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Check out our selection of 500 series modules. Compressors, equalizers, microphone preamplifiers in 500 format to make your studio dynamic and functional at the same time.

The origins of the 500 format

Format500 was introduced by API Saul Walker in 1968.It was created to make API consoles versatile and easily configurable, making them easier to install and maintain.In fact,today we also know this format as "API Format." The first Lunchboxes for the 500 series, i.e., the frames that allow modules to be easily transported in the 500 format, were born at least a decade after the format's creation.The 500 series was just one of many modular systems at the time; it remained a niche format until, in the 1980s, some French freelance engineers began to tour various studios carrying 500 series modules installed in their Lunchboxes.Over theyears a number of companies began to build modules compatible with the 500 standard, and for this API Audio established the VPR Alliance, to define format specifications in terms of voltage, tolerances, power consumption, and what the 15 pins on the module board were intended for.Some competing companies attempted to launch their own proprietary format, with apparent success, but eventually they too had to convert to the 500 format. Solid State Logic created the X-Rack format and SPL launched the rackpack, but both, given the popularity of the 500 series, soon decided to convert to the VPR Alliance standard.

500 series modules

Many companies today produce their outboards in the 500 format, and the advantages are obviously considerable.Mainly today, for this format, we have available:

  • 500-format compressors
  • Equalizers in 500 format
  • Preamplifiers in 500 format

First of all, a sound engineer has the possibility of creating his own portable rack by combining preamplifiers, equalizers and compressors of different brands in order to always have at hand outboards with different types of sound and technical characteristics.It is also possible to create channel strips by choosing, for each element of the chain, the sound of the brand you love most.Size is another great advantage, as it is possible to carry 6 or 10 modules in the space of a "lunchbox"!

Brands that produce modules in the 500 format

Nowadays,many manufacturers make modules in the 500 format, we mention some of the most famous ones:

  • API Audio, creator of the format.
  • AMS Neve
  • Solid State Logic
  • Empirical Labs
  • Shadow Hills Industries
  • Rupert Neve
  • AEA
  • Chandler Limited
  • Evendite

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