Based on the Portico 5017 Mobile Pre, the Rupert Neve Designs Portico 517
provides world class, transformer-coupled preamp, compressor and DI
circuitry, with Vari-phase, Silk and DI/mic blending capabilities in a
500 series model. As the first 500 series module designed by Mr. Rupert
Neve, the 517 incorporates outstanding sonic quality with an
indispensable feature set.
Mic Pre and Instrument Amplifier
The 517′s mic pre includes 66dB gain, and is based on the Portico 5017
design. The mic pre also incorporates a polarity reverse switch and
phantom power. The separate instrument amplifier includes 30dB of gain, a
ground lift, variable phase and an instrument Thru connection.
Used as a single channel device for instruments, the 517 can be used to
phase align, combine and compress direct and amplified signals. To
achieve this, use the DI for the instrument’s direct signal and the mic
preamp for the speaker cabinet signal. The blend control is used for
mixing direct and amplified signals to achieve the desired tonal blend
between the two sources, and the variphase is used to minimize or
extenuate phase cancellations between the two signals. To compress the
blended signal, the internal compressor jumper must be set to the blend
path (this is the default setting). This technique could also be used to
create a single, mixed output of a guitar and vocals.
Based around a new LDR (light dependent resister) design, the 517′s
opto-coupler compressor has been simplified to a single threshold
control with auto make up gain. By default, the compressor is set to a
fixed 2:1 ratio with fixed attack and release. To set the compressor,
simply dial the threshold control down until the desired amount of
compression is achieved. An LED light indicates when the compressor is
In addition to the standard polarity reverse, the 517′s vari-phase
control may be used to adjust phase incrementally. This control is
useful any time two signals derived from the same source are combined.
For instance, even with careful placement, the combination of close
miced drums and overheads, can often yield hollow sounding results. By
using the variable phase adjust, the direct signal can be phase rotated
until the signals are naturally aligned.
This technique is also extremely useful when combined with the internal
blend control on instruments. A bassist, using both direct and miced
signals can blend the two into a single output, using the vari-phase to
reach an optimal alignment. By adjusting the phase in the 517, the
musician or engineer can find the absolute best mic position without
regard to the phase relation to the direct signal.
Much could be written about this feature, suffice to say, that it gives a
subtle option to enhance sound quality in the direction of vintage
modules. The silk button reduces negative feedback and adjusts the
frequency spectrum to provide a very sweet and musical performance. We
suggest you try it and make your own judgment.
Mic gain is from 0dB to 66dB. Overall gain to restore the apparent program level
DI Gain is from 0dB to 30dB
Balanced or unbalanced Hi-Z input for instruments
Provides 48v phantom power to microphones. Controlled by the 48V switch.
Reverses the polarity of the mic input
When signals exceed the "threshold" level, the gain is reduced at a
controlled 2:1 ratio, with fixed attack and release time constants.
Indicators on the 517 denote signal presence and clipping on both DI and mic signals, as well as compressor activation.