Rupert Neve Designs 5035 Shelford Channel

1U channel strip with transformer-gain mic-pre, classic inductor EQ, and diode bridge compressor, with Rupert Neve’s famous “Silk” controls



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The Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel is a modern reinterpretation of Mr. Rupert Neve’s studio legends from his 80-series console designs, including the 1073, 1064, and 1081 mic pre/EQs modules, and the 2254 compressor limiter—all thoughtfully updated for ultra-modern performance with a classic vibe—plus as an added bonus, the renowned RNDI active direct instrument input.

After the industry’s most eminent, distinguished, and prestigious audio professionals continued whining and holding their breath until Rupert Neve created new versions of his legendary 80-series console modules, to preserve the last vestiges of their dignity he made the ultimate gesture and modernized his most famous designs—the result being the Shelford Channel. Not simply a reissue of his greatest hits, the Shelford Channel incorporates 50-plus years of Mr. Neve’s ever-evolving design expertise. His first new transformer-gain design in 40+ years, it features an inductor EQ section, with each band taken from the preamp most famous for its application, and a diode bridge compressor, which is a more consistent and full-featured version of the tonally rich 2254 compressor—known for its ability to add body and girth. The Shelford Channel also provides Neve’s signature variable Silk saturation, which lets you dial in how much (or how little) vintage vibe you want. With an eye toward modern recording systems, the Shelford Channel has a converter-friendly dual-tap transformer output stage at 0dB and -6dB for maintaining headroom, or driving the Channel hard without clipping standard converters, not to mention twice the operating voltage of vintage designs.

Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel in one take:

  • Directly coupled custom transformer input provides mic pre gain
  • Dual-tap 0dB/-6dB transformer output with variable Silk and Texture controls
  • Hi-Z front-panel with the transformer topology as the Rupert Neve Designs RNDI
  • Best of the classic Neve EQs
  • Updated 2254 diode bridge compressor

INSIDE THE BOX—RND Shelford Channel 

The input stage and transformer-gain mic pre 

The Shelford Channel, named for the facility in Little Shelford, where Rupert’s classic designs originated, uses a directly-coupled transformer input with gain provided by the transformer itself—a first in over 40 years for Rupert Neve. This new custom-designed input transformer, along with its careful integration into the surrounding circuitry, is key to the Channel’s dynamic and recognizable character. This design allows the mic pre to reproduce the more forward mids and slightly rounded-off high and low frequencies of the 1073.

The dual-tap transformer output with variable Silk

The new output stage, shares a similar design to the input stage. It’s designed to provide the texture and power of Rupert’s classics, while providing significantly more tonal versatility.

Among the many thoughtful innovations inherent in the Shelford Channel, is the dual-tap output for the Channel’s RN2042 square-core output transformer, which spent years in development. It creates both high and low headroom outputs (0dB & -6dB) without any compromise in performance. The high-headroom tap is designed capture a more pristine sound at high levels, avoiding non-linear coloration of the output stage, taking full advantage of the Shelford’s higher voltage design. The low headroom tap however is optimized to allow an engineer to drive the full voltage range of the Channel, adding dynamic tone with the same non-linear coloration—without clipping most professional interfaces. On drums, vocals, guitars and other instruments, this output lets you easily hit the transformer’s sweet-spot of non-linear harmonic content, which can bring a recorded performance to life in a way that other effects can’t.

Another advantage of the output stage, as opposed to the vintage Neve modules, is the addition of the variable Silk circuitry, which controls over the harmonic content and saturation of the output transformer. With Silk disengaged, the output is modern and immaculate, yet still retains Neve’s signature larger-than-life transformer sound. When engaged, the harmonic content, which mainly comprises 2nd– and 3rd-order harmonics with no high-order distortion, can be dialed up to several times beyond that found in the vintage units, such as the 1073. This is further controlled with Silk Red and Blue modes, which emphasize harmonic content generated by the source’s high frequencies (Red) or low frequencies (Blue).

RNDI Hi-Z input

The Hi-Z front panel input uses the same discrete class-A FET with transformer topology as the world-renowned, best-selling Rupert Neve Designs RNDI. However, it uses the new RN4012 input transformer directly into the microphone preamp for gain. This design delivers exceptional clarity to Hi-Z sources, with a substantial low-end presence and incredibly smooth high frequencies. The DI also includes a passive Thru output to feed a separate amplifier.

