The AMS Neve 88RS is an inline analog console built for surround mixing, featuring Encore Plus automation, Neve fidelity, and audio performance beyond 24-bit/192kHz resolution.
Called the “‘Rolls Royce’ of the industry” by the late Sir George Martin, the AMS Neve 88RS is the console of choice for Skywalker Sound, AIR Studios Lyndhurst, Abbey Road, Fox Newman Scoring Stage, Warner Brothers’ Eastwood Scoring Stage, Conway Studios, Capitol Records, The Village, Sony Pictures, and Ocean Way, to name a few. The 88RS can be operationally divided into two halves (to either side of the master control panel) with independent status control and split mix buses. Surround sound is built in, which means that the I/O module pan pots have both LCR multichannel and LR stereo pan laws. There are also dedicated surround mix buses, monitoring, and metering features. The 88RS uses AMS Neve’s cross-platform Encore automation system with a fully integrated recall system for storing and recalling control settings. Encore also assists in console configuration tasks such as overdubbing, but if you want to go full old-school analog, the 88RS can also be operated manually without Encore.
Pro Audio Design can deliver, wire, and provide ongoing support for your new Neve 88RS as we have done for world-class studios and educational facilities around the globe. If you wish to be in the company of such studios or want the ultimate competitive edge in the marketplace, upgrade your Studio A or B to the unparalleled sonic purity and fidelity of the Neve 88RS.
AMS Neve 88RS Unique Features:
- Inline monitoring architecture with console split feature enables four simultaneous mixes
- Designed for surround from inception, 5.1 monitoring standard
- Audio performance beyond 24-bit/192kHz digital
- The clearest pure signal path with no VCAs
- Encore Plus automation
- AFL surround solo monitor
- Latest VCA technology for low noise and excellent low-level distortion
- Fader starts on all channel faders, all VCA group faders, and all output faders
- Enhanced Neve spectral format equalization
- Legendary Neve soft knee compression
- Remote mic amp option
- Enhanced “S” channel strip
AMS Neve 88RS—Just the Facts:
- Motorized large and small faders
- Over-press PFL on each channel fader
- Four main output faders, L/R, C, S, and LS/RS
- Solo system defaults to safe mode
- Acoustically optimized frame
- Available with or without patchbay
- 24-step precision volume control
- Two faders per channel strip
- Optional SP2 scoring panel, stem mixer, and remote preamps
AMS Neve 88RS—Beneath the Surface
Inline Monitor Console with Split Function
88RS is Neve’s completely new electronic and mechanical design, while based on classic Neve attention to audio quality, mechanical detail, and ergonomics. The Neve 88RS starts at 24 channels (48 mic inputs) and is expandable by 12-channel buckets. The 88RS comes with a range of options including the SP2 Scoring Panel, the powerful Stem Mixer, and Classic Neve remote mic pre-amps. A range of essential features for broadcasters is also available, including a redundant PSU, VCA fader system, and rugged streamline frame designed purposely for OB trucks. The 88RS is capable of broadcasting and recording simultaneously.
Signal flow through the console can be tailored for recording, mixdown and overdub tasks using central master controls in conjunction with local channel switches. Each channel strip contains all the facilities necessary for multi-track recording, overdubbing and mixdown. Two distinct signal paths are processed by each input module. The channel path handles input sources during recording and tape playback during mixdown. The monitor path is used primarily for monitoring multi-track sends and returns when recording and for effects sends or returns during mixdown. The monitoring path can also provide additional tape inputs for large mixdown operations.
Built for surround from the ground up
After its introduction in 1998, the 88R found its place in film score recording and mixing. In 2003, Sony Pictures commissioned a custom surround stem management/monitor panel from Neve based on input from Oscar-winning mixer Shawn Murphy, 4-time Oscar-nominated mixer Dennis S. Sands, C.A.S-winner Simon Rhodes, Sony's Pat Weber and Mark Koffman, and AIR Studios’ Geoff Foster. Incorporating such input from professional users, the 88RS was reimagined for surround while retaining its stereo music production facilities. What that means is that surround sound is built in; the I/O module pan pots have both LCR and LR (stereo) pan laws. Also, there are dedicated surround mix busses, monitoring, and metering features. Mix busses, metering, and monitoring are configured for stereo, LCRS, 5.1, or 7.1* in a single movement via switches on the central re-assign panel.
