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What API gear to buy first? API 3124/a2d, API Channel strip,API 2500 or API 5500? 500 Series EQ\'s
Old 13th August 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
What API gear to buy first? API 3124/a2d, API Channel strip,API 2500 or API 5500?

Hi there,

My current recording/mixing setup is a macbook pro running Pro Tools 9 (and quite some plugins) with the Focusrite liquid saffire 56 expanded with the Focusrite octopre dynamic mkII (via ADAT) and the SSL Alpha Channel preamp (digitally via spdif) my monitors are Yamaha hs80's.

I mainly record rock/metal bands in the studio and mix at home.

I'm looking to improve my current setup with some API gear.

If I could buy one of these API racks listed above, which one would I buy for now?

In the end I think I'm gonna buy all of these units and put them in a 4U rack since I do some recordings on location too, but for now I have to choose one

Any tips/advice would be welcome!
Old 13th August 2012
  #2
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Paco1175's Avatar
API 3124/a2D, The Channel Strip 2500 comp or 5500 EQ that is
Old 13th August 2012
  #3
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paul999's Avatar
 

You can pickup A2Ds super cheap. There isn't any API gear I've heard that I didn't like and I have most of it. The most useful to me is the 550b eq. I have one on kick, snare and lead vocal. The 525 compressor is amazingly colored and though it took a while for me to get, I LOVE it. I often use my API pre's in a non pushed way and they are great. The difference between adding an A2D or 3124 and a 5500 is pretty huge. You have those SSL's which contrary to popular opinion on gear slutz are perfectly fine pres. An eq is going to do something even my wife can hear. A Pre will make us nerds feel satisfied. Unless you are running out of tracking channels and needing to track on some stock interface Pre the eq is more useful.IMO
Old 13th August 2012
  #4
Baz
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Baz's Avatar
 

If I was looking for an API starter unit to be primarily used at home for OD's etc I'd say the A²D, hands down. I sometimes regret not picking up a used one here on GS for $1200 when I had the chance...
Old 13th August 2012
  #5
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Thanx guys! The thing is now I have 17 simultaneous mic inputs; the 2 Liquid Pre's, another 14 Saffire pre's (8 w/comp) and one SSL pre which I use all the time for vocals, guitars/DI's , bass. So, although I would love to have some really good API pre's, maybe for the moment I should invest in a great addition to that and something I can use in the mix, like te 5500eq or the 2500 comp.
Old 13th August 2012
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul999 View Post
You can pickup A2Ds super cheap. There isn't any API gear I've heard that I didn't like and I have most of it. The most useful to me is the 550b eq. I have one on kick, snare and lead vocal. The 525 compressor is amazingly colored and though it took a while for me to get, I LOVE it. I often use my API pre's in a non pushed way and they are great. The difference between adding an A2D or 3124 and a 5500 is pretty huge. You have those SSL's which contrary to popular opinion on gear slutz are perfectly fine pres. An eq is going to do something even my wife can hear. A Pre will make us nerds feel satisfied. Unless you are running out of tracking channels and needing to track on some stock interface Pre the eq is more useful.IMO
Hey Paul, do you use the 550b on kick & snare during tracking or only in the mix?
Old 13th August 2012
  #7
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AllBread's Avatar
 

I think that 2500 and 5500 is the killer combo. You'll find tons of uses for that chain!
Old 13th August 2012
  #8
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paul999's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paco1175 View Post
Hey Paul, do you use the 550b on kick & snare during tracking or only in the mix?
In the mix usually. The color these things impart is awesome. Adding some sizzle to snare with 8 or 10 hz is awesome. I can make a kick pound with one of these. Spectacular eq and totally recallable.
Old 13th August 2012
  #9
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Paco1175's Avatar
Thanx! I was thinking of buying the API channel strip first 'cos then I would have a bit of all that great API gear at once but, I think I made up my mind and buy the a2d first, that way I have one SSL and two API pre's connected digitally via spdif to my Liquid Saffire (expanding track count to 19) also I read some things about using this unit during mixdown, interesting. After that I would buy the 5500EQ followed by the 2500 comp. Need to have 'em all
Old 14th August 2012
  #10
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ddageek's Avatar
 

I'd buy a 500 rack and CAPI VP28s a pre that's got to stages of that Classic API console sounding.
Old 14th August 2012
  #11
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
Tough decision. you need to take a hard and honest look at what you really need the most.

