The API 1608 is the current mid-sized console offered by API Audio, designed as a modern update to their vintage 1604 console. With 16 channels of API preamps and line amps as well as universally compatible 500-series insert slots on each channel, the 1608 is the perfect mix of classic API character and flexibility to neatly incorporate other flavours into the chain.

The 1608 is a relatively straight forward console. Favouring an entirely analog, tactile approach, it is very much built on a ‘what you see is what you get’ philosophy, enticing an immediate, responsive and fluid workflow. With a modest channel count of 16, it is geared towards smaller or layered recording sessions or mixes where elements have been refined into stereo buses (given the average track count of a modern Pro Tools session). While the scale is diminutive compared to some of the mixing desk giants available, it is full of character and flexibility.

The heart of the 1608 is the cherished trademark API colour that permeates everything they make. Fast, open and slightly but pleasingly pushed forward in the lower midrange, it has become the sound that has tied countless records together since the 1960s. A huge part of this sound comes from the the API 2520 discreet operational amplifiers as well as the use of input and output transformers. When a whole track is mixed through this circuitry, the cumulative effect exaggerates these qualities and the sound of the desk shines boldly. While it does a great job of working conservatively, the biggest rewards come from finding the sweet spot where the inputs begin to drive and the personality of the console really reveals itself. This can be taken to the extreme for a crunchy, aggressive sound that can give a whole new life to tracks that need a bit of grit. In addition to its own sonic imprint, the 1608 has insert slots on each channel, compatible with any 500-series unit. The suggested configuration loads these with API EQs, which is a fantastic pairing. It does however, allow for more extensive customisation, incorporating modules from third party manufacturers and facilitating a ‘best of both worlds’ arrangement.

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