*Standard 88RS consoles are capable of stereo, LCRS and 5.1 operation. 7.1 format mixing requires the optional “SP2” scoring panel.
The clearest pure signal path with no VCAs
The desk’s 100kHz analog bandwidth* surpasses the resolution of 24-bit/192khz digital quality and has been engineered to deliver recordings of the highest conceivable quality onto any format at any sample rate, capturing all the energy and atmosphere of the original performance as perfectly as possible. There are no VCAs or MDAC's (digital audio controllers) in any audio path, including the monitor section. As the centerpiece of recordings ranging from Daft Punk’s homage to the ’70s to the Kronos Quartet to Christophe Beck’s score for the film Frozen, the Neve 88RS has a proven ability to handle any type of music, whether it’s raucous rock, acapella chorale, or full tutti symphonic score with a side order of guitar and synthesizers à la Hans Zimmer.
Latest VCA technology for low noise and excellent low-level distortion
In normal monitoring mode, there are no VCA's in the signal path; the volume control is a 24-step switched passive control. VCA'S only get switched into the monitoring path for dim and AFL/PFL monitoring.
*PAD Tech Note: Rupert Neve was the first pro audio designer to realize that preamps band-limited to 20kHz (the supposed upper limit of human hearing) were not telling the whole story. Mr. Neve reasoned that since harmonics above the range of human hearing exist in nature, and nature doesn’t engage in unnecessary excess, they must be taken into account. If nothing else, the popularity of the 1073 preamp to this day (released in 1970) proves him correct. However, it was Abbey Road’s Geoff Emerick who heard “something wrong” with a channel on a newly commissioned Neve desk at Abbey Road. Eventually, after much troubleshooting, Mr. Neve discovered a capacitor wired improperly, which impacted the signal at 60kHz! That experience validated his initial hypothesis. To this day, Mr. Neve’s favorite proof of the impact of ultra-high frequencies on the audible spectrum is to output a sine wave on a signal generator at 12kHz (which anyone should be able to hear) and switch it to a square wave, which everyone can easily identify. When you realize that a square wave is simply the addition of a sine wave an octave higher than the fundamental (24kHz added to 12kHz), it becomes readily apparent that ultra-high frequencies do affect the audible spectrum. Further audio research has shown that the linearity of frequencies well beyond human hearing do have an audible impact. A signal 3dB down at 25kHz can show a measured in-band phase shift of roughly -50 degrees (10kHz!).
Enhanced “S” channel strip
While the “S” primarily relates to surround mixing, there are also improvements to EQ and dynamics sections. Each channel strip contains all the facilities necessary for multi-track recording, overdubbing and mixdown. While its functional design is traditional inline architecture, the 88RS has the powerful feature of split operation, which means that the console can be operationally divided into two halves (to the left and right of the master control panel) with independent status control and split mix busses. The various I/O module sections can be switched between the two paths, allowing the operator to configure each path with the optimum processing.
AFL surround solo monitor
The 88RS has a sophisticated solo system with selectable momentary, interlocking, and latching action push-buttons performing either solo in place, PFL (pre-fader listen) or surround AFL (after-fader listen). Another very useful solo feature is “Isolate,” which is independently available for both the large and small faders. Isolate defeats the channel and monitor solo mutes, which enables the channel to be used as a reverb/effects return.
