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Is API A2D the right mic/line pre for me?
Old 24th November 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Is API A2D the right mic/line pre for me?

I want to confirm that the A2D is the right choice for me and before i buy it i'd appreciate your input on the following.

I'm mainly recording vocals, electric-acoustic guitars for the moment but more instruments will be added in the way. I have the Sputnik for now but i'm thinking of getting the R84 as well.

Will the A2D be good enough for these two mics and the type of recordings i'm into, which is/will be mostly everything?

Thank you in advance.
Alex.
Old 24th November 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Jimbo's Avatar
The current issue of TapOp has a solid review of the A2D.

You should give it a read.
Old 24th November 2007
  #3
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peeder's Avatar
 

To me it's just too damn much for lighter fare. Like I wrote you earlier it's about 1 million volts of liquid blue electricity. It's incredibly fast and very open, with a controlled lowend and nothing that anyone would describe as "warmth" (2nd harmonic generally, especially around 300Hz, it has none).

I don't think I'd ever record vocals through it unless I had a dense-ass mix and I wanted an almost unnaturally chilly quality to the vocal. Generally I don't want vocals to have "punch" in that sense, to be sticking out at me. I'd prefer a 1073 through an LA2A on vocals.

But with acoustic instruments it's possible that the A2D will bring a lot of life and definition to them and also open space for a warmer vocal to work within. So that's where the A2D comes in for me. Also it helps take mud out of bass and it's legendary on drums. The A2D is certainly in the high-end range qualitywise.

If by "electric-acoustic" you mean "piezo pickups" may I courteously invite you to rid your recordings of any piezo quack. Thank you. Use your sputnik on the guitar please.

The A2D converters are perfectly matched to the preamps and are also a bit open and chilly. I don't use those converters on vocals either but I do think they are the absolute perfect converters for API preamps. If you can't afford anything else they will do better than most sub-$1000 interface converters.

So go ahead and get the A2D and then get something warmer for vocals. I'm interested at the moment at the TAB-funkenwerk V78M as a vocal pre for $1100 but I have never heard them. The Chandler LTD-1 is what I'm using at the moment and it is pure god.

Also, I'd like to make a little public service announcement about the A2D: its toroid sends out TONS of interference, which can show up as quite audible hum in gear racked near it. Rack it at least 3 or 4 spaces from anything else! (This is why external power supplies are such a great thing.)
Old 25th November 2007
  #4
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

The A2D is an excellent piece for someone who A.) Doesn't already own a quality converter, and B.) Doesn't already own a rack full of great preamps.

I wouldn't hesitate to pick one up.
Old 26th November 2007
  #5
Gear Addict
 
RMJAZZ's Avatar
 

A2D and Hardy M-1 question

I want to see a few opinions on the following...

I currently track my sax with a Neumann M147 into the M-1, and am considering the A2D as my next purchase for the converters and APi pre quality. I am putting together a home studio with plans of doing overdubs here for sax, vocals, guitars and keys and the like.

Reading some of the previous posts about not particularly liking the A2D for vocals I am wondering if my Hardy M-1 would be cool on vocals until I could get into a 1073 style pre???????

Thank you to anyone who chimes in!

Rob

Welcome to Rob Maletick
Old 27th November 2007
  #6
Gear Addict
 

I've got an a2d, M-1, and a Portico (neve-like, suppsedly). The Portico supplanted the M-1 as a vocal pre. I'm in Silver Spring, but I'm the thick of a project; if you can wait you could try out later. -E

Quote:
Originally Posted by RMJAZZ View Post
I want to see a few opinions on the following...

I currently track my sax with a Neumann M147 into the M-1, and am considering the A2D as my next purchase for the converters and APi pre quality. I am putting together a home studio with plans of doing overdubs here for sax, vocals, guitars and keys and the like.

Reading some of the previous posts about not particularly liking the A2D for vocals I am wondering if my Hardy M-1 would be cool on vocals until I could get into a 1073 style pre???????

Thank you to anyone who chimes in!

Rob

Welcome to Rob Maletick
Old 27th November 2007
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I agree with all of the pre comments, but, Peeder, I really think you need to get your unit checked; mine sits directly below my Masterlink and there's no problem with hum. -E

Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
To me it's just too damn much for lighter fare. Like I wrote you earlier it's about 1 million volts of liquid blue electricity. It's incredibly fast and very open, with a controlled lowend and nothing that anyone would describe as "warmth" (2nd harmonic generally, especially around 300Hz, it has none).

I don't think I'd ever record vocals through it unless I had a dense-ass mix and I wanted an almost unnaturally chilly quality to the vocal. Generally I don't want vocals to have "punch" in that sense, to be sticking out at me. I'd prefer a 1073 through an LA2A on vocals.

But with acoustic instruments it's possible that the A2D will bring a lot of life and definition to them and also open space for a warmer vocal to work within. So that's where the A2D comes in for me. Also it helps take mud out of bass and it's legendary on drums. The A2D is certainly in the high-end range qualitywise.

If by "electric-acoustic" you mean "piezo pickups" may I courteously invite you to rid your recordings of any piezo quack. Thank you. Use your sputnik on the guitar please.

