Classic API VP26 Preamp For 500 Series Rack

The Classic Audio VP26 is a heady pre-amp in the style of vintage API consoles produced by Classic API in Chicago IL. You can buy kits or assembled modules from their website. It is by far my favorite preamp for drum close mics. We have two types. Some with Red Dot Op amps, and others with GAR2520. All have input and output transforms for gooy analog goodness.


The face-plate has gain, mute switch, phase reverse, input pad, and phantom power, as well as output attenuator. The VP26 was created by Jeff Steiger to emulate vintage API consoles of the 70’s. The rich distortion imparts a solid compression when driven which gives meat to drums. I’ve used Avedis MA5, NEVE, API 512C, and SSL, but the VP26 beats them all sonically, and is less than 1/5 the cost of some of those modules. Illinoise…


It Fits in a 500 series module rack. Its available as a preassembled module, or as a kit your can solder yourself. Youi can get stepped gain or variable gain. I prefer stepped gain myself. But With the many transformer choices, and OP amp choices you can customize your build for certain characteristics.

We’ve used it for Guitar, Bass, or overheads, all with decent results, The Low end distortion though adds a thickness to drums. I typically prefer a more detailed high frequency response, like Hairball LOLA or Millennia for overheads, and guitars sound great through a VP312! You can’t go wrong with this module. It’s basic, with no EQ or metering, but hey, we have the mixing console for that. It’s fantastic and a steal at $250 a kit.



VP26 on the LEFT

LOLA Preamp from hairball audio and API VP-26 from Classic Audio of Illinois