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New Music Gear Monday: Pulsar Modular P455 Sidecar/450 EQ API Emulation Bundle

Anyone who’s ever spent time on an API console knows that it’s the sound of American Classic Rock. Many plugin emulations that have attempted to simulate the sound have come close but have always been missing something, but the P455 MDN Sidecar and P450 MDN EQ plugins from Pulsar Modular strives to bring the depth, width and punch that other emulations miss.

Pulsar Modular P455 Sidecar plugin

The P455 MDN Sidecar and P450 MDN EQ plugins are a collaboration between Pulsar Modular’s Ziad Sidawi and Grammy-winning producer Marc Daniel Nelson coming together in an effort to emulate Marc’s 8 channel API bucket from the original console at the famous Record Plant Sausalito. The console was used on a number of legendary albums by Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Prince and many more, and had what many think as the perfect example of the vintage API sound.

The Sidecar

From that came the P455 MDN Sidecar plugin, which can be used as a 2 or 8 channel summing amp, featuring an API-style EQ and a stereo compressor. Besides these more or less standard sections, there are some interesting features that are easy to overlook. There’s a Headroom control that allows you to drive the Sidecar harder to simulate transformer saturation, and a number of switches at the top, including The Hammer (program and frequency range dependent intensity boost), Stage Focus (affects soundstage positioning), and Analog Variance, which we’ll get to in a little bit.

There’s also a section labeled “The Dog Pound” which emulates a pair of Analog-to-Digital Converters followed by a pair of tube, transformer and inductor-soaked line amps. One carries a tight and punchy sound while the other is more open and wide. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a function like this on a plugin.

The EQ

The P450 EQ plugin is an emulation of an API 550B 4 band stepped EQ. This has all the whistles and bells of the original hardware unit and more, but a unique feature is Analog Variance. On a real analog hardware desk, each channel will sound slightly different due to random fluctuations from various
factors such as electrical interference, thermal noise, component imperfections and environmental conditions. Many engineers feel that these variations are what really determines the difference between an analog and digital sound. You can find out for yourself thanks to this selection.

The P455 Sidecar and P450 EQ bundle costs $225 and has a 15 day full-use demo for 2 computers. It’s available for Mac (including Apple Silicon) and Windows in all plugin formats.

You can find out more here, or watch the video below.

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