NTD (New Thingy Day) - API Tranzformer

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WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 5266
edited December 2019 in FX
BACKGROUND

Some of you will have seen my numerous comings and goings this year... amps changes and trials, into full digital Kemper, back to valves amps and real pedals. LOTS of pedals, now down to a minimalist approach.

It has all resulted in a really settled feeling for once; 

- Matchless Nighthawk 'live' and rehearsal

- 3rd Power Wooly Coats MK II - home and small 'clean' gigs

I began to realise (I might be a bit slow...) that when the amps are as good as these, the core tone and overdrive is all I really need. Ive said elsewhere, that at rehearse; the other night it was just...

Suhr Alt T Pro  ->  Analogman Boss GE7  ->  Matchless 

My search into great EQ, was initially an aim to tame the Matchless treble. And having played @ThorpyFX excellent Team Medic, I became aware of the value of a really good balanced EQ sound.

My journey is shown here;

https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/169209/the-importance-of-an-eq-pedal-a-new-journey#latest



THE REVIEW

I shall be ever indebted to @Seziertisch for his comments and introduction to the API in this thread by @lukedlb ;;;

https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/163324/a-juice-pedal-instead-of-a-gain-or-drive-pedal#latest

The Analogman Boss GE7 had impressed me so much, I had purchased 2 (one is in the classifieds - the other will be on my board).

I had some messages with Colm @Seziertisch and decide to try one. Ordered from the excellent Studio Care Pro, it arrived yesterday.

So, Ive called it a New THINGY Day, cos Im not quite sure what the API is. The official word is;

The TranZformer GT is a multifunction pedal that is designed to easily and affordably bring the world-famous analog sound of API to your guitar. Offering the user an unsurpassed level of sonic control, the TranZformer GT combines an API 525 feedback-type compressor with a guitar-optimized 3 band equalizer, both independently in/out switchable.

The unit also features phase invert switches on each output, ground lift, clip indicator, transformer output and a hard wire bypass switch. Like all API products, the TranZformer GT is built to API's exacting standards and remains true to the design philosophy that has made API the leader in professional analog gear for nearly 50 years.


Er... ok...

Well, for me it is the ultimate sound shaper. EQ/Boost/Compression/Gain/Buffer ??? I dunno, but it is magical.


This test was carried out using only the following;

- Fender Masterbuilt '63 Jason Smith Strat

- 3rd Power Wooly Coats MK II

- Nuenaber Immerse MK II


Disclaimer:

These are all the best in their field, of what I have played thus far. Now bear in mind, I am talking about warm, clean slightly overdriven sounds here. Touch sensitive and inspiring.



THE SOUNDS

So, basically

*** On the left of the pedal you have the 'level'

*** The triangular 3 in the middle knobs are for 'EQ'

*** Far right is 'gain'

*** Underneath that is 'compression' - preset in 5 settings.


First up, I aim for unity gain (same volume as my amp). The API instantly adds a little 'sheen'. I set the 3rd Power's EQ at 12.00, and start dialling in the bass, mids and treble (simple Waz language) on the API.

Now, in a world where sensation and the spectacular seem to rule, any EQ might underwhelm you at first. Not this one. Its like there is a separate volume, and eq for each string. The sound leaps out the amp. Warm, studio (not surprising - it shares some of the DNA on the £15,000 studio desks !!!).

Everything just sounds fuller. The EQ is subtle and extreme, as you wish. The compressor is just... perfect for me. I don't have to understand or works things out - someone with expert ears has already done it for me.

Tone leaps out the speaker. It can also turn the 3rd Power into a clean sounding, overdriven rock monster.

Clarity, definition, picking sensitive etc etc

See the Sound On Sound link below - for a proper insight by people who know much more than me what they are talking about

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/api-tranzformers


CONCLUSION

A game changer for me. Literally. Big pedal sell off. Two quality amps now with a studio treatment in a pedal.

Cons ?

- Expensive
- Huge
- Needs its own power supply (but I think my Strymon might power it)

But worth every penny, and all the effort. Stunning.

£484 new ??? Bargain, giveaway price when some Comps cost over £300.

Thanks for your time and patience with this long post

Waz
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Comments

  • It’s not really a pedal in the sense of something that just does a couple of things, it’s like a whole augmentation of the amp.

