Joining the range of Rupert Neve Designs full-rack units is the Portico 5024 quad microphone preamplifier. The microphone preamplifier is based on the Portico 5012 Class-A transformer design that we are familiar with, but this is not simply two 5012 units put together.
Each of the four channels of the Portico 5024 ($3,295) has a single balanced XLR input and XLR output on the rear; the microphone input XLR connectors can accept a line input signal as well. The first two channels of the Portico 5024 are each fitted with a transformer-isolated Hi-Z DI input and paralleled thru output. These are accessed via the front TRS sockets. Channels three and four of the Portico 5024 incorporate M-S decoding.
On all channels, input level can be adjusted by a combination of two rotary controls. “Gain” is a course level control moving in 6 dB steps from 0 to 66 dB, and “Trim” is a constantly variable control giving +/-6 dB of fine adjustment. The output level is indicated through an 8-segment, peak-LED metering display that illustrates a level from -18 to 22. A series of front-panel, backlit buttons for other channel functions control phantom power, polarity reverse and mute, along with a button called, “Silk.” Engaging Silk introduces a vintage feel to your sound, introducing depth and warmth to the signal. Finally, each channel of the Portico 5024 has a HPF that attenuates by 12 dB/octave with a selectable turnover frequency of either 30 Hz or 90 Hz.
I spent a few days with the Portico 5024 using a variety of microphones and sound sources, and can report that these preamps are every bit as good as I thought they would be. They are crisp with a real presence that you really appreciate in vocal applications. The Portico 5024 preamps exhibit real depth with a smooth, full bottom-end reproduction that is faithful, rather than exaggerated or colored. The mid presence is nicely balanced, and the high frequencies detailed and musical with no harsh attributes. They are clean, but with a good dollop of character to lift them.
The Portico 5024 is a real delight. It is a highquality, versatile preamplifier, and the DI and M/S facilities make it more attractive. Sonically, it is every bit as good as we have seen with previous Portico units. Having four in a standard 1U rackmounted frame is going to appeal to many who want top-end versatile preamplifiers.
Rupert Neve Designs