[JN] Rupert Neve RIP
coolhandluc at optusnet.com.au
Thu Feb 18 01:01:18 CST 2021
having engineered numerous grammy award winning albums spanning a number of genres on the aforementioned consoles amongst countless others, I can’t say I entirely disagree with ’the good old days’ although talking about desk sound as such is a highly over simplified perspective, there was a lot of sonic crossover going on which many outside of the scene seem to be unaware.
The ‘sound' was never simply that of the console (or even just one console) alone !… there was a far more wholistic approach to recording often taken.
At the discretion of the producer, or with guidance from the engineer we would for example track vocals and live instrumentation via a Neve or Trident printing to Studer A-800 or MCI JH-24 etc…and perhaps all electronic sounds, keyboards, drum programming etc.. on say an SSL going to a Mitsubishi X850 or Sony PCM-3348 (digital multi-track recorders),
OR, any various combinations of the above.
Come the mixdown, the analogue and digital multitracks would be synced with SMPTE…and tracks & stems could thus be recombined via, again either flavour of console.
That however is but a very minor part of the whole, as there is far more ‘art’ in the production/recording of a great deal of music than many can possibly imagine, from the multitude of mic types at the outset, the preamp types and absolute plethora of inserted outboard gear etc….
In fact would be exceedingly rare NOT to use a metric tonne of outboard processing for even the simplest of tasks ;-)
We would often mix on a Harrison or SSL G Series, BUT only to make use of its total recall automation !!
The entire multitrack would pass into the console via fader inserts which pumped all the tracks straight out into outboard Pultecs, GML’s, Neves etc.. etc…
The fact of the matter is that very few of the thousands of albums songs/albums I engineered were completed solely at one studio or both tracked and mixed via one console alone.
Recorded music is the same as always, digitally captured or not...it’s just that many of the techniques, the ‘art’ and the ears have been discarded purely for the sake of cost, convenience and/or due to plum ignorance !
> On Feb 17, 2021, at 8:26 PM, Thorsten Loesch via Sound <sound at soundlist.org> wrote:
> Those were the good old days.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHKhbB58vGk <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHKhbB58vGk>
> https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/legendary-consoles-impact-music-history/ <https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/legendary-consoles-impact-music-history/>
> Absolute sonic transparency was not a major design goal of the old Desks, good sound was. You can hear that "good sound" on most 60's and 70's records.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwTPvcPYaOo <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwTPvcPYaOo>
> Then came SSL and made a stab at a console that was sonically transparent. It became the sound of the 80's, squeaky clean, "open window", but no soul. Plastic Pop Phantastique!
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s__rX_WL100 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s__rX_WL100>
> Then came AVID Pro Tools and finally tore the roof of da muthafuckah.
> Recorded music was never the same again. Any soul, any humanity, anything "good" about "the sound of music" was eliminated.
> https://www.englishpatient.org/e-patient-videos-converted/5e314cd7-d132-4ba8-b684-05d65f93a29f/5e314cd7-d132-4ba8-b684-05d65f93a29f_480p.mp4 <https://www.englishpatient.org/e-patient-videos-converted/5e314cd7-d132-4ba8-b684-05d65f93a29f/5e314cd7-d132-4ba8-b684-05d65f93a29f_480p.mp4>
> The end.
> On Wed, 17 Feb 2021 at 06:29, Christian Rintelen via Sound <sound at soundlist.org <mailto:sound at soundlist.org>> wrote:
> 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 <mailto: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
>> 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
>>> <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.
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