Designing Legendary Gear with Paul Wolff June 22, 2017 16:42

Paul Wolff has designed more legendary pieces of gear than most of us have used. In his years with API alone, Paul designed the 550B EQ, 512 and 3124 mic preamps, Legacy console, and 2500 compressor. He was recently honored by NAMM TEC hall of fame for inventing the Lunchbox and 500-series format, which he helped turned into a cottage industry.

I was honored to have Paul on the podcast to discuss console design and how he's seen the industry change in the last 40 years.

Just a few of the things we discussed:

  • The origins of the 500-series
  • How Steve Perry became the first customer of the Lunchbox
  • The uphill battle to make gear that’s authentic to the API sound
  • What happened in 1978 to change the sound of most audio equipment
  • Paul's opinion that cloners "should be burned to death”

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Some Notes on API Jargon

As much as I try to keep our podcasts fairly jargon-free, I was guilty of using a lot of API model numbers without explanation this episode. These are:

  • 550A: Late 60's, 3-band EQ
  • 2520: The discrete operational amplifier (DOA, or "opamp") that's at the heart of most API designs
  • 2488: Early 70's console
  • 512: 500-series mic preamp designed by Paul
  • 312: 60's mic preamp
  • 3124: A 4-channel 312 designed by Paul
  • 2503: The output transformer in most API gear
  • 2500: Bus compressor designed by Paul