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Living with a Neve 88rs Consoles
Old 9th June 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Living with a Neve 88rs

Hi guys - Ive been given the task of researching a new mixing console for a studio build here in New Zealand with pretty much no budget limits. Of course immediately I though Neve 88rs, however in the back of my mind I remember the dark old days of analog consoles being a total pain in the ass to maintain.

To be honest, a Duality is better suited to our workflow, but we have an opportunity here to set ourselves up with the pinnacle studio console, hopefully attracting a lot of overseas interest.

Now Im sure these desk are amazing, but I was hoping to get some stories from owners using them on a daily basis. Some of the pitfalls and problems of owning such a monster. How long is the wait time for ordering? Do they require much maintenance? How well do they interface with DAWs?

Ive not used an 88rs, but have a little hands on time with a older 53 series - loved it. Im sure we'll have to fly over to check one out, but a little heads up would be appreciated. Cheers
Old 9th June 2014
  #2
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Duality will interface with a DAW like PT better than the 88rs. It also just plugs into the wall. No machine room or massive maintenance. No short faders though. It will run as an inline dual path console but you have to set that up in the computer. Smaller footprint than the 88rs.

The 88rs is a larger footprint and has a both channel path faders and monitor path faders. I believe its less suited for DAW integration but will still work fine with any multitrack. Im not sure on the power situaiton for the 88rs. It may have external power supplies that would require a machine room.

It all comes down to sound and workflow. If I were tracking Id want the 88rs for the pres and the dual faders. For mixing I would prefer the duality for the SSL mix bus sound and easy intergration with Pro tools.
Old 9th June 2014
  #3
No maintenance problems with 88R/S. Very stable console.
Sound is ultra clean. If you want flava look at vintage Neve's.
Truly amazing to record on, very very easy to use.
There is big remote power supplies. Needs machine room with ac.
Much better build quality compared to the Duality, but's it's 3x times as much $$$
Old 9th June 2014
  #4
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tekis's Avatar
88R

I use an 88R quite a bit. The eq is phenomenal, the dynamics are great, the mix buss has more headroom than the Empire State Building, the automation is very easy to operate. What kind of music to you intend to do? The Duality looks nice, but I don't think it can hold up to the 88 sonically. Allen Sides has an 88R and none of his SSL's are Duality's...
Old 9th June 2014
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
The one Duality I know of has a bunch of weird little annoying issues. I've heard stories of others that are also flaky, but at least one guy here has one that he's had no issues with. At one point earlier this year I heard that SSL was making the rounds and fixing known issues with the Dualities, and they had been to the one I knew, and it was still acting goofy.
Old 9th June 2014
  #6
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T_R_S's Avatar
SSL over a Neve 88RS? not in my lifetime....
Neve is just magic...
Old 9th June 2014
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Awesome, cheers for the response so far - yes, Im convinced the 88rs is the better console, no doubt - Im pretty sure we can go the Neve route, but Im just interested in the 'problems' so to speak in living with the Neve, for instance:

- I heard it took 2 hours to boot?
- I heard the system computer was a little problematic, requiring resets often?
- I heard the sounds was somewhat muddy in the bottom end?
- I heard the learning curve was steep (we have 5 engineers who will all need to start from scratch learning it)

....ummm, stuff like that. As I said, never seen or touched one, so just a bit of a heads up to what we could expect owning it.

Cheers again
Old 9th June 2014
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherLove View Post
Awesome, cheers for the response so far - yes, Im convinced the 88rs is the better console, no doubt - Im pretty sure we can go the Neve route, but Im just interested in the 'problems' so to speak in living with the Neve, for instance:

- I heard it took 2 hours to boot? haha... no... 30 seconds maybe. It runs on Windows.
- I heard the system computer was a little problematic, requiring resets often? Nope
- I heard the sounds was somewhat muddy in the bottom end? Not the 88R. The older VR yes.
- I heard the learning curve was steep (we have 5 engineers who will all need to start from scratch learning it) It's very easy to use. If your guys can't learn it, I suggest you send them trainng on a Mackie 8 bus first

....ummm, stuff like that. As I said, never seen or touched one, so just a bit of a heads up to what we could expect owning it. Rent a studio that has one first! To big of an invest not knowing what you're buying.

Cheers again
Old 10th June 2014
  #9
Lives for gear
The latest 88RS' have an option of having DAW control to the faders so you can 'park' the audio and write/replay DAW automation if that sort of thing is important to you.

