API an Article by Bob (funboyuno) Green and Stephen JylzThe API 512c preamp, and the API 560 EQ.Date 7/02/2017Cue the fanfare and ballyhoo the lights!IhavebeentoldIneedto(andfinallyhave) gotten hold of an API 512c preamp, an API 560 EQ,andthenewestgenerationoftheAPI 8 space lunchbox. You hear for years about the quality of build and the sound. Well, they're not lying.I have been around good-to-great gear for years, but never used an API, as I do, now.The build is clean and detailed. The sound is a "voice for the ages" that has smacked you-in-the-face on multiple albums, CDs, and audio streams. I seriously doubt that you will find many studios that don't have at least one API product in the rack.At first blush - the beautiful styling of all API gear is the epitome of understated elegance. No flashy colors, nothing screaming for your attention on the page or on the shelf. The units say, to me that I am here to work - let's get busy. The fully discrete 512c uses the renowned API 2520 opamp and has a frequency range from 30hz to 20khz. Physically, the 512c starts with a gain knob and a 7 segment LED VU on the output section on top. It is followed by push buttons for Polarity, 48V phantom power, -20dB PAD, and Mic in/out. To the right of each button is a colored LED indicating the status of each button. At the bottom are the HI-Z IN (50dB of gain) and MIC IN (65dB of gain) jacks. The consensus I have received is that the sound is "punchy," "mid-forward" and"bright". The 560 is the 10 band graphic EQ which gives you +/- 12 dB on frequencies from 16khz down to 31hz in octave increments with white sliders except for the one red one in the middle at 1khz. At the bottom is the in/out bypass button and red status LED. The EQ is very forgiving as the curve gets bigger as you increment/decrement each slider from 0, overlapping the frequencies on each side. There are very musical EQ points and which are easy to dial in (or slide in as it were) a sound. Agreed.The API 8P lunchbox is what it is, a carrying case for the 500 series modules providing stable and dependable +16V and -16V, and 48V for phantom power to the components requiring it. A separate power supply plugs into the back with a very secure connection. There are DB25 connectors on the back, as well as balanced input and output. A nice feature is they use small switches on each channel which will allow cascading of each module (if needed) into the neighboring one - and the next one - and the next one, etc.The API 8P lunchbox is very good looking and mounting the modules is usually easy (except the heavier ones, as they tend to drop in the rear and make it difficult to keep them straight to slide into the slot towards the back). I say this as a caution because most module manufacturers don't want you to use the knobs or switches to add/remove modules. (Don’t do it)!You need to hold the piece at a proper attitude for installation or removal. And on this unit, with the switches on the back, you can't just flop it over and drop the modules straight down into the slots. This is not a knock on the hardware, I'm just cautioning you… other devices of this nature will give you a similar issue.Theappstore...I configured the setup with the 512c in slot one of the lunchbox followed by the 560 in slot two and the switch in the back set to cascade slot one into slot two.I started with guitar because that is what my research has showed me had the most immediate impact. The 512 by itself with no EQ was very even and bright but not harsh unless I made that change on my amp. I used a condenser mic and a dynamic mic and A/B'd them finding which I liked better. I liked the dynamic mic on the more rock stuff and the condenser on the jazzier and country guitar pieces. IMHO. Chunky rhythm guitar sounds were so easy to dial in with the 560 EQ. This is a hot pre! I had to pad it pretty much all the time but I love that. I went from shimmering single coil pickup chords to raging humbucking guitar solo sounds and the guitar was tight, bright and the sounds were right in the pocket of the 512c/560 combo.Bass guitar was a solid winner here… giving me a fat, tight bottom and crisp mids with the highs that rolled off a bit taming fret noise. It was very easy to put this in the mix and control the bottom end. Unfortunately, I didn't have drums to mic up and run through the setup, but I can imagine that I would love this on the snare. I was able to take some earlier recorded drum tracks and route them through the pre and the EQ. I really had some fun with this and it did make a remarkable difference in some mixes I had where the drums seemed a bit dark. This punched them up and put them a little more forward in the mix and maybe salvaged them. Noise floor issues, I had them, but I knew that going in and I have had to work with a lot worse.Vocals....hmmm....my voice can sound a lot like a woman's sometimes. I have a good range, but I can get screechy and harsh when i hit the higher notes. This is what I live with, so, knowing that, I make my adjustments on the 560 and smooth it out. It sounds great and the 560 really shines for me here. But, with any instrument, what you do with it really speaks through your equipment. The 512c puts a voice right on top of the mix with ease and gives you that instant credibility. I kept having to push my vocals further down in the mix - what a problem to have!In the end... I understand, now, about many of things that I had heard about and never had the opportunity to apply. There truly is an API sound, and it is good. The 500 series products are an incredible and affordable way to take a giant leap forward in your sound quality.For all the details and specs describing the API product line go to http://www.apiaudio.com and try not to drool on your keyboard or tablet or phone!