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The “Neve” Sound
For years I had the pleasure of working on a few different Neve consoles at Cello Studios in Hollywood CA. You always hear about the Neve sound and how remarkable recordings can be in the hands of a capable engineer. These were all Vintage Neve consoles and within these vintage Neve consoles were some amazing preamps and EQ’s.
One of the most famous preamps in the world is the Neve 1073 which has been an industry staple since its inception. There are others as well, like the 1084, but all of these units had a magic quality and a magic coloration.
You always hear about transparency in recordings but Neves most certainly were/are not transparent. There is a pleasing coloration to anything you record through a Vintage Neve. I especially notice it on symbols and the silky nature they take on when recorded through a vintage Neve console.
There have been many attempts at clones of the Neve 1073, some have been exceptional and some not so much. I remember having the conversation with Gary Myerberg (Master Engineer/Tech at Cello) and Gary telling me that it was the Polystyrene caps in the vintage Neve consoles that gave them their magic. I would not know but Gary is one of the best in the industry so I trust him.
It is my opinion that in today’s world of recording you do not need massive consoles and expensive mics to achieve professional and, in some cases, exceptional results. You are seeing more and more 500 series racks loaded with Neve 1073’s, API 512 C’s and many, many others as front ends to DAWS. Plug-ins are getting better and better and great mics are becoming more and more affordable.
Rupert Neve has continued to design modern day gear that rivals anything he has made in the past. However, some people cannot get past the vintage mindset. The vintage mindset is fine but do not discount what is on the market today.
I remember visiting Rupert Neve Designs in Wimberly and having some great conversations. One of their head engineers at the time was a guy named “Hutch” Craig Hutchison, who I believe is back with Manley Labs. Hutch told me that Rupert still has weekly chalk talks and every week he would show these highly regarded engineers something mind blowing in his approach to circuit design. That being said, I have always remained a huge fan of Rupert Neve and his designs.
Josh Thomas (Head of RND) has been amazingly generous over the years. I now sport a sweet set of new 500 series pre’s, compressors and tape emulators, along with my prized 5060 center piece. I personally have never achieved sound quality that equals what I am achieving today out of my lowly home studio!
Some of my favorites of my personal gear:
- Neve 517, 543, and 542’s
- 5060 Centerpiece
- Universal Audio Apollo 8 (newest version)
- A Designs Nail
- A Designs Hammer
- Phoenix Audio DRS-Q4M MK2
- Stedman N-90 mics
- Telefunken CU-29 Copper Head
If you can’t make a record with this stuff you might need to question your skills!…:-)
Check out Rupert Neve products at http://rupertneve.com
5088 High Voltage & Discrete Mixer
When 90 volts course through discrete op-amp cards, custom transformers & meticulously crafted, Class A circuitry designed by the most trusted name in audio, the difference is immediately apparent.
Different from the Inside-Out
The circuit topology of the 5088 is unprecedented. With custom transformers coupling every single input and output (including the inserts), the sweet musical performance and bulletproof isolation expected from a Rupert Neve design are assured: there is not a single compromised signal path in the entire console. For signal amplification and control, all new, high voltage, discrete op-amp cards have been developed specifically for the 5088 that eliminate crossover distortion while offering extended headroom, dynamic range, and frequency response.
The 5088 is a culmination of Mr. Rupert Neve’s vast analogue circuitry knowledge. As his first fully discrete mixing design in over 30 years, the 5088 incorporates and improves upon many of the same concepts, such as the single-sided, fully discrete amplification and complete transformer isolation that made his original designs so revered – except unlike many of those aging classics, maintenance is no longer a full time job.
Sound Without Compromise
To stay current in the recording business you must be able to continuously adapt your environment to the needs at hand. Because the 5088 is completely modular, channel strips and Portico processing modules like EQ, microphone preamplification and dynamics can be added or removed to meet constantly changing demands and eliminate the massive redundancies of consoles from yesteryear. If you don’t need it, your console doesn’t need it either.
The Input Channel
Beyond its exceptional sound quality, the 5088 channel strip is designed to effectively handle multiple normalled sources, creating master, group and aux mixes with great efficiency. With 8 axes, 8 “Groups”, “Solo”, “Mute”, “Send Follows Pan”, “Aux to Group”, a transformer coupled direct out and optional motorized fader automation on each channel, even the most complex mixes are within reach.
The Stereo Input Channel
In lieu of mono input channels with selectable Line 1 / Line 2 Inputs, Stereo Input Channels can be fitted to increase the channel count without having to add an expansion chassis. The Stereo Module has all of the group sends, six auxes, stereo width control, and individual trims and pans for each channel.
The Group Channel
With 4 pairs of FX returns and aux master controls, alongside high-quality 100mm faders, direct outs and transformer-coupled inserts for each of the 8 mix groups, the group master section provides the medium to control 4 stereo stem mixes while tying together an entire array of channel strips. If necessary, the insert returns and stereo FX returns can be used as an additional 16 inputs for summing.
The Monitor Master
The monitor master section has 6 source selections, 3 transformer-coupled speaker outputs, talkback, oscillator controls, 2 VU meters, stereo inserts, stereo level and control room master level. As with the the channel and group modules, anodized aluminum knobs provide the solid feel and response needed for precise adjustments.
Built around state-of-the-art motorized faders and DAW control over ethernet, SwiftMix combines the accuracy and convenience of digital automation with the unrivaled analogue sound of the Rupert Neve Designs 5088 Console.