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Do you have to leave a Neve VR on all the time?
Old 20th December 2009
  #1
Do you have to leave a Neve VR on all the time?

I am seriously considering getting a Neve VR 48 channel console for my home studio in the near future.

My question is would I have to leave it powered up all the time?

I am not running a commerical studio and there are often period of a week or so in which it would not get used.

If you do power the desk on as and when required rather then leavng it on all the time I am aware that it can cause reliability issues, but I was considering if the occasional fault repair would work out not that much more then the cost of leaving it on with AC ect all the time.

What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance.
Old 20th December 2009
  #2
Gear Addict
 
nicpope's Avatar
 

if you're not running a commercial studio a Neve VR is going to be a money pit from which you cannot escape. it would likely be the same story even if you WERE running a commercial studio.

I could go into a lot more detail but really why bother? That would be one of the worst possible decisions you could make.
Old 20th December 2009
  #3
Thanks for the reply.

I am very aware of all the potential problems and finacial responsibilities that go along with running a console like a VR.

With all due respect, I don't know how one can make a sweeping statement such as that this would be the worst decision I could make without knowing anything about my studio, type of work I do, or financial situation.

My question really only relates to leaving the console powered up all the time or not.
Old 20th December 2009
  #4
Registered User
 

VR's run hot, which exacerbates the aging of the capacitors if nothing else, accelerating the need to recap them. They also use a lot of power, resulting in big bills not only from the power used, but from the aircon needed to keep the room at a sensible temperature, which is a double-blow against the environment - incredibly wasteful.

They always need some maintenance of some sort regardless, recapping as above, switches, pots, etc. etc. and most large studios have a full time tech who dedicates a fair portion of his/her time to it. You'd need to allocate regular time for this otherwise you'll always be a channel or two down and will spend a fortune in service/shipping bills.

You also need a machine room for the power supplies/automation computer etc., and a fairly hefty patchbay with lots of multicore cables.

Why not just get a Genesys, and get a fair chunk of the 88R without the power drain and physical space of a large-format?

VRs are fantastic, legendary consoles, but that comes at a price, and the old race-car analogy can be crowbarred into this argument - they take a hell of a lot more in service expense than a more convential one.

Good luck whatever you choose though...
Old 20th December 2009
  #5
Thanks for the info.

I am really excited at the idea of getting a VR, but I need to ensure that I am really geared up for the task of maintaining it before doing anything.

A machine room is a must, I wouldn't try to install a desk like this in a one room studio, we are planning a purpose built studio with machine room, Good AC system etc.

The desk I was looking at comes with 4 spare channels that would hopefully keep us up and running during times when others are being repaired.

Anyway, there is a lot to consider, thanks for your reply.
Old 20th December 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Not trying to be a jerk - but if you're worried about the cost of running the console 24/7, you're probably going to be equally, if not more bummed about the maintenance costs. As was mentioned, VR's run hot and thus go through caps, switches and pots really fast. For that kind of headache and cost, you could find a much "better" sounding console.

Is there any particular reason you're dead-set on a VR?
Old 20th December 2009
  #7
I have always really liked the sound of the VR, I know that it doesn't sound like some of the vintage Neve consoles, but I really like using it and lets face it a vintage neve desk with that many channels is going to be at least 5 times more expensive to buy then a VR.

Owning a neve console has been a dream of mine for a long time, however irrational that may be. I do however think that the VR sounds great and at the current used prices actually offers excellent value.

I probably didn't make my original post very clear, I am not trying to save money here by switching it off when not in use, I have factored running costs into my decision.

I don't feel that comfortable leaving any electrical devices on for long periods of time when I am not around, let alone a studio full of gear. I am just trying to find out whether I am going to be asking for trouble by powering on and off more so then if I leave it on 24/7

The console would be fully recapped before installation, I guess one benifit of not running all the time is that the caps would last longer before they need changing again.
Old 20th December 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioKing View Post
Owning a neve console has been a dream of mine for a long time, however irrational that may be. I do however think that the VR sounds great and at the current used prices actually offers excellent value.
I was writing a long winded reply about circuit topology and my preferences, but I decided to delete it (who cares about my preferences). I will say, however, that I think it's awesome that in this current state of the industry, you're doing well enough to by a console. thumbsup
Old 20th December 2009
  #9
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioKing View Post
With all due respect, I don't know how one can make a sweeping statement such as that this would be the worst decision I could make without knowing anything about my studio, type of work I do, or financial situation.
To quote my dear friend George Massenburg [paraphrase perhaps] "I never thought I would hear a console that sounded worse than an SSL until I worked on a Neve VR".