Enhanced Neve spectral formant equalization
The Spectral Formant EQ has four overlapping frequency bands with more frequency ranges and a relatively sharp curve at either end (LF 33-370 Hz, LMF 190 Hz-2 kHz, HMF 0.8-8.7 kHz, HF 1.5-17 kHz). It has up to +/-20dB boost/cut, more Q range (bandwidth), and non-overlapping low-frequency sections. The low-frequency and high-frequency bands are switchable peak or shelf filters, while the low-mid and high-mid bands have a flexible Q control. The equalizer section can be switched before or after the dynamics section.
Legendary Neve soft-knee compression
Full limiter/compressor and gate/expander facilities are available on every channel (each of which can be individually switched in or out of circuit). The compressor is more musical with classic Neve soft knee for transparent performance, or hard knee choices (for percussive sounds). It also has more threshold settings and slower attack and faster release times available. Similarly, the noise gate has a wider range and better control of threshold due to the inclusion of a hysteresis control. Hysteresis sets the difference in threshold for signals that are rising or falling in level, which helps to prevent gate chatter. Pulling out the release control inverts the key (control) signal to the gate, turning it into a “ducker”.
Fader starts on all channel faders, all vca group faders, and all output faders
A “fader start” is a very useful feature in Neve’s Encore Plus automation. Fader Start enables you to select a relay from the optional Relay Control Unit or relays associated with controls in the signal path, which can be toggled or closed by moving the fader up. For example, set to Mic for Channel 1, the fader relay will only fire (when the fader is over-pressed) if Channel 1 is switched to Mic and there is a source connected to the Mic input.
Encore Plus automation
The 88RS is equipped with the groundbreaking Encore Plus automation system. Encore Plus combines the best of Flying Faders for music with the Logic automation system for post-production, creating the ultimate music and music-for-picture automation system. A cross-platform system, Encore features fully integrated recall for storing and recalling control positions. In addition to dynamic automation and recall, Encore assists in console configuration tasks such as overdubbing. The console can also run manually without Encore. In the event of a computer failure, the 88RS continues to function seamlessly.
The 88RS comes with a range of options including the SP2 Scoring Panel, which enables 7.1 surround, the powerful Stem Mixer, and Classic Neve remote mic preamps. It’s interesting to note that with access to a wall full of the best preamps and custom modifications, Alan Sides of Ocean Way prefers the sound of the remote 1081R and Air preamps that came with his 88R.
What the pros are saying about the Neve 88RS
When Daft Punk set out to make Random Access Memory, their spare-no-expense homage to the golden age of recording—where nothing but the best would do—the Grammy-winning album was tracked and mixed by 11-time Grammy winner, Mick Guzauski on Conway Studio’s Neve 88R. Other notable Neve 88R owners and users include 20-time Grammy winner Al Schmitt, Alan Sides (Ocean Way Studios), 7-time Grammy winner Frank Filipetti, and Skywalker Sound’s 4-time Grammy winner, Leslie Ann Jones. Here are some quotes:
“The new Neve 88R at the Village gave me the sound and integrity associated with vintage 1066 and 1081s while providing the convenience, ergonomics, and reliability of a modern desk.” — Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, The Cars, Journey)
“The 88RS is truly the next level of aural quality and console flexibility. The sonic quality of the console is unbelievable.” — Leslie Ann Jones (Skywalker Sound)
“The sound of the 88RS is unbelievable. It is the best sounding desk we have ever heard. It’s a beautifully engineered, exquisitely manufactured piece of gear.” — Jeff Greenberg (The Village)
“I love this console… From the equalization to the dynamics this console is a class A product.” — Mark Miller (Allentown Studios)
“The 88RS is an awesome console. It’s the ultimate in analog consoles.” —Tom Misner (Studios 301)
“Neve consoles are the ‘Rolls Royce’ of the industry. You’ve got to do the right thing by your business. You’ve got to buy the right console at the right price. When it comes down to it, the Neve has the edge on any other.” — Sir George Martin
“The 88RS stood out as a no-compromise console that would provide exceptional sound quality and reliability whether we are recording a large classical ensemble, chamber group, jazz or rock.” — Scott Metcalfe (Director, Recording Arts and Sciences, Peabody Conservatory)