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Tonelux console vs. Vintage API console...Who's dealing the MoJo?
Old 7th February 2007
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jsteiger's Avatar
Tonelux console vs. Vintage API console...Who's dealing the MoJo?

Hello all,
First off, this is a thread about consoles. Not summing boxes.

I have doing my homework on a new console. I have been patiently waiting for the API reissue 1608 console to materialize. I’m currently using the 7800/8200 API rack mixers with outboard eq including a 500 series rack. Mostly working on rock with a bit of “modern” country here and there. It’s a “low key” private studio situation.

I have a small question in the back of my mind that the “new” API may not have quite the same “magic” as the old. New 2520’s, more modern trany’s..yada, yada. It’s yet to be seen I know. I have thought about keeping an eye out for an old 2488 or 3288 to come up for sale. Seems to be few and far between these days though. Everyone always talks of the “mojo” you get from these old desks. Even Paul Wolff says so:
Originally Posted by ToneLux View Post
… In my studio in DC, I had the original Sunset Sound Studio One console that did the Janis records, Doors, Van Halen 1, etc, and everything you plugged into it came out sounding like a record...
Which brings me to the Tonelux product.
The Tonelux system is very attractive to me. It could suit my purpose very well. Small and modular…build as you go is very cool. Plus it is available now. I’m pretty sure it’s a balanced bussing scheme with 16 busses per Vrack. I’m looking for 8 sends, 8 busses and 32 main channels with faders (like an API 2x1608) and probably auto too. I don’t think you can have 8 discrete sends per input but can figure 8 total summing sends in groups of 4 per input. That would work for me.

I've seen threads/posts comparing the sound of the 7800/8200 system to vintage API's. I think Roundbadge has done this.

My, the question is…Has anyone directly compared the sonics of a Tonelux console to a vintage API? I know the Tonelux was never meant to be a clone. I guess I’m wondering if it has a “mojo” or “sounds like a record” sort of vibe to it similar the vintage API’s. I don’t mean just pre’s or eq’s only. I mean Tonelux console compared to API console.

I’ve been through the Tascam, Soundcrap, CAD Maxcon 2, BCM10 and homemade Neve jukebox/passive/1272 days. My goal for many, many years was to obtain a beautiful API desk and be buried with it when I die. Is Tonelux a possible “sonic” rival???

I appreciate anyone’s input and opinions.

Thanks, Jeff
Old 7th February 2007
Lives for gear
Mike O's Avatar

I don't know if you are going to find many folks (if any) that actually have a TX console that is built up to the level of a 2488. But folks like Ryan and maybe (Roundbage?) can probably give you some perspective.

You noted you were looking for eight sends AND eight busses. How many returns? You can probably do ALMOST anythng with combinations of TX modules. But in working with TX and VK I got to a point where it did not seem to me to be practical to implement more than 4 sends and corresponding returns. The 8 buss modules (TX-8, etc.) of course are in addition to the 4 sends on the MX2s so maybe that give you the functionality you are looking for?

As far as compare/contrast to API soundwise I thought they 'compared', but don't generally find it useful to describe sound. You need to hear TX. The bigger set up you could find with lots of audio, eq, faders, etc. is of course what you need to hear. Paul may well be able to hook you up.

But I did have a small rack of TX stuff for evaluation and thought the TX sounded truly wonderful. Camparison is very difficult - even from a sound standpoint as (for example) the TX EQs are quite different than anything API. But you could easily integrate the API eq with the TX (or anything else for that matter). See the Jimmy Messina console on the TX site.

You mention the API 2488 etc. They were very high on my list as well. I think there are a couple out there for sale, at least there was a month ago when I was looking. But maintenance and modifications make them difficult to evaluate absent physically going to each one around the country. I finally gave up on the idea.

I also gave up on API. Hopefully they will come through with something useful

Good luck in your search; I am sure some of the high profile guys will show up soon. If you can, find a big TX system and go listen to it.
Old 7th February 2007
Lives for gear

When you put together a whole tonelux console that is close to the features that 2488 has, then you realize the tonelux will cost the same or maybe more. Of course, it will be new. The old API's have lots of goo going on that you have to scoop out. The complement of eq's in the old boards should make a difference in the price. Get as many 550A's as possible.

Good luck
Old 4th September 2007
Gear Nut
wirerecording's Avatar
I have listened to the tonelux eq's and some line ins summed thru their 2 mix bus (can't recall all the module numbers) but haven't heard the pre's myself. What little I have heard sounds fantastic in a sonic purity sort of way. Very large and open, but not intensely colored. A wonderful signal path with very little smearing, deepening, or other tone altering "color".
Now for vintage API's (I worked on 3288 for 15 yrs. and have owned and worked on a 3232 for the last 7 years) their pre/eq/summing amps all contribute character, but without big picture maintenance, they may not sound as good as a far cheaper console( i don't have the time or room to cover all the restore/upgrades) . Unless you have long term access to quality techs and are willing to commit money over an extended period of time, a big API may not be a good idea. The sound of an old API in good shape is absolutely "magic" , tight low end, punch and "smack" in the mids, air on top, and that weird "sheen" when driving the summing amps hard are all sounds most folks are familiar with from countless of their favorite records. By virtue of our shared aural experience, we tend to like what is familiar. "Color" is really just imperfect circuits that we have learned to like.
That being said tone lux may well be the "sound" we learn to like in the future.

Don't think this helps much, but I like old API's and Tonelux, so either way you can make great sounding records (unlike me)

Old 29th December 2009
Here for the gear

548c Modules API 3232 console

I recently came across two 548c modules for what im told an API 3232 console and am looking to sell them. i have photos that i can send. i am unsure of there working condition. The old tech at our studio had written distorted -Pan control always on, on one of them, the other has nothing written on it. please let me know if anyone is interested. i will be putting them on ebay with a long list time because i doubt there are many people actively looking for them. buy it now will probably be 650 a piece.
Old 29th December 2009
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jsteiger's Avatar
Thanks for the input.

Just to clarify, this thread is almost 3 years old now and I have been lucky enough to end up with an API 3232 desk.
Old 19th October 2010
Here for the gear

...and if I may pile on 3 and a half yrs later: I just installed a large(-ish) Tonelux desk and am way pleased. I have 26 inputs plus 4 stereo aux returns and a handfull of bus modules. It sounds really great. No eqs yet but those will come when I can afford it.

Old 19th October 2010
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar


Dont be shy lets see some pics of your baby!hehhehheh

Old 20th October 2010
Lives for gear
jsteiger's Avatar
Originally Posted by Wiggy Neve Slut View Post

Dont be shy lets see some pics of your baby!hehhehheh

Hey Wiggy,

I have some of the most recent pics on a thread or 2 here and there. They are from a little while ago. She is in partial disarray as I am slowly doing some upgrades and rebuild work. Actually, if you guys saw any pics of her right now, you would probably send over a lynch mob to get my ass. tutt I have some web-store stuff on top...kinda using it as a "desk" but not the right kind. Not that I am much of a shoe-maker, but the shoe-maker's kids saying comes into play a little.

Cheers, Jeff
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