The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
NEVE CAPRICORN. OPINIONS PLZ Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 2nd November 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 

NEVE CAPRICORN. OPINIONS PLZ

Anyone work on these nowadays? Or used to? What's the sonic quality comparable to? Any user info would be great.
Old 3rd November 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

I've done tons of records on the Capricorn. I used to love it. I say 'used to' because the support grew non-existant threw AMS-NEVE (not too long after the companies began sharing the hypon). Kinda reminds me of Digi and Mix Plus. I digress.

It's outdated these days and can't support higher sampling and bit rates which is sad. It was a great 'one person' console when you had a proper setup of the room you were in. You could sit in the sweetspot of the room and mix away without waiting for your second to patch in gear you wanted to use.

The compression in the board is one of my favorite and most missed out there. The gates were amazing, not only as noise gates but as sound sculpters too. The EQ was also very powerful, and had a great range of use. Everything was pretty flexible, at least more so than the analog counterparts. The automation was pretty simple to use and had a great feature on the mutes that is sorta similar to the "match and play" system on the SSL 9000 series, only you'd hold the mutes halfway down instead of hitting the "M" or "P" buttons above the mutes to enable them. Over time, the mute switches got loose, and this became a frustrating procedure. Also, the fader caps were made of a conductive plastic and very often wore out, so you'd be in the middle of a delicate fader ride and the fader would pop off and new curse words would be invented. It's very common to see missing fader caps on these nowadays. The talkback mic in the board also had a design fault deeming it almost useless (constant buzz due to interference). When the computer would act funny, you'd usually have to check to see which cards were giving you problems, and usually just shut them off. This would suck if you were deep in a mix because you'd could run out of nodes (if memory serves, any less that 34 was problematic) and basically hit a brickwall (lots of frowning icons when you'd touchwrite a fader and eventually crashes). I was never a fan of the board's machine control, and it always seemed to be more geared toward post, so I'd usually just run my transports from the remote or DAW keyboard if applicable. Anytime I'd use analog tape machines, I'd setup a video camera so I could see the v.u. meters on the tape machine.

I've never used the mic pre's on one because most of the cap's I've been around didn't plunk down for the mic pre's options. The 2 mix on the cap was also great to clip for loudness. I never did it during a mix, but it was a great way to cheat some loudness into a rough. It is also has a great surround setup with the joystick option. Ice Cube's "Pushin' Weight" was mixed on a Neve Capricorn and I think is a good example of the sound of the board.

Also, when the Sony Oxford 1st came out, I spent a lot of time of it and quickly grew to realize how much more I liked the Cap. I haven't been on a Oxford with the GML option, but to this day I'd take a Cap over a 'stock' Oxford. YRMV as I'm still not a big fan of the Oxford EQ's in console, mini-oxford, or plugin form. My 2 family fun center tokens...
Old 3rd November 2005
  #3
11413
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist
Anyone work on these nowadays? Or used to? What's the sonic quality comparable to? Any user info would be great.
eyeing the one on ebay?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Neve-Capricorn-D...temZ7361725109

Old 3rd November 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

I have worked on this desk twice for projects, one a jazz recording (most onboard preamps), the other a broadcast country music mix(all matched external third party preamps). The sonics, EQ, and dynamics are outstanding. It is intuitive to work on.

I don't know about the service or finding a good tech for the desk. I have experienced MANY problems on the Neve Libre series.

Call Randy Ezratty at Effanel Remote Recording Services in NYC. He has at least two Capricorns (one on L7, his premiere remote truck, and one in the studio last time I heard) and knows everything there is to know about them.

Cheers,

JvB
Old 3rd November 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 

Thanks for the reply E-Cue,

I've been using the AWS900 for a while - love it, does good mixes and can't complain. A friend of mine is selling his off, a Capricorn, for around 4-50,000 (no, it's not the Ebay one) and I was thinking of getting it for a Studio B room.

