Dan Romer Keeps it Simple with the Portico 5012

Brooklyn, NY (October 20, 2009) — Dan Romer’s role on any given recording project may sound complicated, including — as it typically does — any combination of production, arranging, writing, performing, recording, mixing and mastering duties. But when he is tracking and overdubbing at his private studio nothing could be simpler than his favored signal path: a microphone running through a Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 Duo Mic Pre and into the converters of his DAW.

That signal path can be heard to great effect on the latest album by Jenny Owen Youngs, “Transmitter Failure,” which was released in May, as well as the new hit album, “Everybody,” from rising star Ingrid Michaelson. Romer was involved as arranger, co-writer, performer, recording engineer and producer on the projects with Young and Michaelson, with whom he regularly works.

This latest iteration of Mr. Neve’s mic preamp compares favorably to the renowned audio equipment designer’s classic gear, according to Romer. “I booked out a studio for a vocal session I was doing,” he relates. “Our signal path was a [Neumann] U 67 into a [Neve] 1073 into an Apogee converter. We didn’t get all the vocal takes we needed, so we went to my place and we used the MA-200 into the 5012. At the time I was using the Digidesign 002 converters. The vocals sounded more pleasing than the 67 and the 1073. It was just more hi-fi sounding. There wasn’t quite as much low-mid, but on the songs where we did end up using the 67 and 1073, I ended up getting rid of a lot of those low mids to get the vocal fit into the mix anyway.”

Romer is also a fan of the 5012’s Silk function, which introduces pleasing harmonic distortion to the signal. “I keep Silk on pretty much consistently,” he shares. “Once in a while I’ll notice it coloring the vocal a little too much, especially if I’m using tube stuff, but that’s very rare. Most of the artists I work with want an older warmer vintage sound. I don’t do much super pristine, in-your-face pop music, I do mostly more acoustic stuff. So most of the people I work with want that more colored sound.”

“I’ve been using the 5012 for a good year and a half now,” continues Romer, who also goes by the moniker Drawing Number One Productions. “I’ve been using a Mojave Audio MA-200 or Royer Labs R-121 mic on most things. If I’m doing percussion electric guitar, toms or similar percussion, I’ll also use a 57 or an RE-20 or a D-112. I go from that into the 5012, and then straight into Pro Tools.”

Romer’s engineering and production work has been heard on television of “Greys’ Anatomy,” “Weeds,” “Veronica Mars,” “Firehouse,” on advertisements for Old Navy and HBO, at the Sundance Film Festival, and radio stations all over the world. Having previously favored synthesizers, he says, “Something slipped in my brain. Suddenly I didn’t want to use synths any more, I only wanted to use horns and strings and marimbas and percussion. I wanted to start using organic sounds.”

Many of those sounds are recorded at his two-story home facility, which includes a substantial live recording area in the basement. “The heating ducts have a pretty long reverb, a good one and a half seconds or so,” he comments. “If you put a room mic near them you get a gorgeous reverb. With percussion, what I’ve been doing is using one channel of the 5012 on a close mic and the other channel on a room mic and just slamming the room mic, keeping the close mic pretty natural.”

But in the end what truly matters is not the equipment, he says. “The most important thing is how good your source sounds, how good your instrument sounds. If you don’t have that then nothing — not your mic, your preamp, or your compressor matters — matters.”

Owned exclusively by Rupert and Evelyn Neve, Rupert Neve Designs Inc. was founded on passion, experience and a desire to build products embodying the highest musical quality. In continuing his legacy as a pioneer in audio circuit design, Mr. Rupert Neve is currently focusing his talents on creating innovative analogue solutions to the issues facing the modern recording engineer.


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