Santa Barbara Sound Design, has replaced a digital work surface in Studio A with a 32-input Rupert Neve Designs 5088 analog mixing console.
The console, which has recently been fitted with Martinsound Flying Faders automation, is used in combination with the studio’s very large collection of custom rack-mounted vintage Neve preamp and EQ modules.
Studio owner Dominic Camardella notes that the facility has housed a vintage Neve console for a majority of its years of operation.
“The board is wonderful. It’s modern sounding and yet looks back to the vintage past without any of the flaws that the vintage consoles had. The vintage consoles tended to be noisier; the noise floor on the new Neve is just impeccable.”
“The vintage consoles, although they had enormous headroom, would dull over on the top end and you’d lose low-level signals. They would get puffy and thick around the waist. None of those issues are present in this Neve 5088 console.”
During a studio renovation in 2004 Camardella was unable to find a suitable contemporary replacement for an aging classic Neve console that had become very costly to maintain, and instead opted for a digital work surface.
Five years later, when it came time to renovate again, he was pleased to discover the 5088 and arranged for an in-studio evaluation.
“It was immediately an eye opener, sonically. We just moved two cables over to the center section of the 5088 and monitored Pro Tools and, with a number of people that I trust in the room, everybody’s jaws dropped,” he reports.
Camardella, who is also an adjunct professor in the Music Department at Santa Barbara City College, says, “What’s really refreshing is how sonically diverse it can present. It’s a little SSL-like at times, and a little vintage Neve-like at times, and never to the detriment of the sound.”