After reviewing my in-depth photo documentation of several microphone preamp builds, Jeff Steiger, the owner and CEO of Classic Audio Products of Illinois decided to officially employ my photo-documentation services for his VC528 kit. This post utilizes the photos I made from the official build documentation.
The VC528 is a unique 500 series or 51X module in that it is a "go-between" design. While it is common to find preamp circuits from a variety of vintage consoles in lunchbox form, this module re-creates the rest of the channel strip circuit of the vintage API console all the way out to the channel fader. Many have referred to this module as "audio bacon" because it can be inserted after or before any other outboard device and add the analog goodness of a full frame vintage console at a fraction of the cost and space. VC528 allows for a wide range of experimentation with gain staging when inserted into the signal chain because you can drive whatever previous device hotter or softer than normal and adjust for proper gain with the VC528 before hitting the recorder. Another common use for the VC528 is inserting a pair on the main stereo mix bus. For this application, Jeff offers stereo kits with closely matched resistors for optimal consistency of the left and right channels.
In this post, I will show a complete VC528 kit build from start to finish. An assembly aid document as well as bill of materials, trouble-shooting tips, and calibration procedure can be found here.
Ever since we ran into the unfortunate "SX Effect" distortion problem in the stock SX pickups, I've been on a quest to locate a suitable replacement pickup for the basses for newbies builds. While it could be argued that the stock pickups work just fine for a beginner, one of my design goals is to deliver a bass capable of holding up to all types of situations a working musician may encounter. A real working tool that can be a long-term bass and not require upgrade (at least on the basis of playability or sonics). . . well, ever.