Me, I think the fact that it is a true analogue console with more busses and I/O than you can shake a stick at makes me reckon that it will outlast at least your next 5 DAW purchases and still be fully working and sounding great. These things go on a 15yr+ life cycle (I think the original 88R design is over 10 years old now?), and will last decades with a bit of TLC.

As far as maintenance goes they aren't too bad, are fairly serviceable - the only thing you need to do is exercise the pots and switches now and again. This is a tedious job but will repay you greatly in the long run. It's also a great rite of passage for runners or assistants to prove their worth.
Old 10th June 2014
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherLove View Post
Awesome, cheers for the response so far - yes, Im convinced the 88rs is the better console, no doubt - Im pretty sure we can go the Neve route, but Im just interested in the 'problems' so to speak in living with the Neve, for instance:

- I heard it took 2 hours to boot?
- I heard the system computer was a little problematic, requiring resets often?
- I heard the sounds was somewhat muddy in the bottom end?
- I heard the learning curve was steep (we have 5 engineers who will all need to start from scratch learning it)

....ummm, stuff like that. As I said, never seen or touched one, so just a bit of a heads up to what we could expect owning it.

Cheers again
For a decision this significant, is book a day on a room with one to have a go - maybe with your most senior engineer in tow.

I've not really worked on an 88r, but I didn't seem to have any issues learning the basics when I was a runner. If you know LFAC signal flow, and if you've ever used a vr, I wouldn't think it would be an issue.
Old 12th June 2014
  #11
Gear Addict
 
Channel time's Avatar
Hey Brotherlove,

Why don't you buy the A3095 EMI Neve that is currently for sale in the NZ ex York St?
Built in 1974 (one of seven according to the site), ex Abbey Rd, sounds amazing (as evidenced by the number of gold and platinum projects that went through it).
Old 15th June 2014
  #12
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nlc201's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Channel time View Post
Hey Brotherlove,

Why don't you buy the A3095 EMI Neve that is currently for sale in the NZ ex York St?
Built in 1974 (one of seven according to the site), ex Abbey Rd, sounds amazing (as evidenced by the number of gold and platinum projects that went through it).


This. A million times this. If you want to draw in international clientele, this would not be a bad choice. It will require upkeep, you may need to refurb it a bit when you commission it. You may have to add / fix automation. You may have to do a lot of things.

If this is a new studio and your goal is ultra hi-end, you're going to need as much marketing clout as possible. The best rooms, access to the best engineers, the best vibe, etc. Having one of the best of the vintage Neve series consoles, especially one with so much history, certainly can't hurt. Most people will quickly adapt to the reduced workflow when you have the potential for the outstanding sound these things can produce as well as the vibe / history. Just be sure to baby it and it will continue to make awesome records for years to come.
Old 15th June 2014
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
For a decision this significant, is book a day on a room with one to have a go - maybe with your most senior engineer in tow.
Or go to one of the Mix with the Masters seminars, the studio where these take place (La Fabrique) has an 88R, which is almost the same as the RS.

You can book a day after the seminar to check it out on your own after that I'd guess.

Another thing is that I'm not sure you'll attract clients with any console choice these days.
I'm pretty sure you won't. Especially not 'oversea clients.' Do you really think people will travel to NZ to track there just because of an 88RS?
Old 16th June 2014
  #14
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Aaron Rash's Avatar
An SSL 4K is allot of fun to work on and sounds allot better than the duality consoles I have used. Also mixed more hits on them than any other console.

It also won't cost you as much as a 88rs or a duality but you're going to need a tech.
Old 19th June 2014
  #15
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dspan's Avatar
 

API

Have you considered an API Legacy Plus or Vision? You can get them with 500 slot options buckets and we all know how great they sound.
I know of 4 companies that have 2 Visions. One school has 4 Legacy Plus consoles. Something to think about.
Old 20th June 2014
  #16
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T_R_S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherLove View Post
- I heard the sounds was somewhat muddy in the bottom end?
def not - I think "they" have it confused with another desk.
Old 21st June 2014
  #17
Gear Head
 
NOS61's Avatar
 

Yep... API

Hi,

We've been there too...
API won our hearts hands down ... we got the Legacy Plus with special Vision
Custom automation. Low maintenance, top notch technical support, and superior
sound both for tracking and mixing. All modular . Many configurations possible with choices of Eq... Neve and SSL don't offer such flexibility ....

But you can't go wrong with Neve or SSL ...

