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Rupert Neve - The king is dead, long live the king

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Profile picture for user Boswell
Member for
15 years 1 month

Boswell Tue, 02/16/2021 - 03:22

Link555, post: 467544, member: 31690 wrote:
Boswell that’s pretty amazing...you can’t just end your story there, what was the interview like? why did you turn it down?

I have to say I can't remember a huge amount about it, as it was a hectic time in my life. I had just started an academic position, and got a call out of the blue to ask if I would go to the Neve factory, as they would like to talk to me. It was before the days of what became known as "headhunting", but my name had been given as someone who had published a research project involving industrial hybrid digital and analogue processing, a novelty at the time.

I recall being shown around a barn of a place that had workbenches down the length on both sides and the middle, with rows of ladies assembling wiring looms. There was a development lab, which was surprisingly empty, but had a senior engineer with his head inside a tape machine.

Back in Rupert's office, he dug out some photos of a rack full of gear and said this is what had caught his eye - the first commercially-available 16-bit A-D converter. He had been waiting for these to become available, as that was the minimum specification he could accept for audio. I believe the rack was made by Sperry, but I can't be sure of that. At that time, Rupert did not have much experience with digital work, and he had mis-read the paragraph in the article that talked about this converter running at 100 microseconds. He thought that meant 100KHz, and so would be very suitable for professional audio use. He went very quiet when I pointed out that 100 microseconds was only 10KHz, so was unlikely to be suitable.

We discussed possible ways round the speed problem, as I knew that the speed was largely being limited by the D-A conversion of the partial result inside the converter. I explained how you could pipeline these operations, doing the first fraction of the conversion relatively slowly and handing on the partial result to a second and third process that could run quicker. I remember using the analogy of a Consultant Surgeon doing the delicate bit of an operation and moving on to the next patient while the junior doctors stitched up the first one. Rupert's eyes lit up when he got the point, and he banged his hand down on the desk "THAT'S what we'll do!"

I eventually had to admit that I was not in in a position to drop what I was doing and join his team, but hoped that I had given him a few pointers as to how it could be done. It was some years before I saw any Neve digital product on the market, and it was nice to think that I might have played a small part in it.

Profile picture for user audiokid
Member for
20 years 9 months

audiokid Wed, 02/17/2021 - 08:23

Boswell, post: 467555, member: 29034 wrote:
I have to say I can't remember a huge amount about it, as it was a hectic time in my life. I had just started an academic position, and got a call out of the blue to ask if I would go to the Neve factory, as they would like to talk to me. It was before the days of what became known as "headhunting", but my name had been given as someone who had published a research project involving industrial hybrid digital and analogue processing, a novelty at the time.

I recall being shown around a barn of a place that had workbenches down the length on both sides and the middle, with rows of ladies assembling wiring looms. There was a development lab, which was surprisingly empty, but had a senior engineer with his head inside a tape machine.

Back in Rupert's office, he dug out some photos of a rack full of gear and said this is what had caught his eye - the first commercially-available 16-bit A-D converter. He had been waiting for these to become available, as that was the minimum specification he could accept for audio. I believe the rack was made by Sperry, but I can't be sure of that. At that time, Rupert did not have much experience with digital work, and he had mis-read the paragraph in the article that talked about this converter running at 100 microseconds. He thought that meant 100KHz, and so would be very suitable for professional audio use. He went very quiet when I pointed out that 100 microseconds was only 10KHz, so was unlikely to be suitable.

We discussed possible ways round the speed problem, as I knew that the speed was largely being limited by the D-A conversion of the partial result inside the converter. I explained how you could pipeline these operations, doing the first fraction of the conversion relatively slowly and handing on the partial result to a second and third process that could run quicker. I remember using the analogy of a Consultant Surgeon doing the delicate bit of an operation and moving on to the next patient while the junior doctors stitched up the first one. Rupert's eyes lit up when he got the point, and he banged his hand down on the desk "THAT'S what we'll do!"

I eventually had to admit that I was not in in a position to drop what I was doing and join his team, but hoped that I had given him a few pointers as to how it could be done. It was some years before I saw any Neve digital product on the market, and it was nice to think that I might have played a small part in it.

What a great story, Bos. Thank you for sharing this! We're fortunate to have you with us here too.

Profile picture for user audiokid
Member for
20 years 9 months

audiokid Wed, 02/17/2021 - 10:30

Kurt Foster, post: 467575, member: 7836 wrote:
i wonder what this means to the company?

I suspect they will continue. Being said, DAWs are the future and everything is going to be ITB with less and less need or support for anything more than a control surface.

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster
Member for
18 years 11 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 02/17/2021 - 12:18

i concede itb is dominant in the home / hobby studios but from what i've observed any studio that can, has a console.

there's independent gear sluts who are going back to smaller consoles/ mixers too, for mojo or whatever it is they think it brings to the table or bragging rights.

for what it's worth, i know itb is here to stay for sure but it will always be a virtual mixing experience that offers different results than a traditional large format console. the main advantage (broken promise) to itb is the cost vs. a real mixing console. with few exceptions, smaller table top mixer wonn't measure up to a real Neve, API, MCI etc.

