50 years ago, in a converted rectory in Little Shelford, England, Mr. Rupert Neve crafted a series of preamplifier and EQ designs that revolutionized the sound of recorded music. Now residing in Wimberley, Texas, Rupert and his team of engineers have painstakingly combined the very best of these classics with contemporary concepts and components to create the high-voltage Shelford Series of modules.
At this year’s AES conference in New York, Rupert Neve Designs is proud to announce the Shelford Series: the 5052 Mic Pre / Inductor EQ, and the updated 5051 Inductor EQ / Compressor. The Shelford 5052 echoes the simple and definitive 1073 feature set with a vertically-oriented mic pre, high pass filter, and 3-band inductor EQ, while also incorporating modern capabilities like the variable Silk / Texture control from the Portico II Series and simultaneous pre / post “tape” operation. Utilizing class-A, discrete, +/- 24V topologies with custom-wound transformers and inductors, Rupert Neve designed the 5052 as a vintage-style channel strip that captures the soul of his classic designs, without the compromises.
Like Rupert’s designs from his time in Shelford, the 5052 preamplifier has 72dB of discrete, class-A gain coupled with serious square-core transformers. Unlike the classics however, the output transformer features the Silk Red / Blue and Texture controls from the Portico II Series to hone the harmonic content and tonality of the output stage. By engaging these controls and sufficiently driving the output, the 5052 can produce up to 4-5% THD (primarily 2nd order, some 3rd order), bringing a richness and thickness to tracks when desired with no danger of overloading the output stage. With Silk disengaged, the output is modern and pristine, yet still retains Rupert’s signature larger-than-life transformer sound. The mic pre section also includes a sweepable 20-250Hz high-pass filter, Mic / Line selection, 48V phantom power, and polarity reverse.
Following the preamplifier, the 5052 has a transformer-coupled output, which allows the 5052 to feed a tape machine or DAW directly from the mic pre while still using the EQ and Silk / Texture in a dedicated analogue mix path such as that found with a 5088, 5060 or vintage console. This output can also be used to insert a separate compressor between the mic pre and the EQ, or it can allow the 5052 to work with two separate sources. When the “TO EQ” button is engaged, the mic pre signal is routed directly into the EQ such that the mic / line input signal flows through to the main output as a single channel strip.
The 3-band, custom-tapped inductor EQ on the 5052 was inspired by RND’s favorite portions of Rupert’s vintage EQ designs. The low frequency band is primarily based on the 1064, which is renowned for its creamy, resonant bass. Unlike the 1064 however, the LF band on the 5052 can be used as either a shelf or a peak filter, adding punch, dimension, and immense control to your low end. The 5052’s inductor midrange band is based on his prized 1073 EQ, which is ideal for sweetening vocals and instruments while bringing them forward in a mix. Additionally, the mid frequency band’s proportional “Q” response makes it well-suited for minimizing problematic frequencies in a source. The 5052’s high frequency band is a hybrid vintage / modern design, blending inductor circuitry from the 1073 with capacitor-based topologies to achieve the vintage tones with enhanced control. As Rupert originally intended with his most prized classic designs, each EQ section uses low-feedback, class-A discrete electronics to prevent low-level artifacts and harshness from detracting from the tonal shaping. The EQ circuit itself, however, is a decidedly modern updated design using techniques and components that were simply not available 35 years ago, and should not be considered a "clone".
The 5052 receives +/- 24V rails from an external DC power supply using a 4-pin connection. There are currently two options available: the RND 5-way brick supply and the RND 25-way 2U rack-mount supply. The back panel of the 5052 includes three XLR-F connections for Mic In, Line In, and EQ In, and two XLR-M connections for Mic Out and Main Out. The 5052 chassis is a “half-rack” format, and can be mounted in RND’s new 2 –way vertical rack in addition to the existing 9-way racks and the 5088 penthouse.
With the announcement of the Shelford Series, Rupert Neve Designs has also re-released the 5051 Inductor EQ / Compressor for use outside of the 5088 console. The 5051 is a mix engineer’s dream, featuring the same high voltage line driver and EQ topologies as the 5052, while also incorporating a linkable VCA compressor similar to that found in the acclaimed Portico II Master Buss Processor. The 5051 is available in the same vertical format as the 5052, and can share the same 5-way or 25-way power supply with 5052 modules. Both the Shelford 5051 and 5052 will be shipping in November 2013 with a retail price of $2,495 each. Power supplies will retail for $749 (5-way) and $2,495 (25-way).
About Rupert Neve Designs: Founded by Rupert and Evelyn Neve, Rupert Neve Designs is built on passion, experience and a desire to create 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 solutions to the issues facing the modern recording engineer.