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API 2500 not working? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 15th June 2015
Here for the gear

API 2500 not working?

Hi everybody, I have been reading for many years and I thank you all so much for posting all the great information that I have learned from. I recently have gotten a situation that I can't solve so I thought I'd ask for help, here goes.

I just bought an API 2500 of of eBay. I live far from any audio shops or technicians and wanted to try something professional for recording, mostly drum machines. I had some cheap DBX compressors before but lately I have been using the ones in Logic. I thought the API would be great especially on how everyone talks about how great it is for drums. I do ITB electronica but like to make my beats and loops with a MPC and a Machinedrum so I thought recording thought a great drum compressor would be good. I was very excited to get the API but once I hooked it up I couldn't tell if it was working. I feel stupid, either I bought a unworking expensive thing or I dont know how to use it. I am used to the software compressors that can be so fast that they click on the beats and can totally flatten the signal too. With a sidechain you can hear them breathing. The thing is, no matter how I set the 2500 it gives from 0 to 2db of gain reduction according to the meters. Am I doing it worng? Is it just a very different compressor? I think I can hear how it glues things to gether but the amount of actual compression is very subtle. Is this how it is supposed to be? Is there some kind of test I can perform to measure it? By the way I have the levels matched using a +4 send and return on my mixer and have tried things other than drums so if the error is mine its in the settings not the signal I am sending it.

Sorry for the stupid question, I hope someone can help me - thanks so much in advance.
Old 16th June 2015
Gear Nut

Hmmm I've never really had trouble getting more than 2db gr on my 2500, so yeah unless you are doing something terribly wrong maybe it is broken. Or maybe it's the meters that are broken, I just sent mine in to api today because of a broken meter. Try this:

Turn then threshold all the way to the right.

Turn the attack all the way left.

Put it in old mode.

Turn manual gain on.

Crank that manual gain knob up (careful to not blow your speakers up)

If this does not give you very noticeable compression then I'd say something is wrong. Try calling api, they might have some insight into what could be wrong.
Old 16th June 2015
Lives for gear
shreddoggie's Avatar
I unfortunately don't know electronics but here's what I would do:

Make a simple track in your computer with loud and soft notes, just a single note on a piano or percussion patch or something - make sure its really dynamic piano/forte/piano/forte etc. If the notes are short and clearly separated it will work better. Use a soft instrument and render it to audio. Then put it through a soft compressor using settings you can duplicate on the API - use the most radical settings you can as long as you can set the API the same. Bounce that to an audio file. Then send the original one through the 2500 using the same settings and record it. Although it will be unlikely that the 2 are the same unless your whole system is matched perfectly using some test tone / unity gain scheme (doesn't sound like you're that kind of guy - me neither), the way the dynamic range of the results is altered should be quite similar in both cases. If they are not quite similar I'd call API and tell them exactly what test you did, how the meters and lights are behaving, etc. They are really good folks in my experience and should be able to set you straight if you're doing it wrong or fix it if need be.

Sorry to hear of your problems - the API 2500 is a great compressor, I love mine especially for drums. I hope you can figure it out in time to hold your eBay seller responsible - hope this helps.

editorial: Its curious to me that with so many experts around pontificating and hair splitting on which is the closest 1073 clone ad nauseum, that only 1 person has attempted to answer a noob whose post appears to be humble and sincere - dude is obviously not a part of the inner circle of pro audio geeks and could clearly use some help. At least he's not asking yet again about the best 1073 or how do I make a kick drum like the one in the attached video. I guess I wish helping people like this is what this community was about.
Old 16th June 2015
Here for the gear

Thanks so much for the ideas you guys. I think what you are saying is that it sounds like it might not be working right, that I can do a test to compare it to another compressor in software and then if the results dont match I have a way to describe to api whats happening. I will do the test tonight and share the results.
Old 16th June 2015
Lives for gear
Dutchy15's Avatar
You say you've worked mainly ITB so far which rises a question: How did you connect the 2500? And to what gear? Stuff like inputs, outputs, sidechain, balanced, unbalanced etc. could make all the difference here. We have two API 2500's at school so if everything is hooked up correctly and it's still not working I could run your material through one of our 2500's to see what happens.

Old 16th June 2015
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post
You say you've worked mainly ITB so far which rises a question: How did you connect the 2500? And to what gear? Stuff like inputs, outputs, sidechain, balanced, unbalanced etc. could make all the difference here. We have two API 2500's at school so if everything is hooked up correctly and it's still not working I could run your material through one of our 2500's to see what happens.

Thank you very much for the reply Dutchy - it is hooked up in a non-standard way because I have no insert cables but I think it should still work. I have an Allen Heath 16/2 - the MPC goes into channels 1 and 2 - I then use TRS-XLR cables from the effects sends 1 and 2 into the 2500 then XLR cables out into channels 3 and 4 on the mixer. I get plenty of signal passing through the compressor and I can A/B the difference with the mutes on the channels since the sends are pre-fader. I got an email from a nice fellow named dan le asking about this (thanks dan) so I know I should use the compressor as an insert instead but I don't think anything I am doing would prevent it from compressing a signal it is getting. Isn't my setup is how someone would do parallel compression? Thanks for the offer to test my material at your school but I think you are very far away from me.
Old 16th June 2015
Lives for gear
Dutchy15's Avatar
That's pretty much how one would do parallel compression. I don't know where you're at but if you need some files tested you could just send them via WeTransfer and tell me the settings you'd like to try. I'll then send the compressed versions back

I'd try a set of insert cables anyway, cheap ones are a couple of euro's/dollars each and should eliminate one more factor. What settings are you using on the 2500? And what do the meters read when you switch them to input and output mode? Perhaps you should try a noise or tone generator to create a very stable signal so you can compare input, GR and output for different settings and see what happens. You can mess around all day but taking a more scientific approach tends to pay off when troubleshooting.

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