The 5211 2-Channel Mic Preamp
Simple and elegant, the 5211 is the natural evolution of what is arguably the most famous gear in audio recording history: Rupert Neve’s microphone preamps.
With two channels of the classic tone you know and love, 72dB of gain, sweepable high-pass filters for precise control, and the power of Mr. Rupert Neve’s dual-tap transformers with variable Silk saturation, the 5211 delivers a versatile, flattering, and uncompromising front end for any signal path. In short, it’s everything a mic preamp should be.
What is Silk?
One of the key features of the 5211 is the Silk / Texture control. The Silk circuit was initially developed for the original Portico series mic preamplifiers, and was only a single switch – on or off – that added a specified amount of musical, pleasing harmonic saturation to the unit’s output stage.
Taking this concept one step further, the Texture knob is designed to adjust the actual amount of harmonic content from the source material.
So how does it work? By reducing negative feedback across the output transformer and adjusting this feedback’s frequency response, the Silk / Texture circuit provides the sweet, musical saturation found in Rupert’s legendary vintage designs – but with complete & precise control over the amount of classic tone you want. And when the level is driven to the edge of its headroom, the Silk effect is multiplied.
Why a -6dB Output?
Complementing the Silk circuit is the custom-designed output transformer from the renowned Shelford Channel, which uses Rupert Neve Designs’ unique dual-tap output topology. This offers both full-headroom (+26dBu) and -6dB outputs, allowing the engineer to drive the unit fully into classic transformer saturation without clipping converters and other devices later in the chain.
Unlike the Shelford Channel, which uses a mic input transformer for a more vintage topology, the 5211’s input is fully transformerless, maximizing signal clarity direct from the microphone. Combined with the more extreme saturation from both variable Silk and the custom output transformer’s lower-headroom tap, the 5211 is capable of producing tones ranging from thick & warm to breathtakingly delicate & clear. It’s the best of old and new alike.
A 12-way precision rotary switch controls gain from 0 to 66 dB in 6 dB steps.
Continuously variable +/-6 dB level control.
SILK / TEXTURE
Pushing the Silk button engages the Red Silk circuit, which reduces the negative feedback on the output transformer, adding harmonic content as the texture is increased. Red Silk accentuates the saturation in the mid and high frequencies, similar to that of the Red Silk mode on the Shelford Channel. By manipulating the Texture control, the amount of Silk can be changed from essentially absent, to roughly 10 times the amount of coloration / distortion found in Silk from the original Portico Series. With Silk / Texture engaged, the distortion characteristic and harmonic content of the unit are very reminiscent of many of Rupert’s vintage class-A designs.
An eight-segment LED bar-graph meter displays output level (pre-Silk). from -30 dBu to +22 dBu.
Reverses the polarity of the input signal.
High Pass Filter
Continuously variable from 20Hz to 250 Hz, and engaged with the HPF button.
Provides 48V phantom power to microphones.
A secondary split off the output transformer with a lower headroom, designed to allow engineers to fully drive the output of the 5211 without clipping converters and other devices.
MAXIMUM INPUT LEVEL @ 1 kHz: +26 dBu
Un-weighted, 22 Hz - 22 kHz, 150 Ohm input termination
Line Out (Unity Gain): -104 dBV, -101.9 dBu
-6 dB Line Out (Unity Gain): -109 dBV, -107 dBu
Line Out (+30 dB Gain): -98 dBV, -96 dBu
Line Out (+66 dB Gain): -66 dBV, -64 dBu
EQUIVALENT INPUT NOISE (EIN)
-128 dBV, -126 dBu
-0.2 dB at 10Hz, -2.9 dB at 120kHz
MAXIMUM OUTPUT LEVEL
1 kHz: +26.5 dBu
20 Hz to 30kHz +26 dBu
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION AND NOISE (WITHOUT SILK)
1 kHz, +20 dBu O/P level, no load 0.0015%, typical
20 Hz, +20 dBu O/P level, no load less than 0.02%, typical
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION AND NOISE (WITH SILK ENGAGED)
TEXTURE @ min, 100 Hz, +20 dBu O/P level, no load: 0.03%, mostly 3rd harmonic
TEXTURE @ max, 100 Hz, +20 dBu O/P level, no load: 1.5%, mostly 2nd harmonic
35 W (Max)'
19” W x 1.75” H x 7 ⅝” D
11 lbs. (5 kg)
23” W x 15” D x 7” H (58.4cm W x 38.1cm D x 17.8cm H)
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