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API 500 527 Suggested Vocal Settings?
Old 28th March 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 

API 500 527 Suggested Vocal Settings?

Hey Guys,

I have an API LunchBox, 512c, 550a & a 527 and needed some guidance.

Being more of a musician (singer/songwriter) than an engineer, I'm having some trouble setting up the 527 to record my Lead Vocal takes.

The track I'm working on is an original with a Supertramp, Climax Blues Band, 10cc kind of vibe. It's mid tempo rock track with a swing/shuffle feel.

I know that it's hard to give advice but if someone could point me in the right direction of how to set up the 527 (Knee, Type, Thrust, Ratio, Attack & Release times, etc..., I would greatly appreciate it!

For what it's worth, I'm recording into Pro Tools 10 and I'm not looking to "slam" the vocal track with the 527. Just control/tame the peaks while getting some of that "API" flavor.

Many thanks,
Old 28th March 2012
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Adura's Avatar
 

Hi Izzi....
My suggestion... at least that's what I'm used to do..
IF you have the api plugins... I copy the preset settings on the plugins into the hardware... it's a good starting point.
(Altough the sound is very different.. for me the hardware sounds a billion times better)
Old 28th March 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Hey Adura,

Good idea!

I'll check it out!

Thanks,
Old 28th March 2012
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Adura's Avatar
 

Nice. Glad I could help.
If fact, this idea works best for the 550s...
If you do a A/B comparison, you'll soon see that the plugin harms a little the highs.. about 10k.. and the hardware sounds much better. Also you can add much more low ends on the hardware without distorting it.
So normally I put 'more' on the hardware.
cheers.
Old 29th March 2012
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzi View Post
Hey Guys,

I have an API LunchBox, 512c, 550a & a 527 and needed some guidance.

Being more of a musician (singer/songwriter) than an engineer, I'm having some trouble setting up the 527 to record my Lead Vocal takes.

The track I'm working on is an original with a Supertramp, Climax Blues Band, 10cc kind of vibe. It's mid tempo rock track with a swing/shuffle feel.

I know that it's hard to give advice but if someone could point me in the right direction of how to set up the 527 (Knee, Type, Thrust, Ratio, Attack & Release times, etc..., I would greatly appreciate it!

For what it's worth, I'm recording into Pro Tools 10 and I'm not looking to "slam" the vocal track with the 527. Just control/tame the peaks while getting some of that "API" flavor.

Many thanks,
~Iz
Maybe start off with a 2:1 ratio, in feedback mode, using a higher threshold, a moderate attack, and a moderate release. The higher you bring the ratio the greater the punishment. Starting at the highest position, bring the Threshold down slowly until it starts to reduce the peaks. You'll need to tweak, for sure, but maybe you only need a couple of db's reduction at the very top's of your peaks, so it keeps the dynamic in check and smoothed. So this means using a higher threshold. Just try and "kiss" the compressor, when the peak info plays, and use the attack knob as your "squash more gas pedal" for more go-go juice if you need it.
Old 29th March 2012
  #6
Deleted User
Guest
I use the 512 and 527 with a purple ODD a lot.... this is a 'method' I generally try and it often works .. put the ratio to 1:1 (lowest) put the threshold at -20 (highest) set attack and release at fastest...start singing and SLOWLY increase the ratio until you get a little reduction on peaks. I usually prefer the hard knee and new settings with the thrust in ... best

oh yeah... I generally like the EQ after the comp... not standard i suppose but that way when you change the eq the compressor does not change what its doing
Old 29th March 2012
  #7
Gear Addict
 
Sino's Avatar
 

I always track vocals with 512c + 527, pretty transparent comp...
I'm around these settings..

Ratio: 2,5
Attack from 1 to 5 ms
Release from .3 to .5 S

then I "play" with threshold to get something from 1,5 to 6dB of gain reduction (on peaks)..

Usually i keep old type, soft knee and trust in...
I also try to follow the singer with the "output" control of the compressor if the song has got a lot of big peaks...
Old 29th March 2012
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sino View Post
I always track vocals with 512c + 527, pretty transparent comp...
I'm around these settings..

Ratio: 2,5
Attack from 1 to 5 ms
Release from .3 to .5 S

then I "play" with threshold to get something from 1,5 to 6dB of gain reduction (on peaks)..

