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API 2500 hardware vs API 2500 plugin
Old 15th September 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 

API 2500 hardware vs API 2500 plugin

Hi all. Does anyone have experience using both the API 2500 hardware unit as well as the API 2500 waves plugin? I'm interested in the hardware unit and I'm just curious if the plugin comes close at all. I do a lot of mobile work, and it would suit me better to use the plugin if it's really close to the hardware in terms of audio quality. My experience with other units is that most of the time, the hardware is significantly better. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance,

Pete
Old 15th September 2008
  #2
Lives for gear
a search will yield plenty of opinios and if memory serves, sound files. i own the plug and like it but from the files i heard (from memory), i definitely prefer the hardware.

recall, automation and mutliple instances doesn't suck though, and the plug is a good tool on its own. same experience with the waves ssl comp. there's a real 384 here and though the waves isn't a dead ringer it has proven useful, specially in parallel.

also have real 1084s here and IMO the waves plugs did get scary close to those.

as with anything on the internet, a grain of salt is strongly recommended.
Old 15th September 2008
  #3
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

I compared them extensively side by side... The attack and release both works and sounds differently. It was especially noticeable when using faster settings. Still a great plugin, though (which in the end is what counts).
Old 15th September 2008
  #4
Gear Addict
 

The bottom end is not the same. A/B of the Waves SSL vrs the Xlogic G comp was very close.
Old 15th September 2008
  #5
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by demel View Post
The bottom end is not the same.

nor are the mids or highs.

at least 50% of the magic of the real 2500 is the sound of the circuit. just patching it in brings a smile.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 15th September 2008
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
nor are the mids or highs.


.
So basically what you guys are trying to say and not saying it is that it doesn't sound the same.

If the bottomn, mids or highs don't sound the same what's left?
Old 15th September 2008
  #7
Gear Addict
 

yep ... the real 2500 ... is a thing of rock beauty ...

the plugin ain't no slouch either ... controls dynamics very well ..

but if you want deep ' n ' wide audio ... real it is ...
Old 15th September 2008
  #8
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lordnielson's Avatar
 

I've never heard the real 2500.

Alot of people claim that they are very close.

I demoed the Waves version and figured that if they really are so similar I would never want to own a real API 2500.
Old 15th September 2008
  #9
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airmate's Avatar
 

the plug-in handles dynamics considerably different than the hardware. plus, it's not easy to match the sounds (if not solely by using your ears), since the meter on the plug-in reacts way faster. don't let this fool you when comparing both processors...

while they seem to have implemented some kind of coloration emulation in the plug-in, it can't exactly reproduce the signature sound of the api circuits (this is the weak part of ALL emulation plug-ins that i have tried...).

to my ears the EQs are the strong part of the waves api bundle. they are not a real replacement for the hardware either, but still they are good if not great plug-ins.

i contemplated about purchasing the waves api bundle for quite a while, but finally i decided to go the other route (it would have been my first waves bundle, and somehow i just don't really feel the attitude of that company).

so i ordered 5 hardware 550a (with more to come soon), and i couldn't be happier... heh
Old 15th September 2008
  #10
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norman_nomad's Avatar
If you do a search you'll find some sound files... if you do your due dilligance to match the plug with the hardware you'll find they're pretty close (according to the sound samples posted)... the hardware seemed to have a better bottom..

I've used the plug and really like it.. it's inspired me to look into buying the hardware...

If you're planning to use it on the MB, the hardware might really be worth the investment... especially if you'd be working ITB for eveything else...
Old 15th September 2008
  #11
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DONNX's Avatar
 

I have both

I think they both have their uses... they are not exactly the same as previously stated

But the compressor is the best plug IMO from the whole API bundle. If you really like to get the punch drum sound..the plug and hardware do a great job at that.
Old 15th September 2008
  #12
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
If the bottomn, mids or highs don't sound the same what's left?

the action of the compression.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 15th September 2008
  #13
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heathen's Avatar
 

I think they sound very very different, even though the plugin is a reasonable one there is really no comparison.
Old 16th September 2008
  #14
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jpupo74's Avatar
A harsh post, sorry...but I don't find any other way to explain it...

It's like comparing a piece of **** with a piece of gold since the plug is suppose to emulate the hardware. If this wasn't the case then I guess the plug would have been an OK release.

Hope this helps,
Pupo
Old 16th September 2008
  #15
Lives for gear
I think that's pretty fair. I had both side by side, hardware on hire, plugin demo and the plug is fine and has the characteristics of the hardware but there was a tightness with the hardware in the bass end that really shone through. Once you've heard the hardware you can't buy the plugin, listen to the plug first and you'll probably like it.

