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Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

4.6 4.6 out of 5, based on 7 Reviews

In a nutshell: an awesome 2 channel pre with very handy features!

10th December 2011

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 by AndyFromDenver

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

Hi all!
It's your friendly Andy From Denver (aka Andy Gonzales) reviewing the excellent Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012.

Home studio enthusiast who records my own music and select friends exclusively. Started on a 4-track cassette in the early 90's and did several albums on tape and have been daw since '05. Band is Marshmallow Coast, past bands Of Montreal, Music Tapes, and too many others to mention all, currently doing remixes etc. under a few aliases.

I have had the white face Portico 5012 for about a year and have logged many hours tracking on various sources. A google search will show the black face or white face Porticos have the same guts, so rest assured if you're perusing the used market.

2 channel pre-amp with very appropriate stepped 6db gain controls for easy stereo matching, +66db gain. Trim control -6 to +6 (not stepped). The why-don't-all-pres-com-with awesome High Pass Filter with on/off 12db/octave slope fully variable from 20 to 250hz. Silk button (so subtle to the average ear) adds just a touch of fur (yes i'm making up new descriptors) if I can even call it that to make a, well, silk-ier track, ultra clean lovers will probably leave off, but the option is great nonetheless.
Rounded out with mute, phase flip and the need-I-even-mention phantom power. Oh yeah, the construction feels very solid and it is all housed in the tidy half rack size.

In use:
I do a lot of stereo tracking now mostly synths, samplers, and drum machines. I was previously accomplishing this with 2 LA610s, but as there is no stepped controls it was a huge PITA! You'll need to incorporate a stereo di as the 5012 is xlr only. There is nothing I haven't run through the 5012 on the way to daw that didn't benefit noticeably from the awesome sound and transformers and HPF. I generally have a feel for what will need some low cut and the HPF is so effective, it's a nice way to eq on the way in to avoid daw eq and rerouting. unfortunately the HPF is not stepped so if you're at all worried about the stereo image/balance just leave off or put at extreme settings. The transformers add clean (meaning no buzzing or hum unlike cheap pres on budget ad/da) beef and weight to your sound which will ensure your tracks are hi-fi and present. The silk button will just soo subtly make a crisp digital synth a little smoother, it took me a few minutes of on/off to finally hear what it was doing, and honestly I usually leave it off.
Ok vocals. I use a Neumann tlm127 (older discontinued mic) or, yes, the gearslutz loved/hated Shure sm7b. If you have a competent vocalist and go straight to daw, no compressor, you will have a huge smile on your face from the 5012. Vocals have weight and presence and again HPF on the way in is just too handy. This is definitely an application for the silk button too, multiple stacks and takes will have a smooth blended quality.
For the gain hungry sm7b you have the +66 with the additional trim of +6 for a whopping +72! I've not used with a ribbon, but it will likely be plenty of gain. Also, at the max of the gain the pre is still very internally quiet, which is a must imo for hi-fi recording.
Strings. Of course works very well for acoustic guitars, but really shined on a cello. I assisted tracking a friends project (soundtrack for a major movie release) we did lots of cello stacking with the tlm127 and a se reflexion filter to kill my crappy room. She was blown away by the richness and beef. we also ran my moog through it for synth sounds. All was mixed @ lucas arts studio in CA (unfortunately I was not privvy) and my friend texted that my tracks held their own and were easy to mix. I had to rush to name my crappy studio for credit, I can't even remember what I called it!!!

Well that's it! To summarize and add, it rules! I use it for a clean pre and the La610 for a color pre. I honestly don't know what other stuff my little studio needs (well as any gearluster knows that's a silly statement...)
One little con is I wish it had a variable impedance and di like the la610 and at the price one might expect that. But maybe that would be cramming too much into it's awesome little half rack package.
As an aside, I lost the power adapter and Tristan from RND was soo helpful in recommending an equivalent and offered to send a new one, so a huge plus on the awesome customer service!

Thanks for reading!

