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Old 21st June 2012
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Rupert Neve 5059 first listen

Josh at RND was kind enough to let me try the 5059 for the last few days. I'm impressed.

I've been looking to downsize my studio and sell my 5088, so it's been nice to compare the two.

The 5059 has a great feature set. For me personally, I could not live without volume and pan pots on every channel. It's more of a mixing board replacement in that regard. The pots are all Portico II quality. DB25s in back for inputs. I like DB25.

The sound. This is the closest I've come to the 5088 sound. The 5088 vibe is really something. It's both articulate and blended together, which is a weird combination. I've been able to use less compression on channels and mix buss. With those 96v rails, it has a gigantic sweet spot and it allows for the leading edge of fast transients like cymbals and snare to really pop, while bass drum and bass articulation are clear and powerful. It is really masterful.

Compared to the 5088, the 5059 captures the tone of the transformers well. Yes, the 5088 has a transformer tone, it's just not the 80xx tone. I like it better. The 5059 goes the 5088 one better with the silk buttons. It feels like I have the option of multiple mix busses by turning on red or blue silk and adjusting the texture knob. I wish the 5088 had that, it adds lots of flexibility.

The 5059 also does the 5088 one better in driving the transformers. If you want more goo on the 5088, it's pretty hard, because those 96v rails are so so forgiving. The 5059 can be pushed a little more with 24v rails and it can saturate the transformers. Again, it's more flexible.

Where the 5088 best the 5059 is in that nth degree of separation, articulation, and perception. In the tests we were doing here, which were not blind and are singer songwriter and rock tunes, I can pick out the 5088 due to it's slightly clearer bass and greater separation of inputs. But I picked the 5059 as my favorite somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the time after working more or less saturation and different silk modes to suit the song.

I have not spent a ton of time with summing boxes as I've always had a mixer, so I can't compare this to an Equinox, Nicerizer or the like. I had a Folcrum but missed more subtle panning. I also didn't get a great, amazing improvement through it.

So overall the 5059 is tremendous. Given that it is about 10% the price and about 1% the space requirement, I really, really want it. Sadly, this demo has to move on to the next person.