anybody using API preamps for non-rock music? - Gearspace.com
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anybody using API preamps for non-rock music?
Old 8th June 2003
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar
🎧 15 years
anybody using API preamps for non-rock music?

I still have several empty slots on a 500 series type lunchbox and I'm considering filling all four with mic preamp modules. Having a rack filled with API modules has been my dream since the first time I worked on an old 1604 console (a *long* time ago). There's just one problem, the basic guitar/bass/drums rock that sounds so good through API gear is now only a fraction of my overall recording work.

Does anybody out there regularly use API (or Brent's 312, or any of the OSA modules) for non-rock recording? If you are careful to keep the gain at sensible levels, can any of these various modules maintain a mostly clear (non-"warm") tone? I know it seems like I'm trying to use the wrong tool for the wrong job, but I really don't think that API intended for their preamps to be locked into such a limited role. So I'd like to hear from anyone who has used API (or API type) preamps on other types of music.


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Old 8th June 2003
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
🎧 15 years
We have 48 tracks of API mic pres packaged as two 24 channel buckets. One set up uses six 3124Ms ( mixer built in) and the other uses six custom 3124s.

I have used them on Rock, Jazz, Pop dates ,almost anything...

I wouldn't consider them for classical work or when you're looking for a transparent sound.
Old 10th June 2003
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I wouldn't consider them for classical work or when you're looking for a transparent sound

Ok, let's look at this two different ways:

1. of all the 500 series modules; API 512, Brent Averill 312, OSA MPA1a, 1b & 1c, and any others, are any more transparent than the others? Or , which variation is the "most versatile" in that it is useful in the most situations?

2. instead of API, what DO you guys choose when you want a transparent mic pre for use on location?


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Old 10th June 2003
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
I know some of my colleagues may think this is blasphemy, but I think that transparent preamps are not always what you want for classical recording. I also believe in color in the microphones at times as well.

My favorite classical preamp is actually the Vac Rac tube pres. They are natural and warm, but I wouldn't consider them neutral. When I was a student at the Eastman School of Music, one of our main recording rooms had a little Neve mixer that everything ran though... (unfortunately I wasn't a gearslut back then so I don't remember the model ) The recordings sounded amazing through that.

I routinely use tube mics when recording classical music as well... These have included Neumann 582s, UM57s, KM 264/254, Schoeps 221s, even AKG C61s (although they are too dirty for my taste most of the time). One of my favorite orchestra sounds I have ever gotten was with a pair of UM 57s in the center and 582 Omnis (with the gold capsules) on the flanks. Wow... a gorgeous sound. With the 57s, you need to balance the flanks with something that has a more full frequency response as the top end on them is pretty minimal... Made for a huge center core to the sound with a great "sheen" from the omnis.

To me, there is a certain amount of excitement that you get when you add color at certain times in a recording whether it is classical, jazz, or rock. With classical and jazz, often you are working in less than perfect locations... A little color can really help the sound of a recording. There are also times that I like a more transparent sound, but I don't hold myself to any set "rules."

Since you are wondering about transparent, I have a set of the Boulder Twin-Servo preamps that I adore. The closest thing to that would be the Hardy Twin servo preamps. I like them because they are not completely transparent. Natural, fast, clean, etc... but they have a touch of something extra in there that I really like. I also regularly use Millennia preamps and some of the Grace preamps. They are completely straight-wire with gain in their sound. I think I prefer the Grace, but it is close...

