500 Series DI/Pre/Comp with Variphase
Based on the Portico 5017 Mobile Pre, the 517 provides world-class transformer-coupled micpreamp, compressor and DI circuitry with Vari-phase, “Silk” and DI/mic blending capabilities – all in a single 500 series module.
Mic Pre and Instrument Amplifier
The 517′s mic pre – based on the TEC Award-winning Portico 5017 – provides up to 66dB of gain, polarity-reverse and phantom power switches, and the “Silk” circuit for a more vintage vibe. The separate instrument amplifier includes 30dB of gain, a ground lift, variable phase and an instrument Thru connection.
Used 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, use the DI for the instrument’s direct signal and the mic preamp for the speaker cabinet signal. The blend control is used for mixing direct and amplified signals to achieve the desired tonal blend between the two sources, and the variphase is used to minimize or extenuate phase cancellations between the two signals. To compress the blended signal, the internal compressor jumper must be set to the blend path (this is the default setting). This technique could also be used to create a single, mixed output of a guitar and vocals.
Based around a new LDR (light dependent resistor) design, the 517′s opto-coupler compressor has been simplified to a single threshold control with auto make up gain. By default, the compressor is set to a fixed 2:1 ratio with fixed attack and release. To set the compressor, simply dial the threshold control down until the desired amount of compression is achieved. An LED light indicates when the compressor is active.
In addition to the standard polarity reverse, the 517′s vari-phase control may be used to adjust phase incrementally. This control is useful any time two signals derived from the same source are combined.
For instance, even with careful placement, the combination of close miced drums and overheads, can often yield hollow-sounding results. By using the variable phase adjust, the direct signal can be phase rotated until the signals are naturally aligned.
This technique is also extremely useful when combined with the internal blend control on instruments. A bassist or guitarist using both direct and mic’d signals can blend the two into a single output, using the variable phase to reach an optimal alignment. By adjusting the phase in the 517, the musician or engineer can find the absolute best mic position without regard to the phase relation to the direct signal.
Much could be written about this feature. Suffice it to say, it gives a subtle option to enhance sound quality in the direction of vintage modules. The silk button reduces negative feedback and adjusts the frequency spectrum to provide a very sweet and musical performance.
Mic gain is from 0dB to 66dB overall gain.
DI Gain is from 0dB to 30dB.
Balanced or unbalanced Hi-Z input for instruments.
Provides 48v phantom power to microphones. Controlled by the 48V switch.
Reverses the polarity of the mic input.
When signals exceed the "threshold" level, the gain is reduced at a controlled 2:1 ratio, with fixed attack and release time constants.
Indicators on the 517 denote signal presence and clipping on both DI and mic signals, as well as compressor activation.