To answer your actual question... you want to leave it on 24/7/365... UNLESS you don't mind letting it warm up for a day before you use it and then check the calibration [unity gain throughout] before each use [add a day to the day you already needed to get the puppy warmed up].

So... I guess if you don't mind going through and making sure everything is cal'ed properly [which seriously takes a good 8-10 hours (!!)] and don't have a problem anticipating your sessions by two days... turn if off.

If you're half as lazy as I am... leave it on.

BTW... I know of an 8058 and an 8078 Neve for sale... same issues with turning them off but they're quicker to calibrate and sound a whole hell of a lot better.

Peace.
Old 20th December 2009
  #10
Umm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioKing View Post
I have always really liked the sound of the VR, I know that it doesn't sound like some of the vintage Neve consoles, but I really like using it and lets face it a vintage neve desk with that many channels is going to be at least 5 times more expensive to buy then a VR.

Owning a neve console has been a dream of mine for a long time, however irrational that may be. I do however think that the VR sounds great and at the current used prices actually offers excellent value.

I probably didn't make my original post very clear, I am not trying to save money here by switching it off when not in use, I have factored running costs into my decision.

I don't feel that comfortable leaving any electrical devices on for long periods of time when I am not around, let alone a studio full of gear. I am just trying to find out whether I am going to be asking for trouble by powering on and off more so then if I leave it on 24/7

The console would be fully recapped before installation, I guess one benifit of not running all the time is that the caps would last longer before they need changing again.
By filling what little available space there is within the console with a narrow nylon capillary tube filled with an inert gas like nitrogen, you could with the aid of an aquarium pump use this spare energy to assist with heating something elsewhere, Perhaps a Vr assisted water heater or coffee machine is possible.
This would also help to keep your lytic caps in good order for longer.
Fraid its best to leave it on but keep it cool!.
Old 20th December 2009
  #11
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The MPCist's Avatar
 

As a previous owner of a Neve V series console, I can say for a fact that:

1. You're headed for hell in regards to your electric bill!!

2. You're headed for big bucks recapping that monster!!!!

3. You're better off with a Genesys!!!

Really.
Old 20th December 2009
  #12
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Space Station's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
To quote my dear friend George Massenburg [paraphrase perhaps] "I never thought I would hear a console that sounded worse than an SSL until I worked on a Neve VR".
Read a similar quote from Pete Townsend and Phil Taylor (who he sold it to!) about how bad the VR sounded.
Old 20th December 2009
  #13
Gear Head
 
Jeancab's Avatar
I would turn it off.
As you said, it can cause reliability issues, but the capacitors ageing issues are worst.
And yes, the V series run VERY hot, you need a very good AC system.

They are different from 80xx series, but sound good for many engineers, if in good condition (capacitors again...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrisio View Post
VR's run hot, which exacerbates the aging of the capacitors if nothing else, accelerating the need to recap them.
Old 20th December 2009
  #14
Thanks for all the advice and info. I think that I will strongly consider the options and perhaps do some research into the 80xx series. I know somebody who has one so I might see if they would be kind enough to let me go and have a play and see what it's like.

They are a fair bit more expensive to buy not then the VR.

This is really tough because one way or another I am going to be buying a large formatt analogue console in the new year but can't afford to make a bad choice and be stuck with a nightmare.

More research and consideration I think...

Thanks again
Old 20th December 2009
  #15
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Space Station's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
As a previous owner of a Neve V series console, I can say for a fact that:

1. You're headed for hell in regards to your electric bill!!


Really.
How many watts does it draw then?
Old 20th December 2009
  #16
Dan
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Dan's Avatar
 

I worked in a studio with a couple of Vs for a year or so. They had to be powered down a few times within that year. It seems like something broke each time we did that. At any rate, there was always much knob twisting, and re-stabbing channels.
Old 20th December 2009
  #17
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
As a previous owner of a Neve V series console, I can say for a fact that:

1. You're headed for hell in regards to your electric bill!!

2. You're headed for big bucks recapping that monster!!!!

3. You're better off with a Genesys!!!

Really.
V51 better than a V1, better than a V3 which is better than the VR. Which is just costly to run!! Pre's are good on the 51. Get progressively boring through the range.

