The Rupert Neve Designs Portico II Channel Module is a 2U channel strip consisting of fully featured microphone preamplifier, a 4-band EQ, a compressor-limiter, and offers texture control and level metering. This module also includes a bevy of new features such as Variable Silk / Silk+ Texture control, a fully tunable De-Esser, multiple VCA filtering and detection options, a transient-optimized swept HPF and parallel compression blending. With its simple yet powerful topologies and extensive feature set, every element of the Portico II Channel Module is geared towards empowering recording artists to realize their visions.
The front panel of this unit is machined from a solid 0.2” aluminum plate with a steel sub panel behind it. The unit uses +36 and -36V power supply rails. The signal path has many similar circuits. Amplification is handled with discrete (individual transistors) operational amplifiers (gain blocks). These discrete circuits are in the tradition of Rupert’s original circuits used in recording consoles from the 70’s and in many ways sound similar; however, there are refinements in noise, slew rate, dynamic range, and particularly, avoidance of unpleasant high frequency distortion artifacts. These gain stages are married to custom-designed input and output transformers.
While combining the three modules into the Portico II Channel Module, a few more features were also added in the internal routing like the HPF to Side-Chain, and the EQ / Compressor order selection. In this case, the sum is obviously greater than the individual parts; you get 3 powerful and versatile boutique processors that have evolved into this channel module.
The Portico II unit has a high-quality, low noise switching power supply that is further filtered and shunt regulated for a quiet and reliable power source for audio circuits. The power supply is considered universal in the sense that it will accept 100 to 240VAC voltage and complies with standard mains voltages around the world.
- Three Sources
- Input signals may be derived from any of three sources: Microphone, Line, or DI. The microphone input has a 10 kΩ non-reactive input resistance that handles a full 26 dBu signal without the need for a pad
- Gain Control
- A primary gain control provides 66 dB of gain in 6 dB increments for easy recall with a ±6 dB trim for fine adjustment. A transient-optimized HPF continuously covering the range from 20 to 250 Hz is included. In addition, a 48V Phantom Power switch, Phase Inversion, Signal Present indicator, and mute switch are included
- TLA Non-Reactive Design
- Precludes the loading of microphones with limited driving capability and maintains a 2 dB noise figure over a wide range
- Inserting a plug into the DI input selects a 3 MΩ discrete FET DI circuit that includes the transformer-coupled pristine topography, which optimizes both microphone and DI inputs, allowing low impedance microphones and high impedance sources like electric guitars and basses to deliver their optimum performance
- Gain and Trim Controls
- Primary gain and trim controls are fully operational. A thru jack on the front panel that duplicates the unaffected source signal allows the use of an external amplifier if required. A line switch selects the independent line XLR non-reactive input circuit that includes the HPF and level trim controls
- Harmonic Adjustments
- Adjusts the actual amount of harmonic music content from the source material, in effect, providing multiple tonal options in one device
- Texture Modes
- The texture section features distinct modes, controlled by a potentiometer from barely audible to dramatic. The musical integrity of the source material itself will not be compromised by these harmonic controls. They can be confidently modified to fit the personality of any song, instrument, or engineer
- Silk+ Mode
- The Silk mode works by reducing negative feedback on the output transformer and adjusting the frequency response. The Silk+ mode pushes this technique still further, achieving a more harmonically rich sound
- Continuously Variable Control
- Continuously variable control for Silk and Silk+ modes allows the engineer to fine tune the harmonic ratio and tonality of the channel.
- The EQ topologies in the 4-Band Equalizer of the channel combine the sound of several classic designs, but are also capable of extremely fine surgical adjustments as well as dramatic boosts or cuts
- Signal Processing Chain
- By default, the EQ section follows the mic preamplifier and HPF, and precedes the compressor, but this sequence may be reversed by engaging the Post Comp switch
- Low Shelf
- The Low Shelf has an independent engage switch, Classic Peak/ Accelerated Shelf selection, with ±12dB level adjustment, and selectable turnover frequencies of 35, 60, 100, and 220 Hz with in / out and peak / shelf modes.
