A portico, in building terms, suggests a rather grand entrance or doorway. Its form tells you something about what to expect as you enter. The Rupert Neve Designs Portico Series of preamplifiers and analogue audio processors constitute a range of building blocks that may be used independently or in conjunction with one another to provide key elements traditionally included in large format analog consoles.
High-quality consoles can provide a powerful array of audio tools, but your actual choice is limited by decisions the console designer has already made on your behalf – and by the cost of providing a large number of identical (and possibly redundant) modules. The Portico Range presents a means of interconnecting very high quality modules that give you those precise features that you need, when and where they are wanted in the chain, without any such redundancy.
In addition, because of the balanced inputs and outputs, flexible mounting features and independent powering, you can include any of your favorite transformer-coupled, balanced modules in a Portico chain without fear of ground loops or level discrepancies.
The Portico series designs are based on all that is best and most-respected by the many friends in the industry who love the sound of genuine vintage modules.
Extremely high-performance transformers have been developed over the years, and we have returned to discrete single-sided circuits wherever possible. There is, therefore, no possibility of crossover distortion: a particularly obnoxious artifact which the professional ear can detect even in exceedingly small quantities. This is one of the reasons for the very sweet, smooth character of the sound.
Very small quantities of noise and interference can also intrude into an audio path if not dealt with early in the basic design. Portico modules are fully encased in folded steel enclosures; they even have steel front panels behind the heavy-gauge machined front mounting plates. Therefore, the whole module is magnetically shielded.
The top – seen when desk-mounted – is a seamless, powder-coated, wraparound cover, giving a very attractive appearance.
Each module has its own small power supply that ensures independence from anything else in the system. Multiple modules can also be daisy-chained and fed from a single supply. (Working in the field? You can even use a 12 volt car battery!)
Power supplies and accessories are detailed on succeeding pages, or you are invited to consult Rupert Neve Designs with regard to powering a whole system. Each individual Portico module is normally sold with a power unit capable of powering two units.