Rupert Neve Designs 511 Preamp Review
- 72 dB of useable noise free gain
- trim + gain knob
- military grade switches
- custom wound transformers on both input and output
- 48V phantom power
- phase reverse switch
- High Pass Filter 20Hz – 250Hz
- Silk Red + Texture knob
Ultra Smooth high end, detailed Midrange, huge extended bass end without ever sounding muddy, exceptionally clear and detailed without sounding clinical, capable of a more vintage neve sound with silk mode engaged, higher fidelity than the classic neve preamps with a more extended frequency spectrum.
It works particularly well for digital recording giving it an analogue flavour, and is my no1 choice for a 500 series preamp, as it has just the right balance, at first you may think the high end is lacking, until you listen back on a high fidelity system and you realise it’s extended way beyond 20kHz, it has a whole other octave below most preamps, easily extended into the sub frequencies, with unbelievable midrange detail and clarity and a smoothness in the high end that is unmatched.
When you combine tracks stacked together in a multi-track project this adds a certain warmth and fidelity that very few preamps can come close to in this price range. It also has the lowest self noise I have ever heard in a 500 series preamp, meaning you can use some older vintage mics without the noise being obvious.
The silk on/off switch adds a nice analog colour which you can dial into any recording session. This particular preamp has the silk ‘red’ which adds more harmonics and overtones to the sound, you then use the texture knob to control the shape of the harmonics, when it is to the left you get a softer even harmonics sound, the further to the right you go the more odd the harmonics are, and it sounds more intense and up front sounding, absolutely incredible with electric guitars or a rock vocal. The silk gives you a more vintage sound and makes it a lot more versatile.
HPF (High Pass Filter)
This is a feature that for me is essential on a mic preamp, especially if you don’t have mics with one built in. The way this filter sounds is very natural, transparent and it has that analog charm, from 20-250Hz you are getting a lot of control there, even at 20 Hz it sounds tighter, and all the way up to 250 you never loose any warmth or presence. I have used it to remove subsonic rumble with ease as well as creating a deliberately bass cut sound on tracks like percussion and close miked vocals
1-2 years of use of over 100 recording professional sessions, recording classical guitar, electric guitar, percussion, oud, saz, vocals and acoustic piano, used with many different microphones from low to high end in my own studio.
I waited more than 18 months before reviewing this mic pre, just to see if my opinion changed since buying it, well it hasn’t. I think this mic preamp is ideal if you want a very high quality, high end, high fidelity preamp and you want to get into the 500 series system, and you want that classic ‘neve’ sound and quality you can only get from a Class A, fully analog, transformer based mic pre. What I love about this mic preamp is that is takes that old 60s and 70s sound and brings it into the 21st century by extending the frequency spectrum, whilst allowing you to go back in time by dialling in the silk. I use it daily at electric hotel studios and can’t recommend it enough, you really need to try one out!
© Ben Tyreman 16/06/2017 (Audio Engineer@Electric Hotel Studios)