- Parametric LMF and HMF
- The Fully Parametric LMF and HMF bands have a joint engage switch, providing ±12 dB level adjustment, continuously variable Q from 0.7 to 5 and continuously variable frequency ranges from 70 to 1.4 kHz and 700 Hz to 14 kHz. In addition to its standard capabilities, the HMF band can also be used to precisely tune a new De-Esser circuit
- The De-Esser can be varied from off to full effect, and uses the frequency and Q controls to tame harsh sibilance in vocals and instruments with an independent high-mid limiter. Even when the De-Esser is on, the EQ level may still be used.
- High Shelf Controls
- The High Frequency shelf has independent engage switch, Classic Peak/ Accelerated Shelf selection, ±12 dB level adjustment, and selectable turnover frequencies of 4.7, 6.8, 12, and 25 kHz. When two Portico II Channel Modules are used side by side, the EQ section can also excel at stereo material
- Feed-Forward / Feed-Back Modes
- Provides flexible Feed-Forward / Feed-Back modes, either providing a transparent modern response (FF) or a smoother more musical vintage response (FB)
- Along with FF/FB modes, there are also 1:1 to 40:1 ratio controls and threshold from -30 to +20 dBu, together with Attack from 20 to 75 ms (0.1 ms in Peak mode), Release from 100ms to 2.5s, and Makeup gain from 0 to 20 dB with a Stereo Link.
- HPF to SC
- Inserts the High Pass Filter into the side chain to deal with intense low frequencies that may skew the response of the VCA with certain songs and instruments.
- Peak Switch
- Alters the compressor's attack to react to transients with a roughly 0.1 ms response time. When peak is disengaged, the compressor responds to the RMS signal in conjunction with the attack and release settings
- Mix Compressed and Dry Signal
- Works by creating a parallel mix between the compressed and dry signals. By mixing the compressed and dry signals, it is possible to increase the volume of quieter elements in the source material (for instance, delicate snare brushing on a track with much louder hits), while maintaining a natural dynamic feel for the louder elements
- Insert Send and Return
- To further control the side chain, there is also an insert send and return that may be paired with an external EQ or other filters for additional manipulation. The return may also be used as a Key input for ducking one signal under another (for instance, a voice-over keying the compressor to duck a background music track)
- Link Button
- Allows you to connect one Portico II unit to another Portico II link jack and engaging the Link buttons, the compressor section may be used for stereo material
- Line Input
- Provides selectable +4 balanced input transformer-balanced line level input with ±6 dB trim control
- EQ Master Switch
- Engages the EQ section with pre- or post-compressor selection
- Adjusts the HMF frequency and Q controls (EQ adjustments may be made simultaneously with EQ level control).
- LMF EQ:
- Provides ±15 dB of gain from 70 to 1,400 Hz with continuously variable Q from 0.7 to 5.0.
- Direct Input
- Provides Transformer-coupled input for Hi-Z instruments with passive 1/4" thru circuit
- Microphone Preamp
- Offers 66 dB of gain utilizing discrete op-amp and custom transformer coupled inputs with selectable phase, mute, and +48V switching
- High Pass Filter:
- Provides continuously variable from 20 to 250 Hz at 12 dB/octane, with a send to the compressor side-chain
- HMF EQ
- Provides ±15 dB gain from 0.7 to 14 kHz with continuously variable Q from 0.7 to 5.0.
- AC Input:
- Offers IEC input jack for 100 to 240VAC.
- Offers a parallel matrix providing continuously variable control to mix compressed and uncompressed signals
- Offers fully featured classic compressor-limiter with attack, release, threshold, ratio, link, compression mode, parallel blend, make-up gain, HPF side-chain, and master engage
- LED Metering:
- Features Dual 16-point peak meters display compressor gain reduction and output levels.