10th December 2011

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 by tribedescribe

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

I purchased a 5012 a couple of years ago to go with my apogee ensemble. I did a massive amount of research of pre's before buying one. I bought mine used for 1200 and at 600 a channel its a steal. The silk switch is subtle depending on the instrument. The silk switch makes this preamp very versatile. This preamp adds slight warmth to all the mics I put through it. I used to own a Daking MP1 and found the daking could get very harsh (vocals) depending on the mic and source. Although the daking sounded great with guitar, bass and drums.

Vocals = I have used it with a Beyer mc740, Neumann tlm49 and Heil pr40. Each mic shined through this preamp. I found each mic had a very warm detailed sound. When the silk switch was engaged I could hear a slight boost in the lower midrange that gave the vox a little hair or drive in that low mid region. When the vocalist is rockin the silk switch adds the right texture to give the track the presence it needs. I prefer the silk switch off with cleaner sounding vocals like R&b and acoustic folk stuff. But for rock and vintage stuff the silk switch add's a nice touch. The tlm49 is a perfect match for this pre.

Guitars = Basically you are in heaven for guitars. Be careful with the silk switch though because with guitar this is where you can really hear it do its thing. My unidyne III sm57 is transformed through this preamp into a mean monster. Keep in mind the silk switch puts the guitar in the forefront, great for solo's or guitar driven stuff. I turn off the silk switch when I want the guitar in the background.

Acoustic guitars = My Km184 is a excellent match for the preamp. The Km184 can be slightly bright though some preamps. Through the portico it is perfect. I typical leave the silk switch off when tracking acoustics. The tone is detailed warm and pleasing.

Bass = At one point I was teaching a band rock camp where I did sound tech. and guitar. I did a session and decided to plug the p-bass into a cheapo carving d.i. into the Portico. We where tracking a cover of the Beatles come together. The tone was fat and made the difference in the track. (it also helped that the bass player was the only player one who had a groove of the track)

Kick/Snare = I often track Kick and snare with excellent results though the portico always with the silk switch on. While the guitars a vox shine through the portico, the kick and snare sounded good but not unbelievable. I am sure I would enjoy them better through a api type pre.

There you have it, The portico really shines on vocals, guitar, and acoustics. This preamp adds the right type of warmth and breaths life into my modern day neumann's. I wouldn't call this preamp dark or bright. I just has this warmth in all the tonal regions that is never harsh.

21st February 2012

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 by Obrada

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

I was looking for two channels preamp. On the recommendation of friends and watching video tutorials I decided to buy Neve because in almost all circumstances the Neve was mentioned and praised.

Given the need for two channels and cost of the device I came to the Rupert Neve Portico 5012.

I had a minor problem because the delivery was too long, but this can be attributed to the country from which I am because it is not a big market and all good equipment are purchased from abroad. But ... worth the wait.

I am working in Studio of Faculty of Arts in Nis, Serbia and the nature of work allows me to constantly record violins, violas, cellos, pianos, acoustic guitars, accordions, solo singers, brass, choirs, orchestras ... The very big number of players are students or professors with noticeable results in the world.

I am also involved in International Music Festival Constantinus and in Constantinus Production as executive music producer.
You can see what we are doing at this link constantinusfest's Channel - YouTube.

Plenty of this material was recorded with Rupert Neve Portico 5012.
I have to admit that the work with this device is simply phenomenal.

It does not matter whether I use the Rode K2, Shure 57, AT4041, AKG, m-audio and other microphones it just give you a fabulous and incredible results. I must add once again that the portico really shines in every occasion.

I'm not going to talk about the features because the gearslutz in previous posts already said pretty much everything but I will recommend it to everyone because for that price of it YOU GET MORE!

28th February 2012

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 by kiffou78

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

Got it for 6 months now.
Used for
* accoustic stereo recording (with beyerdynamic MC930s) on accoustic guitar.
* voice recording (with U87 and SM7b)

Fit really well my needs.

No problem with external power supply :
* if fails one day, just replace it
* No power supply near mic signal flow

Really Great product !!

