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Rupert Neve interview

Posted on December 15, 2013 at 22:40:38
Bill Way

Posts: 1239
Location: Toms River NJ
Joined: May 28, 2012
December 14, 2012
Rupert Neve is responsible, more than any other individual I can think of, for the studios we have today. His designs of consoles, amplifiers, mic preamps, EQs, and of course his "Flying Faders" are iconic, and for good reason.

The link is a lengthy interview/talk he gave to engineers and students at the Paris SAE Institute this past October. (You can also find it on GearSlutz in the music computers forum.) It is fascinating. Among the gems:

* About 40 minutes in he tells of a console Geoff Emerick received that had a problem in three channels. It was a wiring error in transformers that caused a 3 dB bump at 54 kHz. He suggests that, even though we cannot measure hearing past 20 kHz (and far less in mature males) we can measure brain activity in response to sounds far higher, or perhaps to currently unmeasurable artifacts below 20 kHz *created* by anomalies well above our measurable hearing range. He believes audio gear must perform well up to 100 kHz, and suggests that he would expect significantly better brain wave response to SACDs than redbook CDs, despite the fact that audio measurements of SACD do not predict a huge difference.

(My note: I think he is on to something here, and it might start to explain how male engineers in their 60's, whose measurable hearing has deteriorated, continue to do really great work.)

* About an hour in, he describes a console they made that measured far better than anything ever had... but didn't sound nearly as good as earlier gear that measured far worse. They eventually traced it to minute crossover distortion in ICs, which they fixed by designing their own. His conclusion: "Excellence in specification [measurements] does not equal excellence in performance."

* He suggests that measuring brain wave response, which is now easy and cheap, may turn out to be as valuable as our traditional measurements of frequency response, distortion, slew rate, etc.

* He says near the end, "Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen with others and discuss what you hear."

That may be what is needed to come up with new kinds of measurements that will improve our entire audio chain.


"A man need merely light the filaments of his receiving set and the world's greatest artists will perform for him." Alfred N. Goldsmith, RCA, 1922


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RE: Rupert Neve interview, posted on December 16, 2013 at 15:45:15

Posts: 396
Location: 33701
Joined: September 25, 2011
Thanx for posting
Great to hear from the real audio people once every so often.....


Great Interview. Thanks for Posting. nt, posted on December 17, 2013 at 07:37:49
Tony Lauck

Posts: 13629
Location: Vermont
Joined: November 12, 2007

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar


RE: Rupert Neve interview, posted on December 17, 2013 at 08:08:01

Posts: 9195
Joined: July 6, 2005
Thanks for posting that! I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but I'm sure it'll be excellent. The Neve consoles and EQs which he masterminded in the early 70s were the king of the world then, and, forty years later, have stood the test of time to still be among the handful of top quality designs.



RE: Rupert Neve interview, posted on April 8, 2014 at 07:17:49
Lee of Omaha

Posts: 1328
Location: Omaha NE
Joined: September 8, 2006
Your summary of what he says fits nicely with one of my chief guideposts: Audio performance is entirely characterizable by measurement, BUT we need to learn to measure the right things. We haven't entirely done that yet. Perhaps a better way of saying that is predicting and measuring audio performance is science, but we don't have all the science yet.

That micro crossover distortion is especially interesting, and may go a long way to explaining why class A amps tend to sound better than class AB.


RE: Rupert Neve interview, posted on August 12, 2015 at 02:15:12
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