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API The box?
Old 23rd October 2013
  #61
Gear Nut
 

Saw it At AES had a nice Talk with Jordan, Jeff, Jane, Dan

If this it your feature set, you know it and it's a clean collection for a project studio centerpiece, I like the 32ch 1608 better for "My" version of a project room, But Don't get all the hate, It's a super cool thing in person! best of Luck to API I think they have another winner here--- Watch they will sell a few imo
Old 23rd October 2013
  #62
Gear Maniac
 

As someone in the market for this, im not interested. For this money i would rather get 12k in converters, with an ssl sigma. Sure no faders, but yes to automation.

I would rather have a nicer summing system than have some 500 modules and faders.

To each his own though, im sure the box sounds great.

Looking forward to seeing the capi console, if its built nything like the modules it will be a beast.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #63
QRS
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Breaux View Post
Neve kelso anyone?? Calrec maybe? Mci 428? Give that API a few years, it's gonna need maintenance too.
hi alex,
i responded to superburtm who compared a used SSL E series 56ch to the API theBox.

and yes, the api needs maintenance someday too... but it´s pennys to the ssl.
cheers, matthias
Old 23rd October 2013
  #64
Quote:
Originally Posted by QRS View Post
hi alex,
i responded to superburtm who compared a used SSL E series 56ch to the API theBox.

and yes, the api needs maintenance someday too... but it´s pennys to the ssl.
cheers, matthias
Yeah that console runs so hot and is expensive to service--the ssl is a huge maintenance liability
Old 23rd October 2013
  #65
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staudio's Avatar
 

If they had left out the 4 channel input section and made it a straight 24 channels with aux sends then it would have made more sense. I already own preamps and EQ's and a monitor controller. I don't get the idea of these all in one integrated products unless its a proper console with a full feature set like the 1608.

I was a good candidate for something like this but it doesn't make sense for anyone except a very wealthy hobbyist or a studio without any extra gear that wants to open a B room. Except most B rooms would be better off just being ITB (no pun intended).

The beauty of the modern day console less studio is you don't have to pay for stuff you don't need, but this product makes you pay for things that are difficult to integrate into an existing setup without losing flexibility in the process.

I love API and most of what they make but this just feels a little un thought out. Also if you put another two 550A's in the open 500 slots they don't align with the built in modules. They are slightly higher. Who thought that was ok??!!
Old 23rd October 2013
  #66
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superburtm's Avatar
 

Only thing I compared was the purchase price. The going rate for SSL e series in LA is very close to the price of the box. Thats where the comparisons end. You can get a lot more for your money on the used market was my point. If you ate technically inclined or have a good friend whom is a tech it aint bad to grab a desk on the used market. Big Bang for the buck!I personally wouldnt pay $1700. For the box because its useless and limiting for my work flow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QRS View Post
hi alex,
i responded to superburtm who compared a used SSL E series 56ch to the API theBox.

and yes, the api needs maintenance someday too... but it´s pennys to the ssl.
cheers, matthias
Old 23rd October 2013
  #67
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Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by QRS View Post
api the box vs. ssl e series = different applications.
the api is aimed at smaller studios where nobody want to use/install a ssl e with 56 ch.
and count the money for more maintenance and the power a ssl E 56ch needs for the next, lets say, ten years in comparison to the api box...
cheers, matthias
I think this is going to be a hard sell for smaller studios. For 18K you can buy an awful lot of gear that can be used in the front end and back end of a DAW based hybrid system. And in a DAW based hybrid system, working with a patchbay, you can set it up once for tracking and mixing and you're off and working with so many easily adjusted routing options. You won't get the API Sound, which is hard to define precisely particularly if you already have API preamps and EQ's, but you can get some serious tone shaping within an easy work flow environment.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #68
Gear Nut
 

I think the point is being missed, Thing is called 'The Box'

Its for someone doing stems who ants a center piece. I tried personal set up like this with the chandler and didn't like the work flow, woulda been hand to have inserts sends normal oriented desk, eqs, pres, compressos, SSL. Is not a good comparison. The box will end where an E series won't fit. . Somesones private writng studio etc

Not my thing either just think the ctitique is misguided. API is a big custom operation the ****e IS expensive. But the EQs kill everything else imo...
Old 24th October 2013
  #69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swurveman View Post
I think this is going to be a hard sell for smaller studios. For 18K you can buy an awful lot of gear that can be used in the front end and back end of a DAW based hybrid system. And in a DAW based hybrid system, working with a patchbay, you can set it up once for tracking and mixing and you're off and working with so many easily adjusted routing options. You won't get the API Sound, which is hard to define precisely particularly if you already have API preamps and EQ's, but you can get some serious tone shaping within an easy work flow environment.
It is amazing how one can have all the facts right, and yet get the conclusion so wrong.

