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API 3124+ or Chandler TG-2 Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 6th August 2008
  #1
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kirkbross's Avatar
API 3124+ or Chandler TG-2

I am looking to get some new pres. I must admit I don't feel like a High Ender but this gear is relative nice so I thought I'd post here.

I'm running a Digi002 and my entire outboard collection consists of one Chandler LTD-1, a Distressor and an old ART Pro Channel (which I seldom use anymore). I'm looking to start tracking drums and want to get some nice pres and want to spend under $3k. The API 3124+ seems like a good bet for 4 pres, but the Chandler TG-2 seems nice for a dual channel unit. I wish I could afford the API lunchbox and a few 512c pres but it's not in the budget.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Old 6th August 2008
  #2
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

To be honest, im not a huge fan of Chandler, its good but not good enough, a little to warm and soft for my taste. I would go for the API 3124, however i went for the 3124 and then i went 500 series and realized i like the 512c better. So i would say API.
Keep heads up, i bought 2 512c for less than 1200 on GS and ebay. Go in debt for the rest if needed, its worth it.
Old 6th August 2008
  #3
Gear Nut
 

I own a 3124+ but I've used the Chandlers and think they sound great...they're really different animals and you couldn't go wrong either way. It's more a matter of taste and style....the APIs are pretty aggressive and have ballsy mids and the Chandlers are Neve-ishly dark but airy.... if you used the APIs on your close drum mics and the TGs on the overheads those would be good choices, if you get my drift. the APIs aren't that great on some voices but kill on some rock voices. You're in the same boat as most of us....I wish I could have at least two channels of everything and a huge mic collection too!
Old 6th August 2008
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Close call

I was tracking drums and bass with both 3124+ and TG2 last weekend. The week before, I swapped out the TG2 on vocal using a C414 on a pop/rock male vocal for the 3124+ and liked the API better. His voice needed some of the API vibe, mids/aggression, whatever. The post above about air and the TG2 - that's a good description - the TG2 will mellow stuff - like an aggressive snare problem. For the money, it's tough to beat the 3124+ since you're going for drums. You could get the 3124+ now to get you active on tracking while continuing research on other pres. I use the TG2 and 3124+ more than my 1073 DPA, but it takes awhile to hear what all these units are doing. Try some small capsule omnis for your drum overheads - omnis will get you a great sound - then just put a kick and snare mic up and life is good.
Old 6th August 2008
  #5
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

It all depends on the sound you want... they are both very good preamps. Price to performance ratio, the API is the winner, though. It's one of the best deals in audio on a per channel basis.
Old 6th August 2008
  #6
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Fletcher's Avatar
A very interesting dilemma to say the least. FWIW, I have both an API 3124MB+ and a TG-2 [w/the "mix" option brought out to the front panel for easy access].

I mainly use the 3124MB+ on toms as I can mic the top and bottom of the rack and floor, process each mic with outboard EQ [and every now and again a "transient designer"] then blend the two signals to create one track for each tom. I have found this to be an invaluable tool for getting the toms to have the right texture where I don't have to dick with them that much in a mix situaiton or eat up a bunch of track [or mix time].

On the occassions when there are two racks and a floor the TG-2 does the heavy lifting on the floor tom while the 3124MB+ is generally relegated to the rack toms. When it's just one rack and a floor the TG-2 is the absolute ticket for "double mic'ing" snare drums... or if I'm not going to be using two mics on the snare it'll generally go for kik and snare [without the mix option engaged!!].

In general day to day use... the TG-2 and Great River MP-2NV are my "go to" guitar pre-amps... and as I generally cut at least two guitar parts for the songs on which I work, they generally both get used.

We recently did a kind of 'funk-esque' song where the TG-2 was without a doubt [and we tried like 7 different pre's] the absolute hands down winner for a "direct Stratocaster®" [think "Chic"] part.

I've found the TG-2 to often be the vocal pre-amp of choice, though not always... vocal pre-amp choice, like everything else, is song and arrangement dependent so sometimes it's the king, other times it's more of a duke and gets used on backing vocals.

I've used it for Piano [though the NPNG usually gets the gig, but again, not always] and there is something absolutely magical about the thing when used with a Royer SF-12 or AEA R-88 on our Hammond B-3.

