Classic 550b Equalizer design Two range switches to individually alter gain steps Usable as a 550b, 550D or 550M Peak/shelf switch on Hi and Lo bands True hardwire bypass Balanced In and Out on XLR Unbalanced input on 1/4" EQ In/Out switch The beginnings of the 5500 circuit can be traced back to the original 550 equalizer designed by Saul Walker, the founder of Automated Processes Inc. The 550 was designed as a console equalizer, which uses an unbalanced input due to the architecture of the recording console. Because the ergonomics of a console dictate that the controls take up little space, sometimes the number of included functions can be limited. The 5500 is specifically designed to address these limitations; it has a balanced input, a true straight-wire bypass, an integrated power supply with noiseless muting and a range control that expands its versatility to mastering applications. Typical of API products, the 5500 contains no integrated circuits in its signal path. The gain comes from two hand-built 2520 Operational Amplifiers in each channel. The balanced input is handled by a 2510 Discrete Operational Amplifier, which is similar to the 2520, but without the high-current output stage. A key component of the API sound, the 2520 coupled with the API 2503 output transformer, is capable of delivering +30dBm before clipping. An extremely useful feature in the 5500 is the range control. The range of the amplitude controls can be reduced to 1/2 or 1/4 of their stated scale, providing a means to adjust the tonal balance with finer resolution in an even gentler manner. This is especially useful for complex program material as contained in stems or submixes and is ideally suited for mastering purposes. API's 5500 also features a true hard-wire bypass which wires the output connector directly to the input. Shortly after the power is first applied, or immediately after it is lost, a special circuit enables "bypass mode" so that power thumps are never heard. The 5500's input XLR is connected to an active balanced circuit. The unit's output XLR is driven from a transformer coupled output and can drive any load from 600 ohms or more to full output capability. There is no change from input to output in the unit's polarity, so it is suitable in studios using either pin 2 or pin 3 as the "hot" connection. Additionally, the 5500 has a 1/4 inch input connector that interrupts any present signal on the input XLR. It is balanced and can be driven from either balanced or unbalanced sources. A positive signal on the tip will deliver a positive signal on pin 2 of the output XLR. Using the 1/4 inch input does not bypass any internal circuitry and does not change the gain or operating levels. The 5500 features API's industry exclusive five-year parts warranty and exhibits the reliability and long life characteristic of all API products.
Discrete 3 Band EQ
Few equalizers enjoy the respect and admiration of the coveted API 550A. Designed by the now legendary Saul Walker in the late 60's, the discrete 550A was first used as a modular OEM equalizer. As the industry rapidly embraced the sonic quality of the 550A, it quickly found it's way into many custom console designs by Frank DeMedio and other leading engineers. Many of these consoles are still in use today.
Forty years later, the 550A remains the standard against which other EQ's are measured, and it has played a major role in the recording industry for decades. Still copied but never duplicated, the 550A became API's standard channel module EQ when the company began manufacturing consoles in 1971. With virtually all existing units spoken for, popular demand for this EQ resulted in API finally resuming production in 2004.
The 550A provides reciprocal equalization at 15 points in 5 steps of boost to a maximum of 12dB of gain at each point. The fifteen equalization points are divided into three overlapping ranges. The high and low frequency ranges are individually selectable as either peaking or shelving, and a band-pass filter may be inserted independently of all other selected equalization settings. Frequency ranges and boost/cut are selected by three dual-concentric switches, and a pushbutton "in" switch allows the EQ to be silently introduced to the signal path. A small toggle switch is used to insert the band-pass filter into the 550A.
The combination of Walker's incomparable 2520 op amp, and his "Proportional Q" circuitry gives the 550A user an uncomplicated way to generate acoustically superior equalization.
With the long-awaited reissue of this unit, an EQ that has had such a part in the history of recording is continuing to make history in today's music.
Four bands of our famous sounding equalization Each band offers seven API selected frequency centers Reciprocal and repeatable filtering 12 dB of boost/cut per band EQ band 1 and 4 offer shelf/peak switching "Proportional Q" narrows filter Q at extremes Traditional API fully discrete circuit design High headroom +30 dB clip level Re-issue of 1967 API 550 EQ with an extra band Based on API's original 550 from the late '60s, the API 550b is a continuation of the EQ that played a major role in the history of music recording, but with an additional filter band and several new frequencies. Incorporating API's exclusive circuitry and proprietary components (such as the legendary API 2520 Op Amp), the 550b artfully blends the past with the present. So many hit records still depend on the unique 550 sound that engineers around the world find it to be an invaluable tool. In fact, the 550b design has been taken from the original blue prints and spec control drawings from the API archives. It is unlike any other EQ you will ever use. Rather than offer a huge assortment of complex features, the API 550b provides exactly the right number of controls. Its four EQ bands are overlapped significantly to aid in dual roles as problem solver and sweetening device with each band offering seven switchable filter frequencies that span four-to-five octaves. These frequencies, purposely selected to be musical rather than numeric, were selected by an experienced "who's who" list of the industry's most proficient engineers. Making use of API's "Proportional Q," an innovation designed by Saul Walker in the '60s, the 550b intuitively widens the filter bandwidth at minimal settings and narrows it at higher settings without the need for additional bandwidth controls. This unique feature minimizes the "phase-shift" sound found in many equalizers. In addition, the reciprocal nature of the 550b enables the user to "undo" what has been done previously with exact precision. The benefits of the API 550b are most obvious to those who work with EQ on a continuous basis. If major tonal restructuring is required, the extraordinary headroom made possible with API's 2520 Op Amp offers the predictable and warm analog performance, even under duress. With a surprisingly wide range of tonal variations, the 500b is an invaluable and professional audio tool with great flexibility and excellent sonic ability.