The AMS Neve 8804 Fader Pack offers precision fader control for the 8816 Summing Mixer, featuring 16 channel faders with mute/solo switches, two master faders, direct outputs, aux send, and instant recall via Mac/PC
Perhaps the most requested feature for summing mixers of all makes is the addition of faders. While it can be argued that you can do your fader automation in the DAW and simply use the summing mixer for analog flavor and stem recording, engineer and mixers quickly realized that changing levels on DAW faders (particularly lowering them) changed the sound of the instrument or vocal. However, using analog faders to reduce or increase level didn’t change the timbral integrity of a sound, just its volume. Another benefit of analog faders is that you can ride them while tracking vocals,* thus controlling levels going into your converters without reducing the word-length “describing” the sound. Of course, while the 8804 Fader Pack does all this and more, the faders aren’t automated beyond snapshot recall. On the plus side, performing a mix on faders like an instrument is far more musical that drawing automation lines with a mouse. The mix engineer becomes a part of the performance, which in turn can lead to magical moments that can’t be had with a DAW pencil tool.
AMS Neve 8804 Fader Pack—Just the Facts:
- High-quality long-throw fader module for use with popular 8816 Summing Mixer
- Hand-made by Neve in Burnley, England
- 16 channel faders and 2 master faders
- 16 mute/solo switches
- 16 direct outputs allow 8816 level pots to become auxiliary sends
- Instant recall of settings stored on PC or Mac via USB
- 4U rackmount or tabletop operation using built-in stand or optional Neve 8804 sidecheeks
AMS Neve 8804 Fader Pack—Beneath the Surface
The Neve 8804 not only adds fader control to the 8816, but it also provides expanded functionality. Each 8804 channel fader has a direct output, which can be set to pre- or post-fader. These direct outputs can then be used to feed effects units, make separate recordings of individual tracks in a mix*, or for multi-track recording from the 8816. The channel level pot on the 8816 becomes a dedicated auxiliary send for an outboard reverb unit, letting you add that extra touch of magic to the mix.
The 8804 is equipped with AMS Neve’s proprietary Recall utility program for use with a computer-based system. Recall enables your Mac or PC to store and recall all of the 8804’s settings, facilitating workflow and increasing productivity. Put simply, this is the Neve console experience brought to the DAW-based studio.
*PAD For the Record—One of the closely guarded secrets of getting vocal tracks that sound like money is to ride faders during tracking. It’s a bit scary at first, since nobody wants to risk spoiling a great performance, but nothing sounds as good as fader rides. Since, as they say, the essence of engineering is laziness, it’s very tempting simply insert a compressor and let it do the level control. Some will put two compressors in series so that neither has to work too hard, thus avoiding artifacts, but truth be told, no compressor, no matter how fast its attack time, can anticipate when a singer is going to belt. Compressors only react, they can’t anticipate. If you’re nervous about upping your game with fader rides, send the signal to two channels, one for fader rides, the other with a compressor inserted for safety. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to track vocals any other way.
The 8804 surface controls
The 8804 has sixteen 100mm, long-throw channel faders that control the levels on channels 1 through 16. The faders have a gain range from -∞dB to +15dB. Having 15dB gain in hand is a useful creative tool, particularly when riding levels in the mix. Care should be taken not to overload the workstation or other recording device by using too much boost across multiple channels simultaneously.
Aux send level control
With the 8804 fader pack attached, the rotary pots of the 8816 summing mixer are taken out of the main circuit and re-tasked as an auxiliary send level control. These auxes will always be pre-fader and cannot be changed to post-fader. The 8816 Master Level pot is no longer used.
Two master faders control the Mix Left and Mix Right output levels with a gain range from –∞dB to 0dB. With both faders at the top of their range, the mix gain is unity.
Cut/solo channel switches
Cut/Solo buttons above each channel activate the Mute relays in the 8816 via the USB connection. The switches on the 8816 or on the 8804 may both be used, each will illuminate to reflect changes made from the other. In Cut mode, each button mutes the associated channel. In Solo mode, each button solos the associated channel. The solo type is Solo In Place, where all non-soloed channels are muted.
Cut/Solo master switch
The Cut/Solo switch on the upper right of the 8804 sets the mode of the Cut/ Solo channel switches. When the Master switch is illuminated yellow, the channel buttons are in Solo mode. When the switch is unlit, all channel switches are in Mute mode.
The 8804 provides balanced Direct Outputs from each of the 16 channels. These can be used for recording or as sends to effects units and processors. The Direct Outputs can be set Pre- or Post- fader within the Recall software.
If a channel Direct Output is set to post-fader, you can select whether it will be muted by the Cut/Solo switch. The Direct Output balanced circuits will be on either on a 50 pin D-type connector or on two 25-way D-type connectors on the rear of the 8804.
With the levels controlled from the 8804 faders, the rotary level control on the 8816 is available to use as an auxiliary pre-fade send level control. (The output appears on Circuit 4 of Connector 3 on the 8816.)
Settings on the 8804 may be stored and recalled using the same Recall software as the 8816 and other members of the Neve 88 Outboard series.
It’s possible to have a maximum of two 8816 units and two optional 8804 fader packs connected via USB to the Recall software. If you only have one 8816 and one 8804 fader pack connected, both units must be set to Slave so the Recall software will operate correctly.
While you can use the its built-in wire stand, the 8804 can dress to impress with a pair of optional side panels or sidecheeks (which are kind of sweet), bearing the distinctive red on Neve lightning bolt logo on a raised white circle.
If you’re looking for the full-on, old-school Neve mixing experience, add an 8804 Fader Pack to your 8816 Summing Mixer and go make some magic. For more information, call or chat online with your PAD Studio Specialist today.
- Channels 1–16 -∞ to +15dB
- Mix L / R -∞ to +0dB
- +/- 0.2dB: 10Hz to 20kHz
- +/- 0.5dB: 10Hz to 40kHz
- Measurement Window: 10Hz to 80kHz
- Fader @ 0dB: Distortion <0.005% (20Hz to 20kHz)
- Measurement Window: 10Hz to 22kHz
- Fader @ 0dB: Noise <90dB (20Hz to 20kHz)
- Height 6-15/16" (17.6 cm) / 4U
- Width 19" (48.2 cm)
- Depth 1-1/2" (3.2 cm)
- Weight: 4.6 lb. (2.1 kg)