If you really need more pres and the conversion, obviously the a2d is a good choice. But, just for versatility and flexibility, the Channel Strip could be a tool you'd use in just about every mixing and /or tracking situation. Pairing a sweet EQ and comp with the pre opens up a lot of possibilities. I use a 512c-550b-527. Hard to go wrong.

If you don't have a good hardware eq and comp.....I might lean towards the strip.
Old 15th August 2012
  #12
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Laborer View Post
Tough decision. you need to take a hard and honest look at what you really need the most.

If you really need more pres and the conversion, obviously the a2d is a good choice. But, just for versatility and flexibility, the Channel Strip could be a tool you'd use in just about every mixing and /or tracking situation. Pairing a sweet EQ and comp with the pre opens up a lot of possibilities. I use a 512c-550b-527. Hard to go wrong.

If you don't have a good hardware eq and comp.....I might lean towards the strip.
It's not that I don't have enough pre's. I guess I would just love to have a couple (or at least 2) really good ones. I really need a good analogue EQ and comp too so since I already have one very nice SSL pre, the channel strip still is one of my options. Tough choices I also bumped into the TK audio BS1 mkII (SSL style) stereo buss comp today and, looking at it's price, also seems like a nice add-on to my actual setup.
Old 15th August 2012
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paco1175 View Post
It's not that I don't have enough pre's. I guess I would just love to have a couple (or at least 2) really good ones. I really need a good analogue EQ and comp too so since I already have one very nice SSL pre, the channel strip still is one of my options. Tough choices I also bumped into the TK audio BS1 mkII (SSL style) stereo buss comp today and, looking at it's price, also seems like a nice add-on to my actual setup.
TK audio BC1mkII that is
Old 15th August 2012
  #14
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If you are searching for the biggest impact on your mixes...especially for Rock...get the 2500 on your mixbus
Old 15th August 2012
  #15
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by burnhard View Post
If you are searching for the biggest impact on your mixes...especially for Rock...get the 2500 on your mixbus
yeah, what I've read so far about the 2500 sounds very promising. I use the plugin version all the time on my drum & mixbus.

If I had just one stereo bus compressor, would it be an option (after sorting possible latency issues out) to record my drum bus through the 2500, mix that recorded channel with the "dry" drum bus channel (parallel comp) and use the 2500 in realtime on my mix bus? Thanx for any advice!
Old 15th August 2012
  #16
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
All those choices are "very promising." It's all quality gear. You record rock bands "in the studio" but you have 17 mic pres at home... where you mix? What? Does "the studio" have decent front end choices, ie EQ and comps?
Are you mainly looking for mix down tools for your home? Then why would you consider more preamps? (not trying to bust balls, just questions that could help you decide)

It's a fairly straight forward choice you need to make before you even consider what gear to buy. If your looking for a good 2 buss compressor on the back end , decide that and consider your options. If your looking for more control on individual sources, tracking, overdubs, re-printing etc, then the channel can offer that, in addition to adding an api preamp option. If stereo tracking is mandatory, than obviously that has to be taken into consideration as well.
Old 16th August 2012
  #17
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Laborer View Post
All those choices are "very promising." It's all quality gear. You record rock bands "in the studio" but you have 17 mic pres at home... where you mix? What? Does "the studio" have decent front end choices, ie EQ and comps?
Are you mainly looking for mix down tools for your home? Then why would you consider more preamps? (not trying to bust balls, just questions that could help you decide)

It's a fairly straight forward choice you need to make before you even consider what gear to buy. If your looking for a good 2 buss compressor on the back end , decide that and consider your options. If your looking for more control on individual sources, tracking, overdubs, re-printing etc, then the channel can offer that, in addition to adding an api preamp option. If stereo tracking is mandatory, than obviously that has to be taken into consideration as well.
I record in the studio with my own rack (liquid saffire, octopre dynamic mkII & SSL alpha channel) Besides my own rack there's 2 Golden Age PRE 73MII's, an Avalon 737sp and a Summit DCL-200 bus comp available in the studio. So I have enough pre's to track drums (i used 16 drum channels on one of my previous recordings)

The question is if they are good enough and if I would need a pair of really good API's in there (let's say for kick and snare) When I do overdubs I usually just need 2 channels.

