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Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 Duo Mic Preamp

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Quick Overview

The Portico™ 5012 is a dual channel mic pre featuring Mr. Rupert Neve’s custom input and output transformer designs. In addition to individually selectable phase, mute, phantom pow...

The Portico™ 5012 is a dual channel mic pre featuring Mr. Rupert Neve’s custom input and output transformer designs. In addition to individually selectable phase, mute, phantom power and a fully sweepable high pass filter, the 5012 incorporates a ‘Silk’ circuit which yields the rich warmth and presence of the renowned classic designs.


A complete discussion on transformers is out of place at this point but a technical discussion will be posted at a later date. Here it is helpful to review some of the essentials where it will be seen that a design needs to be viewed as a whole, not simply from the point of view of a single component.

The fine subtleties of circuit design relating to sonic performance are gradually becoming more clearly understood. For example, research has shown conclusively that frequencies above 20 kHz affect the way in which humans perceive sound quality. But, long before scientific evidence emerged a substantial body of musicians and engineers knew that equipment with apparently the same technical measurements could sound very different.

Incredibly small amounts of musically dissonant odd harmonics have a disastrous effect on the sound quality. Extraneous noise or interference that finds its way into a signal path seriously impairs performance of the whole chain.

Many control rooms make use of outboard gear that is not well protected from external signals. Poor grounding of such equipment can be a serious problem. “Electronically balanced” circuits much used in modern equipment, can give very good measurements on the test bench but they do not provide adequate rejection of the stray fields found in every working environment.

Input and output circuits must be freed from ground dependence so that only the “wanted” signal enters and leaves the processing path. Transformers are the ideal solution. The sweet and silky sound of my classic old favorite consoles was achieved with big transistors and large high quality transformers. Rupert Neve Designs Portico™ modules achieve similar quality today without the bulk or the cost.


What is “Class A”? It’s not just an expression of “goodness” that has been used carelessly to describe every kind of amplifier from consumer electronics to Pro Audio. Class A is actually a mode of operation in which the supply current to the amplifying device does not vary as a function of the amplitude of the signal being amplified.

Efficiency of Class A amplifiers is low, but the wonderful sound of my old consoles was achieved with single sided pure Class A amplifiers. In those days console features, facilities, tracks, Aux's etc. were far fewer and we could pack these large, heat generating circuits into the module.

The ever increasing complexity of modern Sound Control Consoles led to the widespread use of Integrated Circuits (I.C.s) to save space and achieve better efficiency. I.C.s are almost all push-pull amplifiers that have some residual crossover distortion. Some have very low distortion but even when this is well below the noise level, it can influence the sound we hear.

Humans can detect incredibly small values of this type of high order distortion. It’s not heard as such but causes emotional feelings of dissatisfaction and fatigue. The only way to totally eliminate crossover distortion is to use a Class A single sided amplifier. This can only be achieved using discrete components. The efficiency is low but the sonic advantage has been proven over many years.

Portico™ modules are very carefully configured to be as simple as possible, but sonic integrity has been given the highest priority. The low efficiency of these discrete circuits is reflected by the high supply current required by Portico™ modules!


A single Rupert Neve Designs 5012 comes with a Power Adaptor (Model # 5100-PS) that will work from virtually any public Mains supply world-wide. The Power Adaptor is designed to power up to two modules. A U.S. type power cord is also supplied when ordered direct from Rupert Neve Designs. A different power cord would be supplied if ordered from an overseas distributor or if specified at the time of ordering.

When two 5012 modules are ordered together, a Horizontal Joining Kit (Model # 5221-RM) and a Y-Splitter Cable (Model # 5122-YC) will be supplied free of charge. For quantities greater than two, please consult Technical Sales for the best way to mount and power multiple Portico™ modules. Many powering options are available. Portico™ modules actually require any external DC supply from 9 volts to 18 volts.

Modules can be daisy-chained so that, for example, a group of Portico™ 5012's in a flight case could work for many hours off a 12-volt car battery without any limitations of performance - ideal for field work.

The Rupert Neve Designs PORTICO™ Series of modules (5000 Series) is designed to form an integrated modular console system that may include modules already on hand in the control room! These may include high quality vintage modules and their modern equivalents manufactured to my original specifications.

In order that modules can work together as would be expected (i.e. in a proprietary console configuration) without producing hum, R.F. interference, or other interactions, the connecting interfaces, grounding, levels and impedances must receive careful attention. Each Portico™ module is a complete integral signal processor that delivers its specified performance independently. This is one of the reasons we use transformers.