The “best of the classics” EQ

The 3-band, custom-tapped inductor EQ on the Shelford Channel was inspired by industry favorites of Rupert’s vintage EQ designs for specific applications. For example, the low frequency band is based on the 1064, renowned for its creamy, resonant bass, and the midrange band is based on the prized 1073, which is standard fare for sweetening instruments and vocals, bringing them subtly forward in a mix. As an added bonus, the LF band can be used as either a shelf or a peak filter; adding punch, dimension, and immense control to your low end, while the mid-frequency band’s proportional “Q” response makes it well-suited for minimizing problematic frequencies.

Updated 2254 diode bridge compressor

Like the inductor EQ and transformer-gain preamp, the diode bridge compressor in the Shelford Channel is based on the same topologies found in the vintage 2254 compressor. However, it expands on the early design by incorporating full-wave rectification and new control features.

While the vintage Neve diode bridge compressors have a uniquely punchy and warm response, they were quite limited by inflexible attack times, high noise, low headroom, and imprecise controls. The Shelford’s diode bridge compressor recaptures the vintage vibe and in-your-face sound of the classics with a new level of precision and flexibility—enabling it to be effective on virtually any source. Where the VCA compressor found in the Portico II Master Buss Processor delivers unrivaled transparency, the Shelford Channel’s Super Diode Bridge Design is all about making a statement with compression.

The compressor includes controls for timing, threshold, ratio, blend, make up gain, Fast (attack-release modifier), high-pass filter to side chain, pre-EQ, bypass, side chain insert, and stereo link. Timing is a six-position switch that affects both attack and release settings for Auto, Fast, Medium Fast, Medium, Medium Slow, Slow. The Fast button speeds up the attack for every setting; highly useful when it becomes vital to clamp down on transients. These settings provide a vast range of attack/release combinations, all with easy auditioning and recall.

The Ratio control has 6 steps between 1.5:1 to 8:1 to achieve subtle or extreme reduction, and the threshold control has 31 detented steps between -25dBU and +20dBU for a wide variety of input levels. Make-up gain has 31 steps from -6dB to +20dB, and works in conjunction with the blend control (more on that later). The HPF to SC button moves the swept high-pass filter in the mic pre to the compressor side chain, reducing the compressor’s response to low frequencies. The side-chain insert allows more elaborate equalization of the side-chain signal, accessible via TS I/O on the rear panel.

The Blend control, not found on its predecessors is incredibly useful, since it allows an extremely colored compressor sound and massive amounts of gain reduction to be gradually mixed into the signal.

Double voltage power

The Shelford Channel uses an internal power supply with +/- 24V rails using a standard IEC cable input versus a single 24V rail in Rupert Neve’s vintage design. The extra voltage helps improve dynamic range and noise performance for improved sonic detail. The power supply is auto-switching for reliable performance anywhere in the world from 100 to 240VAC, 50-60Hz.

OUTSIDE THE BOX—RND Shelford Channel

 Transformer Gain Mic Input

The Shelford Channel’s rear-panel mic and line inputs are balanced XLR.

Direct Input

Hi-Z, front-panel 1/4″ input and passive 1/4″ Thru output to feed a separate amplifier.

Dual-Tap Output

The rear-panel outputs are balanced XLR, labeled 0dB and -6dB.

Silk & Texture

Silk is a dual-stage LED button that lights blue for low-frequency harmonics, and red for high-frequency harmonics. The texture control is a detented pot that lets you dial in and recall the amount of harmonic saturation you want.


Switches between microphone/direct injection input (button out) or line input (button in).

Gnd Lift

This switch separates the direct connection from audio signal ground to chassis earth. 

Signal Present LED

This LED is dual function. When green, it indicates “Signal Presence” (a signal level of -20dBu). When red, it indicates 2-3dB below input stage clipping of the Mic/Line stage (+23dBu while the preamp actually clips at +25dBu).

Mic Gain

This 12-way precision rotary switch controls gain from 0 to 66 dB in 6 dB steps.


This rotary switch provides further continuous gain adjustment over a range of +/– 6 dB.