Steve
Old 18th September 2008
  #16
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thesteve's Avatar
I tried the plug VS. my hardware unit and immediately thought that it sucked because I felt the stereo field collapsed with the plug. I use the 2500 on drum buss a lot if I am using my C! as buss comp, and it definately was not similar in that application. I don't think that it's a bad plug though... and like someone mentioned it earlier, it is cool to be able to load it up on drum sub, pair of guitars and mix buss...
Old 18th September 2008
  #17
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lordnielson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteve View Post
immediately thought that it sucked because I felt the stereo field collapsed with the plug.

Which incidentally has been my impression with almost any waves plugin I've tried.
Old 5th October 2008
  #18
Gear Nut
 
radicalron's Avatar
 

No comparison

They are not too close IMO...
The Plugin does not punch like the Rack version. - The dynamic's are much more focused on the rack version. The 2520 Op Amp is a major part of the sound of the 2500, The plugin just cant get "That Sound"
Also - The low end is much more polite on the Plugin.
Having said that - the plugin version is one of the better compressor plugin's I have used.
Old 7th October 2008
  #19
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The hardware unit really brings lot of depth to the sound ? ?

Sergio
Old 5th December 2012
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Listening Examples

I've heard the original API 2500 only once, tracking in a session.

I did think it sounded great, but without the possibility to A/B with the plugin at the time I can't possibly say which was better.

For the time being, I put together this blind test of the few software vintage style compressors that I have, including the Waves API 2500, so if it's at all useful, you can check out the audio examples and vote on your favorite here on the linked GS thread

:-)
Old 5th December 2012
  #21
Gear Nut
 
CurveOne's Avatar
I think I'll be crucified but I vote for real hardware piece - it just makes things sound right without surrogate character (which is not really there).
It's like guitar processing units (Line 6, Digidesign, Roland) - comparing to valve amp it's a joke (but sometimes really good-sounding)(but joke).
Old 7th December 2012
  #22
SRS
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SRS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CurveZer0 View Post
I think I'll be crucified but I vote for real hardware piece - it just makes things sound right without surrogate character (which is not really there).
No... you won't. I have one in my rack that isn't going anywhere. I also have the Plugins.
Old 7th December 2012
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CurveZer0 View Post
It's like guitar processing units (Line 6, Digidesign, Roland) - comparing to valve amp it's a joke (but sometimes really good-sounding)(but joke).
Nothing beats hardware on the absolute scale
Old 7th December 2012
  #24
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodevices View Post
Nothing beats hardware on the absolute scale
I will have to agree with you, not only the 2500, this stands for everything else.
I understand why they make plugs, if you are on a budget then plugs are the only way out, or you demand total recall which I don't every session.
Since I installed my MR3 console, a 33609 Neve buss compressor and a 2055 eq on the buss things are really nice.....no plugs.

Again I think plugs are for budget studios, I have never found one that I fell in love with, I'm just very OCD with my sound and there is nothing as good as the real stuff.

my 2 cents.
Old 7th December 2012
  #25
Both the 2500 and the SSL plugs kind of blow to my ears. I like my hardware mixcomp. I'll definitely be giving VBC a shot.

I disagree that h/w is better than plugs as a whole. Some of you are suggesting a Behringer console would be better than Waves SSL.
Old 7th December 2012
  #26
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Cody's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
at least 50% of the magic of the real 2500 is the sound of the circuit. just patching it in brings a smile.
This.
I love the plugin for what it does in the box, but to compare the HW to the SW is night and day. I love my 2500 HW, you'll have to shoot me dead if you want it out of my rack.

If you haven't used the HW, try it. I hate trying to describe how things sound.

But, the Waves is still incredibly useful, it's definitely one of my more used ITB compressors.
Old 8th December 2012
  #27
There's no similarities between the HW and plugin. Might be different for other plugins vs HW but in this case the 2500 plugin sounds NOTHING like the HW. Doesn't mean that it's not useful......but don't expect same outcome.
Old 8th December 2012
  #28
Gear Nut
 

yeah man, this is news
Old 8th December 2012
  #29
SRS
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SRS's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hesse View Post
There's no similarities between the HW and plugin. Might be different for other plugins vs HW but in this case the 2500 plugin sounds NOTHING like the HW. Doesn't mean that it's not useful......but don't expect same outcome.
Good to see you here Chris. Huge fan of your work. Drumming and recording both.
Old 8th December 2012
  #30
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andychamp's Avatar
The plugin is ok as a hint of what the hardware can do.
But it lacks the original's bouncy, rubbery punch and push.
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