I mainly mix at home and there I don't have any analogue outboard gear (except for the EQ of te SSL) so that's where I really feel I'm missing something. The channel strip could come in handy there I suppose, followed by a bus comp later.
Old 16th August 2012
  #18
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ddageek's Avatar
 

Ill say it again CAPI Vp28s in a lunchbox you get API pres plus an extra stage of API goodness, track withem or color your tracks as a Line stage!
Old 16th August 2012
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
eleo's Avatar
 

I think the 3124 is great start.
Image you can always track everything with 4 Mics ( like guitar amps) and it will always sound killer.
I then got the 2500er, and then the 5500.
Now I need a 1608. Damn.
Old 16th August 2012
  #20
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by eleo View Post
I think the 3124 is great start.
Image you can always track everything with 4 Mics ( like guitar amps) and it will always sound killer.
I then got the 2500er, and then the 5500.
Now I need a 1608. Damn.
Hahah, I also want a 1608 ....one day I will have it!
Old 17th August 2012
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Mr. Bars's Avatar
Think from the point what do you want to bring to your current circuit - weight, new kind of shaping possibilities, speed, maximum color, etc. All API gear is amazing and has strongly pronounced pedigree.

I use 5500 stereo EQ and pair of 527 compressors in EL500 chassis and happy as hell with it. I work mostly with stereo applications thus I tend to collect stereo versions of equipment. Periodically I use 2500 stereo compressor in colleague's environment - it sounds to me almost like my 527s with another type and gamut of stereo linking + additional features. If I did not have a pair of Chandler TG channel, I would bought a pair of 512 pre or probably A2D and it seems I'll just buy the second one in the future.

But the biggest of my obsession is to install eight channels of 215L Discrete HP/LP Sweep Filter! Not for mastering of course, but for mixing. Absolutely uncompressed idea because it's exactly what I miss now! Unfortunately API produced only 12 Slot Rack for this kind of modules, I'd like to find something like 4 or 8 modules versions... maybe custom made or from small manufacturers.
Old 17th August 2012
  #22
Gear Nut
 
Paco1175's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bars View Post
Think from the point what do you want to bring to your current circuit - weight, new kind of shaping possibilities, speed, maximum color, etc. All API gear is amazing and has strongly pronounced pedigree.

I use 5500 stereo EQ and pair of 527 compressors in EL500 chassis and happy as hell with it. I work mostly with stereo applications thus I tend to collect stereo versions of equipment. Periodically I use 2500 stereo compressor in colleague's environment - it sounds to me almost like my 527s with another type and gamut of stereo linking + additional features. If I did not have a pair of Chandler TG channel, I would bought a pair of 512 pre or probably A2D and it seems I'll just buy the second one in the future.

But the biggest of my obsession is to install eight channels of 215L Discrete HP/LP Sweep Filter! Not for mastering of course, but for mixing. Absolutely uncompressed idea because it's exactly what I miss now! Unfortunately API produced only 12 Slot Rack for this kind of modules, I'd like to find something like 4 or 8 modules versions... maybe custom made or from small manufacturers.
I think I'm gonna go for The Channel Strip first so I can send some recorded channels through it, do my overdubs with it and use the EQ and comp for mixing too. Next will be the 2500 I guess (folowed by the a2d and 5500 in the future)
Old 17th August 2012
  #23
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
I'm mixing a project that the guy recorded in his home studio with a Daking pre, He has no other outboard. He used a POD for the guitar tracks. Personally, I can't stand the brittle, one dimensional sound of the POD, but ...So I re printed the tracks through the lunch box, sometimes using the 527-550b, and sometimes using the Purple Action-550b and man, what a difference it made. If it wasn't night and day, it was at least 4:30pm vs 8:30pm. They sound like a amp was used now(sort of). And I've had similar results on lots of things, kick, acoustic gtr,, bass...

The point being that a good hardware EQ and compressor are 2 of the fundamental tools an AE can have. Which ones, and which order to attain them, can be hotly debated.
Old 17th August 2012
  #24
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
Ill say it again CAPI Vp28s in a lunchbox you get API pres plus an extra stage of API goodness, track withem or color your tracks as a Line stage!
I've assembled 2 VP26s and use them right along side of the 512s--they stand just as proud as any, and have got to be the best bang for buck in preamp choices out there.

