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John Agnello Relies on API for Andrew W.K.’s Third Release

Recording engineer John Agnello brought his personal rig of API gear to complement the vintage Neve console at Water Music Studios in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Solo artist Andrew W.K. is currently readying his third full-length album release, which is not yet titled. W.K. and his co-producer, Don Fleming, hired seasoned engineer/mixer John Agnello (pictured) to help them complete the album. “It’s an interesting record,” Agnello says. “Don and Andrew were looking for a very stylized sound. It’s a lot like a Queen production, even like a Jim Steinman/Meatloaf thing. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but frequency-wise, [it’s] very narrow sounding.”

Agnello recorded and mixed ten songs for the project. “There are sometimes nearly 70 tracks on these songs,” reveals Agnello. “With that many tracks, you can’t hear everything all of the time. I had to have a blueprint of what should be heard where, and how to EQ things differently, but I needed to keep it in the same narrow range that Andrew wanted to hear. I basically had to rethink most of the ways I regularly do things.”

Working at Water Music Recorders in New Jersey, Agnello manned the studio’s Neve 8088 console. Agnello’s personal rig consists of four API 512B microphone preamps, four API 560B 10-band graphic equalizers and two API 550B discrete 4-band equalizers. “I bought [the API modules] in 1988 and they’ve given me my drum sound forever. I usually double-mike the bass and snare drums, so both sides have a 512B and 560B running to the console, multed to the same tracks.”

For W.K.’s vocal tracks, Agnello crafted a signal path using two of his favorite API components coupled with a classic microphone and classic limiter. “We got a sound that Andrew took to the B room,” he explains. “Then while I mixed, they were overdubbing. It was my old Neumann U48 through my 512B, 550B, a Teletronix LA-2A and right to the input of Pro Tools HD using the output of the LA-2A for gain.”

Other favorite outboard gear used by Agnello for the project included Daking microphone preamps on guitars and an API 3124 4-channel microphone preamp. “The 3124 is great because it has the mixer out,” Agnello says. “I can run my toms through it and comp them down to two tracks. I would also use them for overheads.”

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