Usually i keep old type, soft knee and trust in...
I also try to follow the singer with the "output" control of the compressor if the song has got a lot of big peaks...
When I am having a hard time dialing in settings for tracking vocals on the rather tricky 527, I often wish it had a 'trust', instead of a 'thrust,' button.
Maybe in the next iteration ...
Old 29th March 2012
  #9
Gear Nut
 

i think the 525 is a better tool for vocals
Old 29th March 2012
  #10
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by 24track View Post
i think the 525 is a better tool for vocals
I think you can get pretty close to the 525 on the 527... 20:1, fastest attack and release, hard knee, new and thrust OUT.

but the 525 will not do a lot of what the 527 will do

I wish both units had the thust control and the Ceiling control..in fact I wish all comps had them
Old 29th March 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Tone Laborer's Avatar
My suggestion would be close to Adam's. Old mode, soft knee, attack about 10:00, release about 9:00, thrust off, Set your meter for gain reduction. Depending on the singers dynamic range obviously, but 2:1 is a good place to start. Bring the Threshold clockwise until you see a few Db of GR on the meter. Adjust output so your converters aren't clipping.

I also might try higher rations, 4;1 to 6:1 rolling back the threshold as I increased the ratio, adjusting the output as needed. Somewhere in this dance I 'll hear a sweet spot on the ratio where things focus and sound right to me.

Just remember ratio, threshold and output are all interdependent to each other--and experiment.

Try all the above in new mode as well.
Old 29th March 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Thank U Guys for all your feedback!
Old 31st March 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Tone Laborer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tridelica View Post
When I am having a hard time dialing in settings for tracking vocals on the rather tricky 527, I often wish it had a 'trust', instead of a 'thrust,' button.
Maybe in the next iteration ...
That's what your ears are for. For tracking, keep things in the mild settings like those suggested on this thread and you should be hearing some trustworthy fullness to the sound. And don't get greedy with the output.

There are a lot of combinations , it's got some complexity to it. I'm still finding a few surprises after a year with it, a pretty cool thing in my book.
Old 31st March 2012
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Laborer View Post
That's what your ears are for. For tracking, keep things in the mild settings like those suggested on this thread and you should be hearing some trustworthy fullness to the sound. And don't get greedy with the output.

There are a lot of combinations , it's got some complexity to it. I'm still finding a few surprises after a year with it, a pretty cool thing in my book.
Yes, this is the kind of compressor where, during tracking, on should stick to conservative settings, especially with the attack/release.
Old 22nd October 2018
  #15
Gear Nut
 
rezident's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzi View Post
Hey Guys,

I have an API LunchBox, 512c, 550a & a 527 and needed some guidance.

Being more of a musician (singer/songwriter) than an engineer, I'm having some trouble setting up the 527 to record my Lead Vocal takes.

The track I'm working on is an original with a Supertramp, Climax Blues Band, 10cc kind of vibe. It's mid tempo rock track with a swing/shuffle feel.

I know that it's hard to give advice but if someone could point me in the right direction of how to set up the 527 (Knee, Type, Thrust, Ratio, Attack & Release times, etc..., I would greatly appreciate it!

For what it's worth, I'm recording into Pro Tools 10 and I'm not looking to "slam" the vocal track with the 527. Just control/tame the peaks while getting some of that "API" flavor.

Many thanks,
Try this:

I really like the sound of low ratio settings with a high threshold and hard knee enabled, thrust either in or out, feedback mode, and medium attack/release.

If you can find that click just one below the 1.5 ratio with the above settings it’s like the compressor turns into a different beast!!

There’s a buttery thickness that is really hard to describe and sounds unlike the 527 at other settings and works well on many sources.

Talking maybe 4-6dbs of GR on peaks. The interaction between the release and threshold is key, with med/slowish releases sounding best.
Old 23rd October 2018
  #16
Gear Addict
I usually start with the attack set to almost the fastest setting 1 or 2 clicks from fully counter-clockwise (7 o'clock ish). Release set to around 9 o'clock. 3:1 ratio. Thrust circuit IN. Soft knee (sometimes use hard). New or Old mode (feed forward or feedback) depending on which sounds better and what the singer prefers (New is cleaner and a bit faster). Adjust threshold to taste (I usually only use a couple of dB's of gain reduction but you can definitely squash a fair bit and still sound great with the 527)
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