“It’s like a time machine…you can look back and see what a 1073 actually sounded like when it was new.”
Over fifty years in the making, the Shelford Channel is the definitive evolution of the original technologies in Rupert’s classic console modules like the 1073, 1064 & 2254, thoughtfully advanced and refined for the 21st century studio.
The Input Stage and Transformer Gain Mic Pre
Like Rupert’s designs from his time in Little Shelford , the Shelford Channel’s preamplifier uses a directly-coupled transformer input with gain provided by the custom transformer itself – a first in over 40 years for Rupert Neve. This new custom-designed input transformer, along with its careful integration with the surrounding class-A circuitry, is critical to the Channel’s bold and instantly recognizable character.
Conveniently, the Direct Input uses the same topology as the best-selling RNDI Active Transformer Direct Interface, providing astonishing clarity for high-Z instrument signals, with unparalleled low-frequency response and an incredibly smooth high end.
What is Silk?
The Silk & Texture circuit on the Shelford Channel allows you to fine-tune the amount (and type) of harmonic content in the output stage. This means your signal can be adjusted from quite transparent to settings that produce nearly 10x the amount of sonic color as Rupert’s vintage modules – and in two very unique modes. No matter what sound you’re looking for, Silk can help get you there.
When you apply SILK RED, you’re enhancing harmonic content generated by the highs and high mids of your source. This adds a sparkly sheen to the top end, and is often ideal for sources including vocals, snare, strings, pianos, and other acoustic instruments.
With SILK BLUE, you’re enhancing harmonics generated by the lows and low mids of your source. This tends to “beef up” a signal from the bottom up, making it a great choice for drums, bass guitars, heavy electric guitars, male vocals, and synthesizers.
The Dual Tap Transformer Output
Complementing the Silk circuit is the custom-designed output transformer, 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.
The high headroom tap is designed capture a more pristine sound at high levels, avoiding non-linear coloration of the output stage and taking full advantage of the Shelford’s higher voltage design. The low headroom tap however is optimized to allow an engineer to drive the full voltage range of the Channel – adding dynamic tone with these same non-linear “colorations” – without clipping most professional interfaces. On drums, vocals, guitars and other instruments, this output lets you easily hit the transformer’s “sweet-spot” of non-linear harmonic content, which can bring a recorded performance to life in a way that other effects can’t.
The “Best-Of” EQ
The Shelford Channel’s 3-band, custom-tapped inductor EQ was inspired by our favorite elements of Rupert’s vintage EQ designs. The low frequency band is designed to produce a creamy, resonant bass response similar to a vintage 1064 – but unlike the vintage modules, the LF band on the Shelford Channel can be used as either a shelf or a peak filter, adding punch, dimension, and control to your low end.
The midrange band is based on that of the 1073, ideal for sweetening vocals and instruments while bringing them forward in a mix, and its proportional “Q” response makes it well-suited for minimizing problematic frequencies. The high frequency band is a hybrid vintage / modern design, blending inductor circuitry with capacitor-based topologies to achieve vintage tones with enhanced control, with the shelf / peak corner switchable between 8K or 16K.
The Diode Bridge Compressor
Like the Inductor EQ and Transformer Gain microphone preamp, the Diode Bridge Compressor in the Shelford Channel is based on the same topologies found in Rupert’s vintage designs – but refined & adapted for the modern engineer.
What is diode bridge compression? Where the VCA compressor found in the Master Buss Processor provides unmatched clarity, the weighty, harmonically rich tonality of diode bridge compression can be essential in pushing key sources like vocals, electric guitars, bass and drums to the forefront of a mix.
By understanding the limitations of vintage units like the legendary 2254, painstaking effort was taken to reproduce the unique tone of these classics while improving the noise floor & accuracy, expanding inflexible time constants, adding full wave sidechain detection for improved dynamic response, and widening the range of threshold and ratio controls.
Delivering the powerful sound of these iconic designs with enhanced flexibility for the modern age, the Shelford’s diode bridge compressor is a dynamic tool equipped to make a statement on virtually any mix or track.
With an infinite variety of tone, the Shelford Channel maintains the soul of Rupert’s vintage designs with new levels of versatility, delivering the combined essence of fifty years of Rupert Neve’s designs.