The Rupert Neve Portico 5014 Stereo Field Editor introduces an innovative application of well-known techniques that redefines the boundaries and limitations of traditional 2-channel stereo recording and playback. Operating entirely in the analogue domain, the Portico 5014 uses discrete component circuits, comprising a variable sum and difference network with level and phase controls, together with other key features, to affect stereo sources.
Intended for recording, mixing and mastering applications, the Portico 5014 differentiates between near field (direct) and far field (ambient) sources and allows the manipulation of the relationship between mono panned images and stereo ambience through the use of width, depth and phase controls. Source material may be further manipulated by inserting external EQ or dynamics processing into the difference channel or by engaging the simple onboard mid-band EQ.
Designed with the same half-rack dimensions as the rest of the Portico range, available in horizontal or vertical formats, and utilizing Mr. Rupert Neve’s custom transformer designs, the 5014 is a unique addition to the modern engineer’s palette that brings dimension and life to any recording.
When the width circuit is engaged, the stereo signal is split into a sum and difference network, allowing the width, depth, insert and EQ controls to be used. The width control enables the user to increase or decrease the width of a stereo image (wide/mono) and adjust the amount of ambience inherent in the recording. As the width control is rotated toward wide, the amount of difference material is boosted, thus altering the signal that the depth, insert and EQ affect. Conversely, the stereo field is contracted when rotated to mono, and, if the left and right channels are highly coherent (i.e. both channels include closely similar material that is in phase), this mono content is enhanced. If the phase of one of the input channels is then reversed the mono content may be virtually eliminated. Because the amount of effect the width control has is entirely dependent on the amount of stereo information in the original source material and the interplay between the 5014’s other controls, listening and experimentation are essential for the best results.
The depth control of the 5014 adjusts the spatial positioning of elements in the sound stage. A solo instrument or vocal can be placed up front in a mix and supporting instruments can be pushed back, for example. In many cases, a center-panned vocalist can be placed forward in a mix or virtually eliminated without adversely affecting the music bed. Used in conjunction, the depth and width controls effectively alter the perceived room ambience and dimension.
Difference Channel Insert
The difference channel insert and EQ offer new opportunities to manipulate stereo signals. In mastering use, lead vocals can be brought up or down in a mix, excessively sibilant overheads can be controlled, and mixes formerly considered beyond repair can be saved. By inserting effects such as reverb, additional EQ, compression, or expansion into the difference channel new creative options for altering ambience and adding movement to the stereo image are available.
Difference Channel EQ
The difference channel includes a semi-parametric EQ with frequencies ranging from 120Hz to 2.4KHz and two selectable Qs that only affect material panned out of center. This can be very useful for eliminating room resonance or adding sparkle to ambient material.