Old 12th June 2003
7rojo7's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I remember using the eq's with the in button pressed without using any eq to "straighten up" signals that seemed a little crooked. I think they're pretty darn clean as long as you don't push them too hard, but they have head room so you would have to do this intentionally and they sound nice for some things when you push them, they don't fizz out or spit all of a sudden. My old boss endorses OSA, they make a couple of models. Try to get a couple and listen, then let us know what you think.
Old 15th June 2003
Lives for gear
Meriphew's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I use API pre's for electronic music and they work well in most cases.
Old 22nd June 2003
Here for the gear
jmtayloraudio's Avatar
🎧 15 years

Just attended a Recording Academy mic preamp shot out here in Tampa with Eric Shilling, and Jim and Tom Morris. AB'd quit a few pres on a variety of mic situations. First test was a kick drum mic'd with a Nueman M147 about 18' out. API 512 and Brent Averil 312 produced a noticably colored sound as compared to Millenia, Great River, True, Vintech 1073 and 1072s, and Crane. Not a big suprise but it immediatly biased everyones judgment against the APIs. I thought the Great river, Millenia and the Crane were undoubtedly the fastest, most transparent of the bunch, but I could get a less coloured sound from the API with a pad before the input. The Vintechs sounded great with just a little color. Perfect for a more modern rock track. I think I would go withe the Millenia when going for the most transparent sound, but alas all I have is two 512s and four 312's so I make them work on everything I do. I mostly do tracks for a big theme park. can you say medley. We do three or four genres in one tune pretty often.
Old 6th July 2003
Lives for gear
Plush's Avatar
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
We are liking the mic amps from DAV electronics in London. They are built by an ex Decca design engineer and are inexpensive. Very neutral and good features without any of the marketing

There are two models, the Broadhurst Gardens #1 (2 channel) and the BG#2 which is a 4 channel unit in a 1U rack mountable

For classical they are fantastic.

contact: www.davelectronics.com
Old 6th July 2003
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar
🎧 15 years
the Broadhurst Gardens #1 (2 channel) and the BG#2 which is a 4 channel unit in a 1U rack mountable enclosure.

Those units look very interesting, but the pricing has me confused:

350GBP for the 2ch and 960GBP for the 4ch? what else are you getting with the 4 banger?

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Old 7th July 2003
Jules's Avatar
I think a lot of folks like em on vocals....

Old 10th July 2003
Here for the gear
🎧 15 years

I say go for it! We recently installed an API Legacy, and I love it! I mix all kinds of music, and I have found the mic pre's to be arguably the best there is. Absolutely transparent.
all the best, jc
Old 21st July 2003
Gear Guru
Musiclab's Avatar
For me 9 out of 10 times I use my api 's for vocals. I've done a few session where I've used api 3124's for eveything. At least in the projects where I've done that, [primarily jazz] I thought they sounded great.
Originally posted by Jules
I think a lot of folks like em on vocals....

Old 21st July 2003
Registered User
Rick Sutton's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Just got back from a session that I used an API pre and it caught me by surprise how phenomenal it sounded. I have used them for many things, but they normally do drum duty for me. Today we were about half way into a bluegrass session and a mandolin was brought out. I grabbed what was easily available and put a Schoeps mic into an API 3124M+ and went into the control room to check it out....absolutely lovely...smooth, delicate and stood right up in a fairly cluttered mix and basically mixed itself. The player wasn't a real mandolin player (it was a borrowed instrument, gibson F copy) and his dynamics were a bit ragged so I put a touch of compression on it...I was feeling lucky, so decided to try something a little left field and put an Alan Smart on it, messed with the settings for a couple minutes and there it was: My new "Go To" mandolin set up. Later in the day the mandolin was passed to another person (the banjo player) things were running at a pretty good clip so I just adjusted the banjo setup for the new mandolin player and went to check it out in the control room. what had worked great on the banjo (KM56, 1073) was a bust with this mandolin/player combo. Could be the rec. chain, could be the new player. Dragged the Schoeps/API over to the new player and there was that great sound again.
Obviously the Schoeps mic was a huge part in the sound, but I gotta say that the API was part of the equation too. After the session I checked some old notes that I kept on recording a really great mandolin player about a year ago and found that the chain in those sessions had settled on an AKG C24 through the same API preamp.
I think that the API will be used a lot more for acoustic instruments at my studio from now on. Cheers, Rick
Old 26th July 2003
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Does anyone know which console the Eagles recorded their early albums on? Just thought it might have been an API.
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