Neve History

For more than 60 years, Neve has represented the pinnacle of analogue audio design and engineering. From the very beginning, Neve Electronics has specialised in the finest professional audio consoles and systems, using Class A designs and high-quality components to produce equipment unmatched in performance in the industry.

Neve History

The Beginning 

1961 was a watershed year in technology. It was the year that a human being was first sent into space and saw the launch of Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, the forerunner of the networks that cross the Earth today. It was also the year that British electronics designer Rupert Neve formed the company that still bears his name, based in Harlow, Essex.

Pictured – one of the first custom consoles designed by Rupert Neve, now housed at AMS Neve HQ

The Early Years

In the early years, the company moved its operation to the Cambridge area to the Priesthaus facility in Little Shelford in 1964.  From this iconic building, Neve® designed and built the world’s first commercial transistor-based mixing console for Philips Recording Studio in London. The now well established Neve company had produced several custom consoles for distinguished studio clients.

Pictured – the Priesthaus facility in Little Shelford

Moving on up 

Building on the early success, Neve moved into a purpose-built factory in Melbourn, near Cambridge, entering the broadcast field in 1968 by producing the diode-bridge 2253 limiter for ABC Weekend Television in the UK – the famous 2254 compressor/limiter was an evolution of the 2253, designed for music consoles. This innovation was followed by the world’s first solid-state switching matrix the following year, with Neve making its products available in North America for the first time.

Pictured – Neve’s purpose-built factory in Melbourn

Bigger, Better, Burnley

From 1990 to the present day, Neve and AMS partnered, and the Neve operations moved up north and into the ground-breaking glass-fronted building in Burnley. This modern facility offers 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space and state of the art technology to drive Neve into the modern age.

Pictured – Neve’s current home since the early ’90s, working alongside Advanced Music Systems in Burnley, UK. 

60 Years of Console Innovation 

Neve’s First Valve Mixers 

1961 – 1964 saw Rupert Neve create custom consoles built for each client’s specific purpose. The first Desmond Leslie console still resides in Ireland to this day. One of these one of a kind, custom mixers is housed in Neve HQ, in Burnley.

The First Transistor Based Console

Phillips Recording Studios London commissioned Rupert Neve to build a new custom console in 1964. As a result, Phillips were the first to use Rupert’s new solid-state designs.

Pictured – Phillips portable 10-channel mixer

BCM10/2

Neve released the BCM10/2 fitted with 1066 mic preamps in 1970. Pete Townshend of The Who was one of the first customers to purchase the console – he still uses it to this day!

“The late ’60s and the ’70s, a lot of this really beautiful equipment was being made and installed into studios around the world and the Neve boards were considered like the Cadillacs of recording consoles” – Dave Grohl

A Legend is Born

The world’s most desirable mic preamp, the 1073®, is designed and installed into the Wessex A88 console in 1970.

Queen’s Mountain Recording Studios 

The Neve 8048 with 32 channels of 1081’s was released in 1974. Queen and David Bowie record their iconic ‘Under Pressure’ collaboration track on the Neve 8048 desk at Queen’s Mountain Recording Studio in Switzerland. The 8048 console was used by many high profile artists, including Led Zeppelin, Iggy Pop and Deep Purple.

Pictured – Freddie Mercury in front of the 8048 taken in 1981 during the ‘Hot Space’ album sessions – and the same time as Queen recorded Under Pressure with David Bowie. Copyright Peter Hince. 

The 8058, 8068 and 8078

Between 1976 and 1977, the first “in-line monitor” consoles were built by Neve; the 8058/8068. The first UK installation is at Thames Television. In 1978, one of the earliest 8078 consoles was installed at EMI Electrola GmbH. “80-series” consoles continue their march to legendary status.

Pictured – the Neve 8068

“There’s zero doubt in my mind that the Montserrat Neve is easily one of the two best-sounding recording consoles ever made” – Neil Dorfsman

AIR Montserrat 

The AIR Montserrat console was built and installed into Sir George Martin’s world-renowned AIR Studios in 1978, on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. In 1983, The Police recorded ‘Synchronicity’ on the iconic console.

Pictured – The Police sat behind the AIR Montserrat console. 

Introducing the V Series Console

The first V Series console was installed at Yellow 2 studios, Stockport, in 1985 whilst the second was installed at London’s iconic AIR Studios. Further improvements were made in 1987, as the V1 successor, the V3 is released. The V series continued to evolve, and in 1988 Neve introduced full console software with the release of the VR console and total recall of settings was added to the mix.

Pictured – Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees in front of a V Series console. 

V Series – Evolved

The development of the V Series continued with the Neve VRP, a post-production specific V console – The Neve VRP. Further sonic improvements were made with the VR Legend, released in 1991, which featured oxygen-free signal cabling. Due to the immense popularity of the V Range of consoles, Neve continued to manufacture these large-format consoles for studios around the world for many years. The introduction of the VX/VXS in 1997 was installed in Right Track studio in New York – a 96 channel configuration.

Pictured – the VRP at Abbey Road Studios

“I don’t know how you would make a better board than the 88R, it’s wonderful” – Al Schmitt

The Neve Flagship is Released

The year 2001 saw the release of the Neve 88R console, to worldwide acclaim.

Pictured – AIR Studios 88R Console

The 88R Enhanced

Following the huge success of the scoring version of the 88R, the hugely powerful SP2 scoring panel is added in 2004 – designed in conjunction with the world’s leading scoring mixers. The SP2 boasts an incredible 132 busses and is found on all the world’s leading scoring stages.

Pictured – Barbra Streisand at Sony Studios