Good luck !
Old 22nd June 2014
  #18
Is this what is know as a luxury problem?
Old 23rd June 2014
  #19
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherLove View Post
Hi guys - Ive been given the task of researching a new mixing console for a studio build here in New Zealand with pretty much no budget limits. Of course immediately I though Neve 88rs, however in the back of my mind I remember the dark old days of analog consoles being a total pain in the ass to maintain.

To be honest, a Duality is better suited to our workflow, but we have an opportunity here to set ourselves up with the pinnacle studio console, hopefully attracting a lot of overseas interest.

Now Im sure these desk are amazing, but I was hoping to get some stories from owners using them on a daily basis. Some of the pitfalls and problems of owning such a monster. How long is the wait time for ordering? Do they require much maintenance? How well do they interface with DAWs?

Ive not used an 88rs, but have a little hands on time with a older 53 series - loved it. Im sure we'll have to fly over to check one out, but a little heads up would be appreciated. Cheers
If budget is not prohibitive I would get an API 1608 with a sidecar (32 channels total, and get the automated fader pack for both cars)

I would much rather have a more colorful desk paired with great converters than something like an 88r which will occasionally set a cap on fire due to heat (while never really being that interesting from a sonic standpoint.)

They're not bad, just...flexible to a point where it always feels like "more work" to me than a broad stroke EQ driven desk. Also the preamps in the API will always be great on most sources, if not all, etc.
Old 23rd June 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
The 88RS is a modern recording machine, with great preamps (clean enough to be used for virtually all big orchestral stuff, but still great sounding), and monster bussing and routing options - even more so than a 4K.

If you truly want a console that can do any tracking and mixing project up to and including large-scale classical and/or surround formats up to 7.1 then there are very few choices available to you - the 88RS being the most obvious one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
If budget is not prohibitive I would get an API 1608 with a sidecar (32 channels total, and get the automated fader pack for both cars)
Whilst I like the API sound, that's not even an in-line console! The only API that goes up against the 88RS is the Vision.
Quote:
an 88r which will occasionally set a cap on fire due to heat
Do you have any sources for this assertion? The 88RS runs cooler than the V-series consoles before it (verified by my own non-technical 'wave my hand over the channels' tests) and I am not aware of any heat issues unless you can point me to some.

It strikes me as bizarre for people to start commenting on a thread with so little information on it when the nature of the proposed studio is not yet known.
Old 23rd June 2014
  #21
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tekis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by londonengineer View Post
The 88RS is a modern recording machine, with great preamps (clean enough to be used for virtually all big orchestral stuff, but still great sounding), and monster bussing and routing options - even more so than a 4K.

If you truly want a console that can do any tracking and mixing project up to and including large-scale classical and/or surround formats up to 7.1 then there are very few choices available to you - the 88RS being the most obvious one.


Whilst I like the API sound, that's not even an in-line console! The only API that goes up against the 88RS is the Vision.

Do you have any sources for this assertion? The 88RS runs cooler than the V-series consoles before it (verified by my own non-technical 'wave my hand over the channels' tests) and I am not aware of any heat issues unless you can point me to some.

It strikes me as bizarre for people to start commenting on a thread with so little information on it when the nature of the proposed studio is not yet known.
While the 88R does run on the warm side, it doesn't have the heat problems that the VR did. It won't need to have the capacitors replaced like the VR did. They finally straightened that out over at Neve.

The stock mic amps on the 88R are also very different from the VR. While they're not discrete, they are transformer balanced, and I think they sound very good. In the past, when I worked on VR's, I felt the need to use outboard preamps. I don't feel that way with the 88R. There are others, such as Allen Sides, that feel similarly.

I do like API consoles, API equalizers, API mic amps, etc. But I agree with what "londonengineer" says about the Neve's routing, bussing, surround mixing, etc. For comparison purposes, it seems like API's Vision console might be a more worthy choice. But the Vision doesn't have recall capability. It does have some "reset" features though.

Nobody has mentioned the Neve's dynamics section. Here, I think they've made a vast improvement over the VR! The channel compressors are phenomenal. I find myself using them quite a bit and not really feeling the need to go to outboard nearly as much as I did when on a VR. The expander/gate's are very good too. Let's also mention that there's a dynamics unit on every channel too!

The 88R's overall sound is a vast improvement over the VR. I can describe it being just very "clear" and quiet. The mix buss seems to have a virtually unlimited amount of headroom. If we are comparing it to an API, the Neve is much more neutral, but it's not "cold" by any means.