Surprisingly, we did a thing a few months back with a B-3 sound coming from a [I have no idea of the brand... Kurzweil, Korg, what ever] "B-3 in the box"... the TG-2 did absolute wonders for getting the sound to come a little closer to "real" [I did have to resort to using the KSP-8 to create a "rotors" aspect to the sound as we don't have a 1/4" input for our Leslie 122]... but the TG-2 was a real life saver in that applicaiton.

The 3124+ is a great "bang for the buck" tool... it's versatile, 1 RU, and 4 channel. The 3124MB+ is an invaluable tool as the "Mix Buss" gets used for so many things it's almost silly... but if I had to only have one... the TG-2 or the 3124 [non-MB]... it would be the TG-2 in my world... as always, YMMV.

Of course you might want to try them both out and figure out what will work best for the music you work on most... which of the units best fits your requirements be they number of channels used at the same time or tonal texture they impart to the audio in your most used applications.

Best of luck with your seach.

Peace.
Old 6th August 2008
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
We recently did a kind of 'funk-esque' song where the TG-2 was without a doubt [and we tried like 7 different pre's] the absolute hands down winner for a "direct Stratocaster®" [think "Chic"] part.
I always thought that was a Telecaster? No?

Great informative thread, I struggle a little with the floor tom. Thanks for the idea about more than one mic...
Old 6th August 2008
  #8
Lives for gear
 
IntenseJim's Avatar
 

I don't have the API.

Last night we ran some drum tracks through the TG2 and played around with various levels of gain on the input from clean to infested slut filth. It had everybody in the room smiling.
Old 7th August 2008
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Dude, get an API a2d and get two great pres for drums and guitars AND upgrade your converters. -E

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
I am looking to get some new pres. I must admit I don't feel like a High Ender but this gear is relative nice so I thought I'd post here.

I'm running a Digi002 and my entire outboard collection consists of one Chandler LTD-1, a Distressor and an old ART Pro Channel (which I seldom use anymore). I'm looking to start tracking drums and want to get some nice pres and want to spend under $3k. The API 3124+ seems like a good bet for 4 pres, but the Chandler TG-2 seems nice for a dual channel unit. I wish I could afford the API lunchbox and a few 512c pres but it's not in the budget.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Old 7th August 2008
  #10
Gear Head
 

They're both great I have them both and love them. But since your only other pres for drums are 002's and an art that you don't like. I'd say go with the 3124 as its giving you the most pre's for you buck. Save up and get the TG2 later
Old 7th August 2008
  #11
Lives for gear
The first pre i bought was the 3124. The second pre i bought was the tg2. And the third pre i bought was a bae 1073.

I have absolutely no regrets. They are all amazing pieces of gear.
Out of all the pieces in the studio the 3124 gets used the least. With that said if i want to just make it happen the 3124 will never let you down or give you something that you cant work with.
Old 8th August 2008
  #12
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kirkbross's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricaneE View Post
Dude, get an API a2d and get two great pres for drums and guitars AND upgrade your converters. -E
This is a tangent, but are the Digi002 converters really that sh*tty? It's sounds okay to me, but I feel like I would change my tune if I heard a Lavry or Apogee. I've listened to the clips on one of the converter shootouts here and for clean, sparce arrangements I can hear the clarity of better converters, but in a denser mix, what average music enthusiast can tell the difference? It's like an eye exam where the guy goes, "better or worse, better or worse" and flips between two lenses... but they're both almost identical and you answer, "well, I guess the first one is a little better, but I'm not really sure."

That said, with the few nice pres and mics I own, I've been told that my converters are my weakest link at this point.
Old 8th August 2008
  #13
Gear Head
 
bigalw1414's Avatar
 

I would think that, in a dense mix, the quality of the converters would make even more of a difference as there will be 10 times as much crap from bad converters in a 20 track mix than in a 2 track mix.
Old 9th August 2008
  #14
Gear Addict
 

I have both and think most of the info presented is pretty spot on.

Since you want to start tracking drums I would go with the API's because you can get an extra couple of pre's for around the same money as the TG2. You can't go wrong with API especially on drums and they will never sound bad (and usually really great) on anything.

