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API sound vs Apogee sound
Old 27th January 2008
  #1
API sound vs Apogee sound

this is not a better or worse thread...

here is the question. I had a Mini-me and a Trak2 for several years. the Mic pres had a very distinct sound that I became intimately familiar with.

I am considering getting an API A2D (as some of you may know from my other posts). I will be using the pres mostly on vocals and acoustic guitar.

I was wondering if anyone may have any thoughts about sonic differences between the two... clarity? character?

My experience from the Apogee was always that I felt things were very 'clean' and 'clear sounding'. While I relish the thought of a great pre that people rave about... I wonder if I will lose that sense of clean, clear and accurate.
Old 27th January 2008
  #2
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

I read all about the A2D .. and my perception was that people prefer other pre's for vocal/acoustic duties. So based on hype only and without the try before you buy option, I bought the pacifica and duet. Let's see what happens when they get here.
Old 27th January 2008
  #3
i thought it may be helpful to add that the vocal/musical styles i would be cutting on this are pop, alt-pop, and pop-country

(think Barenaked Ladies, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich)
Old 27th January 2008
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Stop worrying and buy the APIs. They sound great on everything. Converters are great too. Now start making music.
Old 27th January 2008
  #5
thanks for the slap ;-)

true enough and i whole-heartedly agree... i just found myself in a position to get new gear, so i wanted to make a good choice :-)
Old 27th January 2008
  #6
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Jimbo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyjimjim View Post
Stop worrying and buy the APIs...Now start making music.

Bull****! This is GearSlutz.

Russellwolf is in the "lust" phase of sluttism.

Let him savour every moment. We will take the ride with him and get our yah-yahs vicariously.

Bitch-slappin' doesn't happen until the "buyer's remorse" phase.

Old 27th January 2008
  #7
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blim's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by russellwolff View Post
I am considering getting an API A2D (as some of you may know from my other posts). I will be using the pres mostly on vocals and acoustic guitar.
I find myself confronted with the same decision. I need a high quality preamp and converters to record vocals and acoustic guitar.

If I had the money, I'd buy a Pacifica and then buy converters that would do justice to the Pacifica. In other words, I'd be spending close to $4,000. The A2D covers both those bases -- great-sounding preamp and converters -- at under $2,000. It's a great value.

The problem is that whenever I read a review or a post about the A2D (98 percent of which are positive), no one ever volunteers that it sounds great on vocals or acoustic guitar. They always talk about how great it sounds on overheads or snare or electric guitar or bass. If you ask them, "Does it sound good on acoustic guitar or vocals?", you get a kind of unenthusiastic, "Oh sure, it's an API, after all." It's weird that none of the reviewers who have written about it seem to want to bother testing it on a vocal or acoustic guitar. It's almost as though they test it only on things that everyone knows an API is exceptional on, and don't bother testing it on things that it's merely good at. Or maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Another thing I've picked up from this forum is that most of the posters here seem to be rock guys. And APIs are apparently great rock preamps -- they sound big, saturate nicely, they are more "in your face" than most other preamps. But that's not exactly what I want. I record very little rock. I want nice color and personality and warmth without the "in your face" thing. Can the A2D give me that? (I would love it if it could.)
Old 27th January 2008
  #8
Gear Addict
We just finished recording most an EP/demo using the A2D on a lot of the vocal and acoustic guitar tracks--just the pres, not the converters. I wasn't turning the knobs so I can't say for sure how many different flavors we could have coaxed out of it, but I found it bright, almost to the point of crispy, on the Ac. Guitar. At first I wasn't thrilled with the sound but it has really grown on me--lively, biting, oxygen-rich high end is my odd impressionistic way of hearing it. Kind of nordic. If that implies cold, yeah, maybe a little. Warm, smooth, and full bodied would not be my first descriptions.

On vocals, it was more than adequate--again providing real bite in the mix and tremendous high end definition compared to, say, the Mackies I am used to... and again, not exactly the smooth sound you might be looking for.

During the same time, I've been using an ADL 600 at home and also had one chance to do a very direct A/B with the A2D and a Great River on vocals--same room, same mic, same converters, same vocal part, different performance on a different night. I have to say I absolutely loved what the GR did to the vocals--I could live with the API every day and have no complaints; it is way beyond anything I've got, but the GR just seemed really...agreeable--smooth but not mushy or dirty. GR gets a pretty penny per channel, but I gotta say my one night with the ME-1NV has me thinking of schemes by which one could be made mine.

The ADL 600, btw, I also find to be wonderful sounding--exceptionally clean and large, definitely smooth. I'll be having to give it back soon, which is a shame.