Lastly, the 88R's equalizers are first class! Forget about the VR's eq's. The 88R eq is just amazing. And while I do love the API 550B, the 560 and the 550A, none of them are parametric, which many engineers seem to like.
Old 23rd June 2014
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
If budget is not prohibitive I would get an API 1608 with a sidecar (32 channels total, and get the automated fader pack for both cars)

I would much rather have a more colorful desk paired with great converters than something like an 88r which will occasionally set a cap on fire due to heat (while never really being that interesting from a sonic standpoint.)

They're not bad, just...flexible to a point where it always feels like "more work" to me than a broad stroke EQ driven desk. Also the preamps in the API will always be great on most sources, if not all, etc.
you're kidding, right?
Old 23rd June 2014
  #23
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
you're kidding, right?
No I'm not. (About an API vs a VR!)

I think I actually misread this from my tablet! I thought he was talking about a VR class from the 80's. (I've seen various VR's and custom VR mini desks made from scalped channels have heat problems as I described.)

"RS" eh? I've yet to hear one. (Didn't know it existed.)

Sorry yesterday I was kinda lightly reading (skimming.)

Can't win em all.
Old 23rd June 2014
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
"RS" eh? I've yet to hear one. (Didn't know it existed.)
Worth familiarising yourself - AMS Neve | 88RS - it's been out for about 10 years now!
Old 23rd June 2014
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Sorry a bit off topic...
Will this be in Auckland?
How big will the main live space be?
Roughly when do you plan on opening?


I'm not aware of any API consoles in NZ (aside from a few 1608s), might be a nice point of difference?
Old 23rd June 2014
  #26
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherLove View Post
Hi guys - Ive been given the task of researching a new mixing console for a studio build here in New Zealand with pretty much no budget limits. Of course immediately I though Neve 88rs, however in the back of my mind I remember the dark old days of analog consoles being a total pain in the ass to maintain.

To be honest, a Duality is better suited to our workflow, but we have an opportunity here to set ourselves up with the pinnacle studio console, hopefully attracting a lot of overseas interest.

Now Im sure these desk are amazing, but I was hoping to get some stories from owners using them on a daily basis. Some of the pitfalls and problems of owning such a monster. How long is the wait time for ordering? Do they require much maintenance? How well do they interface with DAWs?

Ive not used an 88rs, but have a little hands on time with a older 53 series - loved it. Im sure we'll have to fly over to check one out, but a little heads up would be appreciated. Cheers
Given that you're in NZ I'm wondering who you are and what you're doing?

Also, I have yet to hear what is happening to the York Street EMI Neve that is being moved pretty much as we speak in Auckland. For all I know, it might have a new home, I don't know.

matt
Old 24th June 2014
  #27
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tekis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrotherLove View Post
Awesome, cheers for the response so far - yes, Im convinced the 88rs is the better console, no doubt - Im pretty sure we can go the Neve route, but Im just interested in the 'problems' so to speak in living with the Neve, for instance:

- I heard it took 2 hours to boot?
- I heard the system computer was a little problematic, requiring resets often?
- I heard the sounds was somewhat muddy in the bottom end?
- I heard the learning curve was steep (we have 5 engineers who will all need to start from scratch learning it)

....ummm, stuff like that. As I said, never seen or touched one, so just a bit of a heads up to what we could expect owning it.

Cheers again
There are a couple of guys on this forum that have a new studio in England called "Analogue Baby." They purchased an 88RS new about two years ago. Maybe ask them about their experience? Another thought: Why not have two rooms? One room high end and the other is "lower end." It's always good to have a "spillover" room to keep clients working at your facility that might not need a full 88RS after they've done their basic tracks. The 2nd room could have an SSL AWS, Duality, API 1608 or whatever.
Old 6th July 2014
  #28
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by londonengineer View Post
Worth familiarising yourself - AMS Neve | 88RS - it's been out for about 10 years now!
Honestly I've just never read about them, or seen one. I'm sure I must have heard some records done on one, thanks though, I will!
Old 7th July 2014
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by herecomesyourman View Post
Honestly I've just never read about them, or seen one. I'm sure I must have heard some records done on one, thanks though, I will!
Well Abbey Road have had 2 for a while now - I'd imagine you've heard a film score or two from them in the past 5 years!

I think Air also have one? Icp in Belgium do, sphere in London, 301 in Sydney...that's just off the top of my head.
Old 7th July 2014
  #30
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Well Abbey Road have had 2 for a while now - I'd imagine you've heard a film score or two from them in the past 5 years!

I think Air also have one? Icp in Belgium do, sphere in London, 301 in Sydney...that's just off the top of my head.
Very cool!
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