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500 series preamps are a pretty popular item for discussion around here. I thought I would start a thread on the racks that hold these units. I'm going to give it a go as a first shot and as new or better information comes in I will edit this first post to try and make a pretty comprehensive list of options.

At this point the list will use prices from Vintage King. They have the biggest selection I've found, and it's not my point to find the best price on any particular unit. I've only included units with phantom power and I've only included units with four or more slots. If someone else want to do a comparison of two slot units, be my guest.

I should give some sort of spec on power, but it's not clear to me what the relevant spec is. Any suggestions would be welcome.

So here goes-

API 500-6B Lunchbox, 6 slots, Price = $424.00, Price per slot $70.67, Internal power supply

API 500VPR, 10 slots, Price - $808.00, Price per slot $80.80, External power supply.

Purple Sweet Ten, 10 slots, Price = $800.00, Price per slot $80.00 Internal PSU

BAE 11 Module w/ PSU 48V, 11 slots, Price - $950.00, Price per slot $86.36, External PSU

BAE 6, 6 slots, Price = $550.00, Price per slot $91.67, External PSU

Radial Workhorse, 8 slots, Price = $1,399.00, Price per slot $174.88, Internal? PSU

SPL RackPack API/SPL, 8 slots (4 API/4SPL), Price = $1,145.00, Price per slot $143.13

Tonelux V4, 4 slots, Price = $499.00, Price per slot $124.75, Internal PSU

Again, I'm not familiar with most of these units and I have not looked at manuals, etc. So please correct any errors and I will update this first post. A lot of the units (e.g. the Radial) have extra features so this is not an apples to apples comparison. Hopefully it will be helpful nevertheless.


Profile picture for user BobRogers

BobRogers Fri, 04/29/2011 - 15:49

Groff -

I don't see complete racks on their web site. Am I missing something? They do have power supplies and other parts, and one of the things I'd like to generate in this thread is a discussion about which racks have good/bad power supplies and how to fix them. One of the things I've heard mentioned (I have no experience with this) is that the API racks have low power and don't work well with some other 500 series units. I don't like spreading rumors about things that are not my personal knowledge. But I read this one the internet (so it HAS to be true!). More posts by people with first-hand knowledge would be most welcome.

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Davedog Fri, 04/29/2011 - 16:52

Please spend a moment and add The Radial Workhorse to the list. They spent a load on this design and the flexibility and the ruggedness of it plus ALL the features AND a very robust power supply so theres no 'sag' when you have it loaded up fully. And it has a mixer....D-Subs connections.....really the BEST rack I have ever seen.

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BobRogers Sat, 04/30/2011 - 04:05

I had the Radial on there, but it was sort of hidden. I've edited the list to make it a bit easier to read. I've been confused by the Radial since it came out. Looks like great build quality, but what is the application for the mixer? Remote recording? In the studio it seems like an extra feature that adds cost and takes up space. For that matter, what's the concept behind the "lunchbox"? Is there a bigger mobile market that I'm not seeing?

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BobRogers Sat, 04/30/2011 - 05:51

Davedog, post: 369992 wrote: ...The pertinent power rating would be the amount of current that can be supplied to a full rack as well as the constant voltage with no drop.

Here's what I've found so far.

API specifies 215mA per slot on the Lunchbox. I can't find a similar spec for the 500VR on their web site, and I can't find a spec for total current at full load.

Purple (which goes on a lot about their use of a switching PSU instead of a linear PSU) specifies 130mA and says "Capable of putting out the 500 module current spec 1.3A from 90VAC to 240VAC 50/60hz" about output at full load.

Radial says, "Powering concerns are addressed with a unique 'pooled' supply that shares 1200 milliamps of current between the available 8 slots. This allows high current demand modules to exceed the usual limitations of other 500 series racks without the worry of brown outs."

BAE didn't have any info that I could find on it's web site.

SPL offers this: "The 100 VA transformer is generously proportioned to ensure plenty of power in any situation and proper current for the various circuits."

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Davedog Sat, 04/30/2011 - 09:03

Mobile market= Yes.....Also the aspect of ganging the modules in any combination and having the output already assigned to the mixer....much like a channel strip with multiple functions. The D-Subs is a great feature if you have that type of snake for your patch bays or as an already assigned in/out to a PT rig. Makes for less mess and if you have an AD/DA interface for, say, a live rig with a laptop its simply brilliant. They have them @ my local pro gear store and they are built like tanks.