I’m well underway with my first VP26 preamp. So far, everything has been smooth sailing. The instructions from Classic API are very thorough, and parts are well labeled and packaged. As someone who is used to building things from a schematic that I made myself, it’s been a pleasure to build from a kit.
The only puzzle I’ve had to solve was the gain switch. When I ordered the VP26 kit, I selected the option for Stepped Gain. This allows gain matching of two VP26 preamps, so I can get a true stereo image when recording things like an X-Y room mic pair.
The instructions mention a special mounting procedure for the Bourns 25K gain pot, which I couldn’t find anywhere in the kit. I did find a bag marked “VP26″ with two small PCBs, some resistors and two Grayhill rotary switches. It took me a while to figure out that these were the stepped gain switches, and that I didn’t have the Bourns pot because it was replaced by this assembly. I found an email that Jeff Steiger at Classic API had sent me with thorough documentation on assembling the gain switch. That got me up and running again.
Here’s a shot of the main board for the VP26. Note the large cutouts for the input and output transistors, and how simple this circuit board is. There really aren’t that many parts to the API console pres, but as the kit instructions say, “High quality, sometimes custom component selection is crucial to achieve this sound.”