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API 525 question/advice
Old 11th May 2006
  #1
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Rea's Avatar
 

API 525 question/advice

Hi-
just got a pair reissue 525's into my lunchbox following 2 312 vintage pre's and 2 550a vintage eq's.

i never used the 525's before and got these in order to be able to take the lunchbox on a work trip coming in a few days, and have everything i may need in one small package.

im not going to have enough time for experimentation in order to know them inside out while tracking, unfortunatly...

so my question is:
what basic start point setttings (before my extra tweaks) do you reccomend for tracking:

male vocal soft :
male vocal loud :
male voc very dynamic :
male voc fairly steady :


loud kit overheads :
soft kit overheads :
bass guitar di :
electric guitar mic :

any other notes or tips from the experienced 525 user would be greatly appreciated.

THANKS!!
Old 11th May 2006
  #2
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I have a pair of 525's. I'm kind of opposite you. I have vintage compressors and new EQ's in my LB where you have the new compressors and vintage EQ's. Anyway without sounding like a prick I can't really offer specific settings for the compressors. It has everything to do with the signal feeding the 525's. The 525's pretty limited in versatility but what it does it does MUCHO GRANDE! Since you only have 2:1 and 20:1 ratio your choice squeeze is a good amount and a hella amount. IMO working the 525 is all in the input knob. That's where you'll fine tune how much it's working. The output know is just manual make up gain. The Ceiling knob I've never really used to much satisfaction. To me it's just like lowering your headroom and have it squash. I guess it's supposed to simultaneously adjust threshold and makeup gain but isn't that what the input and output knob are for? Maybe if you have a calibrated output level and want a 1 knob more squash knob. Don't like it myself. I leave it fully CW. I usually just use the input know or fader feeding the 525 to get a desired amount of threshold action. (BTW the meters aren't totally worthless but to me they're pretty much just activity meters rather than positive indication of exact amount of gain reduction.) Once I get a desired amount of "activity" I'll fiddle with the ratio and release buttons till I get the desired swing swing and sway. Then adjust the output to make up for what I've lost. IMO this simple compressor is all about how you finess what's hitting it. Not much sculpting of dynamics just hit it where it does it's best and enjoy. Best bet is to initally drive it into heavy compression to judge the ratio and release then set the input to dance moderately. After that go back for the real pass and ride the fader feeding to for more or less 525. Well that's how I use it. There might be some other masters out there who get other tricks out of it. I'd be ears to that as well.
Old 11th May 2006
  #3
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Rea's Avatar
 

thanks for the input (pun intended)...
Old 11th May 2006
  #4
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max cooper's Avatar
 

You can stereo link the 525's if you want. I dunno if I'd track drum overheads with'em but that's just me. Run the o/h's dry and comp 'em later. if the drummer starts really digging in you're gonna pull the room up sooooooooooooooooooooo much.

They do have a third compression ratio if you push both the comp and the limit buttons in at the same time.

The only release setting to me is the fastest one (0.1 sec) or 'all release buttons out'.

Put the Ceiling knob at 12:00 and the output at 12:00 and turn the threshold all the way down. Contrary to popular opinion, the vu's are very useful. Just get the meter kickin' a little bit, like to "2" and not past "4" by turning up the threshold, then adjust the output until you see the level you want coming out.

The Ceiling control is a linked threshold and makeup gain. In other words, instead of having to turn up the threshold, thereby compressing more, and lowering the output, then having to turn up the output, the Ceiling does both at once. If you set the comp. up with the Ceiling at 12:00, you can turn the threshold up or down and have the same output (theoretically, or all things being equal) and if you start with it all the way down, you can really crank down on the thresh, vice versa if it's all the way up.

I don't ever use it.

Don't forget to check out the all button setting. Really can take the edge off of a harsh sounding track if necessary.

The other cool thing is the 'off' setting. Gets you thru the circuitry but with no compression or gain change. I sometimes run a signal thru two 525's in 'off' just for the color. "Bypass" means hardwire bypass. They'll even work with the power unplugged in 'bypass'.

But work with 'em. I love 'em.
Old 11th May 2006
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
The only release setting to me is the fastest one (0.1 sec) or 'all release buttons out'.
BTW, don't take that to mean that you shouldn't try the other settings.
Old 12th May 2006
  #6
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recky's Avatar
 

I still haven't really fathomed the 525 (not having bought one YET):

Considering its fixed, fast attack time, it seems very limited by "modern" standards, but didn't it use to be a console compressor that was probably used on pretty much everything?

This leads me to think that perhaps it IS quite versatile as a limiter (rather than a compressor) for levelling out overly dynamic signals. Of course, you couldn't use it to add punch to single drums as the attack time is too fast, but what about levelling out such signal, or bass, or guitar? Has anyone tried using them in such an "old school" kind of way?

Thanks,

Recky
Old 12th May 2006
  #7
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Yeah, I know what you mean. I find they just 'take' too much out of the signal. I'll be happy to run some drums thru one later, though, so you can hear what they do. The other thing is that on anything percussive, once they go past just a hair of GR, they really go crazy.

