API Vision Multichannel Analog Console

The Vision, API’s latest large-format analog console, was introduced concurrent with announcement of its first sale to Galaxy Studios in Belgium who participated heavily in specifying the console’s capabilities. The console maintains API’s commitment to all discrete signal paths and adds substantial new surround capabilities.

The Vision’s new center section topology features a multichannel compressor/limiter designed in a collaborative effort between API’s Paul Wolf and Galaxy resident engineer, Ronald Prent. Prent’s room at Galaxy will soon house an 80-module-wide Vision, and currently is home to the world’s only 6-channel API 2500 dynamics unit. “I begged and begged them to build me a 6-channel compressor,” says Prent. Though the unit set him back $10,000, he calls it “priceless” because of the time and attention Wolf paid to its functionality. “It gives you control over your linking, and the amount of linking between the channels,” explains Prent. This flexible and proportional linkage control allows a mixer to maintain image, placement and balance — while offering a controllable degree of interactivity between channels.

Additional master section surround capabilities include reverb returns with multichannel panning, bass management (including the ability to route the LFE to the LCR monitor outputs), multichannel insert points in the master buss and monitor paths, multichannel monitoring selection, and the ability to bring the rear channels to the front speakers. The tech in me loves the calibrated noise generator with dB read out and measurement test points for calibrating the monitor speaker sends. Other features include flexible solos and mutes and in-panel integration of the German-made Time Machine machine control module for master clocking and recorder/DAW control. The console’s Automix Plus automation system is derived from API parent ATI’s Uptown Automation division’s Uptown 2000.

The center section will house API 200 series modules, where Galaxy has chosen to fit 32 212L mic pres, 16 of the 215L sweepable filter, and a few 205L instrument directs. In module space above the producer’s panel, Galaxy has fitted 24 stereo stem return modules with multichannel routing. With two faders on each I/O strip, that’s a total of 208 inputs for Galaxy.

The new 1068L module-based channel strips include two 200 series module slots (which Galaxy will fit with a 225L compressor/limiter and a 235L expander gate on each strip). Each 1068L module includes a full 100mm moving fader, making two fully automated faders available for every strip that can be simply linked for stereo operation. Fader Solo and Mute buttons on both faders are atypically configured vertically rather than side by side — a concept garnering a warm reception in discussions with potential users. The main fader has a tunable filter section, á la the 215L with a fixed filter section on fader two (you can’t call it the small fader any longer!).

Each fader section houses three-knob surround panning — a L/R panner that’s switchable to LCR, a rear panner, and a front-to-rear level control — simple and space/resources efficient, with no burning of groups, auxes, or fader controls to implement surround panning. The L/R panner shadows the LCR for a simultaneous stereo mix.

There are two main EQ choices — the classic 550L switchable 4-band EQ or the new 560L graphic EQ. The 560L is based on the popular API 560 module, the L model featuring diagonally mounted slide faders to fit the narrower module width. Galaxy has chosen the 560L for 32 channel strips.

The Vision is a 24-bus console, with three stereo mix busses and one 6-channel mix bus. Bus assign is radically redesigned and automated. A new assignment module is fitted across each group of 16 channel strips. “This was a huge decision to come to the conclusion to include,” says API’s Dan Zimbelman, adding that it is a proven design. “This is technology we already had; Kooster’s [Kooster McAllister of Record Plant Remote fame] console has the preliminary version and we’ve done a couple of others in the past.” The assignment section is shared with fader two and the six mono/four stereo aux sends.
Zimbelman sums up the API Vision this way: “There’s no razzle-dazzle to it, it’s just real world.” But I beg to differ; if you add up enough practical, thoughtful, innovative yet real-world ideas, you achieve razzle-dazzle, nonetheless. API’s Vision appears ready to prove this point.

For more information, visit www.apiaudio.com or call 301-776-7879.

Surround Professional Magazine