This push button switch engages phantom power on the microphone input. Please remember to press the mute button or turn down monitors and headphone sends or the channel the Shelford Channel is plugged into before toggling “+48” (and be especially cautious if you use pre-fader aux sends for headphones).


This push button switch inverts the polarity of the signal path. It illuminates when engaged. (The symbol “Ø” is often used to denote opposite polarity.)


The HPF switch engages a 12dB per octave high pass filter. The HPF potentiometer is variable from 20Hz to 250Hz, and can be used to filter out unwanted low frequencies, or in conjunction with the EQ to help shape source material.

Note that engaging the HPF to S/C switch moves the HPF from the primary signal path to the compressor side-chain signal path.

HPF Freq

This control selects the frequency at which the filter begins (-3db) to roll off low frequency signals. It is a 12 dB per octave Bessel filter designed to musically preserve important timing information while cutting low frequency noise and garbage like air conditioning rumble. We may suggest that while recording that the lowest practical setting is generally the safest because it is difficult to try to recover lows with an EQ (6 dB/Oct) that may have been chopped off with a filter (12 dB/Oct).


This switch engages all EQ frequency bands except the HPF.


Adjusts up to 15dB of boost or cut at the selected low frequencies. Cut can be used as a variable, and perhaps more gentle alternative to using the HPF. Remember to reduce the signal level at the source to minimize the potential for distortion when any of the 3 bands are boosted significantly.

Low Freq

The LOW FREQ rotary switch has 4 positions for selecting one of four corner or center frequencies for the low band EQ section. The frequencies are 35Hz, 60Hz, 100Hz, and 220Hz.

LF Peak

When the button is out, the low frequency band operates in shelf mode, boosting or cutting below the corner frequency. Above the corner frequency the amount of boost or cut gradually diminishes at approximately 6 dB/octave. With the HI PEAK button pressed the low frequency band changes to peak mode with a bell shaped boost or cut curve. Between the LF PEAK button and LF FREQ rotary switch, an engineer has 8 tonal variations of EQ shapes to finesse the bottom end, plus the high pass filter can be introduced for further tightening and manipulation.

Mid Hi Q

The resonance or Q of the mid band at maximum boost is typically 2 when the button is out. When the MID HI Q is pressed at maximum boost, the Q narrows to approximately 3.5. The Q widens nicely with less boost or cut as is typical for passive EQ circuits. The Q tends to be slightly wider when the frequency is set lower, and slightly higher for higher frequency selections. The Q is also narrower for cuts than it is for boosts and the mid band is non-symmetrical by design.


Adjusts up to 15 dB of boost or cut at the selected mid frequencies. Remember to reduce the signal level at the source to minimize the potential for distortion when any of the 3 bands are boosted significantly.

Mid Freq

The MID FREQ rotary switch has 6 positions to select the center frequency of the mid band EQ stage. This circuit utilizes an inductor and capacitors to shape the EQ curve, the same way as Rupert Neve’s console designs of the 70’s. The frequencies chosen are 200 Hz, 400 Hz, 900 Hz, 1.8 kHz, 3.5 kHz and 7.5 kHz. 200 Hz is especially useful for cuts on individual tracks within a dense mix.

HF Peak

When the button is out, the high frequency band operates in shelf mode, boosting or cutting above the corner frequency at approximately 6 dB/octave. Below the corner frequency the amount of boost or cut gradually diminishes. With the HI PEAK button pressed, the high frequency band changes to peak mode with a bell shaped boost or cut curve. The Peak mode utilizes an inductor and capacitor circuit to create the bell-shaped curve.


With the switch out, the center or corner frequency of the high band is 8 kHz. With the button pressed, the center or corner frequency changes to 16 kHz. Between this switch and the HI PEAK switch, you have 4 different EQ curves to finesse the high frequency content.


Adjusts up to 15dB of boost or cut at selected high frequencies.

Side-chain insert jacks

A pairs of 1/4″ jacks are only used to perform some fine tuning of the compressor operation. The audio that normally controls the compressor is available on the “sidechain send” jack. One can take this audio and pass it through an external equalizer then return it back to the “sidechain return” jack.

