Three venerable audio companies have each introduced their first 500 series modules. Rupert Neve Designs announced the 517 Pre/DI/Comp (pictured above), AMS Neve released their historic 1073 in a lunchbox compatible format as the 1073LB, and Daking now has the Mic Pre 500.
Rupert Neve’s 517 unit is a preamp, compressor, and DI in one (based on the Portico 5017 Pre), and its versatility provides numerous occasions to be used. The 517 offers compression at a fixed 2:1 ratio with auto makeup gain, so you only adjust the threshold to alter the level of compression achieved. While the unit has a mono output, you can use it to sum two sources together by sending one signal to the mic input and one to the DI. A blend control adjusts the mix between the two sources, while the Vari-phase control can be used to minimize the phase difference between the signals. This makes it useful for recording a guitar amp and DI together, with the benefit of compression on both channels ($950 list).
If you’ve been in a pro studio any time within the past 40 years you may recognize the red gain knob on the unit below. The often replicated Neve 1073 preamp now comes in a 500 series module, albeit without the EQ. The 1073LB comes with a fine level trim, and switchable microphone input impedance, and a handy XLR / 1/4” input on the front of the unit ($995 list).
Also entering the lunchbox format is Daking, whose Mic Pre 500 is derived from the company’s popular stand-alone Mic Pre One. In addition to polarity reverse, phantom power, and a 20dB pad, the unit has a 1/4” instrument input and a continuously variable gain knob. To dial out some of those unwanted low frequencies often encountered when recording at home, it also features a variable high-pass filter up to 200Hz ($599 street). –Mike Bauer