me until I hit upon a shootout that included the Chandler Germanium
. I fell in love immediately. That's* what I wanted my preamp to do. From others' posts on the pre it sounded like it probably wasn't the best choice for my only high quality pre, so I started doing more research and fell in love with the Little Devil, in theory, before hearing it in practice. This led me to your thread.
I downloaded the samples and blindly ordered them based on my liking of the sound (disregarding the challenge of naming which was which). My 1st choice was the 57/vp26. Second choice 101/vp26. Third/fourth the standard API and decidedly in last place was the Little Devil. I know there's a lot you can do with the controls of that box, so I wouldn't write it off for the future, but based on your samples I am definitely more interested in the sound of the vp26. Sine I love DIY/soldering I've decided to pick a kit up (and probably an API 6b lunchbox to get into the 500 series game), and keep the Germanium
on the radar
for when the wallet is a bit more full.
I would note that I don't think your API 512s were a waste of money at all. They still sound excellent.