Comp In

The compressor-limiter section is engaged with this button in.  This may be the most useful control on the compressor because it is there for “confidence checks.” In particular, exercise it in both the quietest and the loudest sections of the song.

Watch out for the compressor exaggerating noise and room sound in the quiet sections and chopping off transients and consonants in the loud sections, either of which suggest maybe too much compressor “action.” Conversely, losing quiet phrases or inadvertent clipping might suggest that a little more compression is warranted keeping in mind that you can always do a bit more in the mix but undoing over-compression is not fun and often not even possible.


Sets level where the compressor may begin to react from -25 dB to +20dB. Minimal or no compression is with this control fully clockwise and it gets more sensitive and tends to cause more gain reduction as the knob is rotated counter-clockwise (which may be counter-intuitive to some).


Sets the “slope” of the compression from 1.5:1 (minimal) to 8:1 (significant). For example if this knob is set for 3:1 then if the signal goes 15 dB over the threshold then it attenuates 10 dB and allows the output to rise 5 dB. In general, low ratios can not damage the music as much as high ratios but high ratios may be more useful to minimize clipping and OL lights in the recorder.

When setting the Threshold and Ratio it is useful to use the VU meter. However even more importantly, you should rely on your ears and use the COMP IN button to perform confidence checks.

Side-chain insert

This control inserts an external device into the side-chain signal path via the rear panel side-chain insert jacks.

HPF to side-chain

This routes the High Pass Filter into the circuit that the compressor uses to determine level, commonly referred to as “the side-chain.” Note that the rest of the circuit and output will not have those lows filtered out. This function tends to be very useful because typical sounds often have more energy in the low octaves and can cause excessive compression. Our ears may tend to associate loudness with mids or high mids for some sounds and one may be wanting the compressor to regulate and smooth perceived loudness. Removing some amount of low frequencies that the compressor “sees” can help especially if one is compressing deeply (-8 dB or more).


Often referred to as Make Up Gain. Considering the compressor is generally being forced to attenuate louder signals, some method of returning the average level to a volume comparable with the compressor bypassed is desirable. The GAIN control is mostly used for this purpose especially for those of us that depend on comparing compression to bypass. Gain is often pushed for even more level than bypass because it is understood that the compressor should be providing some effective headroom (besides “louder is better” being the oldest trick in the book).


This six-position controls adjusts the attack/release speed of the compressor. See the “Timing” section in the Compressor specifications page for timing values.


This button links the side-chain control of multiple units for ganged operation, such as stereo compression. There are two 1/4″ rear-panel jacks for linking. Either one may be used for linking two units together.

Pre EQ

Pushing this button changes the order of where the Compressor is in the circuit.


This just mixes the dry or raw, uncompressed signal and the compressed signal. Fully counter-clockwise is uncompressed and is very similar to not having the “COMP IN” button pushed in. Fully clockwise is 100% compressor-limiter path, and one can “blend” or mix how much compressed-limited signal vs. dry signal.


When pressed, alters the speeds up both the attack and release of the selected time constant of compressor.

VU Meter

The VU Meter is calibrated to display both average (RMS) output level and compressor gain reduction

Why buy the RND Shelford Channel from Westlake Pro?

Westlake Pro is not just an online pro audio retailer that guarantees the lowest prices. We also comprise Westlake Design Group and Westlake Studios. Westlake Pro Design Group has provided design, integration, and acoustic construction for legendary recording studios, post-production facilities, and broadcast stations worldwide, including studio builds for clients such as Snoop Dogg, Dave Pensado, The Village Recorders, and the award-winning Enzi Studio in Mumbai, India. Among our post-production clients are major film studios, including ABC, Disney, NBC, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, and Capitol Records.

Not only do we build world-class studios, we are a legendary studio ourselves— Westlake Studios. If that sounds familiar, it because the world’s best selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller was recorded at Westlake Studios. Whether you’re building a laptop studio or a world-class facility, why not work with the real pro audio experts—Westlake Pro.

If only Mr. Rupert Neve would build a 1073 preamp and 2254 compressor/limiter for the modern age . . . oh wait, he did—It’s called the Rupert Neve Designs Shelford Channel, and you’re going to need at least two of them. For more information, call or chat online with your Westlake Pro Sales Consultant today.

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