This remote-controllable preamp boasts some unusual features aimed largely at the live-sound market.
Audio-over-IP (AoIP) continues to gain popularity, particularly in live-sound and broadcast applications, and Rupert Neve Designs have recently joined the network-audio crowd, with the release of the RMP-D8. This eight-channel, remote-controllable microphone preamp incorporates the almost ubiquitous Dante AoIP interface, and although aimed primarily at live-sound applications, it offers exemplary audio quality and simplicity of use for any Dante-equipped installation, so should also find welcoming homes in the broadcast, education, studio-complex and location-recording sectors.
The RMP-D8 looks nothing like any other RND product I've seen. With its sturdy 2U rackmounting steel chassis and control panel, both finished in plain matt black, it's far more industrial-looking than the Portico or Shelford ranges. Ten vertical slots milled into the substantial front panel reveal eight digital bar-graph meters and two LED arrays of status indicators. User controls comprise 15 illuminated buttons for channel access and configuration, a big red indented rotary encoder, a black power button, and a small colour OLED display.
All the usual preamp facilities are provided for each channel, with individually switchable 48V phantom power, polarity inversion, a 10dB pad, an 80Hz (12dB/octave) high-pass filter, and gain that's adjustable between 0 and +60 dB in 1dB increments. If the line input is selected, the gain range is restricted to a maximum of +30dB, phantom power is automatically disabled, and the pad is engaged. A Reset button restores all channels to their default settings.
When one of the channel buttons under the meters is pressed, that channel's settings are shown on the OLED screen. The preamp's gain is displayed in large numbers, along with the status of the phantom power, high-pass filter, pad and polarity options. Also shown is whether gain compensation (GC) is active (more on that later), and whether the front-panel controls have been locked. Additional menu screens show system information like the current firmware version, PSU voltages and temperature, the Dante connection IP/Mac addresses, Dante software and ID details, and the device ID for use with remote control from Yamaha CL, QL or PM consoles.
The preamp functionality is obvious and efficient, making routine setups and operations straightforward, but the 20-page manual is necessary reading if you're to understand the more involved Dante configuration functionality. The only thing I felt was missing was an instant overview of all channel settings; the assignable nature of the controls means that the unit's front panel can't provide that overview, so I'd very much like to see an overview display page added to the OLED screen in a firmware update.