The A2D converters are perfectly matched to the preamps and are also a bit open and chilly. I don't use those converters on vocals either but I do think they are the absolute perfect converters for API preamps. If you can't afford anything else they will do better than most sub-$1000 interface converters.

So go ahead and get the A2D and then get something warmer for vocals. I'm interested at the moment at the TAB-funkenwerk V78M as a vocal pre for $1100 but I have never heard them. The Chandler LTD-1 is what I'm using at the moment and it is pure god.

Also, I'd like to make a little public service announcement about the A2D: its toroid sends out TONS of interference, which can show up as quite audible hum in gear racked near it. Rack it at least 3 or 4 spaces from anything else! (This is why external power supplies are such a great thing.)
Old 27th November 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
peeder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricaneE View Post
I agree with all of the pre comments, but, Peeder, I really think you need to get your unit checked; mine sits directly below my Masterlink and there's no problem with hum. -E
Try putting it under a Chandler LTD-1.
Old 27th November 2007
  #9
Gear Addict
 
RMJAZZ's Avatar
 

Thanks hurricaneE. Let me know when your work slows down.

Rob
Old 18th January 2008
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricaneE View Post
I've got an a2d, M-1, and a Portico (neve-like, suppsedly). The Portico supplanted the M-1 as a vocal pre. I'm in Silver Spring, but I'm the thick of a project; if you can wait you could try out later. -E
Were you at in SSP, Hurricane?
(you can PM if you rather)

Thanks
Old 18th January 2008
  #11
Gear Addict
 

Just over the Wheaton line, near WTOP. -E

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadmeat View Post
Were you at in SSP, Hurricane?
(you can PM if you rather)

Thanks
Old 18th January 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 

I have two A2D's, and would like more (for a kick ass total drum kit solution).

I have to agree with everything Peeder says - he has nailed the strengths and weaknesses of these boxes.

The generated hum field is a problem - keep them well away from everything (including dynamic mics).

I wouldn't buy them for the converters if you don't intend to use the preamps. But if you have the AES inputs, they are a great single box solution for bright, punchy stuff.

Everything is relative - you can get better stuff, you can get worse. Much worse.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
i'm thinking of getting the api a2d in a few weeks and dac 1 to go with it. however i've been looking at the rosetta 200 and i kind of favor the fact is has both ad and da in one with coda. i like things apart to build on and if i'm shelling out near 2,600-3,000 for a setup i want to get something good. my issue is i know the api pres are solid for what i need with guitars and everthing and i want great converters. but i;m almost willing to risk it and pick up a rosetta 200, mackie big knob and a ua solo610 and just buy another good pre amps later in 6 months to a year to have choices. doing the math its pretty close for both setups but minus a pre amp i would add later with the second. i want great ad and da conversion and i haven't seen anything comparing the rosetta to the api a2d so i'm stuck. i just know with the api a2d i will get two great pres no matter what and can't lose but with the rosetta setup im looking at it's all seperate and allows more future options and a hell of an ad and da but it's taking a chance on the pre. i looked at a lunch box with the rosetta but that would put me over the top with money. if i'm going to shell out that much and want both great pres and great conversion if the rosetta 200 and seperate preamps is the better i'm willing to shell out a few hundred more and wait to get a second pre.

anyone have any suggestions?

rosetta 200, big knob and ua solo 610 and get another pre amp later to complete it? estimate $3,100 or
api a2d and benchmark dac 1? estimate 2,900

oh and i've been running on a digi 002 console for about 10 years now using pro tools and logic. rooms the best i can do, mostly going to be direct ins and sending midi form da to ad and doing my final masters on my converters. i'm running on a mac pro quad core, gibson les paul, plenty of synths a mixture of sure mics and my singers usually have an arsenal of mics i can borrow so i'm well covered on all those ends. also i do live sequences with some of my live bands so i'm looking at being able to incorporate this gear in a rack with that too.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
paul999's Avatar
 

A couple things don't get often talked about with the A2D. The 2:1 which is an additional pad that makes it so you can push the op amp harder for a different kind of sound. A bit thinner but nice IMO. With the variable outputs on the digital section it gives you complete control on how much you push the pre. Much easier then an external pad. Lastly more LED's=.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #15
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paul999's Avatar
 

mattg082- If I had to choose between my 610 and Api it would be Api almost every time. The 610 is a nice compliment to the Api though.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

i put an api a2d infront of my mbox2 2 years ago ,

and im still loving it... i run everything through it voice, guitars etc..hehheh
Old 3rd December 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
I'm recording rock, but I can't say enough great things about the A2D - it's the centrepiece of my studio setup.

I can see what Peeder is saying on vocals to an extent, but I've got some great results on vocals with the following mics

AT3050
SE2200
Superlux R102 Ribbon (a wee gem of a bargain)

With the ribbon especially I'm getting a pretty warm vocal sound.

