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Holy Cow -- Classic API of IL (CAPI) VP28-DBL
Old 11th July 2012
  #1
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Holy Cow -- Classic API of IL (CAPI) VP28-DBL

I'd been aware of Jeff Steiger for a number of years. Mostly as that guy that is so obsessed that he cut his vintage API console in half to get it into his basement studio, then stripped it down to the cards and rebuilt it-?!?!!

More recently a few respected friends recommended his mic pres. After seeing pics, and wrapping my head around his design I got interested.

After auditioning a pair I ordered 4 of his gooyest, oozyest, glueyest, possible configuration-- the VP28-DBL.

Then I ordered 4 more-

Then after getting the picture of how this company operates -( Jeff offered to cut my console in half... :-). -- He's good, and more importantly to me: what he likes about API gear is what I like. Once we could discuss his various Op Amp options via reference to their gooeyness quotient -- I knew we were hearing eye to eye.

I also then ordered a pair of his new 10 space racks with an insanely well built and over engineered power supply.

I've been working with these preamps for a number of months now and I love them. They sound animated! You can get soooo many different tones out of them.

Ok, I can hear the responses already so I'll nip a few at the bud:

In comparison to the other API or API style mic pres, the VP28-DBLs are:

1. BAE 312 (Brent era): wider, warmer
2. BAE 312A: More 3D, not as pointy
3. API 512c: same as 2
4. 3124+: capable of the qualities I like in this Pre, but waaaay more versatile.
5. SH Gama: CAPI may not get as aggressive
6. SH Quad Gama: hard to beat this guy but, while different, Equally versatile.

AND.... With its HPF frequency and slope choices, Stepped pots and OUTPUT FADER! --- it's feature set are unmatched.

Applications? Lots, anything you want to sound warm and 3D. Even sounds good to run a mix through from time to time or on a stereo bus.

On drums-- Never heard a better Pre for kick, toms, and room. Maybe a 31105 (not to be confused with the relatively lame 33115).

Guitars? -- hell yeah! -- (unless you want your guitars to sound like The Fixx, in which case they would suck)

Conclusion:

Best Value in Microphone Preamp that EXISTS.

I'll try to attach a pic of them but I'm slammed - but I had to shot out props to by fellow Chicagoan Jeff -- damn dude, well done!

http://classicapi.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=22_117_55_169
Old 11th July 2012
  #2
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all this and no link????
Old 11th July 2012
  #3
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Musician's Avatar
Old 11th July 2012
  #4
what's up with constantly out of stock transformer ? Every time I check his website those are out of stock, is it just the mistake on website or they are only available with kits ?
Old 11th July 2012
  #5
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jsteiger's Avatar
Wow, thanks for all the kind words Doug! Glad you are happy with your choice to join the dark side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
what's up with constantly out of stock transformer ? Every time I check his website those are out of stock, is it just the mistake on website or they are only available with kits ?
No mistake, they go fast, very fast and now twice as fast since the VP28 requires two of them. I keep a wait/notify list on hand and send an email out as soon as stock arrives. Best thing to do is send me a note asking to be notified. BTW, I have 250pc due "mid July" so hopefully by the end of this week or beginning of next they'll be here.
Old 11th July 2012
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteiger View Post
Wow, thanks for all the kind words Doug! Glad you are happy with your choice to join the dark side.

No mistake, they go fast, very fast and now twice as fast since the VP28 requires two of them. I keep a wait/notify list on hand and send an email out as soon as stock arrives. Best thing to do is send me a note asking to be notified. BTW, I have 250pc due "mid July" so hopefully by the end of this week or beginning of next they'll be here.
Oh, thanks for info. I'm sure they go fast, as they seem like a best deal in preamp world for now
Old 11th July 2012
  #7
one man, ONE mic pre
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravity8058 View Post
Guitars? -- hell yeah! -- (unless you want your guitars to sound like The Fixx, in which case they would suck)
I wish I knew what that meant,
(he says, with trepidation...)

so if you have an API console you 'can't record The Fixx'?

good to know.
Old 12th July 2012
  #8
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lpkyer's Avatar
 

By curiosity, what opamps do you have in your VP28s ?
Old 12th July 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpkyer View Post
By curiosity, what opamps do you have in your VP28s ?
Sorry to step in but Doug has gar1731's in all positions of his VP28's.
Old 12th July 2012
  #10
TRA
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Doug...are you a Neve to API convert or just filling out the collection of amazingly cool **** that you have?
Old 12th July 2012
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman View Post
I wish I knew what that meant,
(he says, with trepidation...)

so if you have an API console you 'can't record The Fixx'?

good to know.

