Rupert Neve, Studio Tech Pioneer, Dies at 94
Rupert Neve, the inventor and businessman behind the Neve studio technology, died at age 94 due to "non-Covid pneumonia and heart failure," his family confirmed.
After serving in the British Army’s Signal Corps during World War II, he founded Neve Electronics in 1961 and oversaw development of the first-ever transistor-based mixing desk, which went into operation in 1964. Neve mixing consoles and preampilfiers offered new ways to approach and manage the process of making records.
He’s best known for the Neve 8028 console, used by many leading rock musicians of the ‘70s; and the Neve 1073 preamp, which offered control over microphone input that remains popular today. After selling the Neve corporation in 1975, he continued working in the audio field and received a Lifetime Achievement Technical Grammy in 1997. The celebrated console was notably featured in Dave Grohl’s 2013 documentary Sound City, which frames the studio's around the desk.
Among those paying tribute is Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who tweeted: “His legend and genius lives on in uncountable recordings of music in every genre. Amazing how one man can touch so many lives in a good way and yet most people won’t know who he is... but we do!”
“Rupert Neve’s impact on the audio industry can hardly be overstated,” reads an obituary on his website. “It’s no exaggeration to say that millions of people worldwide listen to music every day that was produced using equipment incorporating Rupert’s designs somewhere in the process, from the vocal recording to the final mix, if not from beginning to end. His designs … are ubiquitous, and may be found anywhere from the largest production facilities to the most basic home studios. His audio hardware designs have also been reproduced as software plug-ins, making them available to anyone with access to a computer.”
A separate statement noted: “While Rupert’s passions for music, creativity, and insistence on exceptional quality have made an indelible mark on the fabric of the recording industry, his kindness and generosity made him a legend to us all. Through his designs and through the music created with them, his spirit will live on eternally. … Arrangements for a celebration of his life for family and friends will be made when it is safe to do so.”