Simon Allen takes a look at the first small-footprint console from API, and finds that The Box stands its own against its bigger siblings.
The analogue and digital worlds are continually blending in new and exciting ways. With the increasing number of project studios, manufacturers are focused on providing affordable solutions, which deliver ‘that’ high-end analogue sound. The Box is API’s latest product design to cater for this growing market’s demands, so I put it to the test to find out how seriously this piece of kit can perform.
At first glance, API has taken great care in the build quality and design of the console. The finish is to a very high standard, especially when compared to other modern pro-audio products. It gives the feeling of a classic vintage piece of gear and really looks the part. The Box is essentially split into three sections: a four-channel input tracking section; a master control section; and a 16-track summing mixer. All this is provided on a very small footprint, which would fit into almost any compact studio.
The four-channel input section offers four high-quality mic/line/instrument preamps (the same as found on the 1608). Each channel has several vital functions such as +48V phantom power, input select, 50Hz high-pass filter, insert bypass, and a -20dB pad. There are also buttons for changing the processing order (compressor pre/post) and meter switches to determine whether the eight segment LED meters are pre or post fader, allowing you to meter your inputs and outputs. There is also a direct pre/post switch enabling you to bypass the fader as well as solo safe switches.
Other channel functions available on the input side include centre determined pan pots, with the API ‘program’ switch for easy monitoring without routing to your DAW. Best of all, however, channels one and two have API’s 550a three-band EQ units, and channels three and four have blank slots to allow you to spec any VPR approved 500 series units you like. The Box also offers four auxiliaries, two are mono while auxiliaries three and four work as a stereo aux, which can also be used to create your CUE mix.
Read the rest in our March digital edition.
Simon Allen is a full-time sound engineer and record producer. After a stint as senior engineer at City Studios in Cyprus where he headed up the new music studio, he can now mostly be found at Woodbury Studios in Hertfordshire.