Rupert Neve Designs 517 Microphone Preamp & Compressor

1-channel, 500-series-format Microphone Preamplifier and Opto Compressor
Rupert Neve Designs 517 Microphone Preamp & Compressor image 1
Rupert Neve Designs 517 Microphone Preamp & Compressor image 1
$850.00
Sweetwater Savings: $100.00 MSRP: $950.00
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Rupert Neve Designs 517 Microphone Preamp & Compressor
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A Neve Module for Your 500 Series Rig

The first 500 series module designed by Rupert Neve, the 517 microphone preamplifier/compressor, brings fantastic sound quality and tone shaping capability to your 500 series rack. True to the lofty standards of Rupert Neve Designs, the 517 boasts transformer-coupled circuitry for untainted sound and an incredibly versatile feature set. The 517's preamp section, which is based closely on the full-sized 5017 design, sports 66dB of gain and an interdependent direct input with 30dB of gain. The mic preamp includes phantom power and phase reverse, and the instrument input includes a ground-lift switch and instrument thru function.

One of the things that separates the 517 from other 500 series modules (and preamp in general) is its capability to blend both microphone preamplifier and the direct input together, giving you the option of combining, for example, the sound of a bass cabinet with the direct bass signal as you track. To go with this function, the 517 also features Neve's Vari-Phase control, which allows you to adjust the relative phase between the preamp and DI. When used with just the preamp or DI, this same Vari-Phase function allows you to continuously adjust the phase of your signal, an option which gives you considerably more control over how the tone balances in the mix compared to only a standard phase switch.

The compressor section of the 517 is equally as refined at the preamp section. This compressor uses a genuine LDR (light dependent resister) to achieve true opto compressor smoothness. In the tradition of many of the most heralded opto compressors, the 517's compressor section has a fixed attack, release, and 2:1 ratio, allowing you to dial in the degree of compression with a single threshold control. Finally, the 517 also features Neve's famous Silk function, which subtly enhances the signal by reducing negative feedback and shifting the 517's frequency response slightly. If you're unfamiliar with this effects, it's incredibly sweet and musical.

Rupert Neve Designs 517 Preamp/Compressor 500 Series Module Features at a Glance:
  • 500 series format for compatibility with API and other 500 series racks
  • Microphone preamplifier with 0-66dB of gain with switchable 48V phantom power and phase reverse
  • Direct instrument input with 0-30dB of gain (balanced or unbalanced operation)
  • Blend control allows you to blend the mic pre and the DI signal together
  • Vari-phase continuously adjusts the phase of the direct signal only
  • Silk function for enhanced sound
  • Opto compressor section with contiguously variable threshold control (2:1 ratio, attack, and release are fixed)
  • LEDs for signal presence, clipping, and compression indicators
  • Frequency Response: Main Output, no load, -0.2dB at 10Hz -3dB at 160kHz
  • Noise: Measured at Main Output, unweighted, 22Hz-22kHz, Terminated 150 Ohms. With gain at unity better than -100dBu With gain at 66dB better than -62 dBu Equivalent Input Noise better than -128dBu Noise Factor 1.5dB
  • Maximum Output Level: Maximum output from 20Hz-40kHz is +23 dBu
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise: at 1kHz, +20 dBu output: Main Output: Better than 0.001% at 20Hz, +20 dBu output: Main Output: Better than 0.002% Silk Engaged: Better than 0.2% Second harmonic
  • Crosstalk: Measured channel to channel: Better than -90dB at 15kHz
  • Phantom Power: +48 Volts DC +/-1%
Add the quality and flexibility of a Neve series pre to your 500 series rig, with a Rupert Neve Designs 517 module!

Additional Media

500 Series Buying Guide
Hands On: Rupert Neve Designs 500 Series

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response 20Hz-40kHz
Phantom Power Yes
Compressor Yes
Manufacturer Part Number 517

Customer Reviews

4.5/5
Based on 3 reviews
Write your review
5/5

Great MicPre/Comp

517 is a real big step up for me after TL Audio. Incredible sound, incredible compressor (in spite of the fixed ratio and fixed attack&release times).
Music background: Producer
4.5/5

Nice preamp........like fixed compressor

I combined it with an API 550A.........nice sweet sound. Tried it with vocals and a Neumann 193, bass thru the DI, guitar cab........smooth controlled sound. Very musical and clean. I see lots of potential for this preamp.
Music background: Recording Eng. Guitarrist, Producer, Grammy voting member
4.5/5

A. Not an A+

This is a good preamp. I worked on a 5088 for about a year, tracked lots of guitar and bass... some drums... some vocals. These pres really shine on guitar and bass. Nice, big, round bass. They are quite forgiving on heavy distortion guitar and smooth on clean guitar. Drums sound good, too. This is just a great pre... it is not even close to a 1073 or 81.... but it is just an entirely different beast. With the addition of the vari-phase and compressor, this is a tough one to beat. Get 2 and you will not be disappointed.
Music background: Musician/Engineer/Mixer.

Sweetwater Advice

Mitch Gallagher

Watching the studio-gear paradigm progress has been interesting. Years ago, of course, everything was analog. Then the digital era hit, and many of us switched to completely in-the-box systems for the advantages they provided. But these days, many studios (including mine) are switching to a hybrid approach - using the best of both digital and analog. A big part of the growing popularity of the hybrid approach has been the rise of the API 500 Series format, which condenses pro studio gear into compact modules that can be loaded into a rackmount or portable chassis. Rupert Neve Designs recently released a family of modules, including two brand-new pieces that were first shown at the 2013 Winter NAMM show. I was able to load up all four into a chassis and take them for a spin. There are two preamps: the 517, which combines an RND preamp with an opto compressor and RND's signature Silk control, and the brand-new 511, which is a preamp with Silk and a variable highpass filter. The 517 actually has two paths, mic and DI, which can be blended. Both modules sound phenomenal, with a full but open tone. The Silk control allows you to shape the tone, adding a subtly smooth texture. The 543 is RND's mono VCA compressor. It offers full control over all parameters, plus a choice of RMS or peak detection, feed-forward or feedback operation, and the ability to sidechain with or without a highpass filter in the path. I found it to be transparent, with just a touch of added "polish" - the tracks I ran through it sounded subtly enhanced in that beautiful Neve fashion. Also brand-new is the 542. This tape emulator module can do great things to your audio, adding beef and rounding out harshness while adding desirable harmonic content. You get a saturation control, a blend control for mixing in the effect, and the choice of 15ips or 30ips tape-speed simulation - as well as the ability to add Silk to the signal. Here's my favorite setting: 30ips, fairly heavy saturation, the blend set to around 50%, and a good amount of the "blue" texture setting. It's analog heaven! Rupert Neve has really hit the mark with these modules. All the Portico sound is there, with plenty of control and powerful sound-shaping options, but in the compact, affordable 500 Series format. Outstanding!
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See also: 500 Series Pre, Rupert Neve Designs, Rupert Neve Designs 500 Series Preamps