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1176 Blue Stripe & API 525
Old 20th May 2015
  #1
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1176 Blue Stripe & API 525

I've been very intrigued by the new 1176 Blue Stripe options that have become available from Serpent, Hairball, etc. I haven't had the pleasure of using a Blue Stripe, either original or clone, but I was struck by the descriptions of them, with some of the key characteristics being mid-forward, excited, good-sounding distortion.

At present, when I want something that goes in this direction, I reach for an API 525.

For those lucky people who have both, or have recently used both, are they actually similar in the way that I am assuming?

Should I just stop considering the Blue Stripe because the 525 already has me covered for this kind of vocal sound?

Does the Blue Stripe do this so much better than the 525 that if I got a Blue Stripe I would probably sell my 525? Or are they two really different flavors, and it depends on the voice, song, etc. which one would work better, and it's a very good thing to have both in your arsenal?

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate any thoughts you may have.
Old 20th May 2015
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

the serpent audio clone sounds awesome!
Old 20th May 2015
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greendale View Post
the serpent audio clone sounds awesome!
Is this the 500 series one?
Old 20th May 2015
  #4
I use the API 212L (smaller brother of the 525) with a Hairball blue stripe unit for vocals with either an SM7B or an RE20 and it rocks, The API pres have a tone, and so do the 1176's. both sound cool without the other but they dont "replace" each other. Together, they impart a very magical sound to vocal tracks and really make them stand out.
Old 20th May 2015
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by countrymetalguy View Post
I use the API 212L (smaller brother of the 525) with a Hairball blue stripe unit for vocals with either an SM7B or an RE20 and it rocks, The API pres have a tone, and so do the 1176's. both sound cool without the other but they dont "replace" each other. Together, they impart a very magical sound to vocal tracks and really make them stand out.

The 212L is a preamp. the 525 is a compressor.
Old 20th May 2015
  #6
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Thanks for the replies so far. I'd be very curious to hear if this is just a false equivalence. I like to call the effect I'm thinking of the "hairy air" sound, like Steve Perry on Faithfully. (API 525). It sounds like that's the realm that the Blue Stripe plays in as well.
Old 21st May 2015
  #7
Gear Addict
Not sure if "both" is an attractive option for you, but CAPI just released their FC526 - 500 series DIY kit.

Classic Audio Products of IL, Inc.

Looks like it's a FET that runs through op-amp and gain structure you'd typically find in an API compressor or console/channel.
Old 21st May 2015
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReckNC00 View Post
Not sure if "both" is an attractive option for you, but CAPI just released their FC526 - 500 series DIY kit.

Classic Audio Products of IL, Inc.

Looks like it's a FET that runs through op-amp and gain structure you'd typically find in an API compressor or console/channel.
Thanks for the link and the cool info. I read through the description and that looks pretty amazing. I'll be interested to find out how it sounds. It may well be in the same direction that we're discussing, given it's API/1176 history.
Old 21st May 2015
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Is this the 500 series one?
Yep! Rox the Sox
Old 21st May 2015
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greendale View Post
Yep! Rox the Sox
Interesting. I have a line on a used pair. Wonder if I can get a trial... Still worth it beside my pair of Urei F Revs?
Old 21st May 2015
  #11
Quote:
The 212L is a preamp. the 525 is a compressor.
He didn't say both brothers had the same dad.
Old 21st May 2015
  #12
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So . . . Has anybody heard both the API 525 (compressor) and the Blue Stripe 1176?
Old 21st May 2015
  #13
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_Mark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
The 212L is a preamp. the 525 is a compressor.
I think he meant 225L!
Old 21st May 2015
  #14
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These are very different circuits. an 1176 is a FET circuit while a 525 is a VCA circuit loosely speaking. They react very differently but I think the most notable difference is speed- the 1176 is a much faster attack &/or release. the 525 is a slower animal and has a way of floating up & down with the program material.

YMMV
Old 21st May 2015
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softwareguy View Post
I've been very intrigued by the new 1176 Blue Stripe options that have become available from Serpent, Hairball, etc. I haven't had the pleasure of using a Blue Stripe, either original or clone, but I was struck by the descriptions of them, with some of the key characteristics being mid-forward, excited, good-sounding distortion.

At present, when I want something that goes in this direction, I reach for an API 525.

For those lucky people who have both, or have recently used both, are they actually similar in the way that I am assuming?

Should I just stop considering the Blue Stripe because the 525 already has me covered for this kind of vocal sound?

Does the Blue Stripe do this so much better than the 525 that if I got a Blue Stripe I would probably sell my 525? Or are they two really different flavors, and it depends on the voice, song, etc. which one would work better, and it's a very good thing to have both in your arsenal?

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate any thoughts you may have.
If you're looking for something more mid forward but musical, you may want to consider or listen to a Retro DoubleWide
Old 21st May 2015
  #16
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Thanks for the feedback, Shortstory! Definitely the different gain-control mechanism as well as the 525's fixed attack will have to make a practical difference in how they control dynamics.

I see from your tag-line that you are at the Garden in Brooklyn. Have you had a chance to A/B these two comps on rock vocal? Is there one that you reach for first?
Old 21st May 2015
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softwareguy View Post
Thanks for the feedback, Shortstory! Definitely the different gain-control mechanism as well as the 525's fixed attack will have to make a practical difference in how they control dynamics.

