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API 512b vs. 3124+ ... Do they sound the same? - Gearspace.com
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API 512b vs. 3124+ ... Do they sound the same?
Old 26th January 2013
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
API 512b vs. 3124+ ... Do they sound the same?

Hey all,
Thinking about doing some selling of gear, to buy new gear, obviously. My API 512b's are pretty much my no-brainer mic pres. Everything sounds great through them. I love a bunch of my other mic pres, but if I had to pick only one pre, I'd pick my 512's. So I was thinking I'd like to have 2 more channels of API, and thinking that economically it might make sense to sell the 512's, along with another piece or two of select gear, and get a 3124, for 4 channels total. I used a 3124+ for a few years and really liked it, but never did a side by side comparison with my 512's. Just curious - how similar are they sonically? I'd hate to sell the 512's and have the 3124, and then find that I'm not getting the same sound...

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Old 27th January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
madgansound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hotly contested debate over the years - already tons of info about this here on the board...
Old 27th January 2013
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Right, thanks, didn't search thoroughly enough before. Apologies for an unnecessary new thread...
Old 27th January 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I really don't know how API 512 b or c sound like, but i do know my classic api (CAPI) vp 25 sound awesome and save a lot if you could soldering the kit yourself. Classic Audio Products of Illinois, Jeff is a super great guy and his new VP 28 looking awesome. I'm going to buy it soon and i already own 2 vintech x73i and an A-Designs MP1.
Old 27th January 2013
  #5
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by innerbooty ➑️
Hey all,
Thinking about doing some selling of gear, to buy new gear, obviously. My API 512b's are pretty much my no-brainer mic pres. Everything sounds great through them. I love a bunch of my other mic pres, but if I had to pick only one pre, I'd pick my 512's. So I was thinking I'd like to have 2 more channels of API, and thinking that economically it might make sense to sell the 512's, along with another piece or two of select gear, and get a 3124, for 4 channels total. I used a 3124+ for a few years and really liked it, but never did a side by side comparison with my 512's. Just curious - how similar are they sonically? I'd hate to sell the 512's and have the 3124, and then find that I'm not getting the same sound...

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
With these 2 it comes down to version of opamps and transformers. If they have the same components they sound pretty much the same. Some older 3124s and I believe the 512b have the blue labeled 2520s from the early 90s, they sound slightly different than the newer units and not as good IMO. the newer ones are actually better.

The older 312 cards from the Melville or Huntington factories with the older transformers sound really good, better than newer ones. These are usually racked by 3rd parties. unless you buy a rack of them with Api chassis. The original 512s what are now nicknamed '512a' are really good and maybe worth an upgrade. Stay away from 512b and the 3124 from the same era. You know by the blue labeled op amps. They are a tad harsh, bit not necessarily bad.

Basically find out what versions of opamps and transformer are in the units and make up your mind what you like. There are differences essentially the newer units are tighter the older units are smoother. It's a preference. The older units from the 70s are cool but there are so many custom ones and different versions it hard to really classify them as one specific sound. Melcor opamps are a whole other conversation.
Old 27th January 2013
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks for the input. It's great to get additional feedback to what's already been posted. Bought one 512b in 1995, another around '97 or '98. Don't know about their guts, or how that date would qualify them. I do love 'em, so if I go to a newer 3124+ and it sounds better, that's fine with me.

I love what I hear / read about the CAPI stuff, especially the added feature of an Output knob. I am, unfortunately, not handy with a soldering iron. It's a shameful gap in my skillset as a small studio owner...
Old 27th January 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Tone Laborer's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
They're very similar. But i don't see the economics behind what you're doing.

There's "the same" as in once the mix is done, most people wouldn't hear any difference. In that case, they sound the same.

And there's "the same" as in 50 AEs in a studio listened soloed and some heard some differences. In that case, they sound different.
Old 27th January 2013
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
At the risk of boring everyone with too much detail, here's what I was thinking about...

I bought a high end single channel compressor last year to add to some other compression I have. Most expensive single channel of anything I've ever bought. It was a very extravagant purchase for me, somewhat impulsive. It sounds really great, but I've continued to have some reservations. It doesn't hands down blow me away, the way I would hope something in that range would. And the tonal flexibility isn't what I expected. I just recently got a Mohog Fet76, which is totally awesome, blew me away right out of the box, especially when you consider it's relative affordability. Love the two transformer option.

So, now I'm thinking that with the money I could get from selling the compressor and my two 512b's, I could get another Mohog and a used 3124+. Break even, have 2 channels of Mohog, and an additional two channels of API. My current 4-space lunchbox is full, so I'd have to buy a whole new lunchbox to add two more channels of 512. So I think the 3124 makes more sense.

Only problem being that once I sell the 512's, I'll have two empty channels of lunchbox staring at me every day, begging to be filled up...
Old 27th January 2013
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Ryan Gregory's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by innerbooty ➑️
At the risk of boring everyone with too much detail, here's what I was thinking about...

I bought a high end single channel compressor last year to add to some other compression I have. Most expensive single channel of anything I've ever bought. It was a very extravagant purchase for me, somewhat impulsive. It sounds really great, but I've continued to have some reservations. It doesn't hands down blow me away, the way I would hope something in that range would. And the tonal flexibility isn't what I expected. I just recently got a Mohog Fet76, which is totally awesome, blew me away right out of the box, especially when you consider it's relative affordability. Love the two transformer option.

So, now I'm thinking that with the money I could get from selling the compressor and my two 512b's, I could get another Mohog and a used 3124+. Break even, have 2 channels of Mohog, and an additional two channels of API. My current 4-space lunchbox is full, so I'd have to buy a whole new lunchbox to add two more channels of 512. So I think the 3124 makes more sense.

Only problem being that once I sell the 512's, I'll have two empty channels of lunchbox staring at me every day, begging to be filled up...
That makes sense. If you don't mind me asking, what compressor was it?
Old 31st January 2013
  #10
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I always liked time the 512 better, but
Like one said, they are endless threads about this subject, same goes for the Pacifica and P1, in that race the Pacifica is better pad in.
Old 14th June 2013 | Show parent
  #11
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone ➑️
I always liked time the 512 better, but
Like one said, they are endless threads about this subject, same goes for the Pacifica and P1, in that race the Pacifica is better pad in.
just get the lunchbox and be happy: )
the 512!
you know you want it: )


p.s.
real slutz know the P-1 sounds better.
Old 14th June 2013
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Here is my experience:

On a nearly daily basis, I use 512's, 3124's, and a 1608 console (not sure which variation this pre is?). They all sound a little different. But the difference is subtle enough that it has NEVER made me feel I should use one over another. If I had to sum up the differences:

512- most clear and open sounding. Not as much low mid- to mid punch as the other two. Maybe a little "hyped" sounding compared to the other two.
3124- darkest and most colored sounding. Maybe even a little "veiled" on the top end.
1608- very close to the 3124 but a little more open on top (not as much as the 512). The most "mid-punch" out of the three.

Again these are VERY subtle differences. You'd have to do some pretty serious listening to pick them out. I bet you would hear more difference in 3 different SM57's (or moving a mic a 1/2 inch) than what I'm talking about here.

-w
Old 14th June 2013
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I should also add that while I'm describing these differences in a "tonal" sense, there is also (maybe even more so) a difference in "speed" that is contributing to what I've heard:

512- fastest
3124- slowest
1608- in the middle

-w
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