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 The 500 format was introduced by API Saul Walker in 1968, it was created to make API consoles versatile and easily configurable, facilitating their installation and maintenance.
In fact, today we also know this format as the “API Format”.
The first Lunchboxes for the 500 series, i.e. the chassis that allow modules to be easily transported in the 500 format, originated at least a decade after the format was created.
The 500 series was just one of several modular systems of the time; it remained a niche format until, in the 1980s, some French freelance engineers started touring different studios bringing their 500-series modules with them installed in their Lunchbox.
Over the years some companies began to build modules compatible with the 500 standard and for this API Audio established the VPR Alliance, to define the format specifications in terms of voltage, tolerances, absorption and what each of the 15 pins of the module board were intended for.
In the mid-2000s the format began to take off and gain traction in studios around the world. Some competitor companies tried to launch their proprietary format, with apparent success, but in the end 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 widespread use of 500 series, soon decided to convert to the VPR Alliance standard.
500 Series Modules
Many companies today produce their outboards in 500 format and the advantages are obviously considerable.
Mainly today, for this format, we have available:
- Compressors in 500 format
- Equalizers for 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 to always have handy outboard 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.
The size is another great advantage, as it is possible to carry 6 or 10 modules in the space of a “lunchbox”!
The brands that make modules in the 500 format
Nowadays, many manufacturers make modules in the 500 format, we mention some of the most famous:
- API Audio, creator of the format.
- AMS Neve
- Solid State Logic
- Empirical Labs
- Shadow Hills Industries
- Rupert Neve
- Chandler Limited