A box with 2x VP26, 2X 527 and 2x 550 a or b....could be sweet.)
Old 7th September 2012
  #25
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Laborer View Post
Tough decision. you need to take a hard and honest look at what you really need the most.

If you really need more pres and the conversion, obviously the a2d is a good choice. But, just for versatility and flexibility, the Channel Strip could be a tool you'd use in just about every mixing and /or tracking situation. Pairing a sweet EQ and comp with the pre opens up a lot of possibilities. I use a 512c-550b-527. Hard to go wrong.

If you don't have a good hardware eq and comp.....I might lean towards the strip.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone Laborer View Post
I've assembled 2 VP26s and use them right along side of the 512s--they stand just as proud as any, and have got to be the best bang for buck in preamp choices out there.

A box with 2x VP26, 2X 527 and 2x 550 a or b....could be sweet.)
Double ditto!
The 512 550A and 527 combo is a very sweet set up!
defiantly grab a lunchbox there are some very very nice options out and the system is still growing!
some cool stuff coming: )
Old 29th May 2016
  #26
Lives for gear
 

I'd like to resurrect this thread. I've got a new question, too.

Firstly, the API A2D is one of my favorite pres. What makes it more versatile than the 3124 is that it has volume controls for each preamp on the spdif. This allows you to control the output and avoid clipping into my daw. 3124 only has input volume on each pre, but no overall output control. The A2D is my absolute favorite for kick and snare. It's good on guitars, too. Never tried it on vocals, but maybe today I will..

New question, does the channel strip offer anything an API 500 series channel strip couldn't? What I mean is...
Vp28/A2D-->550B-->527....VS...API channels strip
What'd be the difference? Or none?

Thanks
Old 29th May 2016
  #27
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string6theory's Avatar
I saved and started with the 3124mb+ which has the channel vol/pan & fx sends, 4-ch sum to trafo mix bus with S/R, plus direct ch outs. Great for sub mixing.

From there the 5500 + 2500 combo... tracking, mixing or mix bus, so versatile and enhancing, they both just rock.

From there an 8200A line mixer serving as a mini rack console and analog hub. Pres/eq's/comps route here, gain staged for AD. This is a killer unit.

So killer, that I got a 2nd one just for FX sub mixing from the sends of the 1st one. So, I can capture the FX on separate tracks, which is very useful.

From there (the front end), I expanded into a (back end) custom DSM-16 + 8 API Legacy "console-in-a-rack" with a 7800 + 2x 8200, along with an 8200A sub (bus) mixer.

These are all simply awesome for a hybrid setup. Oh, did I mention l quite like API? . Very vibey, musical, muscular and punchy.

That's been the (12 year and continuing) sequence of my API journey. Saving for each subsequent addition, always pleased which each gearz they make.

Now, don't forget to feed API some great mics > Neve pres/comps (1073's/2254's) > UA/Tel classics (1176's/LA2A's) and be thankful for these rock gems!

Old 29th May 2016
  #28
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First world problems are always such a cunundrum.
Old 29th May 2016
  #29
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string6theory's Avatar
This is the high end after all.
Old 29th May 2016
  #30
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ox Han View Post
.......

New question, does the channel strip offer anything an API 500 series channel strip couldn't? What I mean is...
Vp28/A2D-->550B-->527....VS...API channels strip
What'd be the difference? Or none?

Thanks
API Channel strip uses 550a EQ (which many feel sounds better than the 550b), the channel strip also includes the API 325 line driver which is very useful if you are going from it directly to your A>D (ie you can have your input gain really high, major EQ boosts & not clip your A>D). There is a mute button on the output which doesn't sound like a big deal but is very useful (great to swap mics, turn on phantom power, etc without having to worry about blowing speakers, headphones etc...). The channel strip is really well laid out, easy to use and versatile (insert points in & out of each module allow you to use anything independently or chained together) - of course you can do that with 500 series modules but I find it more convenient & easier on the channel strip (ie..with a button press you can change whether EQ is before or after compressor). I love my API channel strip!
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