First correct fact: many small studios do buy an "awful lot" of gear for $18K. This awful lot usually fails to live up to expectations, causing them to spend even more money chasing a sound they will never get.

Second correct fact (related to the first): they won't get the API sound.

What The Box offers is an opportunity to avoid the awful lot, going instead with a simple and clean solution that will deliver the API sound. Problem solved!

Of course, if you want/need console functionality (more aux sends, returns, groups, lots more EQ/compression on channels, etc), not just sonics, then at less than 2x the price one can step up to the 1608, which offers expansion and functionality upgrades priced up to around $160K, where Legacy consoles come into play. Then Vision.

Unit Audio makes a 16 channel summing box for $300. The Box is not that. What it is is the full API sound scaled down to a project-studio format, which might be very exciting to those who have been chasing that sound for far too long, getting awfully close, but not close enough.
Old 24th October 2013
  #70
Lives for gear
I got the api sound when I bought a vp28 for 18k I can buy 45 vp28 modules,
Old 24th October 2013
  #71
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Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
It is amazing how one can have all the facts right, and yet get the conclusion so wrong.

First correct fact: many small studios do buy an "awful lot" of gear for $18K. This awful lot usually fails to live up to expectations, causing them to spend even more money chasing a sound they will never get.

Second correct fact (related to the first): they won't get the API sound.

What The Box offers is an opportunity to avoid the awful lot, going instead with a simple and clean solution that will deliver the API sound. Problem solved!
I can only speak for myself, but I am about to spend 18k on gear, here's the list. Tell me which gear you think won't live up to my expectations.

1. A 2nd Aurora 16/ RME AES32 for more routing to my hardware for tracking and mixing.
2. An LA-2A mono compressor for tracking and mixing
3. An 1176 mono compressor for tracking and mixing
4. A Cranesong STC-8 stereo compressor for tracking and mixing
5. A stereo pair of Gefell M300 microphones
6. An API 3124+ Preamp
7. A Vintech 473 preamp to compliment my Vintech X73i's
8. A stereo pair of AKG C414 microphones
9. 2-Sennhesiser MD 421 microphones.

Perhaps I'll look at some of these NEVE/API/SSL stripped down consoles for my next big purchase, but I will have to be totally blown away by the improvement of my mixes.
Old 24th October 2013
  #72
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SighBorg's Avatar
 

Code:
Only thing I compared was the purchase price. The going rate for SSL e series in LA is very close to the price of the box.
Not to derail this thread, but are E series really that low? I knews Gs were 50k a few years ago but sheesh.

Personally the box wouldnt be so bad if they just made the eq/pre slots unloaded and made the insert channels as busses with inserts.
Old 24th October 2013
  #73
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Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

API The Box

I expected to see more talk about this guy. What are your thoughts? Looks cool as hell to me!

API - THE BOX - Project Recording and Mixing Console
Old 24th October 2013
  #74
Here for the gear
 

I hit the back button after $17k
Old 24th October 2013
  #75
Lives for gear
See High End thread and AES New York thread.

Some guys think it's perfect, others think there are too many compromises to be considered a centerpiece. I'm one of the latter guys.
Old 24th October 2013
  #76
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

It looks like it's got rideable faders on the input side -- boy, do I miss that -- but they don't even mention it.
Old 24th October 2013
  #77
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
It looks like it's got rideable faders on the input side -- boy, do I miss that -- but they don't even mention it.
Me too! Now the input knobs on my Distressors are all worn down.
Old 24th October 2013
  #78
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gouge View Post
I got the api sound when I bought a vp28 for 18k I can buy 45 vp28 modules,
Exactly. There are MANY pathways to achieve the API sound. Almost all of them cost less than the box.
Old 24th October 2013
  #79
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Sir Chris's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Pike View Post
There is so much more they could have done here to make this more widely appealing for the money. I would've liked to have seen a 2500 comp and a stereo EQ on each stereo channel of the summing mixer, and a 500 series of each at that, so you could swap them out for others if you wished to.

HOW ABOUT A BOXPLUS? 16 input channels would be sweet. 16 channel strips all with direct outs or bussed to the summing mixer in various ways with direct outs on those channels and then still have the 16 buss summing mixer with all that flexibility? Hells yeah.