It's around 6 years old I think and in immaculate condition (since almost everyone booked the 'J' and 'G+' rooms and this one was mostly for overdubbing here and there. Looks practically brandnew actually.

Somehow it seems like a very attractive option to pursue although it's dated and only goes 48K and 20bit or was it 24bit.. I don't recall.

Somehow I think I was tempted last night to just buy it... heh heh heh

I know it's outdated and stuff -- the only concern I guess I had was about its reliability over these years and ECue's post really helped alot.

Still kinda thinking....
Old 3rd November 2005
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

50k .. wow, how much did these cost when they where introduced ??? 500k ??
Old 3rd November 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen
I have worked on this desk twice for projects, one a jazz recording (most onboard preamps), the other a broadcast country music mix(all matched external third party preamps). The sonics, EQ, and dynamics are outstanding. It is intuitive to work on.

I don't know about the service or finding a good tech for the desk. I have experienced MANY problems on the Neve Libre series.

How would you compare the pre's to the pre's in a 1073, or 1081, etc? Same? Similar? Closer sounding to which? I've always been very curious what they are like.

Same thing here with the Libra (post). Crashey like Sabian.
Old 3rd November 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by e-cue
How would you compare the pre's to the pre's in a 1073, or 1081, etc? Same? Similar? Closer sounding to which? I've always been very curious what they are like.

Same thing here with the Libra (post). Crashey like Sabian.
How about the Capricorn in regards to stability -- crash problems..?
Old 4th November 2005
  #9
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Kinda depends on how well maintained the board in question is. IME, I'd give it a C+.
Old 22nd November 2005
  #10
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by e-cue
I've done tons of records on the Capricorn. I used to love it. I say 'used to' because the support grew non-existant threw AMS-NEVE (not too long after the companies began sharing the hypon). Kinda reminds me of Digi and Mix Plus. I digress.

It's outdated these days and can't support higher sampling and bit rates which is sad. It was a great 'one person' console when you had a proper setup of the room you were in. You could sit in the sweetspot of the room and mix away without waiting for your second to patch in gear you wanted to use.

The compression in the board is one of my favorite and most missed out there. The gates were amazing, not only as noise gates but as sound sculpters too. The EQ was also very powerful, and had a great range of use. Everything was pretty flexible, at least more so than the analog counterparts. The automation was pretty simple to use and had a great feature on the mutes that is sorta similar to the "match and play" system on the SSL 9000 series, only you'd hold the mutes halfway down instead of hitting the "M" or "P" buttons above the mutes to enable them. Over time, the mute switches got loose, and this became a frustrating procedure. Also, the fader caps were made of a conductive plastic and very often wore out, so you'd be in the middle of a delicate fader ride and the fader would pop off and new curse words would be invented. It's very common to see missing fader caps on these nowadays. The talkback mic in the board also had a design fault deeming it almost useless (constant buzz due to interference). When the computer would act funny, you'd usually have to check to see which cards were giving you problems, and usually just shut them off. This would suck if you were deep in a mix because you'd could run out of nodes (if memory serves, any less that 34 was problematic) and basically hit a brickwall (lots of frowning icons when you'd touchwrite a fader and eventually crashes). I was never a fan of the board's machine control, and it always seemed to be more geared toward post, so I'd usually just run my transports from the remote or DAW keyboard if applicable. Anytime I'd use analog tape machines, I'd setup a video camera so I could see the v.u. meters on the tape machine.

I've never used the mic pre's on one because most of the cap's I've been around didn't plunk down for the mic pre's options. The 2 mix on the cap was also great to clip for loudness. I never did it during a mix, but it was a great way to cheat some loudness into a rough. It is also has a great surround setup with the joystick option. Ice Cube's "Pushin' Weight" was mixed on a Neve Capricorn and I think is a good example of the sound of the board.