- HF EQ
- Provides ±15 dB gain selectable at 4.7, 6.8, 12, and 25 kHz, with in / out and peak / shelf modes.
- Changes the VCA detection from a forward feed design (faster, more accurate attack & release) to return feed (smoother, more musical and vintage response)
- Joins multiple Portico compressors VCA signals
- Line Output
- Provides transformer-coupled, fully balanced and floating output signals up to +25 dBu (1 = GND 2 = Hot 3 = Cold)
- Mic In
- Handles signals up to +25 dBu (1 = GND 2 = Hot 3 = Cold).
- Side Chain
- Affects the compressor VCA and the return may also be used for a key input
- Transformer-Balanced Input
- Handles signals up to +25 dBu (1 = GND 2 = Hot 3 = Cold)
- Phase Invert
- Reverses the polarity of the signal
- LF EQ
- Provides ±15 dB adjustment at 35, 60, 100, and 220 Hz, independent LF engage, selectable classic bell or accelerated shelf curves
- All EQ In
- Enables all EQ bands (Individual bands must still be engaged)
- Comp In
- Engages the compressor section
- RMS / Peak
- Overrides the attack setting using a combination of peak and RMS detection set below 1 ms
- Side Chain Send/Return
- External compressor side chain send and return on 2 x TRS jacks; the send is always active and normalled to the return
- Provides dual 16 point peak meters for display compressor (not de-esser) gain reduction and output levels
|Frequency Response||-3 dB @ 2 Hz
-3 dB @ 160 kHz
|Noise||Measured at Main Output, Unweighted: 22 Hz to 22 kHz, terminated 150 Ω
With Gain at Unity: Better than -92 dBu
With Gain at 66 dB: Better than -56 dBu
Equivalent Input Noise: Better than -123 dBu
|Gain||Unity to +66 dB in 6 dB steps
Trim continuously adjustable from -6 to +6 dB
|Line Input||Trim continuously adjustable from -6 to +6 dB|
|Maximum Output Level||Maximum output from 20 Hz to 40 kHz is +25 dBu|
|Phantom Power||+48 VDC ± 1%|
|Total Harmonic Distortion/Noise||@ 1 kHz, +20 dBu Output: Better than 0.002%
As Above, Silk Engaged: Better than 0.2% Second Harmonic
@ 20 Hz, +20 dBu Out: Better than 0.004%@ 20 Hz, +20 dBu Out: Better than 0.020%
|IMD||Better than 0.002%|
|Slew Rate||Better than 4 V/uS|
|Frequency||Continuously variable from 20 to 250 Hz|
|Slope||12 dB/octave bessel|
|Alternate||Path: Can be routed to the compressor side chain|
|Frequency||LF Section: Rotary switch selectable 35, 60, 100, 220 Hz
LMF Section: Continuously variable from 70 to 1,400 Hz
HMF Section: Continuously variable from 700 Hz to 14 kHzHF Section: Rotary switch selectable 4.7, 6.8, 12, 25 kHz
LF & HF Sections: Rupert Neve Designs Accelerated Slope
Peak / Bell Q
LF & HF Sections: Approximately 2.5
LMF & HMF Sections: Continuously variable from 0.7 to 5
|Maximum Range||LF, LMF, HMF, & HF Sections: Cut 15 dB, Boost 15 dB|
|Threshold||Continuously variable from -30 to +20 dBu|
|Ratio||Continuously variable from 1.1:1 to 20:1 (LIMIT)
Blend: Continuously variable from 0% to 100% compressor
|Gain||Continuously variable from -6 to +20 dB|
|Attack||Continuously variable from 20 to 75 ms (0.1 ms with FAST)|
|Release||Continuously variable from 100 ms to 2.2 sec|
|Power Consumption||1 A @ 117 VAC, 0.5 A @ 220 VAC|
|Fuse||5 x 20 mm, 2.5 A, fast-acting, ceramic body fuse Bussman-type GDA 2.5 A or equivalent required|
The Gear Rack