But 18K for what's there? Pass.
Genius! If it were exactly what you described, then I'd be really interested as well. Can't believe they didn't think to do that instead or that they didn't think to post on GS with a concept first and ask forum members what they'd like to see.
Old 24th October 2013
  #80
Lives for gear
 

I'm pretty much building that 2 classic api vp28s 2 lindell pex500s for the master 16 line drivers with a api summing bus from classic api

cept this diy project will be about 10,000 cheaper
Old 24th October 2013
  #81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swurveman View Post
I can only speak for myself, but I am about to spend 18k on gear, here's the list. Tell me which gear you think won't live up to my expectations.

1. A 2nd Aurora 16/ RME AES32 for more routing to my hardware for tracking and mixing.
2. An LA-2A mono compressor for tracking and mixing
3. An 1176 mono compressor for tracking and mixing
4. A Cranesong STC-8 stereo compressor for tracking and mixing
5. A stereo pair of Gefell M300 microphones
6. An API 3124+ Preamp
7. A Vintech 473 preamp to compliment my Vintech X73i's
8. A stereo pair of AKG C414 microphones
9. 2-Sennhesiser MD 421 microphones.

Perhaps I'll look at some of these NEVE/API/SSL stripped down consoles for my next big purchase, but I will have to be totally blown away by the improvement of my mixes.
Many of us have been down that road, thinking "how hard, really can it be?"

You list a bunch of gear, almost all of which we also have in our studio. But you have obviously decided that you'd rather sum digitally, rather than using analog gear. Which means you are not chasing the "API summing" sound. Which might be OK--you might be sincerely interested in doing something different.

But just as James Lugo had his epiphany with SSL (using a console to do what all his piece-parts did) or Wes Lachot had with an API console (ditto), chances are that you will get to the point where your mixes should be finished, and you will feel like they're still at the beginning. If that happens, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
Old 24th October 2013
  #82
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swurveman View Post
I can only speak for myself, but I am about to spend 18k on gear, here's the list. Tell me which gear you think won't live up to my expectations.

1. A 2nd Aurora 16/ RME AES32 for more routing to my hardware for tracking and mixing.
2. An LA-2A mono compressor for tracking and mixing
3. An 1176 mono compressor for tracking and mixing
4. A Cranesong STC-8 stereo compressor for tracking and mixing
5. A stereo pair of Gefell M300 microphones
6. An API 3124+ Preamp
7. A Vintech 473 preamp to compliment my Vintech X73i's
8. A stereo pair of AKG C414 microphones
9. 2-Sennhesiser MD 421 microphones.

Perhaps I'll look at some of these NEVE/API/SSL stripped down consoles for my next big purchase, but I will have to be totally blown away by the improvement of my mixes.
Instead of the API 3124+ and the Vintech I would get the following:

x8 Seventh Circle Audio N72 Preamps labeled in a 2U rack w/ PSU - $4,308.01 (Vintage Neve Clones) (That's 8 Neve 1272 style pres with full attenuation knobs on the output. Something the API doesn't have. Also they just sound better than the Vintech to me.) That price is pre-built with all the features, and Preamp labeling factored in. As well as shipping for me. (That may vary a bit for you.) Still...it's much more cost effective than either of those units, and I would just rather have 8 Neve style pres anyway for drums.

If you must have have four API style Preamps as well, then I would then pay Custom Analog Services to make you four CAPI VP28's (HPF AND a second gainstage like a full fader to attenuate with.) That'll cost you about $2,457 with shipping. These will better compliment the N72's since you can adjust the gain of the output.

The CAPI's are 500 series. I would look into the Lindell Audio 510 rack (it's ($549), maybe snag a pair of Lindell 7x500's (1176 clones with parallel compression. And think about four CAPI LC53a EQ's for about $3,647 with shipping, (these are essentially inductor based API550a's, which in my world is superior to the API design, and cheaper.)

So your 510 Rack 2 FET compressors, and four API Pres with full analog EQ comes to: $7,261. (Keep in mind that the CAPI's have a cool line in toggle switch so this gives you an API style four track right off the bat for mixing too.)

Instead of the MD421's or the AKG 414's I would get a pair of Shure KSM 353 Ribbon Mics. They're figure 8 Ribbons that go for $2,695 apiece. Essentially this used to be called the Crowley & Tripp El Diablo (Search the Forum for info on that variant of the mic.) It's a virtually indestructible large diaphragm ribbon that can take a 143dB SPL! You can put in a kick drum beater and it will sound like God touched it and never break.

Crowley and Tripp got bought out by Shure, but they make the same great mics...just with boring silver bodies now. They are the best mics for guitar amps and bass cab I've ever heard, work like magic on horns and strings...fantastic as overheads, front of kick...you name it. You will never, ever replace them.

