In Hardware Focus, Audio Hunt explore the appeal of an item of classic studio gear.

Our first Hardware Focus is the classic API 2500 Stereo Bus Compressor – amazing for adding punch, depth and character to your tracks. It’s especially good for drums, but also a tone beast capable of achieving a wide range of sounds from silky smooth to raw grunge. For dance music, it’s a great tool to infuse some life and energy back into anything you throw at it, especially digital synths and overly squashed samples (yes, it can do that, even though it’s a compressor). Best of all, you can use it for your own tracks at The Audio Hunt.

A true studio workhorse, the API 2500 Stereo Buss Compressor is a classic unit found in most mixing and mastering studios. However, its popularity falls second only to its versatility – used by many engineers for tracking, the 2500 can wrap its unmistakable sound to anything from a drum group to a bass DI signal. Chris of KOG studio explains: “Mojo is what the API 2500 is known for and you can get that in a touch or in spades depending on how much you push it. The op amps and transformer are revered by tech heads and apparently provide much of the API sound. The 2500 is super versatile, able to deliver on a really wide range of needs, which makes it a desert island compressor for many producers and engineers.

“From a mastering perspective, the 2500 is great for ‘gluing’ a mix together, making everything work in harmony. From the mixing and tracking side, it really excels as a drum bus compressor.

“It is easily one of the best options on the planet, perfect for drums and bass sounds, and you can really get four-on-the-floor kick drums to pump and enhance the groove. Another good trick is driving the transformers hard – they saturate in a really musical way and with a bit of experimentation add a sound that few other units can match, hence its legendary status and popularity!”

For dance producers, this is a killer option to get your drums fat and punchy.

Chris explains: “There aren’t many compressors that can compete with it on drums for anything groove based. It makes a track sound more alive, powerful and dynamic (even though it’s compressing) and adds that high-end production sheen and punch we all strive to achieve.”

What’s more, we recommend trying the 2500 on synth patches and letting it release its power. Depending on how hard you push it, it’s great at making things sound big, chunky and genuinely epic.

Chris’s API 2500 lives in his mastering chain, but he finds himself constantly using it for tracking and mixing. He is more than happy to process your individual tracks, stems or full mixes through it. Get in touch with Chris and his team at KOG Studio over at The Audio Hunt.

25th June, 2016


  • The compressed synth bass examples are mis-linked: They play the compressed drum examples.

  • Thanks Mark. The clips should be correct now if you refresh.

  • Great info just worked with my waves plugin version using the settings as a template to start and got great results. Getting away from my SSL-g.


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