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API 2500

Versatile vintage compressor with switchable topologies
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Excellent on Everything.Glorious on Drums, Bass, and Your Stereo Bus.


In studios around the world, the API 2500 has earned a reputation for always being able to deliver the right solution for virtually any compression need. Based on precise, accurate VCA-type technology, the API 2500 is all about choice—including compressor topologies, punch, and tone.

A modern classic, the API 2500 has now been discovered by a new generation of modern producers in hip hop, pop/R&B, dance, and rock, who treasure the punchy vibe that brings drums and grooves to life.

  • Modeled in close collaboration with API
  • Official emulation of the famed API bus compressor
  • Shape gut-punching bass with API’s proprietary Thrust option
  • Glue your groups, especially drum buses, or your entire stereo mix
  • Added Mix control for easy parallel compression
  • Choose vintage feedback or modern feedforward design
  • Fixed or variable release time, up to 3 seconds
  • 3 optimized knee curves—clamp down hard, or compress gently
  • Shape energy with variable L/R linking, from 50% to 100%
  • 7 attack options, from super-fast 0.03 ms up to 30 ms
  • Additional infinity:1 ratio provides limiting as well as compression
  • Tie the stereo linkage to frequency ranges
Watch It in Action

Add API Punch and Energy toYour Subgroups and Stereo Bus

  • Dual Compressor Topologies: Modern vs. Vintage

    Choose the precision and snappy response of modern feedforward compressors, or the smooth, leveling-amp sound of vintage feedback compressors. With the API 2500, you—not the compressor—makes the choice.

    Features: Glue Mixes without “Squashing”
  • Thrust the Bass

    The proprietary Thrust option is the secret to the 2500’s killer kicks and booming basses. Choose one of two ways to decrease low-frequency pumping, while boosting high-frequency compression.

  • Shape Energy with Variable L/R Linking

    A simple stereo link switch isn’t good enough for the 2500. Choose the amount of inter-channel linking, from 50 to 100%—and use highpass, lowpass, or bandpass filtering to exclude certain frequencies from linking.

    Features: Fast and Efficient Operation
  • Analog Character—and More

    Even when bypassed, switch on Analog for true analog sound. Hit the 2500 hard for clipping effects that increase punch without compression—or when compressing, turn up makeup gain for clipping and saturation.

    Features: From Vocals to “The Ringo Drum Sound”
  • Play Nice… or Play Nasty

    Use the soft knee and feedback mode for bus-style compression that glues a mix together, or speed up the attack, use feedforward compression, kick in Thrust, and set a hard knee to fire up a track with drums or bass.

    Features: Multiple Modes Fit Different Material
  • Declare Your Independence

    The left and right channels have independent RMS detectors. This not only supports the API 2500’s innovative linkage feature, but allows unlinking them so compression in one channel isn’t affected by the other’s input.

    Features: Precision Modeled Transformers
  • The API Stamp of Approval

    API’s reputation for quality is one reason why the API 2500 has become such an iconic compressor. To ensure modeling accuracy down to the finest nuance, Waves worked in close collaboration with API.

    Features: Multiple Modes Fit Different Material
  • Premium Presets

    39 presets cover mastering and a wide variety of instruments, with contributions from famed mixers like Steve Lillywhite, Tony Maserati, and Ross Hogarth.

    Features: Precision Modeled Transformers