Some days I come over all Neve and have to look at pictures of old consoles and listen to Dire Straits recordings. I was telling Alan about this today and he began reminiscing about when he worked at Neve. He was there for most of the 80’s when it had been bought out by Siemens and the main project he worked on was the Neve DSP, the first ever digital recording console. Check out this scan of the brochure, it’s amazing.  The thing about that product is that it was so cutting edge the only ones sold went to institutions funded by the British government. The designers published scientific papers on the technology they were pioneering. Siemens bought the entire Neve company [outbidding 60 other competitors for it] just so they could own the digital technology. Read more about the DSP here, but basically they cost over a million pounds each and they made less than 10 of them. One of them [the one in the picture] went to a studio in London who actually had the entire left side of the console constructed as a dummy non-working sidecar because they wanted it to look more impressive! Another system went to a Russian national broadcast studio that never got completed, and the console remained in its shrink-wrapped container for the next 15 years, when some lucky person bought it for next to nothing in its perfect state, just as it had left the factory

Rupert Neve had left the company in the late 70s, but before he did he designed three consoles that were commissioned by George Martin. One of them went into his new studio on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean, pictured above. That console has been around a bit now, including being pulled from the wreckage of the studio after it was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but here it is for sale if you have 1/2 million dollars spare

At the end of this video you can see Sting being a prat and jumping on it. Damn! [skip through to 3.10]

The Air consoles were the last ones Neve had a hand in before leaving and setting up a company called Focusrite. The next console he designed was the legendary Focusrite Forte. Below is a picture of the one that is still in daily use at Ocean Way in Hollywood. Sadly one was recently split up and sold off in small sections by Funky Junk. There are a few bits left….

Alternatively for a much more reasonable £40k you could buy this Neve 5316 which proaudiodesign.com are also selling:

 
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