Much like our article on the Culture Vulture, the API 500VPR is not being featured because it’s new out – it’s a modern classic bit of kit, and its uses continue to grow. API originally designed the 3U “lunchbox” to accept their 5.25″ X 1.5″ units, allowing for modular combinations of API pre-amp, EQ, and compressor designs. Over the last few years, many other companies have released compatible modules – meaning that the API lunchbox can now provide the budget studio with any number of high-end gadgets.
The API 500VPR is powered externally by a tri-polar power supply, and is internally wired to accept 10 modular units. API proprietary units include the 512c Mic Pre, 525 Compressor, 527 Compressor/Limiter, 550A Discrete 3 Band EQ, 550A SW Saul Walker EQ, 550b 4 Band EQ, and 560 Graphic EQ, but third party companies have added to this functionality with headphone amplifiers, summing modules, and buss processors.
All lunchbox modules provide easy installation and uninstallation – meaning that with just one 500VPR and a collection of modules, it’s possible to create the perfect channel strip, dynamic/EQ processor, or modular mixer for any given session. Obviously, the rack spaces you would need to provide this much choice would be incredibly unwieldy – not to mention expensive. For those wondering which outboard gear to look to first, it would be difficult to go wrong with a 500 and any number of modules from API, Avedis Audio, BoZo, Buzz, Danfield, Elysia, Empirical Labs, JDK Audio, Mooktronics, Purple Audio, or countless others.
It’s just a shame nobody’s included a 5.25″ X 1.5″ lava lamp yet.