A portico, in building terms, suggests a rather grand entrance or doorway. Its form tells you something about what to expect as you enter. The Rupert Neve Designs Portico Series of preamplifiers and analogue audio processors constitute a range of building blocks that may be used independently or in conjunction with one another to provide key elements traditionally included in large format analog consoles.
High-quality consoles can provide a powerful array of audio tools, but your actual choice is limited by decisions the console designer has already made on your behalf – and by the cost of providing a large number of identical (and possibly redundant) modules. The Portico Range presents a means of interconnecting very high quality modules that give you those precise features that you need, when and where they are wanted in the chain, without any such redundancy.
In addition, because of the balanced inputs and outputs, flexible mounting features and independent powering, you can include any of your favorite transformer-coupled, balanced modules in a Portico chain without fear of ground loops or level discrepancies.
The Portico series designs are based on all that is best and most-respected by the many friends in the industry who love the sound of genuine vintage modules.
Extremely high-performance transformers have been developed over the years, and we have returned to discrete single-sided circuits wherever possible. There is, therefore, no possibility of crossover distortion: a particularly obnoxious artifact which the professional ear can detect even in exceedingly small quantities. This is one of the reasons for the very sweet, smooth character of the sound.
Very small quantities of noise and interference can also intrude into an audio path if not dealt with early in the basic design. Portico modules are fully encased in folded steel enclosures; they even have steel front panels behind the heavy-gauge machined front mounting plates. Therefore, the whole module is magnetically shielded.
The top – seen when desk-mounted – is a seamless, powder-coated, wraparound cover, giving a very attractive appearance.
Each module has its own small power supply that ensures independence from anything else in the system. Multiple modules can also be daisy-chained and fed from a single supply. (Working in the field? You can even use a 12 volt car battery!)
Power supplies and accessories are detailed on succeeding pages, or you are invited to consult Rupert Neve Designs with regard to powering a whole system. Each individual Portico module is normally sold with a power unit capable of powering two units.
The 5045 is the one piece of hardware I can’t do a show without. It let’s me eq the mic for how I want it in the mix instead of worrying about feedback. It’s especially game changing when the vocalist is out in front of the mains.
Vincent Casamatta (Maroon 5, Halsey)
The Portico 5017 was a Swiss army knife of audio solutions, making both acoustic and electric guitars sound better. The Compressor and Silk controls were icing on the cake; the Blend feature is perfect for guitarists who know the magic of microphones. A back-mounted button for 48-volt phantom power (for use with condenser mics) is more evidence of the 5017’s handiness.
The RNDI is certainly a class act…a superb DI box that can add its character to the colours of your sonic palette. The RNDI isn’t cheap, but quality never is. Highly recommended.
Bob Thomas (Sound on Sound)
The sound quality is great and you can push the gain really hard and it saturate in a musical way. Good warms, what come out fit almost perfectly on any kind of mix.
Rupert Neve Designs knocked it out of the park with this one. I commend their achievement and thank the design team for such an incredible sound at the very-affordable price of less than $750 a channel.
I’ve had the 542 for 3 weeks now and I love it. I’ve recorded electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, vocals, synth and drum overheads. Everything I track through it needs less processing come mix time, and combines with other instruments better.
She’s a very dynamic singer and there are times when she will be out in front of the main hang and side hang speakers – and that’s something I have to be really careful about, feedback-wise. Since we started using the 5045 I haven’t had a single frequency take off yet.
Absolutely fantastic preamps!
Having purchased a pair of 5032s a couple of months ago, my experience thus far has been rapturous. The beauty and detail of the preamp stage is unrivalled and, in my opinion, considerably more musical than the most flavours of 1073 – vintage or otherwise. The EQ section is a marvel of musicality whether used sparingly or as a carving implement.
We 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.