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API 2500 / Waves API 2500 / Tonelux TX5C - Shootout Files!
Old 23rd September 2014
  #1
API 2500 / Waves API 2500 / Tonelux TX5C - Shootout Files!

Hey All,

Let's see how different the API 2500, Waves 2500, and Tonelux TX5C are.

I mixed a section of the tracks from the Alan Evans Trio live at the Telefunken Studios sessions. I just did a quick mix then started printing through the comps. All of the files, including the Waves and No Compression, took a round trip through my Midas VeniceF-32 converters and console.The mix isn't perfect and could use some tweaks, but I only have the Waves demo for a week and time is ticking. I processed a pretty big chunk of mix through the comps on a few different settings. I'll get a sample of just drums and a sample pushed a little harder through these as well when I get a chance.

I set the settings close to where I normally have my RJR (SSL type). I set up the mix with the Hardware 2500, no Thrust and New, and was pulling up to 4db or so on the loudest parts. When I switched over to Old, it maxed out at about 6db, but was normally tickling around 3db. I didn't want to get into playing with the threshold settings and screwing with repeatability, so they stayed there. Settings on the API were:

Threshold: +2
Attack: 10
Release: .2
Knee: Hard
Thrust: Takes with both Normal and Loud
Tone Type: Takes with both Old and New
No Shape
100% Link
Makeup Gain: +3

Settings on the Tonelux were:

Threshold: -10
Attack: 10
Release: .2
Tilt (similar to Thrust; sidechain filter): Takes with both Normal and Tilt
Tone Type: Takes with both Old and New
100% Link
100% Wet
Makeup Gain: 8:15 (on a clock)

After bouncing the files, I then normalized to -.3 dB. The files are 24 bit, 44.1 .wav files.

I set this up "blind" for those who want to play along, but if you shoot me a PM, I'll send over the key so you can rename the files accordingly if you prefer. Basically, there are 4 different settings used and all have an A, B, and C file that correspond to API, Tonelux, or Waves (in no particular order...they change for each numbered set too).

1) Normal/New
2) Normal/Old
3) Loud (Thrust sidechain filter or Tilt)/New
4) Loud (Thrust sidechain filter or tilt)/Old

Click here for the files!

Click here to submit guesses / receive results!

Enjoy!
Old 23rd September 2014
  #2
Thanks - interesting test. Can I ask what is the main objective? Just because we have a software 2500 v hardware 2500 element, but also another different compressor thrown in...so without prior knowledge of the different between Tonelux and the 2500...its a bit tricky...
Old 23rd September 2014
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
Thanks - interesting test. Can I ask what is the main objective? Just because we have a software 2500 v hardware 2500 element, but also another different compressor thrown in...so without prior knowledge of the different between Tonelux and the 2500...its a bit tricky...
Hey Swan, I was hoping that you'd pop over and take a look.

The objective was just that I wanted to see how the Waves compared with my API and Tonelux. The Tonelux TX5C circuit was designed by the same designer as the API 2500, Paul Wolff, and has very similar features, which is why I included them.

I originally purchased the Tonelux because I couldn't afford the API and I expected that they could cover the same ground. I ended up getting a 2500 too, now want to put some money back in my pocket. I had the Tonelux up for sale, but decided that I would shoot out both the Tonelux and API with the Waves (that I had on a 7 day demo) to really assess what to keep and what to sell.

I figured that since I was testing for myself, I might as well share with others who may be in a similar situation. Plus, many of the tests online use electronic music and beats, while I work with mostly live recordings (which this Telefunken track I found is), so a bit of added variety is nice.
Old 23rd September 2014
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoutu1 View Post
Hey Swan, I was hoping that you'd pop over and take a look.

The objective was just that I wanted to see how the Waves compared with my API and Tonelux. The Tonelux TX5C circuit was designed by the same designer as the API 2500, Paul Wolff, and has very similar features, which is why I included them.

I originally purchased the Tonelux because I couldn't afford the API and I expected that they could cover the same ground. I ended up getting a 2500 too, now want to put some money back in my pocket. I had the Tonelux up for sale, but decided that I would shoot out both the Tonelux and API with the Waves (that I had on a 7 day demo) to really assess what to keep and what to sell.

I figured that since I was testing for myself, I might as well share with others who may be in a similar situation. Plus, many of the tests online use electronic music and beats, while I work with mostly live recordings (which this Telefunken track I found is), so a bit of added variety is nice.
Interesting - yeah its good to see what works for you by doing real world tests like this-thanks for posting...I have listened to the first set. Very funky classic tune-great playing!

I like the look of the Tonelux - didnt realise how they were related to the 2500...

I'll have a listen and see what it seems like to me..for you you might want to throw just 2 of the files into an ABX program. Ideally youd get 9/10 to be able to correctly identify between them...generally better to do A/B tests then you know you are choosing one specific file over the other. I know its all a bit boring lol I bore myself just saying it now days...
Old 23rd September 2014
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
Interesting - yeah its good to see what works for you by doing real world tests like this-thanks for posting...I have listened to the first set. Very funky classic tune-great playing!

I like the look of the Tonelux - didnt realise how they were related to the 2500...

