The 550b is a 500 series based on API's original 550 from the late 1960s, with an additional filter band and several new frequencies.
Rather than offer a huge assortment of complex features, the API 550b provides exactly the right number of controls. Its four EQ bands are overlapped significantly to aid in dual roles as problem solver and sweetening device with each band offering seven switchable filter frequencies that span four-to-five octaves. These frequencies, purposely selected to be musical rather than numeric, were selected by an experienced "who's who" list of the industry's most proficient engineers.
Making use of API's "Proportional Q," an innovation designed by Saul Walker in the '60s, the 550b intuitively widens the filter bandwidth at minimal settings and narrows it at higher settings without the need for additional bandwidth controls. This unique feature minimizes the "phase-shift" sound found in many equalizers. In addition, the reciprocal nature of the 550b enables the user to "undo" what has been done previously with exact precision.
The benefits of the API 550b are most obvious to those who work with EQ on a continuous basis. If major tonal restructuring is required, the extraordinary headroom made possible with API's 2520 Op Amp offers the predictable and warm analog performance, even under duress. With a surprisingly wide range of tonal variations, the 550b is an invaluable and professional audio tool with great flexibility and excellent sonic ability.