A chance encounter on the internet has producer, engineer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Greg Wells very excited. No, he hasn’t been hanging around in chat rooms, he’s discovered the Portico(tm) range of half rack-space signal processors designed by Mr. Rupert Neve, purchasing six and now eyeing more.
"I just randomly came across the Portico 5042 tape emulation box online," explains Wells, a multi-instrumentalist whose cozy recording facility features a classic Neve console—a 5114—and is jam-packed with vintage gear and instruments of all descriptions. "I have had a lot of tape machines in here. But I don’t do it any more."
Attracted by an introductory online price, Wells took a gamble and ordered the two-channel 5042. His first opportunity to use it was on a session with a talented young engineer named Joe Zook for a rock band on Columbia Records. "We both checked the 5042 out and were prepared to put it right back in the box and send it back. But we were completely gobsmacked; we were blown away. Now Joe owns one and I own one—I can’t live without it."
But the Portico 5042 is more than just a tape emulator, notes Wells, who has worked with an eclectic list of artists, including Rufus Wainwright, Deftones, Pink, Jesse McCartney, Otep, Paris Hilton and Louise Goffin. "Joe was so into the 5042 that he started to use it as a line amp for bass and, I think, guitars, and maybe even vocals. Then, when we were doing rough mixes we put it across the stereo buss. We just loved it. It’s really a very musical box."
The discovery sent Wells back to Rupert Neve Designs for more. "They’d been telling me about the 5043 compressor/limiter for months, and I was jonesing to buy it. Then I got a call saying it’s ready. Now there are five of them here."
He reports, "The 5043 compressor is equally as musical as the 5042, if not more so. I literally use it on everything. It’s become my 2-buss compressor. It has that magic, gushy, Neve sound that one hopes for. And in feedback mode, when it emulates the vintage units, it’s ridiculous. It’s basically the best sounding 33609 I’ve heard."
The Portico 5043 offers switchable feed-back or feed-forward operation. In feed-back mode, it replicates the sweeter, more musical performance of Mr. Rupert Neve’s classic and highly revered designs. Feed-forward mode presents a more contemporary sound with greater accuracy of operation.
Wells is now auditioning the Portico 5012 dual-channel mic preamp. "I’m using it on electric guitar right now. It sounds great. I’ve no idea what’s in the drinking water where they’re making this stuff, but God bless them!"
A child prodigy on drums and piano, Wells studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto before moving to Los Angeles at the age of 21 to study with Prince’s string arranger, Claire Fischer, and pianist Terry Trotter. An invitation in the mid-1990s from Miles Copeland for Wells to write with Carole King and Mark Hudson resulted in "The Reason," which was recorded by Celine Dion and produced by Sir George Martin, and was a top 5 hit in Europe with the CD selling over 30 million copies worldwide. Wells regularly works with a wide range of artists, from indie to pop to metal.
Owned by Rupert and Evelyn Neve, Rupert Neve Designs, Inc. was founded on passion, experience and a desire to build products embodying the highest musical quality. In continuing his legacy as a pioneer in audio circuit design, Mr. Rupert Neve is currently focusing his talents on creating innovative analog solutions to the issues facing the modern recording engineer.
Tel: (323) 665-2455
Rupert Neve Designs Inc.
PO Box 1969
Wimberley, TX 78676
Tel: (512) 847-3013
Fax: (512) 847-8869