Rupert Neve

December 24, 2021


Rupert Neve is an English electronics engineer and entrepreneur, who is particularly known as a designer of professional recording equipment. He is known for his work on microphone preamplifier, equalizers, and early large format mixing consoles. Many of his long discontinued products are considered classic equipment and are very highly sought after by the professionals in the recording industry. This has resulted in several companies releasing products that are Neve replicas or clones. He is often credited as the man who made the recording console. He was the third person to receive a Lifetime Achievement Technical Grammy Award and became an inducted member of the Mix Hall of Fame in 1989. He was named man of the century by Studio Sound Magazine in 1999, and was selected by his peers as the number one audio personality of the 20th century.

Rupert Neve was born a British national although he spent much of his early childhood in Argentina. The start of World War II increased demand for radios and Neve began repairing and selling radios. When he became 17 he volunteered as a soldier for the British navy and soon after settled in England where he built a mobile recording studio in which he recorded choirs, operas, and public addresses. In the 50s he worked for Rediffusion, primarily a forerunner in early cable tv systems (CATV. Neve left the company, and formed CQ Audio, a company specializing in the manufacture of hifi speaker systems. In the early 1960s he designed and built a mixing console for a composer named Desmond Leslie, from Castle Leslie, Ireland where the original desk is still housed. In 1964 he built a transistor based mixing console with an equalizer for Phillips Record Ltd. As demand for consoles increased Neve started a life of manufacturing and designing audio recording equipment. Neve has founded or been involved with several companies and currently runs Rupert Neve Designs, based in Wimberley, Texas.

Neve’s first company was a manufacturer of high end recording consoles in England. It was originally operated out of Neve’s home, and moved to its own premises in the late 1960s. It was sold in 1973 to Bonochord Group of companies and Rupert Neve left the company in 1975.

The original Neve group was sold to Siemens in 1985. Siemens then merged Neve with another UK audio console manufacture AMS (Advanced Music Systems) and form AMS Neve. After the merger, Siemens closed down the Neve production facility and moved all production to AMS’s Burnley facility. Many of the original Neve staff made the move to Burnley and continue to work at AMS Neve. AMS Neve now hold the intellectual property rights to all products designed by Rupert Neve during his ownership of the Neve group.

The company made outboard gear, mainly dynamic processors and equalizers. The company was liquidated in 1989. Mr. Phil Dudderidge, who incorporated a new company Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd, bought the assets of Focusrite Ltd. He still sells the Focusrite LTD designed products designed by Neve. Neve has not designed any products for the Focusrite brand name since he sold the company.

ARN Consultants helped Amek design Consoles. ARN Consultants designed the 2 channel mastering box, the Masterpiece. ARN Consultants currently trades under this name. Rupert Neve Designs markets a small variety of microphone preamplifiers, equalizers and compressors. Rupert Neve Designs also manufactures a line mixer, the 5088.

Rupert Neve — Audio personality of the 20th century

Since the early days of audio recording and production, one name is inevitably linked with high-quality sound: Rupert Neve. During his remarkable career Neve developed legendary microphone preamplifiers, equalizers and large format mixing consoles, much of which is still in use today by the most discriminating professionals in the pro audio, film and broadcast industries.

Born as british national, Rupert Neve has spend most of his childhood time in South America. Interested in high-quality sound since his youth years, he took the chance to immerse into the fields of radio construction by beginning to study radio handbooks as well as repairing and selling radios during World War II. He began making recordings of choirs and concerts with his own mobile recording rig, utilizing self-made microphones and loudspeakers. In the 1950s Neve began working for a company specialized in manufacturing loudspeakers, but after a while felt limited by his superiors in his personal drive to develop a new loudspeaker concept. He then founded his own company, CQ Audio, to build loudspeakers based on bookcase enclosures, with which he has soon received great recognition.

In the 1960s he started designing and manufacturing the world’s first mixing consoles as well as the first series of transistor-based equalizers. As the demand grew, Neve moved the company into a larger facility. In the 1970s he started to develop the first fully functional “moving-fader” automated consoles, on which legendary producers such as George Martin relied. In the mid-1970s he sold his plants and founded ARN consultants, dealing with sound reinforcement and acoustics. He also initiated the “Cambridge Radio Course”. During the ‘70s and ‘80s several hundred men and women from round the world attended these courses.

In 1985, Rupert Neve founded Focusrite Ltd. and launched a new modern range of outboard equipment to meet the demands of the studios such as rack mounted equalizers and dynamics processors. In 1989, ARN Consultants entered into an agreement with Amek Systems to design a new range of consoles and outboard equipment. In 1994, Rupert and Evelyn Neve moved to Wimberley, Texas and after the turn of the millennium, ARN Consultants entered into a cooperation with Taylor Guitars, which led to the development of a revolutionary magnetic pickup construction called the Expression System. Since 2005, ARN Consultants L.L.C. is trading as Rupert Neve Designs, Inc. and has launched the Portico product range, a series of high-quality modular preamplifiers and analog audio processors, that have been awarded a TEC award and a PAR Excellence award.