For drums (kick/snare - im using at the moment), all manner of clean and distorted guitars, and bass di it excels!
Old 3rd December 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
gollum

thanks for the feedback... yeah in my case for now this is for my own recording in which i play and do everything but the lead vocals. i use a lot of midi in which i planed on converting to wav. and routing from da back to ad to daw to fool with and then i play guitars and bass direct in. only mics i will be using at all are on vocals, and some old organ gear as well as experimental foley stuff. maybe a miced bass amp or guitar amp but more so the direct in almost all the time.

as of now i have my home studio nicely set up in my apartment and have some decent shure mics and my singer has an arsenal of mics. i sold my marshall jcm 2000 5 years ago becasue i needed the money so i use amp sims right now and have tons of them. when i finish up my album or two albums at this point i need to go back overdub with new preamps and get out of the demo stage, i plan on getting another amp for live playing and my singer bought me a marshall solid state for that sits in a practice room 30 miles from me.

so i pretty much write and record everything but i have a singer to sing the vocals and i do a little back up vocal. once done and mastered i make the cd then strip down the songs to bare bones for live sequences and then bring out amps for live shows and bring on other musicians to play parts i wrote. it's been that way since i was 15 now 28 lol. so that' kind of my situation as far as my work flow. kind of nine inch nails like as i've seen there rig up close working for trent this summer at a show and it's crazy how much in ear monitor they are using with everything.

i guess my needs are direct in guitars to sound big and nice vocals to sound pretty good but most emphasis on guitars, bass and keyboards direct in and great conversion i can use for my mastering and converting my midi as well as maybe being able to incoporate the new gear into a live rack for sequences and maybe even my guitar.

it's getting close to say the api a2d sounds right for me but what about the ad conversion can anyone comment on it? is it prosumer, a matter of taste or up their with the rosetta series and the other high end ones?
Old 3rd December 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 

api is great. but it wouldn't be my first choice for vocals....so if vocals are your main focus i might look somwhere else. what kind of genre are you into?
Old 3rd December 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
salomander


i'm mostly into indie rock, experimental progressive, electro, rock and industrial. i kinda like blend indie with electro and rock and sometimes just straight up industrial music. so very guitar focused, midi for drums and some synths, and analog synths. as far as vocals go i have a few shure mics i have around and use them for backing vocals but leave most of the singing to singers. so a lot of programing on the drums,vi and direct in on all guitar, bass and some synths and foley stuff. as far as vocals go i think anything would be better than the pres in the digi 002 stock and the api pres might not be the most preffered for vocals but with a little bit of tweaking on the hardware and plugin side the api pres should slaughter the digi 002 stock i would think.
Old 22nd June 2010
  #21
Gear Head
 

I like an API 312 (the pres in the A2D) for vocals, especially followed by a 525 compressor. The converters sound real good.
Old 20th July 2014
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Api a2d

i currently own the API A2D and am interested in upgrading my microphone to the Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone. Going along with this thread... Do you think this would be a good fit or should i change out my preamp. I'm running it all into the UAD Apollo Quad. I've heard people rave about the neve with the manley mic and the 1176. (Seems like anything UAD is killer).


Thoughts?
Old 20th July 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Vintageidiot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfriche View Post
i currently own the API A2D and am interested in upgrading my microphone to the Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone. Going along with this thread... Do you think this would be a good fit or should i change out my preamp. I'm running it all into the UAD Apollo Quad. I've heard people rave about the neve with the manley mic and the 1176. (Seems like anything UAD is killer).


Thoughts?

API are excellent preamps, fopr vocals as well. I started a thread once seeking what hits were recorded with 312's, there were many including Cindy Lauper's hit from the 80's, can't remamber right now. no worries.....
Old 20th July 2014
  #24
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Tubthumper's Avatar
 

A modern standalone API mic pre will sound quite different to an older API pre, especially if that older pre is sitting in an API console.

I had an A2D that, to my ears, had very good conversion. I personally didn't dig the mic pres, I found them to be quite bright and a smidge hard up top.
Old 20th July 2014
  #25
Gear Addict
 
Channel time's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfriche View Post
i currently own the API A2D and am interested in upgrading my microphone to the Manley Reference Cardioid Microphone. Going along with this thread... Do you think this would be a good fit or should i change out my preamp. I'm running it all into the UAD Apollo Quad. I've heard people rave about the neve with the manley mic and the 1176. (Seems like anything UAD is killer).


Thoughts?
We use a Manley Ref with API pres (incl with an A2D).
It is a really good combo! Espc for the midrange feel.
So ... Manley Ref + API is one of my first choices for most vocalists
Old 20th July 2014
  #26
Here for the gear
 

Thanks. I'll probably hold onto the A2D. ( I call it the r2d2 lol) one last question... What is the proper way to hook it up with the apollo if I prefer using the converters in the apollo? Adat?
Old 21st July 2014
  #27
Gear Nut
 
I-Quality's Avatar
a2d line in is actually an instrument in, see the specs...

i cant go from da to a2d without getting a big hum with both line in or mic in. i didnt try to use a line to mic / instr level which might resolve this problem. this is a big down for me.

Otherwise its a nice piece of gear for drums and bass. Electric guitar and voice are ok but not the smoothest sound, its vey "excited" which might be good depending on what you want to achieve.
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