I'm on my own here - but I can't stand the 80 series. Sound fine - just a smeg to do anything other than rock on !!. V series works great for soundtrack type stuff - despite some of the above - the 51 sounds deep. But not the VR.
Old 21st December 2009
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
LordRadio's Avatar
 

No offense, but if you don't right off the bat know the (enormous) difference between a 80 series Neve and a Neve V series, you are, in my opinion, along ways from being able to make this decision objectively.

I learned that the hard way in the days before the readily available information of the internet. I purchased a baby V 24/4/2 fitted with trannies in the late 90s for 17.5K$ with part of my second big record advance. When it was up and calibrated and working 100% it sounded pretty good. If i could have gotten PTHD 8 back then, that would have sounded much better but i digress. The times it was operating at 100% I can count on one hands, at least not when i most needed it. I remember calling Geoff T to ask a tech question (his phone number was available around town back then) and he laughed and said "that's not a real neve". I was pretty salty but in retrospect i get what he meant. The mystic and legend behind the word NEVE has nothing to do with that era of consoles - the V's might as well be an SSL. Do some more research. Understand what you are getting into and reapproach your decision. Seriously. I owned one.

You need to know what it means to own that much RIBBON CABLE. That many IC's. You need to learn the difference between a discrete Neve console and what you are looking at. You need extender cards, schematics, full documentation and one hell of a power scheme in your studio. You don't just roll these in and plug them into the wall. Do you know how to Pin Edac's? Have you really considered HVAC?

For what it's worth - my V was probably alot smaller than what you are looking at. If the AC was off it was capable of making a 72 degree room above 90 degrees in a short period of time. Think about that. And it keeps getting hotter. Most V's i ever sat behind ran HOT to the touch.

If you are dead bent on getting a V, good on ya. If you are dead bent on getting a V because it's a good deal and it's a NEVE, then you are making the wrong decision. Your 20K is better spent going to Vegas and putting it on red or black. Hell, at least if your number hits you'll be a little closer to being able to buy an 80 series. Go big or go home, there are no good deals in this industry (still).

No gloom and doom, and as the man says: YMMV, but i wouldn't discount the opinions of people who have been through what you are about to encounter.

ps. The two happiest days of my life were the day i bought my v-series and the day i sold it (at a loss)
Old 21st December 2009
  #19
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

good post.

The V3 and VR just arent worth owning.
Old 21st December 2009
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
LordRadio's Avatar
 

thanks. And i forgot to add, take that money and instead buy some dope outboard for color, some 1073/65/84 etc. and get a mixer that actually works and is practical.

IMHO
Two well teched original 1073's in a rack and a DAW with modest conversion is better than a 48 channels of V and a 6 figure electrical/hvac bill every month.
Old 21st December 2009
  #21
Gear Nut
 

i work on a vr 60 and something breaks on it just about every week. runs very hot, draws a lot of electricity, has power supply problems all the time, which in turn uncalibrates and fluctuates the voltage to the recall system, so the correct values aren't stored. it was fully recapped 5 years ago.

stay away
Old 21st December 2009
  #22
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Space Station's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribecastudio View Post
draws a lot of electricity,
How much? and Why?
Old 21st December 2009
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
V51 better than a V1, better than a V3 which is better than the VR. Which is just costly to run!! Pre's are good on the 51. Get progressively boring through the range.

