Recording - June 2016 - 35

In my studio sessions with the 535-LA, I
found two favorite uses for it. First, it's
great to rough up a signal with gusto.
Use it after a fully driven 2-stage in/out
style microphone preamp for the classic
1960s and 1970s direct injected overdriven guitar sound-think "Black Dog"
and "Revolution". You can also do similar
fun distortion tricks with a pair of 535-LA
modules in series, whether on input or
during mixdown.
In more "normal" day-to-day use, the
535-LA can be used to add weight,
sheen, and girth to any signal. I especially liked it on the master 2-bus from
my DAW. It's also a great tool for "reamping" software synthesizers and virtual instruments, to make them a little less
pristine and 2-dimensional.
Ratios and levels
With the 535-LA's processed signal
level matched to the dry signal (i.e. no
attenuation or boost) and set to a 1:1
ratio, the sound is subtle, with a gentle
addition of weight, punch, and a touch
of top-end rounding. In my review notes,
I emphasized that this sense of weight
can be very subtle at moderate settings.
As you change the ratio from 1:1 to 1:2
and 1:3 (keeping gain at unity), you'll
start to get a hair more upper-mid bite
and a pinch of still-subtle aggression.
It works best cumulatively. If you want
to impart a virtual console sound to your
mixes without plug-ins, I would suggest
using the 535-LA at low ratio settings
during tracking, reamping any softwareinstrument sources through it, and then
mixing through it on the master bus. In
this way the subtle flavor adds up nicely
without going over the top.
As I mentioned above, you can drive
the box for grit as well. Just tickling the
red Clip LED can add a nice harmonic
life that differs greatly depending on the
Output Ratio. On a 1:3 setting, you can
hear grit and drive even before you see
red! It's a very musical distortion, great
on drums, keys, vocals, and guitars.
Note that the noise floor does rise a little bit when switching Output Ratio from
1:1 to 1:3, but it's nothing that will
harm a sound that you're deliberately
dirtying up a bit.
Conclusion
The 535-LA is a great combination of
utilitarian studio device and creative
tool. It goes from superbly subtle to wonderfully over the top with ease. It's hard
to argue with a key component of the
famed API sound, especially for computer-based studios that can use a bit of
analog punch and liveliness.
Price: $595
More from: API, www.apiaudio.com
RECORDING JUNE 2016

35


http://www.antelopeaudio.com http://www.clearsonic.com http://www.apiaudio.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - June 2016

Contents
Recording - June 2016 - Cover1
Recording - June 2016 - Cover2
Recording - June 2016 - 1
Recording - June 2016 - 2
Recording - June 2016 - 3
Recording - June 2016 - 4
Recording - June 2016 - 5
Recording - June 2016 - Contents
Recording - June 2016 - 7
Recording - June 2016 - 8
Recording - June 2016 - 9
Recording - June 2016 - 10
Recording - June 2016 - 11
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Recording - June 2016 - 13
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Recording - June 2016 - Cover3
Recording - June 2016 - Cover4
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