Sunday, March 13, 2011

API Channel Strip and new Lunchbox rack unveiled Preamp, EQ and compressor in 1U

API have announced a new channel strip, called — logically enough — the API Channel Strip. A 1U rack, its signal-conditioning and processing facilities are divided into four sections: a mic preamp, an EQ, a compressor and a line driver.
The preamp is identical to that of API’s own 512C Lunchbox module, and this provides up to 65dB of gain, as well as phantom power, a -20dB pad, a polarity invert switch and a mic/instrument input selector (for use with the high-impedance jack input socket).

Next we have the compressor, which is based on another Lunchbox module: the 527. As well as the usual attack, release, threshold and ratio controls, this features soft/hard-knee switching, a Link button (for chaining two units and compressing stereo sources), a feed-back/feed-forward switch (for selecting between two different compressor topologies), and a pre/post-EQ switch, which determines the order of signal processing. There’s also a button labelled Thrust, which engages a high-pass filter in the control-voltage signal to help prevent loud, low-frequency sounds triggering the compressor. A 10-LED meter shows the amount of gain reduction being applied.
To the right of the compressor is the EQ section, identical to the 550A module. This offers independent control over three bands, each of which has a ±12dB range, and a choice of seven different frequencies. The high and low bands can be switched between peaking and shelving filter types, while a button labelled BP Filter engages a band-pass filter, which rejects frequencies below 50Hz and above 15kHz.
Finally, the line-driver section offers an output level control, and features a VU meter, which can be set to display either the line-driver’s output, or the output level immediately after the mic preamp.
The Channel Strip’s rear panel hosts a multitude of sockets, including both mic and line inputs, and an XLR line-level output. In addition to these are a number of jack sockets, which allow you to patch into and out of the Channel Strip at various points in its signal path. A Pre Out jack socket and lets you take a clean, unprocessed signal immediately after the preamp stage. There are also two insert points, both have which have separate, balanced jack sockets for sends and returns. A side-chain input for the compressor, and a Link socket for chaining two Channel Strips together, conclude the array of socketry.

The API Channel Strip is selling now, for £2400 including VAT.
In other API news, the company have recently revised the technical specifications of their very popular six-module Lunchbox rack. The 500 6B, as the revised rack is known, has a more powerful power-supply unit than the previous version, and can now supply 215mA per slot, allowing you to fill the rack with high-current-demand units without running the risk of some modules being undersupplied.
The power rails for each slot now also have their own individual, user-replaceable fuses, which eliminates the risk of one defective module damaging others in the rack. Additionally, the front panel of the new Lunchbox rack features LED indicators for each of the three supply voltages (+16V, -16V and +48V), so you can tell at a glance whether the PSU is behaving itself.
Finally, the 500 6B’s rear panel features two D-sub connectors for the eight inputs and outputs, in addition to the usual XLR sockets, should you want to connect all eight outputs to a recorder (for example). Two extra pairs of XLR sockets give you access to inputs and outputs 7 and 8, even when using the D-sub connectors.
Also available now, the API Lunchbox 500 6B carries the same price as its predecessor: just £420, including VAT.

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