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Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

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Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby jaminem » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:29 pm

Tried some API pre-amps a few weeks back, and they left a lasting impression. They gave the sound I always heard in my head if you know what I mean

Am currently in the process of convincing myself that i NEED a Lunchbox, so I can have some API pre-amps and enjoy the other options that this will bring.

Nan will have to be sold I'm afraid

However so I don't send her off unnecessarily is there anything I should know about the Lunchbox format (aside form it being *uking expensive) before I trade her in for gear?

Wasn't there a decent sticky about Lunchboxes in a previous version of this forum, is it still available?

Thanks
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:53 pm

You'll want a Penguin and a Capri Sun.

I wish I could offer some real advice though, but the lunch box stuff is so expensive.

Might be worth a read.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr08/a ... 0408_1.htm
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:15 pm

Expensive, but still cheaper than buying separate stand-alone rack mount boxes, far mopre versatile, and expandable in bite-sized financial chunks!

The different 'lunchbox' frames offered by different manufacturers offer different facilities and features and its worth spending some time comparing them to find the one that suits your requirements best.

For example, internal or external PSUs, cable-less audio signal path linking between adjacent modules, additional I/O options for side chains etc, internal module monitoring facilites, versatile module mounting arrangements to cope with oversized or poor tolerance modules... and so on.

The modules themselves have similarly variable connection facilities, and although they all conform to the basic lunchbox format, some have additional feature that only work with some frames.

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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby jaminem » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:47 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Expensive, but still cheaper than buying separate stand-alone rack mount boxes, far mopre versatile, and expandable in bite-sized financial chunks!

The different 'lunchbox' frames offered by different manufacturers offer different facilities and features and its worth spending some time comparing them to find the one that suits your requirements best.

For example, internal or external PSUs, cable-less audio signal path linking between adjacent modules, additional I/O options for side chains etc, internal module monitoring facilites, versatile module mounting arrangements to cope with oversized or poor tolerance modules... and so on.

The modules themselves have similarly variable connection facilities, and although they all conform to the basic lunchbox format, some have additional feature that only work with some frames.

hugh


Check!

Was thinking about the 6 slot API one - internal PSU, and DB-25 to connect to my RME converter.
I've seen the 2 slot one from Empirical which doesn't seem like good value and the new Radial one which seems overkill. Actually a 4 slot with internal PSU and DB25's would be spot on, cant find one except the Tonelux V4 Roadster but no D-subs, can't seem to find a price in the UK either...
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:01 pm

The format is generally very good.

The API rack and lunchbox are very competitive when you look into all the options, and they're readily available here in the UK.

If you're buying a lunchbox used you want to make sure it's one of the newer HC variants which has a higher current supplied to the modules. The old ones run API stuff fine, but some of the newer modules that are floating around demand a lot of juice.

The Lunchbox suffers from an issue whereby the PSU is oriented in such a way that the module closest to it can sometimes pick up noise depending on what that module is. The 10 slot rack doesn't have this problem with its external PSU, but the external PSU is obviously slightly less convenient. I also get a bit nervous about mine because the cables are fitted to the PSU with glands rather than being separate cables that I can get a spares of. It also makes the PSU unit harder to pack neatly into a flight case. Overall I think the 10 slot is a good deal.

Bargains can be had, and API stuff is plentiful here. Shop hard.

Be aware that despite there being a million and one new 'amazing' 500 series modules, the format is best suited to mic pres. It's a small space and the front panels get very fiddly very quickly, especially if you need to recall stuff. That said, there are some very good eq's and compressors out there. Some are 2 slots wide in order to solve this problem.

If you're DIY handy, the ClassicAPI mic pre kits are extremely good. I have a pair of VP26's with VP25's on the way. I'm planning a whole rack of them. They have the quality that you want from API (tight low end, present midrange colour) but without the tizzy brightness that can make a modern 512 a bit brash. They extremely economical. The downside is that you have to build them, and there's no come back if you get it wrong. But I'm genuinely not good at all that stuff and I found it took three hours for each VP26, they work perfectly, sound better than anything else I have on guitars and drums, and they have an output attenuator, which is something you need to think about if you're buying 512's. You could save hundreds on these and get better pres. In my opinion of course.

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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby jaminem » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:52 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:

Bargains can be had, and API stuff is plentiful here. Shop hard.

Best price i've found is £739 for a 512c, is that good?