The Fixx were great! Loved all the New wave sound when it hit. Tears For Fears, Wang Chung, INXS, ABC, Howard Jones, Scritti Politti, YAZ, Sisters of Mercy, Dead or Alive, Talk Talk. A lot more creative dance music back then. And great sounds.
Old 12th July 2012
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman View Post
I wish I knew what that meant,
(he says, with trepidation...)
One of the few times I've laughed when reading forum posts of late.
---------------------
My VP28's are all 1731's too. Very happy so far.
Old 12th July 2012
  #13
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by wwittman View Post
I wish I knew what that meant,
(he says, with trepidation...)

so if you have an API console you 'can't record The Fixx'?
.
Hey William, I love the sound of those records. I suppose I think of (some of my favorite) mid-80s records as having that slightly glassy SSL Brown EQ thang going-

To my ear, if The Fixx gtr tone = Roland Jazz Chorus, then these VP28s = Brown Face Deluxe Reverb?

Enjoy your posts -
Old 12th July 2012
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
cowrange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteiger View Post
Sorry to step in but Doug has gar1731's in all positions of his VP28's.
Have you tried the red dots in the vp28? I've tried all three opamp options you offer in my vp26's and seem to prefer the red dots over the others. I wonder if that would carry over with the vp28's since there is more in the signal path.
Old 13th July 2012
  #15
one man, ONE mic pre
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravity8058 View Post
...
To my ear, if The Fixx gtr tone = Roland Jazz Chorus, then these VP28s = Brown Face Deluxe Reverb?

Enjoy your posts -
except Jamie is 2 Marshalls in stereo, after a chorus...
only demonstrating that assumptions are often wrong

I recorded Jamie either through Focusrite (in Montserrat), or APIs
Old 13th July 2012
  #16
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ARIEL's Avatar
I think after reading all these gooey posts on the VP28 as well as the looks of the unit I'll have to grab some of them !
Old 13th July 2012
  #17
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rocksure's Avatar
I've been reading this thread, and also the ones on the high end forum for a while. These Classic API products certainly have my interest. However, I haven't made the move to lunchbox stuff yet...everything I have is in the 19" rack style. I don't have lots of money to spend on gear these days. But I am interested to build a pair at some point. I wonder about trying to mount these in a 19" chassis?
Old 13th July 2012
  #18
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Hey Doug,
How are things at Gravity?

I just wanted to chime in here because my tech and I built 6 of the CAPI VP 26’s a little over a year ago and I agree that they are fantastic.

I have had these things next to a lot of highly regarded pre amps and the CAPI’s are as good as anything out there and are an amazing deal at the price.
I preferred the sound and flexibility of the VP 26’s to the API 3124 when using them side by side. the top end is smoother on the VP 26, but still open and clear.........

Jeff is very friendly and knowledgeable and it seems his only problem is that the tranny manufacturer cant make the things fast enough to satisfy the growing demand for his fabulous products.

The VP 28’s look very cool as well with the extra gain stage, but my only complaint is that the output fader is stepped. I like to ride the output fader on the VP 26’s during a performance from time to time (especially exceptionally dynamic singers) and I would not have that option with the VP 28.

Jeff, is there any chance for a VP28 with a continuously variable output fader?

Overall I think CAPI is currently the best bang for your buck discrete mic pre out there on the market.
Old 13th July 2012
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Question on the VP28

I currently have a VP26, a couple Missing Links and a real 312. I like being able to use the Missing Links with other pres. Wondering if it is worth it to pick up a VP28.