Also, when the Sony Oxford 1st came out, I spent a lot of time of it and quickly grew to realize how much more I liked the Cap. I haven't been on a Oxford with the GML option, but to this day I'd take a Cap over a 'stock' Oxford. YRMV as I'm still not a big fan of the Oxford EQ's in console, mini-oxford, or plugin form. My 2 family fun center tokens...
Man you said on the Capricorn way to represent. I managed an artist that was on a major lable and his album was mixed on the Capricorn. It was amazing.
Old 22nd November 2005
  #11
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist
Anyone work on these nowadays? Or used to? What's the sonic quality comparable to? Any user info would be great.
Wow. Is all I can say. These consoles still sound great. 16 Bit or not. Neve support wasn't good on these console at all. Basically these console cost to much to make and they didn't do well because of the high price tag 500K-$800K. I hear theres a couple guys who still service them around town. Also heard that the Euphonix Systems 5 converters work with this console. I managed an Artist on Virgin and his record was mixed on one of these. The Mix came out incredible! The Mastering was real crappie. But the project was still descent. It sad because two of these consoles are just sitting in a local grave yard near by. What a shame.
Old 22nd November 2005
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Igotsoul4u's Avatar
First off, you should throw this question out to frank filipetti (guest moderator) as he has spent tons and tons of time on the cap and definetly pushed it to its limits. Anyway I love the capricorn. It was extremely far ahead of its time. The dynamics are just as ecue said in his post. fantastic. The console sounds really good in my opinion. Its very very clean but rich. It does not have any brittle or thin texture. Also as ecue said the bus is extremely robust. You can kick the crap out of it and it won't distort.The pre's sound like a slightly colored millennia, almost transparent but with some warmth and a little little grit. They do not sound like any of the vintage neves in my opinion. The console is very easy to work once you understand it. it kinda has a steep learning curve. Once you have your initial templates setup you will have 90% of your routing down. After that its fairly easy to switch up the routing. Here are some downsides. The software can be very buggy. The support for this console is very limited although I know a guy in new york that neve used to pay to give people cap lessons and pretty much worked with neve to iron out bugs as the cap grew up. Overal I really miss working on the cap. I migrated to the Icon which was designed by one of the guys that designed cap and while it feels very similer in a lot of ways, the cap just sounded way better. Its kind of hard to sum up a console in a post. Send me a private message if you have any specific questions. definetly ask frank filipetti about it in the guest moderator section
Old 23rd November 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=e-cue]How would you compare the pre's to the pre's in a 1073, or 1081, etc? Same? Similar? Closer sounding to which? I've always been very curious what they are like.

Apologies for the delay, I'vve been out of the country mixing orchestra.
I can't say that any Neve digital console sounds ANYTHING like the 'classic' analog channels. I have worked on every analog version from Melbourne up to the VR, and they aren't in the same universe: It's really apples and pomegranites. I think the Neve digital pre sounds great, accurate and neutral like a high end Aphex, not QUITE as good as Grace, Earthworks, Hardy or Millenia, but not too far below. You can't trick them out to add the right analog distortion like you can on an analog pre, or use frequency band interaction and smush the EQ curve to get a great effect. That being said, I recall being able to do just about anything else. I do recall bringing in an outboard preamp (it sounded like something vintage & German, I did not recognize it) into a Manley (Pultec Re-issue) tube EQ to get the right kick and bass sounds I wanted. Hope this helps!
Old 25th November 2005
  #14
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen
You can't trick them out to add the right analog distortion like you can on an analog pre, or use frequency band interaction and smush the EQ curve to get a great effect.
This just reminded me...

There's a trick you can do on the Cap if you max out the amount of EQ you are cutting and/or boosting. If you have an eq band's amplitude completely cranked, you can link it to another EQ on a dummy channel, then when you boost the amplitude on the dummy channel, you get the additional boost beyond the typical control on the channel you linked to.

It's rare that you'll ever need to use this function, but it's good to know it's there.