Jack Ruston wrote:

If you're DIY handy, the ClassicAPI mic pre kits are extremely good. I have a pair of VP26's with VP25's on the way. I'm planning a whole rack of them. They have the quality that you want from API (tight low end, present midrange colour) but without the tizzy brightness that can make a modern 512 a bit brash. They extremely economical. The downside is that you have to build them, and there's no come back if you get it wrong. But I'm genuinely not good at all that stuff and I found it took three hours for each VP26, they work perfectly, sound better than anything else I have on guitars and drums, and they have an output attenuator, which is something you need to think about if you're buying 512's. You could save hundreds on these and get better pres. In my opinion of course.

J

it will be guitars through the API's mostly, so have been looking at these kits - your description sound just the job - less fizzy top is always a plus on guitars! reckon I could give it a go. Can you get some in the UK or do you have to send off to the US for them?
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:51 pm

Just order them straight off the website. USPS takes a little while so you have to be patient but Jeff is easy to deal with. I'd advise you to get the DOA's ready made up. I went with the GAR2520 and I'm really happy. You can get them as a kit but that's quite fiddly.

On my work Facebook (Nick Tauber And Jack Ruston Music Production) there's a load of photos in sequence of the builds I did so you can see what's actually involved. It's really simple.

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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby jaminem » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:14 pm

Awesome.
The website is crucifyingly slow though....
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:34 pm

Ah strange...It isn't usually.

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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby jaminem » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:21 pm

Ah it was just Firefox being rubbish...
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:38 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:If you're DIY handy, the ClassicAPI mic pre kits are extremely good. I have a pair of VP26's with VP25's on the way.


Nice range Jack, and good value too!

So you're after the classic 1970's LA drum sound eh?


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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby chris... » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:13 pm

I'm thinking of going for lunch.
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:49 pm

chris... wrote:I'm thinking of going for lunch.

Ha. Like.

Martin, they're just sort of right on drums and guitars. They don't highlight a load of stuff you don't really want, which is a sometimes criticism of 1073's for me...They can make guitars too bottom heavy. These are tighter with emphasis on the mids. Whatever it is about them, I've rarely been so immediately drawn to a pre for guitars over the others available. They're what you expect a 512 to be before you find out that it's brighter than you thought. Don't get me wrong I still love 512's and I'd happily use them, but these are even better. I've got a release coming out soon with them all over it so I'll post a link when it's out.

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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby jaminem » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:51 am

Hi, sorry to resurrect this thread again, but I have a session in a few weeks and much as I'd like to buy, build and use Classic API's products the transformers have been out of stock since this thread and the owner seems to have no idea when he's getting them back in.

Therefore I'm going to have to cane the credit card and go for something that is actually available!
Unfortunately this means more cost.

Am looking at either a pair of BAE 312a modules, or 512c's.
Anyone have any experience of the BAE's especially on guitars?
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Mixedup » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:31 pm

Not tried the BAE one, though I've been happy enough with the sound of their outboard Nevealike stuff.

FWIW, if going for the API, why not get a second hand API? That way, the resale value will allow you to trade in without loss if you change your mind. If Neve-style would be more to your taste, the DIY version of the Sound Skulptor MP573 isn't bad value; nor is the Audio Maintenance one, which includes both pre and EQ in a 2U module.

Also, they're not out just yet, but Lindell Audio are releasing three modules for $299 each — a mic pre, an EQ and a compressor. If they're anything like as good sounding as the 17x compressor reviewed last month then they should be a bit of a bargain.
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby jaminem » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:44 pm

Mixedup wrote:

FWIW, if going for the API, why not get a second hand API? That way, the resale value will allow you to trade in without loss if you change your mind.

Would love to. Where are these used 512c's????
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Mixedup » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:03 pm

Fair point. They do seem to move pretty quickly when they crop up on eBay, Group DIY etc. Maybe try Larkings List, MJQ etc.
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Mixedup » Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:08 pm

Btw, Classic API seems to have transformers in stock for the 312 and VP25 preamps. Just not the VP26 or the new/forthcoming VP28. Don't know if the first two are of any interest...
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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:56 pm

I like the phrase 'going lunchbox'. I think after all this time in the music industry I might be going slightly lunchbox.

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Re: Thinking of going Lunchbox - anything I should know?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:16 pm

Mixedup wrote:Fair point. They do seem to move pretty quickly when they crop up on eBay, Group DIY etc.


That's if you can find them - you can also waste a lot of time on eBay wading through lists of Tuppaware and Wallace & Gromit specials and not find any lunchbox electronics

I search using the term ‘API Lunchbox’ to avoid disappointment

EDIT: And be aware that most listings seem to be of new items from studioxchange

Where are these 2nd hand bargains then?


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