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Review: Audio Precision APx555 Audio Test System

The APx555 incorporates the sum of Audio Precision’s substantial experience.

Bench Mode, Bench Mode, Bench Mode! Yeah, I’m supposed to be impressed by the Audio Precision APx555’s best-in-class analog measurement and signal generation performance (and I am); by the range of possible interfaces and signal types that can be employed for testing (and I am); by the easy set up of test procedures for rapid testing of frequently inspected devices and for manufacturing quality control testing (and I am); but as an only-modestly-reformed shop geek and longtime user of the APx series’ predecessors, the bench mode felt like home. That is, if you can imagine coming home and finding that your familiar domicile has been given a first-class extreme makeover that exactly suits your tastes, needs and lifestyle. As a longtime AP Cascade owner and user, diving into the APx555 and the latest APx software is just like that—instantly familiar and comfortable, yet at the same time completely refreshed and reimagined, rebuilt for speed and efficiency, with a heavy dose of outright elegance.

Bench Mode harkens back to the familiar AP software interface from pre-APx versions, home for many of my tech brethren. In the older software, the screen was pretty drab and busy, but with a ton of information in a single location. The first iterations of the APx software were more focused on the Sequence Mode automated testing and advanced reporting options than a shop tech’s need for direct and manual control. Now, both approaches are easily accessible with fresh graphics. You don’t have to be a geek to run sophisticated tests with APx, but you can geek out if that’s your style.

As you might expect with a flagship product, the APx555 incorporates the sum of Audio Precision’s substantial experience. The residual THD+N specs are 5 dB better than AP’s 2700 series at -120 dB, bandwidth is 1 MHz and FFT’s can measure 1.2 million points at 24-bit resolution. The impressive litany goes on, including the broad list of standard and optional I/O—Serial, HDMI, Bluetooth, PDM (think DSD if unfamiliar)—and more. AP does an exceptional job of helping its customers address fast changing needs.

The APx555 is an expensive system ($28,300 base, with up-options including advanced master clock). If you need it or want it, you probably already know about it. I’m happy to have had the opportunity to drive it, like getting to drive a fine sports car. The APx555 is heartily endorsed.