    I’m amazed that there isn’t more love for this unit. API, together with Neve, is one of the cornerstones of recorded guitar sounds. People go crazy for pedals claiming the be “inspired by Neve”, yet somehow costing only a fraction of what the bill of materials needed for an actual Neve does.

    There has been no skimping in the Tranzformer, the op amps alone cost 70 dollars a piece if you were looking to buy some, sure the price of admission is expensive but unlike a lot of other boutique pedals you are actually not getting screwed for perceived mojo and are actually getting some proper magic.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 24497
    Very nice.

    I really like API preamps, EQ's and Compressors on guitars.
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  • lukedlblukedlb Frets: 289
    That is exactly the kind of review I need. Good luddite explanation; let the professionals explain the technical aspects themselves. Most of all, thank you for a size reference. It really is HUGE. Please update when you get a chance to play it with the Matchless.
    How does it get on with the guitar's volume control? I assume it's all buffered.
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  • lukedlb said:
    That is exactly the kind of review I need. Good luddite explanation; let the professionals explain the technical aspects themselves. Most of all, thank you for a size reference. It really is HUGE. Please update when you get a chance to play it with the Matchless.
    How does it get on with the guitar's volume control? I assume it's all buffered.
    Great with volume mate.

    All I can say is that it’s like taking your band into the studio, and having your own guitar sound tweaked to sound clear and full and chiming and purposeful.

    Not sure if that makes sense.
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  • damm73damm73 Frets: 282
    Great review Warren. I was already sold on it as you know but this has certainly heightened my anticipation while I await delivery hopefully at the end of next week. 

    I initially thought it might replace an Effectrode LA-1A near the beginning of my chain but it might make more sense to place at the end like going into a channel strip.  

    From catching up on the other thread you linked above it seems that is how @Seziertisch ;is using it? 

    I'm already mentally eviscerating my pedalboard to figure out how to fit the thing on there. 
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  • damm73 said:
    Great review Warren. I was already sold on it as you know but this has certainly heightened my anticipation while I await delivery hopefully at the end of next week. 

    I initially thought it might replace an Effectrode LA-1A near the beginning of my chain but it might make more sense to place at the end like going into a channel strip.  

    From catching up on the other thread you linked above it seems that is how @Seziertisch ;is using it? 

    I'm already mentally eviscerating my pedalboard to figure out how to fit the thing on there. 
    Dave it is very early days for me, but I’m running mine at the end. Well, I’ve placed the Neunaber reverb after it, so we shall see.

    its beautifully made and I contacted API to ask about getting some black knobs (for the EQ section) - fantastic service and I’ve orderered some =)
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  • SeziertischSeziertisch Frets: 104
    edited December 2019
    damm73 said:
    Great review Warren. I was already sold on it as you know but this has certainly heightened my anticipation while I await delivery hopefully at the end of next week. 

    I initially thought it might replace an Effectrode LA-1A near the beginning of my chain but it might make more sense to place at the end like going into a channel strip.  

    From catching up on the other thread you linked above it seems that is how @Seziertisch ;;;is using it? 

    I'm already mentally eviscerating my pedalboard to figure out how to fit the thing on there. 
    I use it together with an LA1A. They are not really comparable. As compressors/tone enhancers they are on a par but very different sounding.

    The API is a lot more flexible than the Effectrode. The LA1A kind of does one thing, and does it really well, the API can be made to do a number of things, from subtle always-on clean tone refinement to producing a vast array of over drive tones.

    But yes, I use it at the end like a channel strip before the amp.
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  • In terms of the QC, this video is a good insight. I would say there are hardly any amp/pedal manufacturers going to these lengths 

    https://youtu.be/bKWQCBdDXZQ
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 1979
    Would the Drybell Unit 67 be a more compact alternative to this?
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • soma1975 said:
    Would the Drybell Unit 67 be a more compact alternative to this?
    No where near it at all - especially as the Drybell I tried was propa noisy.

    A few days in and the API is a delight and I'll built a small board a-round it.
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  • I only have experience of the API studio gear. It is excellent and the transformers are awesome. No doubt this will be killer.
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  • Holy moly that's k'ing massive!!!
    Makes a lovetone meatball look like a mooer
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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