I'm on my own here - but I can't stand the 80 series. Sound fine - just a smeg to do anything other than rock on !!. V series works great for soundtrack type stuff - despite some of the above - the 51 sounds deep.
Have to disagree a little - I put the v3 worse than a vr on build quality - although the one i'm used to using has been replaced with an 80 series neve. C12s through 1084s....Mmm.....
Old 21st December 2009
  #24
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

i just dont like the VR very much. Especially that horrid pink one they had at Mayfair.....ugh. I liked the studio - but that desk.....man. problem problem problems....
Old 21st December 2009
  #25
Gear Head
 
studiochap's Avatar
 

Having been aquainted with a 72-channel VRP now for a few years ( wanna buy it? - my friend is certainly keen to sell it and replace with a Cadac or a Harrison.....) one of the major ongoing irritations is the detent pins constantly breaking in the push-switches. If you are cute at that sort of thing you'll be able to replace just the detent pins on some of them. If you aren't then you'll be paying someone.... Another problem is the solo and cut switches breaking.

Power-supply wise, Kingshill who made the large power supplies don't exist anymore. The two largest supplies are nightmares to even lift and move, never mind work on. The company near Dartford UK that has taken over Kingshill's products wouldn't repair a 1991 power supply - it was "too old". However they would "refurbish" it for circa 1500 GBP. (BTW I found that Ferrus Power Ltd now part of Stadium are great for repairing these psu's if you're in the UK DC Power Supply Repair service power supply repairs power supply repair | Stadium Power ).

Sonically from recording on the VR I think of it as a large, rather characterless expensive hifi. Doesn't have any of the sonic vibe of the vintage Neves, but on the other hand you don't get any awareness of crosstalk etc. issues like on some consoles. But the killer thing with a big VR like this is a very simple one for me personally. With 36 channels on one side of the centre section and 36 on the other you can't be working on a mix while sat in the sweet spot. If you have a channel in front of you then you're stuck in front of one speaker or the other.

I have chosen to mix totally ITB on several occasions rather than on this particular VR - call me old-fashioned, but I like to be actually listening in stereo when I'm mixing in stereo!

and yes - we do leave it on 24/7 , so the aircon in both the control room and the machine room has to stay on 24/7 too. Someone's got to keep the power companies in the black!

Cheers,

Gwyn

Last edited by studiochap; 21st December 2009 at 02:38 AM.. Reason: Small correction
Old 21st December 2009
  #26
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
I like the VR. I've done tons of mixes on them that I've loved.
If you buy it, you must keep it on 24/7.
Old 21st December 2009
  #27
njm
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njm's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
i just dont like the VR very much. Especially that horrid pink one they had at Mayfair.....ugh. I liked the studio - but that desk.....man. problem problem problems....
oooh you didn't go there in 2008-09 when I was maintaining it!

But yes it was a lot of money to maintain. Just the caps alone... Further more the A/C, the electricity bills, and when the A/C stopped working in the machine room. Wooo....that was fun, we come in one morning and the faders were bouncing about all over the place!

It's a good desk. But not practical these days. The flying faders/recall run on an old 386 computer, nigh on impossibile to fix if it goes wrong. Recapping...don't go there. It was a never ending job. The power supplies can be recapped to sort out the boot up/recall problems, having to take channels out of each end just so it wakes up without a hangover.

The routing switches though, the plastic locking bits always break. Not too hard to fix, but it pisses off clients. It's the little things that count, and those things are used throughout the whole desk.

To be honest I miss working on a VR, it's desks like this that keep a tech like me employed all year round....

Neil McCombie is the chap to speak to though. He was there
www.scotchmcneilaudio.com

Nick x
Old 21st December 2009
  #28
Gear Head
 
studiochap's Avatar
 

Hi Nick,

Scotch McNeil does indeed rule with these things! Has an encyclopaedic knowledge of matters VR - and is an extraordinarily nice chap into the bargain.

I have changed many many of those detent pins ( including one where the pin had to be inserted from the pcb side... . I couldn't risk taking the switch out as we didn't have a spare, my desoldering station had blown up, and this took well over an hour, a very fine-nosed pair of Lindstroms, and a lot of cursing..:-)

Cheers,

Gwyn
Old 21st December 2009
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
i just dont like the VR very much. Especially that horrid pink one they had at Mayfair.....ugh. I liked the studio - but that desk.....man. problem problem problems....
That was more than likely a maintenance issue with that particular one - pre 2008 of course! I also found it a little ropey.
Old 21st December 2009
  #30
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
That was more than likely a maintenance issue with that particular one - pre 2008 of course! I also found it a little ropey.
I used a VR in SF once as well - same experience. Okay and workable. But problems problem problems!!
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