Caveat: I am certaonly among the least experienced here reagrding high end pres, but that said, I think it actually lends a little credibility to my opinion. Value judgments aside, The difference between the Great River and the API is not subtle. It is strikingly not subtle. There's no voodoo or confirmation bias involved. I would have preferred to have preferred the A2D....
Old 27th January 2008
  #9
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blim's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpel View Post
We just finished recording most an EP/demo using the A2D on a lot of the vocal and acoustic guitar tracks--just the pres, not the converters. I wasn't turning the knobs so I can't say for sure how many different flavors we could have coaxed out of it, but I found it bright, almost to the point of crispy, on the Ac. Guitar. At first I wasn't thrilled with the sound but it has really grown on me--lively, biting, oxygen-rich high end is my odd impressionistic way of hearing it. Kind of nordic. If that implies cold, yeah, maybe a little. Warm, smooth, and full bodied would not be my first descriptions.

On vocals, it was more than adequate--again providing real bite in the mix and tremendous high end definition compared to, say, the Mackies I am used to... and again, not exactly the smooth sound you might be looking for.

During the same time, I've been using an ADL 600 at home and also had one chance to do a very direct A/B with the A2D and a Great River on vocals--same room, same mic, same converters, same vocal part, different performance on a different night. I have to say I absolutely loved what the GR did to the vocals--I could live with the API every day and have no complaints; it is way beyond anything I've got, but the GR just seemed really...agreeable--smooth but not mushy or dirty. GR gets a pretty penny per channel, but I gotta say my one night with the ME-1NV has me thinking of schemes by which one could be made mine.

The ADL 600, btw, I also find to be wonderful sounding--exceptionally clean and large, definitely smooth. I'll be having to give it back soon, which is a shame.

Caveat: I am certaonly among the least experienced here reagrding high end pres, but that said, I think it actually lends a little credibility to my opinion. Value judgments aside, The difference between the Great River and the API is not subtle. It is strikingly not subtle. There's no voodoo or confirmation bias involved. I would have preferred to have preferred the A2D....

Thanks a lot for the information. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but very descriptive and helpful.
Old 27th January 2008
  #10
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by blim View Post
Thanks a lot for the information. Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but very descriptive and helpful.
You and me both, man. I had all but settled on the A2D, and, frankly, I still haven't ruled it out, 'cause it is really good. It did fine on everything we tried it on, but I'd be lying if I said the GR and the ADL 600 didn't both have more "silk" in the sound and, like you vox and acoustic guitars are the real crux of my upgrade plan.

I guess the questions are: what else have you got? Are you looking for one go-to pre that's going to be used on most everything? And what are your realistic prospects for adding more flavors later? And of course: which upgrade--just pre? just converters? pres & converters? mics? room treatment, career change, and singing lessons? --is going to have the biggest qualitative impact on your recordings? These are all among the questions I have been asking myself as I figure out how to get max impact out of limited resources...
Old 27th January 2008
  #11
Gear Addict
dbl
Old 27th January 2008
  #12
blim,

thanks, you really nailed it for me.

that IS IN FACT the major issue right now.

i am admittedly a rock-pop guy, who likes vocals to cut through a mix... but, you are correct, no one seems to be commenting on that aspect of the product.

-russell
Old 27th January 2008
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpel View Post
dbl
hey magpel

so, i am indeed looking (for now) to have this be my one preamp in a convenient portable rack. and one converter (matched with same). LDC for vox, SDC for acoustic, dynamic on guitar amp, maybe a direct bass at times.

-r
Old 27th January 2008
  #14
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musicl's Avatar
 

Plenty of artists use the API 312 sound which the a2d essentially is..
Daniel Lanois, u2 achtung baby for one.. I think API has been badged though time with drums but by hell they make a really good front for vocals. Less 'mushy' mids than neve from my ears anyhow.

Interesting thread - any more to chime in?
Old 28th January 2008
  #15
found this fun thread...

what is the API sound?

wish it went on longer :-)
Old 28th January 2008
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Mary Chapin Carpenter. All the records that Bob Dawson at Bias Recording in VA recorded and mixed for her were, I believe, on an API cpnsole.
Bob records everything from folk music to big band stuff there, and is a great engineer. Most of the landmark recordings of the past fifty years were recorded and mixed on one console that had one type of mic pre. Why does it seem to be almost unfathomable now?? Why have we gotten to the point where we're automatically linking tools like mic pres to certain styles of music?
Just wonderin........
Old 28th January 2008
  #17
a good point.

i actually love her sound (and the records) and know some people who work with her.

i am also a big fan of that Freedy Johnston record mentioned... and the Suzanne Vega record

they all have a really clear vocal sound that i love...

so that oughta tell me something ;-)

oh, and if API was used on the acoustics... well they shine on those records too... mics of course play a huge role :-)
Old 28th January 2008
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
mslim's Avatar
 

Yeah I really like the sound of the Mary Chapin Carpenter recordings. Props to Bob Dawson and John Jennings. As far as I know, Bias is an all Api shop.
Old 28th January 2008
  #19
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
For me, the minime pres do a great job of capturing the sonic essence of the source without taking up too much real estate in the mix. That can work well often times.

