The 500 Series Thread

i tend to buy in stereo pairs although i track in mono 75% of the time… but having two of a great eq is never bad.

@vinc i have both an api and rupert lunch boxes. besides the difference in interfacing options i notice no discernible differences between them so just get the one you like the look of better.

i got the neve because i wanted one in a rack. the classic api lunchbox won’t rack mount although they do have rack variations.

if you often mic in stereo i’d go for your 2x2x2 option as stereo preamps would be necessary but if you only use one mic save the other slot for something extra, like you said.


I can echo this. Recently added a 500 rack to my live rig and I tried out the TX5C and was supremely impressed by its build quality, etc. But I didn’t care for it on synth.

Also Nvelope is easily the best thing I’ve tried in 500. There’s nothing like it in eurorack and it’s an uncommon-ish thing in 19". But the quality of this module is so sweet.


Don’t overlook the Lindell stuff. It’s on the low end but honestly the quality is well above its cost.


suggestions like this are super helpful… the process of trying to put together a “complete” lunchbox with name-brand stuff is just so $$$$$ expensive that having some well-reviewed cheaper options to start auditioning is a big deal.


It’s definitely daunting. I can’t believe how much I had to spend to get what I was looking for. As someone who flips a lot of gear, I’m really satisfied with realizing this goal. I think the enhancements to my sound are worth it completely.

Most 500 modules that I’ve used are packed with cool op amps and transformers that make the actually exposed module look like “the opposite of a plugin.” Like you’re really about to add some kind of vibe to your sound. Whether this is all placebo or not, seeing that stuff on a heavy-ass module is meaningful.

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For general Pre / DI duties (great results on synths and electronic drums),the API 505 is great: I often see these going for less than $400 on the used market (I scooped my pair for $350 each)


500 series is very intriguing to me. I have had great success at adding depth to my mixes by running tracks through Chase Bliss and Fairfield Circuitry pedals, re-amping thru a Supro tube amp, and using my old Marantz tape deck (sometimes for its warbley cassette sound, sometimes for its limiter, and sometimes for its slightly saturated pre).

All of this analog fun has made me believe that 500 series may be the next logical step, but I am on the fence between going 500 or going with an old mixer (like a Tascam M or Midas Venice).

Either way, my goals are the same. I know I want at least two channels of analog parametric EQ, two channels of analog compression and some transformer/color options thrown in. I know I want to add a bit more depth and make my mixes sound a touch less modern and less aggressive (for reference, I like the thick, rounded sound of Neve-like gear as opposed to the precise, modern sound of SSL-like gear).

The two workflows would be very different though –

With 500 series, I would record individual tracks into Logic and then send these tracks through 500 series modules in place of compression, EQ and colorizing plugins. I would also use the 500 series modules for light mastering at the very end.

With a mixer, I would record individual tracks into Logic and then after the ITB mix is in a good place, I would send several stems through the mixer and an end-of-line leveling-amp and do a final “performance” of the track on the mixer (although I do not have a ton of experience with this type of mixing). I am attracted to the hands-on potential of a mixer but this is certainly an old-school approach and a vintage mixer may turn into an absolute headache maintenance wise.

If anyone has been down both paths and can share some advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

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@BPCook I have both options available: the way that I look at my 500 racks is like a channel strip in a mixer.
I occasionally do route tracks from my DAW into 500 rack, then back to the DAW, but 90% user case for me is INST —> 500 Rack. —> Soundcard / DAW.

500 Rack chain usually consisting of a DI/Pre—> EQ. —> Distortion / Filter / Compression

I usually tend to use ITB compression when mixing, relying on hardware compression only when tracking.

For Master bus duties, I did not encounter many 5000 rack that do a great job, Elysia Nvelop + Xcompressor and Shadow Hills Vandergraph (which I do not own, but had the chance to work with) being an exception.
I.e. the Neve 517 or API 527, which sounds great tracking synths, are not so great at handling audio from a mix bus.


