[JN] Rupert Neve RIP

Christian Rintelen christian at rintelen.ch
Tue Feb 16 16:29:27 CST 2021


back in 2013 and related to the release of «sound city», dave grohl said in an interview with npr: <https://www.npr.org/2013/03/08/173823162/dave-grohl-finds-musics-human-element-in-a-machine?t=1613512895729>

«Neve boards were considered like the Cadillacs of recording consoles. They're these really big, behemoth-looking recording desks; they kind of look like they're from the Enterprise in Star Trek or something like that. They're like a grayish color, sort of like an old Army tank with lots of knobs, and to any studio geek or gear enthusiast it's like the coolest toy in the world. But they're pretty simple. They're not filled with miles and miles of cable and wires — they're pretty simple. And what you get when you record on a Neve desk is this really big, warm representation of whatever comes into it. What's going to come out the other end is this bigger, better version of you. And so it makes you sound real, but it makes you sound really good.»

(my italics)

i stumbled across this interview 3 months ago during my research for the liner notes of an album that was recorded last summer on a 1972 neve console. the other control room of this studio was equipped with an SSL console. the difference between the two consoles was striking. and everybody (!) preferred the neve over the SSL.

it was a relief when i found grohl’s statement — because he put it into very few words and made it understandable, tangible, and down to the very essence: «…it makes you sound real, but it makes you sound really good.»

(yes, it was the transformers. yes it was the cheap wiring. yes it was the tons of dried-out 1970s electrolytics everywhere in the signal path. yes it was … yes it was a bit of everything. it wasn’t even really state of the art back in 1970, but the Neve had very good mic preamps and the EQ was also excellent. and honestly, i am convinced that RN — with his intimate knowledge of transformers — knew exactely what he did when he specified the transformers so that they would start to saturate at -10 dBV. that gave the extra fatness that was part of the Neve signature sound. the obituary mentions briefly that he was nominated «Audio person of the century» by Sound magazine back in 1999. this was an election among peers — sound engineers all over the world. Neve’s first place was no contest; 2nd to 4th place were IIRC, Ray Dolby, George Martin and Willy Studer. so yes, people that did know how important and groundbreaking neve’s work really was, gave the honor to those that the honor really belongs. neve and studer were responsible for the huge jump in quality and efficiency of recording technology between 1960 and 1995. george martin was one person to push them both to go further (Studer J37 comes to mind), and Dolby … well, Dolby was the odd man out in this 	quartet — even though today, his legacy is probably bigger than neve’s and studer’s.)

just my 2 cents… 

©
_ _ _
aka christian rintelen

> Am 16.02.2021 um 21:27 schrieb bear via Sound <sound at soundlist.org>:
> 
> 
> Sure as heck wasn't due to the stellar performance of his discrete opamps!!
> 
> Yes, back in the day, more output current than an IC opamp, but right there is the
> limit. 
> 
> Ever test one? (any version) 
> 
>                       _-_-bear - my opinions, your opinions, opinions both...
> 
> Sorry, not a big fan. 
>> Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2021 06:01:35 -0700
>> From: Marc Wauters <mswauters at gmail.com> <mailto:mswauters at gmail.com>
>> Cc: Joes <Sound at soundlist.org> <mailto:Sound at soundlist.org>
>> Subject: Re: [JN] Rupert Neve RIP
>> Message-ID:
>> 	<CAGezxSQydLcxRKSPKh+OAy-uXPq1jUALXHy=RLV+TETvG6=Aqw at mail.gmail.com> <mailto:CAGezxSQydLcxRKSPKh+OAy-uXPq1jUALXHy=RLV+TETvG6=Aqw at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>> 
>> He had an appearance in the sound city documentary in which he said that
>> the sound of his "Neve Consoles" was due to the transformers that he used.
>> 
>> Marc
> 
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