[JN] Rupert Neve RIP

Philip Yates toobman57 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 08:18:58 CST 2021


Lord have mercy, how did you even manage to write that?? Oh, the secret
formula, duh Phil...

Germanium is nonlinear? I don't know if I've ever even seen a Ge
transistor. It has acquired a bit of a cult status however, AND, someone
made, and may still be making, germanium on silicon, which ended up
providing real electrical benefits, although I can't remember what. Maybe a
certain formula would jog my memory.

Phil

On Thu, Feb 18, 2021 at 4:20 AM Christian Rintelen via Sound <
sound at soundlist.org> wrote:

> Am 18.02.2021 um 09:20 schrieb Cool Hand via Sound <sound at soundlist.org>:
>
> One more thing regarding the perspective of nostalgic ’sound’…
>
> Imho a significant contribution were the herbal & pharmaceutical
> influences, that and mostly the tape machines, the tape formulations AND
> biaising, biasing was key and you could really put tangible phatness into
> *anything* you printed with the right combos… very often times we used or
> were sent ‘safeties’ of the 2” 24trk reels, so already we’d be starting
> with a 2nd generation copy, and thus the juicy tape induced non-linearities
> would be two-fold right there !!
>
>
> studer, in close cooperation with sandoz (albert hofmann’s employer in
> basel, switzerland) developed a special tapehead formula that created
> *magnetic* WoW & phat, phasing and flanging and other hallucinogenic
> effects that were then via sum/difference layered to the actual recorded
> sound. until 1964, these effects lasted only a short time which forced
> recording studios to mix and master during or immediately after the
> recording session — or else the desired sound effect would not be cut into
> the lacquer. it was alfred hofmann himself who in 1964 suggested to replace
> the ubiquitous PVC, PP or PE backing material (aka carrier) with archive
> grade blotter paper. blotter paper, as he had discovered earlier, was able
> to absorb and thus stabilize the sum / difference layer so that it could be
> stored at room temperature. (side note: 2008, after the universal studios
> fire, several fire fighters reported enhanced capabilities when all of a
> sudden they could see around corners, hear flames where there were none
> (but would erupt seconds after), or quell fire before it started by simply
> bending time. the media did not take notice of that particular and singular
> phenomenon. to this day the cause remains a secret.) on hofmann’s
> suggestion, studer joined forces with an undisclosed plastics manufacturer;
> their joint venture was called 4M and developed the technology to mass
> produced blotter based magnetic recording tape. 4M in turn sent samples of
> the new tape to leading recording studios in europe and the US — hiding the
> real reason of the new sound effects behind elaborate marketing speak. the
> feedback at first was enthusiastic, the demand for the 4M test tapes
> skyrocketed. but shortly after, the same studios started complaining about
> unprecedented head wear; even superhard longlife tape heads lasted no
> longer than 20 hours at 19 ips tape speed. studer and his undisclosed
> partner feared liability lawsuits and sent 4M into bankrupcy. studer
> continued his research and eventually found out that it was much easier and
> more convenient to use 8-track 2" tape and dedicate one track to his sound
> effects. however, knowing that the recording studios would not accept
> having only 7 instead of 8 tracks, studer developed special recording and
> replay heads that recorded and reproduced 9 tracks instead of 8, tracks 8
> and 9 having half the width of the other 7 tracks. the hidden track 9 was
> used for the sound effect, track 8 as a normal recording track. being only
> half width, track 8 saturated earlier and harder than the seven other
> tracks. the saturation effects, combined with the sum / difference of track
> 9,  made track 8 behave subtly different. recording engineers soon noticed
> that effect and put it to good use — whilst treating it as their trade
> secret. especially vocalists noticed that their performance sounded much
> better on this particular track, and so «put me on 8» quickly became a
> household request in studios and had considerable influence on the success
> of singers like grace slick and others. it was of course also a well-kept
> secret reason for the success of studer’s A80 multitrack recorder. studer
> has been quoted that the A was a reference to Albert (as in albert
> hofmann); his biographers univocally describe this as «one of the very rare
> instances of willy studer showing signs of irony or humor». how wrong they
> were… when approached by the swiss secret service (acting on a rumor fed to
> them by the CIA after an interrogation of timothy leary), he secretly
> abandoned his company’s foray into pharmaceutical sound enhancement. by
> then, his reputation has been made — and within a decade, his «track 8» was
> replaced by vocalizers, harmonizers and a plethora of IC based sound
> effects that were later replaced with DSP based digital technology aka
> plug-in.
>
>
> But this side of getting the ’sound’ isn't half as glamorous as waffling
> on about the secretive saturation curves of ‘magical' transformers and
> tantalum capacitors ;-)
>
> nah, not waffling … just describing Rupert Neve’s contribution to the
> sound of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. as he did not build tape recorders,
> microphones or studio monitors, he could not introduce tape saturation,
> proximity effects or thermal compression to the sound. but transformer
> saturation, tantalum distortion, germanium non-linearity … he could.
>
> ©
> _ _ _
> aka christian rintelen
>
>
>
> On Feb 18, 2021, at 6:01 PM, Cool Hand via Sound <sound at soundlist.org>
> wrote:
>
> Hahaha…
> 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 !
>
> <PastedGraphic-2.tiff>
>
>
> On Feb 17, 2021, at 8:26 PM, Thorsten Loesch via Sound <
> sound at soundlist.org> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> Those were the good old days.
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHKhbB58vGk
>
> 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
>
> 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
>
> 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
>
> The end.
>
> Thor
>
> On Wed, 17 Feb 2021 at 06:29, Christian Rintelen via Sound <
> 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>:
>>
>>
>> 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> <mswauters at gmail.com>
>> Cc: Joes <Sound at soundlist.org> <Sound at soundlist.org>
>> Subject: Re: [JN] Rupert Neve RIP
>> Message-ID:
>> 	<CAGezxSQydLcxRKSPKh+OAy-uXPq1jUALXHy=RLV+TETvG6=Aqw at mail.gmail.com> <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
>>
>>
>> --
>> -- bearlabs.com --
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