Is the VP28 all about biggness and muscle compared to a VP26 + ML? How would they do on acoustic guitars?
Old 13th July 2012
  #20
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cinealta's Avatar
 

Which is better, VP26 or VP28? Thanks.
Old 13th July 2012
  #21
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RoundBadge's Avatar
welcome to the club Doug.
my 28's/1084's do all the heavy lifting lately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta View Post
Which is better, VP26 or VP28? Thanks.
to my ears the 28's are thicker/bigger.
great stuff!
Old 3rd November 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
i recently picked up a vp28, wow, sweet preamp.

can't say i've heard a preamp growl like this does on guitar with a marshall amp. cannot wait to put it on snare!

to be honest growl is not a word i thought i could ever associate with a preamp.
Old 3rd November 2012
  #23
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Im so interested in these. Gotta be honest - I'm not terribly familiar with the API "sound" and was wondering, in case I don't like it or just or interest sake, here for people wanting to build the VP28 - with OP-Amp and transformer configuration whether you can get a tight low end, less pronounced mids and softened highs. I;m sure you could - the very beauty of DIY are the choices afforded to the builder. So any config tips?
Old 3rd November 2012
  #24
I'm building a CAPI 312 preamp kit right now. Yikes its 3:23am
Old 3rd November 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma View Post
Im so interested in these. Gotta be honest - I'm not terribly familiar with the API "sound" and was wondering, in case I don't like it or just or interest sake, here for people wanting to build the VP28 - with OP-Amp and transformer configuration whether you can get a tight low end, less pronounced mids and softened highs. I;m sure you could - the very beauty of DIY are the choices afforded to the builder. So any config tips?
well i'm no api expert here. i've had eisen 312 preamps and now the vp28. the eisens were sold to get the vp28's and neither myself or the other guys i do music with regret that.

if you want tight low end, less pronounced mids and soft highs and cleaner/smoother allround that's daking.

the vp28 has tight low end, forward mids and smooth highs but with a nice level of distortion/drive

comparing the 312 variant api clone with the vp28 i'd say the vp28 has more low end and more mid drive, it's fatter throughout. thicker and sweeter than what i've heard before. kinda of has a growl in the mids but retains a tight bottom end. the eisen didn't have the same bottom end or growl.

it really must be the extra circuits that do this as the front ends of both units were almost identical with the same transformers and opamps. but the vp28 has the rest of the channel strip built in. to be honest what i hear with the vp28 sounds like the albums i listen to that were recorded through api consoles.

my vp28 has the 2520 on the input and the 1731 on the output. that seemed to be the preferred setup by others so that's what was ordered.

don't get me wrong, i love the daking as well it's superb also. i love em both.

i haven't had a chance to try more configurations with the vp28 input output faders yet but seems the preamp has a very big range going from clean to slammed when you push the input ldnhard.

i can't imagine needing anything more than a rack of vp28's and dakings. i also can't imagine how someone wouldn't like the sound of the vp28. it really is that good.
Old 3rd November 2012
  #26
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Can vp28's be bought fully assembled? I can't seem to find them anywhere.
Old 3rd November 2012
  #27
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by radic View Post
Can vp28's be bought fully assembled? I can't seem to find them anywhere.
Check out Custom Analog Services • Classic API VP28 for fully assembled VP28s and other assembled Classic API gear.
Old 3rd November 2012
  #28
Lives for gear
i got mine from custom analogue services. it was more than perfect so no complaints at all.

the second one is under construction and coming from one of the guys on this forum i pm'd.
Old 3rd November 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
Versitile

Interesting read: many of the comments seem to relate to killer electric guitar tone.

I play a lot of acoustic(fingerstyle), check out youtube kcatthedog grasslands and have a universal audio apollo and la 610 mkii.

Could people comment on the versitility of this pre for vox and acoustic guitar and perhaps as a complement to the apollo pres. I understand apples to oranges the apollo has 4 quite neutral pres built to a lower price point , but the CAPI/api lineage would fit well with the UA DSP vibe ?

Thx!

Kcat
Old 3rd November 2012
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

I play fingerstyle acoustic and love the CAPI VP26 preamps for this. Nice tight bottom and they do a good job taming the spittiness of some modern mics, in my case the Mojave 100's. Can't comment on UA DSP.

My chain: mic > VP26 > CAPI VC528 > converters. Basically same chain as the single space VP28. Sometimes I throw in the CAPI LC53A eq in there. Love those Love Childs.
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