I really do like this console and will probably get one at some point.
Old 22nd March 2009
  #15
Gear Head
 

Okay
Here is still aCap consoles workin flawless
sounds like a dream like everyone else says the comp is amazing.
heh

Surroundworks - The total surround solution | www.surroundworks.net
Old 24th March 2009
  #16
Gear nut
 

The Capricorn was supplanted by the DFC, Libra and the other AMS based digital consoles. The DFC is an amazing board and I was amazed that it never made it into the music marked. I always told Mark Crabtree to make some analog cards that would be controlled by the DFC surface. He thought that I was nuts. Still it's a four layer console with an amazingly clean signal path. And although it's digital it sounds great!
Old 24th March 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Capricorn is the best sounding digital console I've ever worked on. A digital console with a major dose of sonic attitude, thanks mostly to the EQ and Comp. It just sounds good, unlike most "neutral" digital consoles, upon the graves of which I happily spit. Twice.

I would describe it like this: Sonically speaking, the Capricorn is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of digital consoles, while the Oxford is the Peewee Herman. I think most people who've used both would agree, though I'm sure some Oxford-loving pantywaist is going to come after me for stating what I think is the obvious. heh

Downside? Stabiliity was so-so, and I have to imagine that would likely be worse now, 10+ years later.

If you're not afraid of the stability risk, and you have some sort of sane maintenance plan in place, I believe you will love the way a Capricorn sounds.
Old 24th March 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 

Wow, this thread's been resurrected from the dead! I think this was from like four years ago??! When a client of mine was wanting to get one for his home studio... which he did... and it has since ended up in the scrapyard. Thing sounded great but WC problems were way too many and nothing really was done on it.
Old 24th March 2009
  #19
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I understand there are critical parts for the Capricorn that are no longer available.

This is the biggest gotcha of most things digital. Everything depends on the availability of parts that are colossally expensive in small quantities.
Old 24th March 2009
  #20
Lives for gear
 
elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
and it has since ended up in the scrapyard.
Unbelievable... An initial investment of $500-800K, selling used for 1/10th the price, and now out of commission?
Old 24th March 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Yet all of this obsolesence begs the question of why the sound of a digital console designed 15 years ago arouses more passion from people who used it than anything currently in production.

Strike anyone else as unfortunate?
Old 24th March 2009
  #22
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

It certainly does feel like a race to the bottom!
Old 1st June 2009
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianT View Post
Yet all of this obsolesence begs the question of why the sound of a digital console designed 15 years ago arouses more passion from people who used it than anything currently in production.

Strike anyone else as unfortunate?
In a word, YES!
When I saw the Capricorn at AES I thought it was way ahead of it's time and had a load of intelligent ergonomics in the design. Fantastic!
About 10 years ago, I was supposed to install one in a studio I was helping design, So we got to spend some time with it. I thought it was fantastic sounding, and as already said, the dynamics and EQ are great. The "page" layout of the control surface was a great idea and allowed you to sit in one spot and mix your brains out.
Was this the first generation of paginating a control surface to get big I/O structure in a small footprint?
The soft knobs remind me of an onion bulb growing out of the ground... Cool!
This studio partnership parted, so the install didn't happen, but I hope the folks who were going to build this place are doing something creative in music. I know one of them still is
Hopefully, we will again see something the likes of The Capricorn. I think it would make a heck of a front end for a DAW
Old 14th July 2009
  #24
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I understand there are critical parts for the Capricorn that are no longer available.

This is the biggest gotcha of most things digital. Everything depends on the availability of parts that are colossally expensive in small quantities.
Pretty much all parts for the Capricorn are still available from AMS Neve in the U.K..
Old 14th July 2009
  #25
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matalus View Post
Man you said on the Capricorn way to represent. I managed an artist that was on a major lable and his album was mixed on the Capricorn. It was amazing.
All Capricorns were shipped from the AMS Neve factory in Burnley after the merger between AMS and Neve in 1992, the first being Abbey Road - Neve never shipped a single console, so never supported them from Cambridge - all I can say about support is that (in the U.K. and Europe at least) support was good, and I know of at least 15 which are still being used on a daily basis.