Profile picture for user audiokid
Member for
20 years 9 months

audiokid Wed, 02/17/2021 - 13:39

Link555, post: 467579, member: 31690 wrote:
iTB has gotten a lot better, but There is something about working outside the box that is so much more satisfying. And if you are lucky enough to have mixed on a Neve it’s really hard not too. :)

Tracking yes, once ITB no. Mixing otb is not even close to ITB
But even nice tracking hardware sounds better (for now a least) I doubt the new generation will subscribe to $500,000 consoles to keep companies like NEve, API etc going when we all can do it at home on a computer “close enough “.
As AI grows... using hardware will all become silly imho. The new music will all follow every to do with online and being ITB .

The electrical issues running big rail gear, globally, will likely become an issue as well. I predict Some day houses won’t even have that kind of power available to run big rail gear.

Profile picture for user Link555
Member for
14 years 2 months

Link555 Wed, 02/17/2021 - 14:15

audiokid, post: 467582, member: 1 wrote:
Tracking yes, once ITB no. Mixing otb is not even close to ITB

I much prefer mixing OTB, its like a performance especially without automation. To my mind that performance part of the mix is where the magic happens.

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster
Member for
18 years 11 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 02/17/2021 - 14:24

audiokid, post: 467582, member: 1 wrote:
I doubt the new generation will subscribe to $500,000 consoles to keep companies like NEve, API etc going when we all can do it at home on a computer “close enough “.

the point isn't to keep anyone going, it's for a better expierence tracking and mixing. for some people, good enough isn't. you have to be buying a pretty big console to get to the $500,000 mark. there's plenty of new 24 channel consoles available for far less than that.

Profile picture for user audiokid
Member for
20 years 9 months

audiokid Wed, 02/17/2021 - 17:22

Link555, post: 467583, member: 31690 wrote:
I much prefer mixing OTB, its like a performance especially without automation. To my mind that performance part of the mix is where the magic happens.

Definitely mixing OTB is fun compared to using a small screen and a mouse but I was referring in terms of sound quality. I've does many test comparing mixes with world class gear and there is no comparison. ITB always sounds better. Never the less... we should be doing this for fun too.

I listened to a program the other day specifically discussing the future generations. For various reasons the concept of owning "things" is becoming a thing of the past. I think we would be naive to think this exempts us in the music business. People don't care if they even own songs.

Kurt Foster, post: 467584, member: 7836 wrote:
the point isn't to keep anyone going, it's for a better expierence tracking and mixing. for some people, good enough isn't. you have to be buying a pretty big console to get to the $500,000 mark. there's plenty of new 24 channel consoles available for far less than that.

I agree, as you know I owned a pretty amazing rig of gear a few years back but was happy to sell the mass of it for a few reasons. After seeing what a round trip does, that part was a no brainer. ITB sounds better. So if most people agree with that, keeping gear that doesn't sound as good as computers, I knew I loved looking at it all but couldn't justify degrading music just because it looked good.

Second reason, all gear eventually degrades so I figured if I didn't get rid of it soon, I wouldn't be able to sell anything without loosing thousands. The lust for hardware is dying.
The list why ITB just makes more sense goes on and on but I do agree that there is nothing better to my ears than "tracking" a vocal through something like a vintage LA2A and a big rail pre with lush mics in a good room. My love for modular recording rigs make way more scene to owning a budget console that limits you to its budget sound. So, how do you compare a budget console to a few tracking tools that costs more than the console itself.
In the end... you still need the AD and a DAW in the end. You still need to get your music out to the world, on video etc. In a few years there will be even more reasons why computers are the core to it all and a console is more of a thing of the past. Now if we are talking about a control surface... then absolutely. Bring on more control!
People like us old farts love that day of a console but I can't see line ups of people investing in high quality consoles enough to keep these vintage companies going. Dollar for dollar, ITB is a no brainer.

this line https://www.rupertneve.com/ranges/500-series/ in combination with a daw makes perfect sense. I see Neve continuing along this path.

I now have a 75in 4k tv and a 65in 4K side by side and it is so friken awesome working ITB with these. Very easy on the eyes as well.
Mixing on a tiny monitor like you did back in you day Kurt was horrible... but those days are long gone.

Profile picture for user Kurt Foster
Member for
18 years 11 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 02/17/2021 - 17:52

i agree ... for your situation and 95% of anyone who frequents these kind of boards, itb is what's happening. but most of those people would never be using a LFC in the fist place if there were no DAW's ... they would be recording on Tascam 388's, cassette multi trackers or at best Mackie's and ADATS.

but that doesn't mean that LFC's are a thing of the past. there are just as many manufacturers making LFC's now as ever and just as much demand.

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