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electronic MUSICIAN

AES 2010: Rupert Neve Designs Portico 517

November 18, 2010

The Portico 517 pre/DI/comp module (for the 500 Series) is based on the Portico 5017 Mobile Pre and offers a transformer-coupled preamp, compressor and DI circuitry, with vari-phase, silk and DI/mic-blending capabilities.

The 517 provides a versatile feature set capable of functioning in many different capacities. The same engineer could use a 517 as an inexpensive means to add new high-end analog mic amplification, instrument amplification, vari-phase adjustment and compression to his/her studio while also using the 517's DI/preamp blending functionality.

With ultra-low distortion, exceptional bandwidth and the flexibility of Silk, the 5017's amplifiers can reproduce and enhance every detail captured by a microphone or instrument.

Based around a new LDR (light-dependent resister) design, the 517's opto-coupler compressor has been simplified to a single threshold control with auto-make-up gain and a fixed 2:1 ratio. To set the compressor, simply dial the threshold control down until the desired amount of compression is achieved. A built-in LED indicates when the compressor is active.

As a single-channel device for instruments, the 517 can be used to phase align, combine and compress direct and amplified signals. To achieve this, the instrument's direct signal is sent to the DI input and the speaker cabinet signal via the mic preamp input. The Blend control is used for mixing direct and amplified signals to achieve the desired tonal blend between the two sources, and the vari-phase control is used to minimize or attenuate phase cancellations between the two signals. The compressor can be applied to both channels. This technique could also be used to create a single, mixed output of a guitar and vocals or any other pair of sources.

Price: $950 U.S. list.

Find out more about the 517.

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