KIT Plugins have announced the release of BB A5, a channel strip plug-in which models the API Legacy consoles in Studio B and D of Nashville’s Blackbird Studio. As well as capturing the sound of the 212L preamp, the plug-in also models three of API’s most coveted EQs: the three-band 550A, the four-band 550L and the proportional Q-based 560L graphic equaliser.
Preamp & Master Section
The company have worked closely with Blackbird Studio owner John McBride on the development of BB A5, employing their proprietary Full Range Modeling Technology to accurately capture the consoles’ frequency response between 10Hz and 96kHz. The plug-in’s preamp section will add some slight compression and additional harmonic content when being driven harder, with an Auto-Gain feature automatically adjusting the output level to maintain a consistent level.
A pair of filters are present, with a 20 - 600 Hz high-pass joined by a 300Hz - 20kHz low-pass, along with -20dB pad and polarity switches. There is also a Continuous Gain option, which will remove the stepped movement of the gain control to allow for finer input level control.
The master section has been designed to replicate the sound of an API master bus amp, and is preceded by a level fader which allows signals to be driven into the section to achieve some subtle compression and saturation. There is also a switchable Analog Hum feature which, as its name suggests, offers three levels of 60Hz hum, and the function can be linked so that any adjustments are carried out across multiple loaded instances of the plug-in.
There are three separate EQ modules included with BB A5. The first, 55A, is a three-band design based on the API 550A which offers ±12dB of gain at each band, with switchable bell or shelf filter types for the low- and high-frequency bands. There is also a FLTR (Filter) switch, which engages fixed low- and high-pass filters.
The 55L then models a 550L, a four-band design that again provides ±12dB of gain at each band, with switchable bell or shelf filter types for the low and high bands. Both the 55A and 55L provide an option that removes the stepped gain control to allow for more detailed adjustment.
Finally, the 56L models API’s 560L, a ten-band graphic EQ which features ±12dB of adjustment per band, with a bandwidth that narrows as the gain is adjusted in either direction.
BB A5 is supported on PCs running Windows 7 or higher, and Macs running macOS 10.14 and above. VST3, AU and AAX plug-in versions are available. Authorisation is carried out via PACE’s iLok system via either iLok Cloud, or an iLok 2 or 3 dongle, machine authorisation is not supported.
Pricing & Availability
BB A5 is available now, and is currently (31 August 2023) being offered for an introductory price of $150, reduced from its full cost of $200.