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Marinair® Transformers

The transformers used in our modern preamplifiers are manufactured to the exact Marinair® specification used in early Neve® consoles. We own and follow the original, detailed pencil-on-paper designs created by Rupert Neve and his team of engineers in the late 1960s; a few of those engineers still work at Neve to this day!

Early Transformer Designs

The 1073’s LO1166 gapped output transformer was designed entirely by Rupert Neve around 1964 for use in his first transistorised console, which was built for Phillips Records Ltd. In the early days, Rupert Neve and Colin Morton hand-wound and wax-dipped the output transformers themselves at the Neve factory based in Harlow, Essex.

Pictured – An Early LO1166 Transformer 

The Marinair Radar Company

Around the corner from Rupert’s operation in Harlow, Marinair Radar designed and manufactured precision radar equipment for the aerospace industry. Rupert approached the company to help scale up his transformer production capabilities. Marinair Radar, who manufactured transformers in-house,  were employed to manufacture the 10468 (TF10003) microphone transformer and 31267 (TF10005) line transformer. Before the use of Marinair transformers, Neve used round octal transformers, manufactured by Gardners.

Pictured – An Early Prototype 10468 Transformer 

The Marinair Collaboration

In late 1964, Neve moved operations from Harlow to the Priesthaus facility in Little Shelford, Cambridge. In 1966, Rupert’s LO1166 output transformer design was handed to Marinair to manufacture transformers to be used in the early Neve consoles. In 1967 and 1968, Rupert Neve directed one of his engineers, David Rees, to interface with Marinair employee Peter Hurst to develop and improve the performance of the Marinair 10468 and 31267 input transformers. As a result, Rupert made a deal with Marinair Radar to produce these customised transformers for use in the early Neve transistor consoles. The result of this collaboration was the original Neve Marinair transformer design and specification, this exclusive specification is owned by Neve and used to this day throughout the product range. With ultimate quality assured by the Marinair name and trademark, these transformers became an integral part of early Neve console design. They continued to be manufactured for Neve by Marinair Radar for many years.

Pictured – A Collection of Early Marinair Transformers 

The Melbourn Move

Neve moved their operation from the Priesthaus to Melbourn near Royston, Hertfordshire. The Melbourn factory installed the Marinair® specification input and output stage transformers in the first 1073 ® modules ever created. These modules were mounted into the legendary A88 console which was installed into Wessex Studios, London.

Pictured – The Neve Melbourn HQ 

St. Ives Windings

When the Marinair Radar company ceased trading, the Marinair specification was given to a company called St. Ives Windings to manufacture transformers for Neve. Some years later, St. Ives Windings was acquired by Carnhill, who continued manufacturing the Neve input and output transformers. Neve input and output transformers were manufactured to the Marinair specification under the Carnhill name throughout the 1980s. It’s worth noting; other companies manufactured the LO1066 output transformer, namely the Morite company.

Pictured – An early St. Ives Windings Transformer

The Marinair® Specification 

The Marinair specification, drafted by Rupert Neve in his prime and laid out in the original 1964/1968/1969 designs, is the magic formula that helps to produce the trusted Neve® sonic characteristics that our discerning customers demand.


Other companies may attempt to replicate the component, but they are missing the key knowledge – the Marinair specification; a closely guarded secret and exclusive to Neve.