Characteristcs :
Input Impedance: 10,000 Ohms + or 20%
Frequency Response:
- Main Output, no load:@ 10 Hz, 0.2 dB @ 160 kHz 3 dB
- Buss Output : @ 10 Hz 0.2 dB @ 160 kHz 3 dB
High Pass Filter: Swept Frequency continuously variable from 20 Hz to 250 Hz. Slope: 12 dB/Octave.
Gain: Switched Gain from Unity to +66dB in 6 dB steps.
Trim: Continuously adjustable potentiometer from 6dB to +6dB with reference to setting on the Gain Switch.
Maximum Output Level: Balanced and Floating Transformer Output from 20 Hz to 40 kHz: +25 dBu. (Clips at just over +26 dBu)
Mute: Mutes Main Output only. (i.e. Monitor remains Live)
SILK: The 5012 uses mainly single-sided amplifier circuitry that excludes any possibility of crossover distortion. The “SILK” button reduces negative feedback and adjusts the frequency spectrum to provide a very sweet and musical performance.

29th February 2012

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 by Rocket_Ronny

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

The Portico 5012 serves up a BIG sound. It leans to the warm and sweet and if you even want more goodness hit the Silk button.

Generally I find it best paired to solid state, neutral, or even brighter, mikes. Think, Audio Technica 4033, etc.

This is a very nice, pro, piece. It has great functionality and easy to use. It's the mic pre used in their large boards I believe, so used at a high level.


29th February 2012

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 by Onan

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

The Portico preamps are simply perfect. I have a pair of 5032's and a 5024, which have the same preamp as the 5012, and they are my go-to pre for nearly everything. The high-pass filter is fine-tuneable for every need, and the option to switch to "silk" mode to add some vintage color make the Portico preamps wildly versatile.

A rarely talked about feature is the buss-out on these preamps (except the 5024), which allows routing to the Portico compressor as an alternate signal path, and also allows multiple Portico units (5012's, 5032's, 5042's and others) to be daisy chained into a mini mixer. Wanna build an 8 channel Neve side-car for both tracking and mixing? 4x 5012's and a 5043 compressor. The possible combinations are endless, and I hope RND is thinking about building smaller format consoles than their flagship 5088, so smaller studios can incorporate a collection of Portico units into, for example, rackable 4-buss side-cars with unlimited input channels. (Hint, hint, RND.)

Most importantly, the sound is spectacular. It's huge, with just a hint of extra depth from the transformer (without losing the deepest lows, like some other transformer-based preamps) and crystal clarity through the mids. These preamps are FAST, capturing transients better than any other preamp I've used. And the highs are flawless.

The "silk" switch doesn't get the Portico all the way to vintage Neve richness, but for most applications, I prefer the clarity of the Portico over the additional distortion of the vintage sound. Overall, the Portico is clean but not clinical, warm but not wooly, big but not boomy, silky but not sizzly. As with any step of the recording chain, particular applications may demand a particular color and no one preamp is the best for everything. But the Portico preamp is the most versatile, most widely applicable preamp I've used. After living for a few weeks with my first two channels of Portico pre, I bought four more.


28th April 2012

Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012 by exzael

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012

I was an early-adopter of the Neve Portico 5012.
My first one was STOLEN , and I loved it so much I bought a second one (True story!).

Basically, I was one of the internet shoppers who using this forum and others, listened to side-by-side comparisons of Neve Portico 5012 and other Neve-imitators or heavy 'iron' colored pre's. To my ear the Neve was the most natural, dynamic, with the harmonics that I like. To my ears other preamps while, 'good' sounding went over the top, and I like the feature of the controllable on/off' for the 'Silk' button which is in-effect, the Vintage Neve sound. When turned off it is rather responsive Pre who gives a great acoustic guitar sound. This amplifier was my first Pre, and to be sure being younger at the time (and poorer) I spent many weeks researching, even venturing far to music shops that stocked it to listen first hand.
In the end, I reached the conclusion Mr. Neve had accomplished it again. I realized these 'over the top' colored sounding boxes were toys and the Neve was versatile and not a one trick pony, sad to say but I went into it wanting a one-trick pony, and in the end really appreciated the Silk functionality.