I see from your tag-line that you are at the Garden in Brooklyn. Have you had a chance to A/B these two comps on rock vocal? Is there one that you reach for first?
Many times. Almost every rock vocal is tracked thru an 1176- almost. Tracking I prefer having control over attack & release. So rarely chose a 525 in tracking on a vocal. Mixing I do tho sometimes. An 1176 is a very flexible tool. A 525 is a very musical tool. That's kinda how I see it in very few words.

I like 525 on bass & Gtrs. even kik drum sometimes. it has a great way that it releases and the knee is unique. it has a lot of subtlety in its responsiveness.
Old 21st May 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstory View Post
Many times. Almost every rock vocal is tracked thru an 1176- almost. Tracking I prefer having control over attack & release. So rarely chose a 525 in tracking on a vocal. Mixing I do tho sometimes. An 1176 is a very flexible tool. A 525 is a very musical tool. That's kinda how I see it in very few words.

I like 525 on bass & Gtrs. even kik drum sometimes. it has a great way that it releases and the knee is unique. it has a lot of subtlety in its responsiveness.
Thanks! This is exactly what I needed to understand. So they both have a certain rock-appropriate musicality, but work out very differently in application. That makes huge good sense.
Old 24th May 2015
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstory View Post
If you're looking for something more mid forward but musical, you may want to consider or listen to a Retro DoubleWide
I feel like all that I've seen on the DoubleWide has been sort of meh after initial use. Do you really like it? Ever compare it to a Sta Level?
Old 24th May 2015
  #20
Quote:
Thanks! This is exactly what I needed to understand.
Me too, shortstory your posts here were very helpful to me. Much appreciated.
Old 24th May 2015
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Mark View Post
I feel like all that I've seen on the DoubleWide has been sort of meh after initial use. Do you really like it? Ever compare it to a Sta Level?
I had one here for a while. I thought it was kinda meh on everything Until I put it on snare. It brought out the body like nothing else I've ever heard. I couldn't replicate it using anything else in my rack. At this point, I'm starting to think I shouldn't have sent it back.
Old 24th May 2015
  #22
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How was it on on vocals, Trev? I love my Little Devils on snare!
Old 24th May 2015
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Mark View Post
How was it on on vocals, Trev? I love my Little Devils on snare!
like I said above, it didn't really do it for me on anything but snare.
Old 25th May 2015
  #24
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I've seen many posts on here of people not liking the doublewide- so I know what you're reacting too.

To be honest- I don't get it. I own a sta-level, a 176, a 2A3 and the DoubleWide and use all of them quite a bit. Is the Doublewide like the Sta level- no of course not.

Here's what I think- there's a lot of focus on Gearslutz (I believe) on what I call 'high fidelity' sound. We have the ability to create music that has both high freq and low freq content that wasn't possible before digital. I personally do not mix that way. Too much music has that 'smile' curve to it- and it sounds fake to me. Do I like 'air'- sure; do I like subs that give it a big sound on a stereo or in the car- of course. But getting the middle right is really where the heart of it is. That mid range is the hardest part of mixing- especially low mids. If there's too much- it sounds boxy and not hi fi; too little and it sounds like another amateur mix and doesn't sound natural and ultimately 'warm'.

To me the doublewide is great at bringing out the best of mids. Does it work on everything across the board? of course not- that's why I own probably 20 different compressor/limiters, maybe more. But it works great on a lot of things: stand up bass, electric bass, snare, sometimes kick, piano, lots of stuff- especially when you want an instrument to sit in that difficult space of that lower mid area. It reminds me a bit of an Altec 436C. I cannot ever remember using it on vocals but maybe. I certainly wouldn't buy it as my main vox compressor either. I wouldn't buy a 525 for that either though.

I do think it's an exceptional value- and all of the engineers who work here at the studio also love it and always comment about it- albeit with a bit of surprise.

That's my 2 cents.
Old 27th May 2015
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstory View Post
These are very different circuits. an 1176 is a FET circuit while a 525 is a VCA circuit loosely speaking.
The 525 is a FET circuit, strictly speaking.

Last edited by ManaTau80; 27th May 2015 at 11:59 AM..
Old 27th May 2015
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManaTau80 View Post
The 525 is a FET circuit, strictly speaking.
good to know-
Old 27th May 2015
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManaTau80 View Post
The 525 is a FET circuit, strictly speaking.
I never knew that. Given its size and console-based history I had always just assumed there was a VCA inside. I'm sure that the FET circuitry has a real impact on the sound and, I would think, on its history as a vocal comp favorite.
Old 27th May 2015
  #28
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by softwareguy View Post
I never knew that. Given its size and console-based history I had always just assumed there was a VCA inside. I'm sure that the FET circuitry has a real impact on the sound and, I would think, on its history as a vocal comp favorite.
The FET in the 525 is the reason it has a blazingly fast attack time of 15u/s, especially for the era it was made.
Old 28th May 2015
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Until I put it on snare. It brought out the body like nothing else I've ever heard.
You are absolutely right about the DW on snare.
I just kicked a 527 off the snare to try the DW.
Not that the 527 was doing anything wrong the DW just did more things right.
I'll let it ride there for a while and see how it sounds as things progress.
It definitely works on snare.
Old 28th May 2015
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swansonic View Post
You are absolutely right about the DW on snare.
I just kicked a 527 off the snare to try the DW.
Not that the 527 was doing anything wrong the DW just did more things right.
I'll let it ride there for a while and see how it sounds as things progress.
It definitely works on snare.
Glad it worked for ya!
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