The 512c have more color in the highs and a wider low end. They seem to have more headroom. On Acoustics--I 've found I can place closer to the sound hole with the apis and get a nicely balanced sound to offset the crisp highs of the apis. Both pres can produce very nice acoustic guitar recordings.

And vocals--who knows, too many differences to be absolute. I like apis on my voice, but I've had times where the minime really shined on vocals and sat perfectly in the track. The time to reach for a more transparent preamp is subjective, but sometimes they can contribute to a greater whole.

Overall the api's have quite a bit more "wow" factor but the apogee still finds it's way onto tracks here and there.
Old 28th January 2008
  #20
Just because it isn't often mentioned for vocal or acoustic guitar doesn't mean it won't do well. Give a listen and find out. I don't often hear API mentioned for piano, but I have to tell you that I have ended up using 512s on grand piano quite a lot the past couple years. I was a little suprised how much more natural and piano-like they sounded over other pres that I had expected to prefer. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't heard it myself, and several times in a row. Now I just go with it.
Old 28th January 2008
  #21
thanks for the input.

the more i read and the more i consider the Mary Chapin Carpenter recordings... the more I like...

now if my Dangerous D-box arrives in the mail this week... ;-)
Old 28th January 2008
  #22
good morning :-)

'just another manic monday' bump
Old 28th January 2008
  #23
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Lando Calrissian's Avatar
I just purchased an A2D about 2 weeks ago with the same concerns that you had. I was looking at 1 channel of Great River for $1100 versus two channels of API for $1700.

Even though I knew that the GR would probably serve me better on vocals, I wound up going with the A2D because of its value. The A/D conversion was the deciding factor for me. I also need to track my MPC in stereo, so getting 2 channels was a big factor as well. I like the fact that everything is contained in a single rack unit as well.

Now that I've been using it for the last couple of weeks, I can see how one may choose a more "Neve" sounding preamp for vocals. However, the API is no slouch either. You'll have no problems cutting through a mix. While I can't say that I'd call the API warm, it's most definitely clear and defined.

Bottom line, in terms of being "clean, clear, and accurate", the API is a no-brainer. It may actually be more clean, clear, and accurate than the Apogee. I'll be keeping mine.
Old 28th January 2008
  #24
hey marrvel

thanks for the report! :-)
Old 28th January 2008
  #25
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

I NEVER use the preamps that are in converters
Old 28th January 2008
  #26
with this product though, isn't it more like the CONVERTERS are with the PRES...

not the other way around...
Old 28th January 2008
  #27
Gear Addict
 
ZFire's Avatar
 

Somewhere on gearslutz is a thread that has clips of the A2D and the Great River on vocals within the context of full mixes. If you can find that thread it may help your decision.

I thought that the A2D really had a punchy sound that cut through the mix, whereas the richness of the GR didn't really compliment the full mix so well. It was only one example, but it made me think that the A2D would be more to my liking for pop/rock stuff, and the GR for solo instruments or more sparce arrangements where the richness could shine.
Old 28th January 2008
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZFire View Post
Somewhere on gearslutz is a thread that has clips of the A2D and the Great River on vocals within the context of full mixes. If you can find that thread it may help your decision.

I thought that the A2D really had a punchy sound that cut through the mix, whereas the richness of the GR didn't really compliment the full mix so well. It was only one example, but it made me think that the A2D would be more to my liking for pop/rock stuff, and the GR for solo instruments or more sparce arrangements where the richness could shine.
wow... if anyone finds that posting, please let me know, thanks!
Old 28th January 2008
  #29
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musicl's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
I NEVER use the preamps that are in converters
I made posts with links to detailed tests done - the converters are calibrated to work with the Pre and are an exact match of the analogue outs. Never say never dude!
Old 29th January 2008
  #30
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Marrvel View Post
Now that I've been using it for the last couple of weeks, I can see how one may choose a more "Neve" sounding preamp for vocals. However, the API is no slouch either. You'll have no problems cutting through a mix. While I can't say that I'd call the API warm, it's most definitely clear and defined.

Bottom line, in terms of being "clean, clear, and accurate", the API is a no-brainer. It may actually be more clean, clear, and accurate than the Apogee. I'll be keeping mine.
This is exactly my impression of the A2D, which, again, I don;t own, but have tracked a whole bunch of overdubs with in the last 2 months.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm slamming it when I use the very same adjectives The Marvel used: clear, defined, cutting. That's hardly my intention! It's a very striking and very distinctive sounding pre.
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