Sound Quality:
Both the Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5012's I have owned sound great.
There seems to my ear to be tiny difference between them, as I have plenty of earlier (stolen Neve!) recordings with which to compare.
The meaty rich and complex 'dark' iron sound of the silk, is truly an impressive thing. It is the Neve sound! It is amazing how well this Pre responds to Equalization. Owning this Pre catapulted me into a whole new level, I even got praise from Steve Albini on another forum (one of my heros!). I will say the amp is surprising with Silk switch turned off, and you find variously it is amazing at brightening the fullness of analog synths such as Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 or ARP Avatar, it shines wonderfully at keeping the vintage/analog oomph in them. However it is most powerful with vocals. My opinions don't matter much, but when I record without Neve on vocals, I have been told by a host of others it didnt 'sound' as good as with my Neve (yes I have other Pre's to compare it to).

Ease Of Use:
6 knobs, what more can I say.
Mic Gain, Trim, HP Filter range, and duplicate 2nd channel.
Phase, 48V Phantom, HPF Engage (high pass filter), and the Bus engage.
Not too much to learn, fire up that Silk button with its high-power LED glowing blue, and you know what you paid for instantly.
One criticism here: wish the power switch was on the front!

Standard 48V phantom power. Not much to say.
HPF Filter - 20-250hz, can make a huge difference on rumble/hissy source.
Mic Gain - Has more than enough to distort your signal PLEASANTLY if you choose.
Having 2 available channels is awesome, and a big consideration for getting this. I'd die if I only had one.
Silk Button - This engages the an alternate signal path which changes the slew rate of the signal, and gives you low/low-mid sound we associate with Neve's famous sound associated sometimes with Sir George Martin.
This is what this Pre is all about. However disengaged you have a very fast-response little pre-amp, it took me awhile to notice how useful this can be on dynamic material, maybe I'm slow but once i discovered the applications of not having the 'Silk' button engaged I found what a little swiss army knife this 5012 can be.
Still with your vocals you are going to love the Silk switch, if you have learned to appreciate a Neve sounding 'color' to a pre, is.

Bang for the buck:
Not so much for me, my first one was stolen so I'm 2.5k into these so far.
But it has given me so much back.
So much it inspired me to buy its full-fledged Portico II Channel big brother, where you have compression & EQ built right in!

I should also add: My second Neve had a slight, very slightly different sound.
I wasnt disappointed with it, but wanted to make sure everything was ok.
I sent it back to the Neve factory, and man did they take care of me.
They checked her out for factory specs, verified it was perfectly operational
and sent it back to me, and were so kind in the process.
I hate to say, it was my own ignorance level that caused this, but they were so polite, sending email answers to my questions and giving me complete feedback as to what they found, I was utterly impressed!
They had it back to me in less than a week, and I felt so secure as to shell out big bucks on future neve purchases.
I was like, wow these people actually care, thats rare these days, so rare as to be a bit shocking!
So far this Pre is 7 years old, and sounds like new.

Conclusion: This sounds like a glowing review because it is. I would not have spent 6 thousand dollars of my own money (esp a few years ago when i was very poor) on Neve equipment, if I did not feel this way. I had reached the limits of what cheap consumer grade stuff can do. I could not live with the Macike mixer/RME Fireface stock pre's any longer. I am thoroughly glad Rupert Neve decided to make this company, and not only emulate, but enhance and add control to his older 'trademark' sound.
If you like that dark, classic 60s/70s Neve console sound I would highly suggest you take a good listen and consider a purchase.

Note: People have complained about the 'laptop' cable external power source (with the large transformer pack) I love it. Why? Even compared to the Neve Portico II (Which is high voltage rail) this little laptop cable with its cigarette pack sized transformer seems to isolate ALL noise. How I do not know, but the Neve Portico is even immune to my power-line polluting tube amps and the hum of power equipment being used. I would say its a plus, and if it ever fails you can buy these things cheap everywhere. So definitely a plus.

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