So to recap:

01. Seventh Circle Audio 8 Slot Rack with 8 N72 Neve Clones.

02. Lindell 510 10 slot rack with x4 CAPI VP28 Pres, x4 CAPI LC53a EQ's, x2 Lindell 7x500's. (CAPI stuff built by Custom Analog Services.)

03. x2 Shure KSM 353 Ribbon Mics. (*"El Diablo's)


That puts you at $16,959. Honestly I would wait, and save a bit more for a pair of Chandler Germanium Compressors or Slate Dragons from there (Though I would go for the Germs since they are marvelous on 2Bus as well as tracking and mixing), and skip the LA2A entirely. The Gefell's are great choices maybe for later down the line, but I still want those ribbons first if it were me. Also as an option you might not have thought of, in place of the Gefell's a pair of Josephson C42's would be fine for less than a grand.

If you have to have an LA-Type Opto later...save for a Purple Sweet 10 rack which has stereo linking features and a pair of JLM LA500's (LA3A type compressors) which can stereo link and have a side-chain at 200Hz which is much better for not crushing mud. (The Lindell 510 won't give you any rear mounted stereo linking ports.)


Now back to the original topic...API's "The Box".

I've read the manual twice now...I think for some people this is a very simple, easy to set up piece which will work for them. However, I don't know if it's the best bang for the buck. The earlier comments people have made (including me), take note to worry over it's lack of dedicated FX returns especially. It feels like something that could be improved upon for sure. I would have rather had four full channel strips with full 550a EQ, dedicated FX Returns and only 8 channels of summing for starters, but leave it so it was expandable with the 8200 Line Mixers they discontinued. That would have been a much better setup and closer to what I think the price they're charging should warrant, as well as making the 8200 more valuable as a product to those who own them or who were considering them before they decided to stop making them. That way it could also have been a slightly smaller footprint, and they would have saved a bit money there too. It just feels like a near miss to me. However I still think this will sell well. People love this brand, and the 1608 is winning it's fair share of Grammies. It is a modern classic that people will gush over for decades...and this is at least a related product in terms of sound.

The 527's I think are pretty fair game, the real strength is the routing they made for them internally...I'm not sure you could really ask for a full 2500 in it's stead.
Old 25th October 2013
  #83
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Swurveman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
Many of us have been down that road, thinking "how hard, really can it be?"

You list a bunch of gear, almost all of which we also have in our studio. But you have obviously decided that you'd rather sum digitally, rather than using analog gear. Which means you are not chasing the "API summing" sound. Which might be OK--you might be sincerely interested in doing something different.

But just as James Lugo had his epiphany with SSL (using a console to do what all his piece-parts did) or Wes Lachot had with an API console (ditto), chances are that you will get to the point where your mixes should be finished, and you will feel like they're still at the beginning. If that happens, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
I haven't decided to sum digitally. It is the expense of affording a full console like an SSL 4000 series where all my workflow would be at the console that is holding me back now. If I can afford a full SSL console (or API or Neve) after getting the signal processing I think is essential, I'll buy it in a heartbeat. And I may some day. I am just commenting on why at this point in time I am prioritizing other gear over what I believe is a stripped down console. Like I said before in another thread, I applaud API for doing this for those who find it to be precisely what they need.

Cheers.
Old 26th October 2013
  #84
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Vintageidiot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
Many of us have been down that road, thinking "how hard, really can it be?"

You list a bunch of gear, almost all of which we also have in our studio. But you have obviously decided that you'd rather sum digitally, rather than using analog gear. Which means you are not chasing the "API summing" sound. Which might be OK--you might be sincerely interested in doing something different.

But just as James Lugo had his epiphany with SSL (using a console to do what all his piece-parts did) or Wes Lachot had with an API console (ditto), chances are that you will get to the point where your mixes should be finished, and you will feel like they're still at the beginning. If that happens, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
I had this same feeling but never publicly expressed it.....
Old 29th November 2013
  #85
Lives for gear
And I was going to buy the SSL Matrix in the spring... with a bunch of awesome outboard...

Granted, I'm sure the SSL sounds cleaner overall, but features? I did tell SSL they needed more goodies in the Matrix...AD/DA conversion at the least. The e-mail person wasn't very responsive or welcoming of my opinion. Maybe I'll try again now that this is out and priced $3000 less...

