Input stage and transformer-gain mic pre
Rupert Neve’s first new Class A, transformer-gain mic preamplifier in over 40 years makes its debut in the Shelford Channel. Rupert has spec’d this preamp with a direct-coupled transformer input; gain is provided by the custom transformer itself. The proprietary input transformer, and its meticulous integration with the surrounding Class A input amplifiers, plays an outsized role in the Channel’s immediately recognizable sonics: punchy and creamy-smooth, with excellent isolation and vanishingly low noise.
The Shelford Channel’s front-panel hi-Z instrument input uses the same discrete Class A field-effect transistor with transformer topology as Rupert Neve Designs’ acclaimed RNDI; for gain, however, it utilizes the new RN4012 input transformer directly into the mic preamp. This design provides astonishing clarity on hi-Z sources, with substantial low-end weight and silky-smooth high frequencies. The DI also gives you a passive thru output to feed a guitar or bass amp.
The best-of-the-classics inductor EQ
The Shelford Channel’s EQ section is a 3-band, custom-tapped inductor circuit containing Rupert’s favorite bands from his vintage equalizer designs. The low-frequency band is primarily based on the 1064 — acclaimed for its creamy, resonant bass. Unlike the 1064, though, the Channel gives you added dimension, punch, and control over your low end by letting you use the LF band as either a peaking or a shelving filter. The midrange band is based on the venerable 1073 and is perfect for sweetening instruments and vocals while nudging them forward in a mix. “Proportional Q” response also makes it ideal for attenuating problem frequencies. The high-frequency band is a hybrid design with the best of vintage and modern attributes. It should be noted that this EQ is in no way a clone; it’s a decidedly modern design using components and techniques that simply did not exist in the 1970s — for instance, the use of capacitor-based topologies to achieve sonic richness and enhanced control.
The Super Diode-bridge Compressor
Like the Shelford Channel’s inductor EQ and transformer-gain microphone preamp, the diode-bridge compressor/limiter is based on the topologies found in vintage Neve designs such as the 2254. It improves, however, on the early designs by the inclusion of full-wave rectification and a bevy of new control features. Although Rupert’s vintage diode-bridge compressors were prized for their warm, punchy response, they were somewhat compromised by imprecise controls, attack-time inflexibility, low headroom, and high noise. The Shelford Channel’s Super Diode-bridge Compressor delivers the attitude-packed, “in your face” sound of those classics, but with modern precision and flexibility — which makes it ideal on any source. Full Side-chain and stereo Link features are provided.