You know how people use LA-2A's and CL1B's only on a couple of things? Same deal.
Old 16th May 2006
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
You know how people use LA-2A's and CL1B's only on a couple of things? Same deal.
Bingo! That's a good way to think of these. Don't expect them to be like your super tweak comp that has continuous slope, ratio, and x number of knee controls, sidechain, yada, yada, yada. The 525 is not that. Think of it as another flavor of toy in the LA-2A role.
Old 16th May 2006
  #9
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trident fan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
Yeah, I know what you mean. I find they just 'take' too much out of the signal. I'll be happy to run some drums thru one later, though, so you can hear what they do. The other thing is that on anything percussive, once they go past just a hair of GR, they really go crazy.

You know how people use LA-2A's and CL1B's only on a couple of things? Same deal.
is the main use of these for vox?
Old 17th May 2006
  #10
I too only use the 0.1 sec release, the other release times on this unit don't turn my crank. The 525 gets used on lead vocals for 90% of the mixes I do 'cause it makes them sit in the track so nicely. The de-esser sucks in my opinion though. I never thought to push both the compressor and limiter buttons in together....what ratio does that give you?

phil
Old 4th October 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip S Bova View Post
I too only use the 0.1 sec release, the other release times on this unit don't turn my crank. The 525 gets used on lead vocals for 90% of the mixes I do 'cause it makes them sit in the track so nicely. The de-esser sucks in my opinion though. I never thought to push both the compressor and limiter buttons in together....what ratio does that give you?

phil
I just got my 525 Comp and I'm digging it. I dug up this and was wondering if any one has the answer to what ratio the 525 runs at in it's "all buttons' mode?
Old 3rd January 2009
  #12
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micfreak's Avatar
 

I´m too interested in that 3rd ratio mode. Any clues?
Also i think there may be a 4th ratio mode with both buttons out, no?
Old 3rd January 2009
  #13
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fuddfar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rea View Post
Hi-
just got a pair reissue 525's into my lunchbox following 2 312 vintage pre's and 2 550a vintage eq's.

i never used the 525's before and got these in order to be able to take the lunchbox on a work trip coming in a few days, and have everything i may need in one small package.

im not going to have enough time for experimentation in order to know them inside out while tracking, unfortunatly...

so my question is:
what basic start point setttings (before my extra tweaks) do you reccomend for tracking:

male vocal soft :
male vocal loud :
male voc very dynamic :
male voc fairly steady :


loud kit overheads :
soft kit overheads :
bass guitar di :
electric guitar mic :

any other notes or tips from the experienced 525 user would be greatly appreciated.

THANKS!!
Try using them as a line amp.They have (3) 2520s and insane gain. I used a vintage one on synth today. Plug in a synth piano for that exact Rolling Stones " She Comes in Colors" sound.
Old 3rd January 2009
  #14
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

strange, i consider the 525 to be one of the most versatile comps out there, but maybe that's because i lean towards old, slow, smooth, thick squeeze.

low ratio, slow release, deep threshold is my weapon of choice on acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric pianos, bass, synths, vocals... api sounds so damn good when used this way.

follow up with some fast limiting on vox or anything that needs a little edge restored, and bob's your uncle.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 3rd January 2009
  #15
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johnnyjellybean's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
strange, i consider the 525 to be one of the most versatile comps out there, but maybe that's because i lean towards old, slow, smooth, thick squeeze.

low ratio, slow release, deep threshold is my weapon of choice on acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric pianos, bass, synths, vocals... api sounds so damn good when used this way.

follow up with some fast limiting on vox or anything that needs a little edge restored, and bob's your uncle.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
I have to agree with UBK on this. The 525 is EXTREMELY versatile. Have you ever tried it on direct bass with the cieling knob dialed to about 1'oclock ?? Big thick and super sustain. The best!
Old 9th January 2009
  #16
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DanRock101's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyjellybean View Post
I have to agree with UBK on this. The 525 is EXTREMELY versatile. Have you ever tried it on direct bass with the cieling knob dialed to about 1'oclock ?? Big thick and super sustain. The best!
NICE TIP! Thanks!
Old 9th January 2009
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
strange, i consider the 525 to be one of the most versatile comps out there, but maybe that's because i lean towards old, slow, smooth, thick squeeze.

low ratio, slow release, deep threshold is my weapon of choice on acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric pianos, bass, synths, vocals... api sounds so damn good when used this way.

follow up with some fast limiting on vox or anything that needs a little edge restored, and bob's your uncle.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Its one of the best acoustic GTR compressors I've ever met. I like it because it stays out of the way, and does give a nice meaty weight to the audio.

Agreed on the instruments; Wurly and Rhodes LOOK OUT! +525
Old 9th January 2009
  #18
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DanRock101's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
Its one of the best acoustic GTR compressors I've ever met. I like it because it stays out of the way, and does give a nice meaty weight to the audio.

Agreed on the instruments; Wurly and Rhodes LOOK OUT! +525

Now I'm getting excited!!!!!
Old 14th January 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 
DanRock101's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
strange, i consider the 525 to be one of the most versatile comps out there, but maybe that's because i lean towards old, slow, smooth, thick squeeze.

low ratio, slow release, deep threshold is my weapon of choice on acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric pianos, bass, synths, vocals... api sounds so damn good when used this way.

follow up with some fast limiting on vox or anything that needs a little edge restored, and bob's your uncle.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Sounds orgasmic!
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