I'll have a listen and see what it seems like to me..for you you might want to throw just 2 of the files into an ABX program. Ideally youd get 9/10 to be able to correctly identify between them...generally better to do A/B tests then you know you are choosing one specific file over the other. I know its all a bit boring lol I bore myself just saying it now days...
I've been doing ABX tests myself with the ABXer. I should have a few more files posted within a couple of days too. Boring to do, but enlightening.
Old 23rd September 2014
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoutu1 View Post
I've been doing ABX tests myself with the ABXer. I should have a few more files posted within a couple of days too. Boring to do, but enlightening.
cool will be interesting how you got on/what your final thoughts are...
Old 23rd September 2014
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
cool will be interesting how you got on/what your final thoughts are...
Keep an eye on my classifieds listings. That'll tell you what you need to know.
Old 25th September 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
dasoundjunkie's Avatar
 

Ok I posted my answers based on which one I thought was the waves. Since I have never heard the Tonelux I assumed that the 2 that sounded closest would be the 2 hardware units but basically I was using the Force (sorry the Star Wars geek reared his head briefly)
For this type of test I feel that the 3rd unit just creates confusion. If you want an opinion as to which sounds better of the 2 HW units I think you'd be better served by doing a shootout between those 2. Finally on a compressor renowned for its punch I think this source material isn't the best option. When I think API I think Drums and bass, this track had extremely loud vocals which won't enhance what this guy is so well known for. Something more rhythm centric would have been better IMO
Cool track BTW just not the best choice for this
L
Old 25th September 2014
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasoundjunkie View Post
Ok I posted my answers based on which one I thought was the waves. Since I have never heard the Tonelux I assumed that the 2 that sounded closest would be the 2 hardware units but basically I was using the Force (sorry the Star Wars geek reared his head briefly)
For this type of test I feel that the 3rd unit just creates confusion. If you want an opinion as to which sounds better of the 2 HW units I think you'd be better served by doing a shootout between those 2. Finally on a compressor renowned for its punch I think this source material isn't the best option. When I think API I think Drums and bass, this track had extremely loud vocals which won't enhance what this guy is so well known for. Something more rhythm centric would have been better IMO
Cool track BTW just not the best choice for this
L
Agreed on all accounts. 4 different settings is a bit much. 3 different compressors is too much too. I also agree that this isn't the best source material for these comps, but it's what was handy while I had the Waves demo, so I went with it.

Anyway, thanks for taking the test, I'll PM you the results.
Old 1st October 2014
  #11
Lives for gear
Well I just tried this and my guesses were all over the place. I think having the Tonelux in there--which I have zero familiarity with--made this a less valuable test. I only downloaded the Waves 2500 earlier today, so I'm not much of an expert.

Once I had the answers, I listened to just the API and the Waves. There are differences, but they are really pretty small at least in this context. Although I didn't set up an ABX test I was mostly able to pick out which was which and in this context I tended to prefer the hardware. But not by much, and not consistently.

It's funny--i tended to show confirmation bias in that several times I assumed the track I liked least was the software because hardware was supposed to be better. In fact as in the other test I seem to have disliked the Tonelux.

Interesting that the Waves 2500 is a six or seven year old plugin--I wonder if advances in computing power since then would have made a difference?

Have to say this does not make me want to go out and spend money on hardware. Maybe tomorrow I'll set up an ABX test.

Very interesting, thank you
Old 12th August 2015
  #12
Lives for gear
 
scorpix74's Avatar
What happened to the files?
Old 15th August 2015
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

guys something i wonder is how the waves compare to the hardware when driving the make up gain, some of the "magic" of the 2500 is with the gain, i m curious if it s spot on.
Old 17th August 2015
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpix74 View Post
What happened to the files?
Apparently, I pulled them out when my dropbox got full. I'll try to get them reposted with my gdrive.
Old 18th August 2015
  #15
Lives for gear
 
scorpix74's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoutu1 View Post
Apparently, I pulled them out when my dropbox got full. I'll try to get them reposted with my gdrive.
Thank you!
Old 2nd December 2016
  #16
Gear Head
 

I'm curious what the outcome was to this shootout? since they all share a similar lineage how close/differrent are they?
Old 2nd December 2016
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by skylab001 View Post
I'm curious what the outcome was to this shootout? since they all share a similar lineage how close/differrent are they?
Results were all over the map. Personally, I sold my API 2500 because I preferred the Tonelux and purchased the Waves.
Old 3rd December 2016
  #18
Gear Head
 

I take it then that 2500 plugin was close enough to the real deal, and the tx5c's do something a little different or better? I dig the Waves API 2500 plugin and have wanted something similar in hardware. Are the audio files from the shootout available somewhere?
Old 4th December 2016
  #19
Lives for gear
 
scorpix74's Avatar
Waves 2500 is my favorite software compressor IDK why. (not on master tho)
Old 4th December 2016
  #20
Gear Head
 

I love the waves 2500 plugin on all sorts of things. I have never used the hardware version and not sure I really need it because the plugin works for me. I have most of the big name hardware comps in the studio too, but have been looking for a new flavor lately. I was trying to figure out how the TX5C compares or if it might give me something I'd like.
Old 15th December 2016
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpix74 View Post
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by skylab001 View Post
I'm curious what the outcome was to this shootout? since they all share a similar lineage how close/differrent are they?
I just pulled out the old HD and re-uploaded these to my GDrive. I prefer the Tonelux units to both the API and Waves 2500. Love them. Here's the link...

https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...FU?usp=sharing
Old 13th August 2019
  #22
Zombie bump! Fun thread. Just listened thru and dug the Tonelux best 4 out of 4 times. Thanks for sharing these!
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