I was really intrigued by the Aphex 500 interface/lunchbox when that came out, but it seemed to get dropped/discontinued really fast. I’m sure things like the converters and cleanliness of the power and everything are significant upgrades on something like the Cranborne, but I can’t justify it. I tend to record using mixer interfaces in a sort of performative way, even using a very cheap one these days. That said I’m super meticulous about coloring/EQ type details so the Aphex seemed like a nice way to get some simple stereo recording while also being able to fine tune things in a way that wasn’t disruptive to how I like to work at a good price. Anyone ever use one? I still look for them occasionally, might try picking one up used some time, though I don’t know about driver issues or possibilities like that. Anyone making anything with an interface like that at reasonable price these days?

Great subject for a conversation - Thanks for starting it.

I see my next move over the next few years to getting a 500 box, specifically for compression and mastering. Anyone here work with much Neve gear? I’m thinking of getting a lunchbox followed by a Neve module every few months.

Though the Neve Portico channel strip might be all I need, too. (Other than the 500 series tape emulator which delights me every time I consider it) - but is there much “other” Neve to be found for preamp, deessing, and mastering for a vocal beyond the Portico II Channel (non-500 but all the stuff I’m liking) ?

Certainly wouldn’t mind jumping into picking up Pultec 500s! Regret missing out on the Moog ones.


taylor (or anyone else who has heard them), how do you like the 500 series EQP pultecs? i use the uad plugins and the warm audio rack clone all the time… tempted to get a pair of the real thing while it’s on sale but have never heard the solid state hardware.

The Cranbourne 8 slot ADAT box is the best thing I’ve bought in years. I love it. Now I want an audio interface to I can got out to it as well as in from it… My Apogee Quartet only allows the former.
While I’m here… I bought my first lunch box in 1995 or thereabouts and it’s still working. I just split my API pre/EQ pair after all this time sending 1/2 to my son in Glasgow and replacing my 550b with the API graphic (in my old age I’m finding graphic Eqs much faster and simpler). I bought a Heritage Audio 4 space box to house my now mono API channel. I’m very happy with it.
I’m also in the Lindell Audio camp. I really like there passive Pultec style EQ and it sells for about 25% of Pultec…
Here’s my current set up. My modular runs through the TK Audio bus compressor most of the time.


glad to see so much praise for the Cranborne system here… it was mostly an impulse buy to go for something so high end, but on paper it just looked so ergonomic. I can run ADAT from my existing MOTU interface and with the cascase and mix features I can easily switch between tracking mode, mixdown and “hardware plugin” mode… seems good :smiley:


i have a pair of the EQP-500a and i like them quite a bit. they don’t get used as much as my rupert 551 or 1073s… because pultecs, in general, are more specific… like, for me, i tend to use them on my Moogs to shape the low end.

i use the UAD plug a lot… and i’ve never heard a REAL pultec (rack)… there must be differences between the rack and the 500 units… simply given their huge price gap…

but i’m quite happy with the 500 units


lloyd brings up a super tip… DO NOT underestimate the usefulness of the API 560 graphic EQ… in fact, if i had to keep only one of my 500 EQ modules it would probably be the 560s… graphic EQs are incredible for tracking… for shaping and carving your sound as it goes in. in fact, i always run my hardware reverbs returning through a pair of 560s to cut and shape the low and high end (as i’m not a fan of reverb with excessive strength in either area)

560s are total workhorses.


There is a lot of great advice in here, but this line above really spoke to me. With 500 series, if I do not like a unit, I can swap it out, but with a large mixing console, there is more of a commitment. I would have to find one I really love, and without the ability to try several out, I do not see that happening any time soon.

I think the Cranborne ADAT has me sold on 500-series. I already have a Audient iD44 that will pair with it quite well. Best of all, I can keep working the same way I do now, but replace a few plug-in’s with 500 series modules.


Good points. I’m usually at home but luggability can be key (eg mixing in Berlin).
I bought the TK to have a stereo option for patching within the Cranbourne, and also for something to tame the Modular synth dynamics which are sometimes tough for me to control within the synth. I’d love to get the matching program EQ, but I don’t have space, or money, right now.

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This EQ [Lindell Pultec clone] with that boost/cut trick is literally the secret sauce.

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I have one! After looking at my needs (room to grow but not massive, fits in 19”) I went with Fredenstein. It’s an appropriately heavy duty case.


How do you like the Lindell compressor?