Why would you want to mix a microphone and an instrument signal in your preamp?

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Record-Producer.com.

Wednesday August 7, 2019

If you're not familiar with the API Lunchbox rack, then take a quick diversion. Don't forget to come back!

Master of audio, Rupert Neve, has come out with a preamplifier/DI module that slots right into the Lunchbox rack, just like an API module would.

This unit has several interesting features, which we may come back to in future. But one is the fact that although the Portico 517 has a microphone input and a DI instrument input, and both can be used at the same time, it only has one rear-panel output (which is a feature of the Lunchbox format).

So any competent designer would provide a switch so that you could use the module as a microphone preamplifier or as a DI.

But Rupert Neve isn't just a competent designer. He sits in a throne at the very top of electronic design Valhalla.

So he has provided a control labeled 'blend', by which you can mix the mic and instrument signals.

So what?

Yes, many people would look at this and heave a gigantic sigh of, "So what?"

It's easy to imagine a singer with an acoustic guitar with an internal pickup. This unit can blend them perfectly.

But why would you want to do this in the preamp? You would be denying yourself the opportunity of rebalance later, or panning, or putting any kind of effect on the individual signals.

But that's not how you would use it.

One interesting use for the blend control is to mic up a bass guitar cabinet, and mix the miked sound with the DI signal. Of course there are other ways you can do this, but with the Portico 517 it is very convenient, and you get the Rupert Neve sound!

But you might worry about the delay between the DI signal and the mic. There's no delay in an analog electronic signal, but sound takes a millisecond to travel about 30 centimeters, so there is a delay on the mic.

Fear not however, the Portico 517 has a vari-phase control to correct this. Just twiddle it until the sound is the way you want it.

So off you go and buy yourself a Rupert Neve Designs Portico 517, and an API Lunchbox to put it in.

Oh, and don't forget that the Lunchbox will have another five empty slots, waiting for you to fill them with yet more luvverly gear.

Like, follow, and comment on this article at Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or the social network of your choice.

Come on the Audio Masterclass Pro Home Studio MiniCourse - 60 great hints and tips to get your home recording studio MOVING

It's FREE!

Get It Now >>

An interesting microphone setup for violinist Nigel Kennedy

Are you compressing too much? Here's how to tell...

If setting the gain correctly is so important, why don't mic preamplifiers have meters?

The Internet goes analogue!

How to choose an audio interface

Audio left-right test. Does it matter?

Electric guitar - compress before the amp, or after?

What is comb filtering? What does it sound like?

NEW: Audio crossfades come to Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9!

What is the difference between EQ and filters? *With Audio*

What difference will a preamp make to your recording?

Watch our video on linear phase filters and frequency response with the FabFilter Pro Q 2

Read our post on linear phase filters and frequency response with the Fabfilter Pro Q 2

Harmonic distortion with the Soundtoys Decapitator

What's the best height for studio monitors? Answer - Not too low!

What is the Red Book standard? Do I need to use it? Why?

Will floating point change the way we record?

Mixing: What is the 'Pedalboard Exception'?

The difference between mic level and line level

The problem with parallel compression that you didn't know you had. What it sounds like and how to fix it.

Compressing a snare drum to even out the level

What does parallel compression on vocals sound like?

How to automate tracks that have parallel compression

Why mono is better than stereo for recording vocals and dialogue