Rupert Neve Designs 517 Mic Pre / DI / Compressor

Based on the Portico 5017 Mobile Pre, the 517 provides world-class transformer-coupled micpreamp, compressor and DI circuitry with Vari-phase, “Silk” and DI/mic blending capabilities – all in a single 500 series module.



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The Rupert Neve Designs 517 Mic Pre/DI/Comp is a high-quality, 500-series preamp that offers simultaneous mic/DI operation with blend and variable phase controls, Silk effect, and a single-knob compressor

The Portico 517 Mic Pre/DI/Comp not only gives you the industry leading sound of Rupert Neve, but also lets you use the mic preamp and the DI simultaneously. The Portico 517, along with Neve’s famous silk effect, features a blend control for the mic and DI, along with a vari-phase control that enables you to align the phase of a miked amp with a simultaneous DI signal—a procedure commonly used on bass and electric guitar. An innovative departure from the ordinary in the annals of studio recording, the 517 DPC also adds single-knob compression to its powerful features—all in an affordable 500-series format.

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 517 Mic Pre/DI/Comp in one take: 

  • Dual-channel use
  • Mic and DI blend control
  • Silk enhances sound quality in the style of vintage modules
  • Signal presence and clipping indicators on DI and mic, also compressor activation
  • Mic gain from 0dB to 66dB
  • DI Gain from 0dB to 30dB
  • Balanced or unbalanced Hi-Z input for instruments
  • High-pass filter at 80Hz
  • Phantom power
  • Phase invert
  • Steel chassis provides total magnetic screening and mechanical stability

INSIDE THE BOX—Rupert Neve Designs Portico 517 Mic Pre/DI/Comp

Mic pre and instrument amplifier

The 517’s mic pre, based on the TEC Award-winning Portico 5017, provides up to 66dB of gain, polarity-reverse and phantom power switches, and the “Silk” circuit for a more vintage vibe. The separate instrument amplifier includes 30dB of gain, a ground lift, variable phase and an instrument Thru connection.

Single-channel blended use

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. The blend control mixes direct and amplified signals to achieve the desired tonal blend between the two sources, while the variphase is used to adjust phase-cancellation 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 guitar and vocals. 

Vari-Phase control for blended use

In addition to its standard polarity-reverse switch, the 517 has a “variphase” control to adjust the phase incrementally. This control is useful when two signals combined from the same source arrive at different times. For example, the combination of close-miked drums and overheads more often than not, arrive out of phase, which results in the hollow sound of phase cancellation. 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. Since there’s always a delay between direct and miked signals, a bassist using both can blend the two into a single output, using the variphase 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.

The compressor 

Using a new light-dependent resister (LDR) design, the 517’s opto-coupler compressor has been simplified to a single threshold control with auto make up gain. When signals exceed the threshold level, gain is reduced at a controlled 2:1 ratio. An internal jumper can be set to change attack and release times to standard or fast. 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 active.

RND 517 in use 

The 517’s feature set allows it to be used in many different ways in the studio. Here are a couple creative things to try:

For vocals, take two mics, your favorite condenser plugged into the Mic Input, and a SM57 or SM58 set up 6 inches closer to the vocalist and plugged into another mic pre, then into the 517 Inst Input. Adjust Vari-Phase to taste, and maybe add some light compression from the 517 followed by your usual vocal compressor, which may behave even nicer because of that touch of “pre-compression” from the 517.

The 517 can also be a very useful tool on multi-miked sources like drums. A snare drum mic for instance can be amplified, compressed and phase-aligned to the rest of the kit (especially the overheads) when changing mic placement alone isn’t satisfying. This technique can be extremely useful when recording in a home studio environment, with fewer placement options available.

Used with a synthesizer, the blend can be used to mix together or alternate between the tones from a room capture off an amp and the direct signal. As the blend is turned towards mic, the “room” signal becomes more prevalent. When blend is closer to direct, the signal is drier. The variphase, silk and compressor controls may also be incorporated for additional effects.

OUTSIDE THE BOX—Rupert Neve Designs Portico 517 Mic Pre/DI/Comp

Housed in a rugged steel chassis with the Portico power-blue industrial coating, the front panel of the 517 has two 1/4″ jacks for DI and thru; instrument gain knob from 0 to 30dB; DI signal indicator; Vari-Phase select with rotary phase-sweep knob; Inst/Mic blend control; compressor select button and threshold control; Silk button; compressor active indicator; mic signal indicator, Mic select button; detented mic gain knob (6dB steps); phase reverse button, and phantom power button.

The Rupert Neve Designs 517’s innovative feature set and legendary Neve sonic signature make it an indispensable tool for studio recording. For more information, call or chat online with your Westlake Pro Sales Consultant today.


Rupert Neve Designs 517 Mic Pre/DI/Comp

Gain Range:

  • Continuously variable from 6dB to +20dB.

Threshold Range:

  • Continuously variable from 36dB to +22dB.

Ratio Range:

  • Continuously variable from 1.1:1 to Limit (40:1).

Attack Range:

  • Continuously variable from 20mS to 75mS

Release Range:

  • Continuously variable from 100mS to 2.5 Seconds.


  • Feed-Forward or Feed-Back VCA control.

Maximum Output Level:

  • Balanced and Floating Transformer Output
  • Maximum output from 20Hz to 40kHz is +23dBu

Total Harmonic Distortion and Noise:

@ 1kHz, +20dBu output level, no load

  • Main Output, compressor bypassed: Better than 0.0006%.
  • Main Output, compressor engaged: Better than 0.02%

Measured at Main Output, un-weighted, 22Hz-22kHz, Terminated 40 Ohms

  • With Gain at Unity, Compressor disengaged: Better than 103dBu
  • With Gain at Unity, Compressor engaged: Better than 92dBu

Frequency Response:

Main Output, Unity Gain

  • @ 18 Hz, +/- .1dB
  • @ 150 kHz -3dB.


Measured channel to channel:

  • Better than 90dB @ 15kHz.


  • Monitor input level and gain reduction

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