I thought I would chirp in here being the first buyer of the above console (the Mini-V).
Firstly I would like to point out that this is NOT a sidecar, far from it. Although you are excused as I made the original call thinking the very same thing.
What CML have managed to do is (with the help of a couple of very well respected Neve service folk) build a complete centre section that retains the logic switching and many other of the features you loose on a VR the second you remove a channel and rack-mount it.
It is in fact designed to function, as you said, as a fully working console.
We too toyed with the idea of spending the extra £10k or so and getting a VR36 but it's not just a larger desk you are getting. The power consumption, heat generation and servicing costs go through the roof.
With regards to the ergonomics of the desk, we wanted to change a few details on the Mini-V to suit our way of working better and the design team had no problem what so ever. In fact, we ordered ours with an extra bay either side to rack-mount our patch bays and outboard and an additional set of 12 VU's to monitor the tape returns.
This will give us the 12 VR channels to track through plus our 4 1073's racked up right in there. 16 channels of Neve Pre with 2 types of flavour.
It also means in mix mode we get 24channels to bus through from Protools.
We have even got a Neve 8816
summing mixer to mount to use as 16 effects returns... This is then routed to the master bus giving us a very flexible system indeed.
The desk has been in production for a couple of months now and both Micheal and the Production team have been nothing but helpful with any tweaks/changes we have had. They are a real pro outfit and know exactly what they are on about when it comes to the design of the console.
I would finally like to add a word or two of defense for Micheal, in dealing with him I have not once felt like he was being awkward. Far from it. I think some people confuse going straight to the point as being short at times.
The other thing to remember is this industry contains a lot of dreamers. Now I'm not suggesting for one second that that applies to anyone on this thread, just that for someone like Micheal who deals at the very top end of the market selling what is possibly a studios largest financial commitment, he is bound to get tired of endless emails from people 'inquiring' about a Neve or SSL.
Inquiring and actually being serious about it are two very different things. We all own and run studios, we have all had our share of dreamers wasting our time with endless questions and emails only to never be heard from again.
We were serious about buying a console and were treated as such. I couldn't be happier with the service so far... and don't worry, if that changes at any point I would be the first to let you all know.
In the meantime, I will await the delivery of our new console and be sure to make a full review with plenty of pictures once it has been delivered and installed.
Anyone wishing to come and see the console for evaluation purposes would be more than welcome.
Best regards folks,