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Has anyone ever done a comparison between API's two preamp modules, the 212 and 512? And we might as well throw in Brent's version of the 312. I like the idea of a simple, straightforward preamp like the 212, without extras like multiple I/O, etc., and its also a couple of hundred cheaper than the 512. The big downside is that it doesn't fit in my 500 series rack empty slots. Brent's 312 seems like a good compromise in that it costs around the same as the 212 but fits in the 500 series racks. I don't know of anyplace that will set up all three for me to listen to (including a comfy chair and a few beers), but I'm gonna guess that they are all capable of sounding great with the right mic and certain sound sources. So how does somebody make the right choice among these three?


Guest Thu, 05/17/2001 - 03:58

Originally posted by hollywood_steve:
So how does somebody make the right choice among these three?

There are a couple of is "One potato, two potato, three potato, four...", another is "Eenie meenie miney moe, catch a tiger by the toe..."

You really can't go wrong with any of them. The 312 and the 512 sound a bit different, but neither of them sound bad. They actually complement each other rather nicely.

The 200 series stuff is rather convenient as it's smaller, so it takes up less rack space...but if you already have a 500 series frame, then I'd advise to get a couple of one, then a couple of the other. The order isn't really all that important which you get first and which you get later.

As always, YMMV

anonymous Fri, 05/18/2001 - 05:07

Hello Fletcher and the rest of us,

I have also been thinking about adding some API mic pres to my rig. I already have two channels of Neve 1089, V72, Tube Tech, and a Focusrite Red 1. Naturally, I'm looking for the API to be a role player at this point, and not an all around piece.

Now come the adjectives.

My current mental image of API (and what I want) is tight, kinda Neve like in its punchiness, but less "round" than a Neve, and different bite on the top (Neve more gritty marbles, API a little tighter and pointy?). I think of Steely Dan's Gaucho (which I have no idea what consloe was used) as sounding "API" like to me. I think of Stewart Copeland's drum sound or the sound of a Fender Twin. Tight, spanky, detailed, with tight bottom and plenty of open top, without too much airy sheen or a big warm bump in the lows.

I'm guessing that I'll want to use the APIs for spanky drum mics. If I use them on the kick, I'll want the bottom to get through, but not be as hyped like it might be through the Neve.

In this light, IF you can decode my random references into a catagory of sounds, which API am I likely to want? 512c, Averill 312, or 3124+? I know the 3124+ has 4 channels but if its the sound I want, I'm ok with it.

I suspect that some of them sound more bottom heavy in order to be more generally useful as a pre for everything, and that another may have the sound I'm looking for.

Any enlightenment to which model is more likely to be the one I want? Of course I will listen first, but if I can't do it side by side (likely with the Averill!), I might be happy checking out the most likely candidate, and buying it IF I like the sound, without having heard the others.

Also, does the 3124+ sound just like the 512C? If so, I can take it off my list.

alphajerk Fri, 05/18/2001 - 06:13

if i were to describe my 3124+, it would be the opposite of what your mental image is. warm, round, smooth and fat. kinda like butta. certainly not like the neve [at least what i have used] im looking for some neve pre's myself, i like neve on drums more than the api, but i like the api's on guitar a LOT. the crane song are my favorite pre i have come across. your mental image of what you think an api sounds like sounds like you are describing my flamingo. i find the api's too "soft" for the kick and snare and usually use my flamingo now with the overheads and room mics into the api to keep them from being overly harsh on the top end. of course i go to digital so the approach is different, i dont know what you are going to.

anonymous Fri, 05/18/2001 - 06:43

Thanks alpha!

What you say about the 3124+ doesn't surprise me. My untested guess is that the 3124+ and the 512C are similar, both modern full sounding devices, and the Averil 312 will be the tighter one.

For what its worth, when I describe the Neves as warm, I don't mean to imply that they lack top! To me warm just means having round bottom. The Neves certinly have a LOT of presence and character in the upper mids and top. I figure the APIs I want do too. The difference being one of personality, the Neves being throatier, and the APIs being tighter and edgier? Both having plenty of open top, and the API not missing bottom, but just not hyping it, sounding tighter. As tight as the Gaucho record, to as messy as a Stweart Copeland sound.

Interesting that you like the Neves on drums, and the APIs for guitars, since I find that my Neves LOVE electric guitars, and the primary role for the APIs in my case will be to give the drums punch without making them too similar to the guitars. I figure rock vocals, percussion, pick bass, that kind of thing for the APIs.

I'd love to hear more opinions! Especially on the similarity between the 512C and the 3124+.

alphajerk Fri, 05/18/2001 - 06:52

i cant remember my opinion on the 512 when i used it last, i will have to dig out a recording to remember. i wasnt complaining though and enjoyed that session.

the 3124+ is a dark sounding pre TME. i dont know how they sound compared to a 212. not much top end "air", the bottom is nice though.

i like the neve on guitar as well, i like neve in general. an api is a good compliment to the neve, dont sound the same but deal with sound quite nicely, never flabby. yeah, i hear what you are saying about the more round bottom.