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Api 512c

API Audio 512c

4.3 4.3 out of 5, based on 6 Reviews

One of the industry workhorses. The famous API sound in a convenient package.

13th December 2011

API Audio 512c by guitarz

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Api 512c

The API 512C is a module for the API lunchbox 500 format.
It has a gain knob, a seven segment LED VU meter for monitoring output levels, a 20 db pad, phase switch, 48V button and a DI, MIC selection.

If you want the famous API sound, just skip this review and go and buy one. You certanly wont regret it, this was my first foray into the 500 lunchbox modules and it has never left my lunchbox even when I had more modules then spaces.

Its my go to signal chain to record heavy guitars as they have a very distinct mids that make the guitars cut through the mix without sounding thin and loosing the weight.
Another area in that it excels is as a DI for recording Bass. It sounds so good that with some basses almost no EQ is needed for it to sit nicely in the mix.

My only complaint about this pre is that the output is really hot. To be able to run it with the gain I like to get some dirt an external pad between the pre and the converters is needed not to overrun the input of the AD convertor.
Just get a Shure A15AS pad and place it between the pre and convertors and its done.

Overall this is one of my prefered mic pres. The caracteristic API sound is wonderfull and stacks really well with the layering of multiple guitars needed for modern rock and metal productions.

I wouldnt think twice about buying it again.

26th February 2012

API Audio 512c by mahasandi

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Api 512c

This is a great pre.
At lower gain very fast and clean.At higher gain fast and punchy.
I have used and owned BAE312a which I preferred as well as the CAPI VP312
.My favorite is the VP312.
The highs on the 512c are very sharp and when I hear recordings with vintage 312's they seem more mid forward with less high end sizzle.
The 512c is a great tool and would gladly use it on certian things. But something is off for me compared to similar designs I have mentioned.

I think its the opamp the new 2520 does not sound like an older version.
I have two vintage 553 eq's which have that older rich api sound.I have also the VP312's which use Gar2520's which sound much more like the vintage opamps.
If you have a 512c I would try out the sl red dots or GAR 2520 opamps in them , I imagine they would change the character more towards what I like best about this type of pre.

From Morph Productions: API 512c Preamp Tips

The API 512c has a notorious hot output which makes you have to lower your pre level (there's no output level on this preamp). Unfortunately this means you can't drive the transformer in the pre as hard as you'd like. The work around for this is to get some sort of attenuator.

This is also a missing feature from the 512c.
For this kind of dough API should include this, These days they are not used in consoles as often as they are in 500 racks so attenuation is cool

26th February 2012

API Audio 512c by Blackdawg

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Api 512c

We have two of these mic pres in our studio and they are some of my favorite. They really tend to brighten up the sound of any mic you put them on. I usually use them on small diaphragm condenser microphones like NT5s, DPA4011, Little blondies, or others. Really makes cymbals POP for drum over heads! Piano, acoustic guitar you name it, really makes them pop.

I have also used one for vocals. Seems to work great with just an ATA4050, C414, or U87i on vocalists who seem to have a much lower heavy voice. This mic pre alone can help compensate for that. Just have to watch the Ssss and plosives.


500 serise modular.
HUGE bright crisp clear sound that even changes sm57s
Intergraded front mic input and line input
easy to use buttons
intergraded metter
Not overly pricey

Sometimes too much gain, very sensitive knob.
meter is a bit small..not the best useful meter..but will tell you the basics
Not that cheap..but what did you expect!


This is still one of my favorite go to mic pres. They the Cons are hardly cons really. API makes amazing stuff and i am VERY happy with them. Which i could afford a couple more!

A++ API!!

28th February 2012

API Audio 512c by theprophet5

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Api 512c

one of the most used pre in my studio and in studios all over the world

it's amazing on KICK, top snare, guitar cabinet with a ribbon microphone, rock voices with dynamic microphones......

its wonderful when push audio to saturation,
unfortunately don't have an output trim and overload my 192's line inputs,
i must insert faders between pre outs and line inputs to handle high output signal.

it's a must have in the studio.

23rd March 2012

API Audio 512c by robertshaw

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Api 512c

Sound Quality: Nothing better really. These are tight, punchy, focused and colorful.

Ease of use: I can operate it so it's very easy to use. I have an IQ of 65.

Features: All you ever need in a mic pre.

Bang for buck: Yeah, perhaps the best bang for the buck preamp made today.

2nd April 2012

API Audio 512c by Vegard

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Api 512c

The API 512c is a very well known preamp, and according to many API users it should sound very similar to the other preamps form API like the 3124 or the A2D. Like most of the other products from API the 512c use the famous 2520 Op-Amp.

It has 65db gain, phase switch, phantom power, 20db inputpad and hi-z and a micinput on the front!

As my first hi-end preamp i noticed a huge improvment in my recordings. The amazing and expensive sound made me realize i got exactly what i paied for! The headroom in it was also very impressive.

I got the chance to make a quick comparison between the Universal Audio Solo 610 and my 512C. I noticed that the 610 was very punchy in the low frequencys and a overall very nice sound, but the 512C had in my opinion a much better overall sound, and a much more controlled sound in the low freqs, without too much of boomy low frequencys the 610 had (that i noticed after listening to the 512) .

The low frequencys is not the only place the 512c is great. i thinj it has a very smooth and nice air frequencys that sounds expensive and a very aggresive sound to it that i feel works great on every source i have tried it on so far.

The led metering was very easy to read and accurate.

I think the 512c proviedes most of its character when it is driven hard. The output volume on the preamp is very high(maybe a little too high), and it went very easy above the headroom in my converters. I solved the problem by usin a pad between the output and the converter.

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