The RND Model 5051 Inductor EQ and Compressor is now shipping, and represents Rupert’s latest addition to the 5088 mixing system. Comprised of a new inductor EQ circuit with a heritage going back decades, and a compressor with elements from the Portico II: Master Buss Processor, the 5051 can be configured within a 5088 console to deliver exceptional tonal and dynamic control on each channel.
"People have been asking Rupert to design a "classic" style inductor EQ and a Compressor / EQ module since the 5088 came, and the 5051 delivers on both counts. With the low frequency band based on the 1064 module, the mid band based on the 1073 module, and a high frequency band that combines vintage and modern techniques, the 5051 EQ is a classic in its own right." Says RND marketing director Tristan Rhodes.
Traditional transformer coupled inputs and outputs are used for both technical performance reasons and optimum musical reproduction. The primary signal path uses Class A gain blocks; using as few of these as possible to get the job done. The input circuit uses one gain stage, as does the line driver output. The compressor introduces one stage, the EQ introduces two stages, plus one more if the 18 dB / octave high pass filter is engaged. By combining this minimalistic design aesthetics with class-A gain blocks and custom transformers, the 5051 provides the extraordinary performance and musicality expected from a Rupert Neve design.
The EQ certainly invokes similarities sound-wise with some of Rupert’s classic EQ designs from the seventies. The 5051 repeats history in using a custom tapped inductor and carefully selected capacitor values to form the mid range equalizer band. The 5051 also uses inductors for the low and high EQ, with the shelf curves and frequency choices based on Rupert’s vintage designs. While this method may not be as variable as some of Rupert’s designs of the last 20 years, the “old ways” did have a “sound” that has become rather known and sought after. The use of low-feedback, class-A gain blocks in each EQ section are also an important contributor to the overall sound, preventing low level artifacts and harshness from detracting from the tonal shaping. While these elements make the 5051 much like many of Rupert’s vintage designs, the 5051 takes advantage of techniques that were not possible 35 years ago, and should not be considered a clone of his earlier work. Rather, the 5051 is a culmination of Rupert Neve’s years of experience, expertise, and highly discerning ears, giving this unit a strong sense of Mr. Neve’s design heritage.
Both the high and low band can be switched from shelf to peak curves and offer 15 dB of boost or cut. The high band can be switched from 8 kHz to 16 kHz, and the low band can be selected at 35 Hz, 60 Hz, 100 Hz or 220 Hz. The inductor based Mid Band offers 6 center frequencies; 200 Hz, 350 Hz, 700 Hz, 1.5 kHz, 3 kHz and 6 kHz. The Mid Band also has a “Mid Hi Q” switch to narrow the bandwidth (increase the Q) of the filter. The 5051 includes an 18 dB / octave high pass filter with cutoff frequencies on a button that toggles through “OFF, 60 Hz and 120 Hz” indicated by a blue or red LED respectively.
Additionally, the EQ can be switched Pre or Post the compressor. The 5051 also has two XLR balanced inputs that can be selected from the front panel. This allows the user to have both a mic preamplifier and line input from a DAW pre-patched and easily selectable.
The compressor likewise contains some elements of the past, utilizing class A gain blocks, mixed with the gain reduction techniques that have been developed over the years and is similar to the Master Buss Processor. The threshold has a range of -30 dBu to +20 dBu. The ratio can be set from 1.1:1 to 40:1. The attack has a range of 5 ms to 75 ms, and the release is variable from 100 ms to 2.5 s to be set. Make-up gain can be set from -6 dB to +20 dB.
The Compressor allows the user to select either a modern feed-forward topology or the traditional feed-back style of compression. Each has advantages depending on the source and desired sound. The 5051 includes a 12 dB/octave 250Hz high pass filter that can be switched into the compressor side-chain to reduce the chance that loud low frequency material inadvertently affects the gain reduction. There is also a link switch and associated 1/4” phone jacks on the back panel so that multiple 5051’s can be properly used for stereo. The back panel also features a pair of 1/4” phone jacks to patch in your own EQ into the side-chain for de-essing and finessing the compressor response. The 5051 has two 8 segment fast acting accurate LED bar-graph meters to indicate Gain Reduction and Output Level.
Unlike other modules for the 5088, the 5051 requires its own standalone power supply to operate. The power supply features proprietary 4-pin polarized outputs at +24 and -24V DC, and will power up to twenty-five 5051 modules.