That being said I probably use my TG2 more and I would never want to be without it for tracking guitars. It's absolutely magical on electric guitars especially with a ribbon mic. It's also my preference on snare and toms. I like the API's on kick and the rest of the kit perhaps more, but this is all to me at least, really splitting hairs on very marginal quality differences. I could see how someone would have the exact opposite preference. The only real runaway winner for me is the TG's on guitars.

You might want to pick up the mic pre CD from Lynn Fuston at 3D Audio. I found it to be very eye opening and worth the time and expense to do some blind taste testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studio_drummer View Post
I always thought that was a Telecaster? No?

Great informative thread, I struggle a little with the floor tom. Thanks for the idea about more than one mic...
Absolutely Nile Rodgers skankin the **** out of a Strat. I was in the "Disco Sucks" camp in that era but that cat was groovin.
Old 9th August 2008
  #15
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Kronos147's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
... a "direct Stratocaster®" [think "Chic"] part.
http://www.kronosrecording.com/muzik/FreakOut.mp3



Cue done for Ron Fair/Pussy Cat dolls last year. Nick Lashley on guitar, Chris Chaney on Bass, Gary Novak on Drums. The drums sounds were more fun than the guitar, though.
Old 10th August 2008
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keire View Post
The first pre i bought was the 3124. The second pre i bought was the tg2. And the third pre i bought was a bae 1073.

I have absolutely no regrets. They are all amazing pieces of gear.
Out of all the pieces in the studio the 3124 gets used the least. With that said if i want to just make it happen the 3124 will never let you down or give you something that you cant work with.
I have the exact same set up and feel the same. After tracking drums, I never use the API again.

I use the Brent Averill Neve for Bass and the TG-2 for almost everything else. It has a creamy almost tape sound.

But to be perfectly honest, the API is no slacker.
Old 11th August 2008
  #17
API's and Neve's are the most versatile pre's I've ever used and/or heard... they just work. That said, the fact that API's are so affordable (such as the 3124) makes getting 4 channels a no-brainer for a lot of people. I have 2 512c's, and they get used A LOT, and I do have a few very different sounding options. *Other thing about API's... the only thing they don't work on is direct bass guitar. Don't know why, but I just never dig it. On kick drum and all other drums though, they are SLAMMING. *My buddy has the A2D, so I can testify to that build of 312 sound.

Ultimately, I've got my rig to a place where I have a few basic sounds that I'm learning more and more, and I'm getting really happy these days. And my API's remain a key part of that setup.
Old 27th August 2008
  #18
Gear Addict
 
kirkbross's Avatar
Regarding the API, an engineer friend of mine says:

'API pres sound great on drums, but they distort without the pad, but the pad makes them sound terrible.'

Is there a way around this conundrum, besides hitting drums soft?
Old 27th August 2008
  #19
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Beastie's Avatar
 

Simple

API - Amazing!
Old 27th August 2008
  #20
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kirkbross's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beastie View Post
API - Amazing!
On my post above (#18) -- do you have any experience with the pad being necessary, but making it sound crappy?
Old 27th August 2008
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
Regarding the API, an engineer friend of mine says:

'API pres sound great on drums, but they distort without the pad, but the pad makes them sound terrible.'

Is there a way around this conundrum, besides hitting drums soft?
Yea, use another PAD before the microphone preamp. The Shure A15AS XLR barrel PAD is switchable and offers -15, 20, or -25 positions for attenuation. WAY more versatile when you need it. The thing is, you're getting more room to dial in the sweet spot on those preamps with a loud ass drummer [good ass drummer]. API preamps are +30 LOUD!!!!!!!!!!

I like padding before the mic amps, as well as PHASE correcting before the mic amps [GEM], but I also find the on board PAD useful. Don't listen to your engineer friend, listen for yourself.
Old 27th August 2008
  #22
Gear Addict
 
kirkbross's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
...The thing is, you're getting more room to dial in the sweet spot on those preamps with a loud ass drummer [good ass drummer].
So are you saying you leave the pads on the front panel OFF and (necessarily then) have the gain pretty low-to-all the way down if you have loud drummer, and then have 4 of those barrel pads on the outputs to cool off the signal a little before hitting the converters?
Old 28th August 2008
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
EBGB's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beastie View Post
API - Amazing!
This I don't understand.