The reason I would want either is to complete my hybrid setup with some serious eye candy (in the case of the API ear candy as well). In my experience, clients don't consider hybrid setups to be a studio without some sort of console. The SSL is preferable because I don't want it to affect my current sound at all. I am of course also considering selling everything but my Neve pres, AEA ribbon mic pres, and converters ... and simply using the API for more than just summing.
Old 29th November 2013
  #86
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
And I was going to buy the SSL Matrix in the spring... with a bunch of awesome outboard...

Granted, I'm sure the SSL sounds cleaner overall, but features? I did tell SSL they needed more goodies in the Matrix...AD/DA conversion at the least. The e-mail person wasn't very responsive or welcoming of my opinion. Maybe I'll try again now that this is out and priced $3000 less...
I was recently thinking about THE BOX again...and I remembered that Great River has the Mixmaster 20. Which is only $7,000 RETAIL.

GREAT RIVER MIXMASTER 20

What's really funny is when you get into the technical manual for the Mixmaster...VS the manual for the API...you'll see the Mixmaster lacks the FX Sends (But that the API does not have dedicated returns either so this doesn't really mean there's much of a difference here.) It also doesn't have the two channels of EQ, the two slot 500 series spaces, or the compressors...but otherwise, they're pretty darn close to identical in terms of layout and functions, since they both sport 8 stereo channels (16 summing inputs), and four preamps which can be used as mono line inputs. All assignable. With transformers at every stage, and dual transformers in the preamp / mono line input design.

I'm pretty sure you could compensate for most of their differences with the $10,000 dollars you would save by comparison. You could even get a 10 Slot 500 series if you wanted to show off.
Old 29th November 2013
  #87
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
I was recently thinking about THE BOX again...and I remembered that Great River has the Mixmaster 20. Which is only $7,000 RETAIL.

GREAT RIVER MIXMASTER 20
I was checking that out. Great River has probably the best reputation for sound quality of any manufacturer. I have NEVER heard someone say "eh the Great River ______ didn't work for my ______ sound."

That said, it doesn't satisfy the "eye candy" requirement that the API or SSL do. I'm sure the Mixmaster 20 sounds better than both of them though.

Great River reminds me of JL Audio, in that it's the best in class, but no one wants to admit it because it's a mainstream manufacturer and hasn't changed much over the years.
Old 29th November 2013
  #88
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psykostx View Post
I was checking that out. Great River has probably the best reputation for sound quality of any manufacturer. I have NEVER heard someone say "eh the Great River ______ didn't work for my ______ sound."

That said, it doesn't satisfy the "eye candy" requirement that the API or SSL do. I'm sure the Mixmaster 20 sounds better than both of them though.

Great River reminds me of JL Audio, in that it's the best in class, but no one wants to admit it because it's a mainstream manufacturer and hasn't changed much over the years.
I would bet money that most anyone would pick the Great River after shooting it out with THE BOX and the SSL mentioned above in a blind test. I totally concur with your sentiment...but people love their brand names. This is why Americans drink Budweiser and Miller. Even though they're ****e as my friends from the U.K. would say.
Old 29th November 2013
  #89
QRS
Gear Maniac
 

once more here is a lot of talk but who really worked/mixed with this thing ?
Old 29th November 2013
  #90
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by QRS View Post
once more here is a lot of talk but who really worked/mixed with this thing ?
  • I've worked and mixed with lots of API and Great River outboard products over the years, as well as used many API style clones recently.
  • I have a pretty reasonable expectation of headroom specs on THE BOX's master bus from reading the manual three times over in full. When I finally sat down the other day with the Mixmaster 20 tech sheet I was not disappointed by comparison.
  • I have heard mixes done on the Mixmaster 20 and they were freakin' great sounding!
  • I own a console with more headroom on tap than THE BOX which is not unrelated to the vintage API 1604. (Yamaha PM2000.) "inspired" by that design is not far from a good description. So I've recently learned more about API than anyone would maybe even want to in terms of a historical perspective.
  • The Mixmaster and THE BOX both are pro in construction and feature set. But they're also incredibly close by way of signal flow layout and routing, in my opinion there really isn't enough in terms of extras on the API to justify an additional $10,000 on the price-tag retail. (Beyond the fact that they're a bigger brand than Great River who need to subsidize more by way of advertising on top of the other actual mechanical extras.)
  • Great River builds everything to military spec essentially, and also has the finest in customer service around, so they're up there with API in terms of looking out for their customers for sure. (API has always been good with this too.)
  • I've mixed on API consoles and love them, but it's not unreasonable for me look closely at what's under the hood of both of these "cars" considering how much time I've invested in getting to know the histories and products of both companies.

Do you have anything by way of an actual observation to add?
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