The reason they are still being used - if you speak to anyone who is still using one, you tend to always get the same answer - ease of operation and sound quality.

Does anybody know of any in the States which are still being used?
Old 14th July 2009
  #26
Gear nut
 

It was supplanted by the DFC. The Cap sounded great but it's sooo obsolete. If you can afford a DFC get it!
Old 14th July 2009
  #27
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoFalsetto View Post
It was supplanted by the DFC. The Cap sounded great but it's sooo obsolete. If you can afford a DFC get it!
The DFC in all variants is a Post Production/Film console, where as the Capricorn was originally designed to be a digital replacment by Neve for the V series analogue consoles, but ended up being used for Music, Broadcast, Post Production and Film. For 6 years, the DFC and Capricorn were sold together by AMS Neve, but only ever competed in the Post Production/Film arena.

The Libra series (using the DFC back end) was the AMS digital offering for Music and Broadcast.

What killed Capricorn was the hight manufacuring cost, and lack of high sample rate support - nobody was prepared to pay £250k+ for a console with no 96k development path, no matter how good it was, and sadly the last one was manufactured in around 2001 - but, they are still being used, and once the development bugs were ironed out were extremely reliable.
Old 19th July 2009
  #28
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matalus View Post
Wow. Is all I can say. These consoles still sound great. 16 Bit or not. Neve support wasn't good on these console at all. Basically these console cost to much to make and they didn't do well because of the high price tag 500K-$800K. I hear theres a couple guys who still service them around town. Also heard that the Euphonix Systems 5 converters work with this console. I managed an Artist on Virgin and his record was mixed on one of these. The Mix came out incredible! The Mastering was real crappie. But the project was still descent. It sad because two of these consoles are just sitting in a local grave yard near by. What a shame.
The standard Neve A/D and D/A convertors are 20bit, but the madi stream supports full 24bit I/O, so you can use any modern analogue to madi box and get full 24bit audio, but you will always be limited to 48kHz.

The DSP is 32 bit floating point, but with its own 26E6 format which is higher resolution (but with less headroom) than the standard IEEE 24E8 format used by general DSP chips - Neve did lots of research into what was the best format to use with 32 bits.
Old 23rd July 2009
  #29
Gear maniac
 
Amadeuz's Avatar
 

Hello Mr. Capricorn,
I am a witness to the great sound of the Cap.
The one thing that I don't usually like about digital consoles, is that they focus in being "transparent"; different than analog boards which tend to color sound. A fellow contributor to this thread mentioned that the sound of the converters in the Capricorn was intentionally colored.

Was this AMS's objective? To modify the analog signal prior to hitting the digital domain, thus achieving "the sound" of Capricorn?
Old 24th July 2009
  #30
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amadeuz View Post
Hello Mr. Capricorn,
I am a witness to the great sound of the Cap.
The one thing that I don't usually like about digital consoles, is that they focus in being "transparent"; different than analog boards which tend to color sound. A fellow contributor to this thread mentioned that the sound of the converters in the Capricorn was intentionally colored.

Was this AMS's objective? To modify the analog signal prior to hitting the digital domain, thus achieving "the sound" of Capricorn?
Hello, no, it was not intentional to colour the sound - when the convertors were designed in the late 1980s/early 1990s, 20 bit convertor chips were not available, so for the A/D, a 16 bit chips, and a 4 bit video flash convertor were used to gain range, and give 20 bit dynamic range. A
similar principle was used with the D/A. The other thing is that there is not oversampling, or digital filtering, so the anti-alias filters are purely analogue, so it's probably a combination of the two.

I personally though prefer modern 24 bit delata signa convertors, but I know people who swear by the Caprocorns, and will not use anyhting else!
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Jam / High end
36
RoundBadge / High end
23
lawrence_o / So much gear, so little time
0
The MPCist / So much gear, so little time
8

Forum Jump
Forum Jump