The API 512c is the flagship microphone preamp from one of the recording industry’s most respected manufacturers. Steeped in decades of history and lending its signature sonic imprint to thousands of major records, the company’s legacy is distilled into this modern adaptation of the beloved API console sound.

The 512c is a modular unit and part of API’s 500-series catalogue. API’s lineage of building modular equipment dates back to the company’s beginnings in the late ‘60s, when, rather than build their own consoles, they designed modular components for implementation into custom desks commissioned by others. To facilitate this, the now-ubiquitous 500 format was developed. Over the years, much of API’s gear has stuck to this format, which has now been opened to and adopted by dozens of third-party manufacturers.

The different preamps made by API throughout their history all share significant design elements and could be said to be variations on a theme. At the core of this design, and central to the recognisable API sound is the 2520 discrete op amp. The 512c is the product of a few developments such as use of newer transformers and some circuit updates that result in the 512c having higher headroom and a sound that is comparable yet slightly different to its predecessors.

The 512c is highly regarded for sounding great on just about anything. It’s super-fast transient response, wide bandwidth and flattering presentation of the midrange does wonders in particular to vocals, electric guitars and drums, though it really does handle anything that gets thrown at it. Like with most good preamps, pushing the input gain reveals the boldest character of the 512c, as its colouration becomes more exaggerated, delivering a pleasing crunch with more of a vintage feel.

Rear Connector:
Output on edge connector, MIC Input on edge connector,
can be defeated
Front Connectors:
XLR MIC Input, HI-Z 1/4" Unbal Input
Gain Range:
MIC: 34dB to 65dB (14dB to 45dB w/PAD). HI-Z: 14dB to 
45dB (-6dB to 25dB w/PAD)
Maximum Input Levels:
MIC, +8 dBu, Unbal HI-Z Input, +36 dBu
Input Impedance:
MIC Input, 1500 Ohms (150 Ohm mic), HI-Z Unbal Input,
400 K Ohms (20 K Ohms with pad)
Output Impedance:
Less than 75 Ohms, Transformer Balanced
Clipping Level:
+30 dBu
Frequency Response:
+0, -.3, 30 to 20 kHz
Noise:
Equivalent Input Noise: -129, Mic In. -125, Un-Balanced In.
Actual Metered Noise: Mic, -95 dBu, Un-Bal., -90 dBu
Distortion:
Less than .05% @ +4 Out, Less than .1% @ +28 Out
Power Consumption:
±12/18 Volts/DC, @40 ma.
Size:
1.5" X 5.25" X 7" Deep
Size (Boxed for Shipping):
4.5" X 6.5" X 10.25"
Actual Weight:
1.41 lbs.
Shipping Weight:
1.94 lbs.

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