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Ok so how come no mass produced NEVE?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by WLoveday, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. WLoveday

    WLoveday Guest

    OK, so I've been lurking everywhere the last few months and have read basically you want Neve, API, Trident or their modern equivelents for Mic preamps and EQ modules in order to get the most from your mics for tracking.

    It appears there is a decent demand, so why only limited run products? At an average of $1000/channel it's pretty hard to get up the funds to do much more than vocals and a guitar.
    The kits aren't too much better most of the time, even without considering the TONS of work to get them done. Now I'm not debating the cost of these things. They are works of art that take time and expertise to produce. I'm just wondering why no one has ventured into a larger scale driving up produciton and down unit cost.

    I know this is going to create a stir to think such things, but how come we don't have a "mackie" of neve, api, and trident clones?

    It appears all the schematics are pretty much public domain at this point.

    It appears that not all the PARTS are really that expensive it's the point to point wiring and manual labor to make these homebrew if you dare.
    Not saying the parts don't cost a bundle! Anybody have ballparks on what the parts alone DO cost to make these puppies? (That's assuming you can make/find the parts)

    Modern manufacturing could take out a LOT of the labor (not that I want these things made in china!)However DO they need to be Point to Point where PCB MIGHT suffice?

    I don't expect to go pic one up in guitar center for $99, but it would help a LOT of folks out there if someone could manage a mass-produced Neve or API etc.... FMR are you listening??
    I have my eye on the new RNP. Next should be the RNEQ you were working on, then my vote goes for a RNCS(Really Nice Channel Strip)!

    Before anyone gets upset that IS a professional.. you know better than anyone that even the BEST gear is useless in the wrong hands...

    So to all those in the know, WHY???

    What COULD be possible?


  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    You asked,
    Schools out on that. Most audio freaks, me included, feel that point to point is waaaay better. The amount of material on a PCB trace is considerably less than the amount in a piece of wire. Also there is a theory about "co plainer" magnetic fields and how they affect audio in a circut.
    Unfortunately, no one has invented the soldering robot yet that can do point to point. Also there is the power supply to think about. Huge caps and transformers. There has to be tons of juice to run these circuits. Some of the older gear can get very hot because they are very inefficient with their power use. But they sure sound good!

    Believe me if someone could automate the process and pump out 1073's at $300 each street, they would be doing it. I don't think this is an original thought. These things require a certain amount of ability and talent to fabricate. I don't like that it costs so much to make a good pre amp, but in a way, in this world of outsourcing labor and automated production lines, it kind of reassuring. Actually, used API pres usually sell for about $500 per channel. The lunchbox is a great way to power and mount them. Those can be found for around $600 and accommodates 4 pres or eq's. That's $2600 for 4 or $650 per channel…. Not bad really.
    Tannoys, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK.
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to!
  3. Prolab

    Prolab Guest

    Actually, you are paying for:

    Design and engineering.

    Yes, the designers want their cut and they shold get it.

    Super parts matching.

    Sometimes it takes hundreds of the same part to find a pair that is within a 1/10 or better tolerence. When you are talking about a run of 1000 pieces, you may have to invest the huge bucks to match up components.

    The boards themself.

    Custom machine work and low quantity production runs, drive the price up sky high. It is not uncommon for a $2000.00 piece on the market, for the first prototype to cost 20 times that or more.


    You do pay for the name. The pride of ownership. A Rolls Royce motor car cannot certainly have that many more times the cost of materials as another luxury counterpart. You can pay 325K for a new Rolls or Bentley. But the Lexus as fine as it is and even the Mercedes S class, is not a Rolls.

    To mass produce some of the upper eschelon pre-s could certainly be done but then you have the matter of copyright to contend with and certainly, this is another high expense. Legal stuff gets very expensive.

    Those things are also hand built. Hand tested. Every component.

    So there you have the above reasons. I am sure many more people on this fine board can think of others.
  4. Eric Best

    Eric Best Active Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Lansing, MI
    The transformers in the Neve 1073 alone are about $170. The originals were PCB so point to pointe wiring shouldn't be a difference. The gain switches would be time consuming to manufacture. I figure the parts with a case to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 - 300. Add labor... $250, you're up to $550. The mark up on these has to be somewhat significant since there is a relatively small market, and marketing money and you're up to $900 - 1000 which is in the minimum neighborhood to what these are selling for. Add in the cost of a quality power supply, and that will account for the costs of just reproducing it.

  5. Rowan

    Rowan Active Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    I have a Neve 3115 module. It is a broadcast module from a Melbourne console. It has fairly basic switched three band EQ and the sought after St. Ives and Mariner transformers.

    It began life as a class AB output stage but I have since fitted a Phoenix Audio TF1 class A output module and transformer.

    There is no doubt that much of the cost lies in the specialised components such as the transformers and the rotary mic/line input attenuator switch, which is a work of art in itself.

    The first thing you notice about these family of Neve modules is that they sound solid and like they mean business. Strumming my acoustic never sounded as ballsey until it went through a Neve. It somehow managed to thicken the lo-mids without becoming boomy and the hi-end eq gives a great sheen without ever sounding thin like a Mackie. It was like taking a dose of 'audio steroids'. The Class A output mod made it more refined in the highs but without ever losing the Neve's gutsiness. When you look at the construction and components of a Neve and compare it with a modern mass produced piece of gear you can easily see why they don't sell for two hundred bucks. You quite simply ain't going to get this sound with a bunch of IC's in a plastic box!! ;)

    BTW - Who's going to produce transformers of this quality for $19.95. The Chinese?... if they're not identical they ain't going to sound like a Neve even if they get the rest right!
  6. Eric Best

    Eric Best Active Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Lansing, MI
    Hey, ask this question of the guys on the "designing the future" forum.
  7. WLoveday

    WLoveday Guest


    I'm not debating the price of neves and their modern counterparts. They are worth EVERY penny!
    I'm also not debating that quality parts aren't cheap. I'm not debating compensation for R&D.

    All I was asking was why no one has been able to make special purpose transformers in volume in addition to the other parts so it could be mass produced. There surely is a market for it. Even all the now ignorant guitar center kids would be lined up around the block if they had mackie style advertising and marketing to "educate" them!

    I know this was kinda a dumb "why is the sky blue" question but was curious if anyone knew!



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