I've been curious about the API sound so just today I went to a friend's who has a 3124. I listened to tracks recorded thru the API into PTHD (mainly drums). They sounded nice, strong, and clear. But both I and the unit's owner agree there is no "wow" factor there.

Do they have to distort to hear this special thing?

Also, bummer if you have to buy and use 4 external pads.
Old 28th August 2008
  #24
I have the api 3124+ and it sounds like ****. Our Amek Rembrandt sounds much better on anything.
Paul G
Old 28th August 2008
  #25
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EBGB View Post
This I don't understand.

I've been curious about the API sound so just today I went to a friend's who has a 3124. I listened to tracks recorded thru the API into PTHD (mainly drums). They sounded nice, strong, and clear. But both I and the unit's owner agree there is no "wow" factor there.

Do they have to distort to hear this special thing?

Also, bummer if you have to buy and use 4 external pads.
Do they have to distort to hear this special thing? <<<< NEVER rely on using a preamp by itself unless its just one track you are doing, API sits in the mix like no other, i recorded a jazz band and used all API, keys, bass, guitar and drums....some of the best stuff i ever did.
As far as the 3124 i know they are mix feelings here just like the P-1 and the Pacifica, for me the 500 series 512c get the job done while the 3124 just did ok, yes i do like the 512c much better than the 3124....just transformers my friend. Doesn't hurt to push em in the red, they sound better and better.
Old 28th August 2008
  #26
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allencollins's Avatar
 

buy a better a/d first
Old 28th August 2008
  #27
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thearnicasync's Avatar
 

****? I remember thinking the same about the R84. Now I own two.

I think that people expect the pre to just put out mixed sound. I think that goes for mics, too. A dozen or more pre's later, I'm finally thinking that it's what you can get out of a signal that really makes it work. I can't get 1073 thud out of a sytek, no matter what eq I have. I can't get stark realism from a u47, but can very much so with an AT 4050. I know, a lot of meandering BS, sorry!

Anyway, the API's get you a forwardness that I don't get out of tube or neve style. I wouldn't classify the 512c/3124 that way...much more modern sounding. I think the new api stuff is to old api stuff what GR mp1-nv is to 1073 modeled stuff. As far as Chandler goes, it sounds huge like (but a tiny bit less than neve) and forward (but a little less than vintage API). So, like always, you're kind of fuc$ed, because 3124 gets you all of something, bae 1073/chandler ltd-1/yadda/yadda gets all the way in the other direction. TG2 gets you 80% percent of the way in both directions. And you always kind of wish you made it all the way to one place or the other. Get out your credit card.

God I'm full of sh*t tonight. Anyway, you want monster lows? Get you some BAE 1272's. You want high mid forward bite? BAE 312's. You cool with B+ versions of both? Get Chandler tg2. Which is not to say Chandler is B+. I have and love Chandler pres. Really love the germ. You want really righteous big open pres that sit well in a mix and kill 95% of the time? 3124/512c.

Just my dumb $.40 for the night.

kelly
Old 28th August 2008
  #28
bee
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bee's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=Fletcher;2962661]A very interesting dilemma to say the least. FWIW, I have both an API 3124MB+ and a TG-2 [w/the "mix" option brought out to the front panel for easy access].

Yeah, what kind of genius puts nice features like the "mix option" on the rear panel....or phantom power on the back of the rack if your GML.... totally annoying. I do own and dig the TG-2 despite what I would call a completely moronic design decision. If you need common sense consultation for gear design, I'm available for hire.
Old 29th August 2008
  #29
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nicpope's Avatar
 

You only have a choice to make if you only need two pres.
Old 29th August 2008
  #30
Lives for gear
 

3124+ = ****?

How can anyone say that 3124+ sounds like ****, that person need to change A/D that is what i have done, i chose aurora 16/PTHD and it work great.
If i have gone with my old digi96 the story would have been the opposite i belive, so API do amazing stuff

Regards

Nisse
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