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Old October 13th 2015, 10:10 PM
Val Val is offline
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Default Neve console tubes

The question that I have is probably only answerable by Dave Grohl, but if anybody else out there happens to know the answer, please feel free to chime in.

The Sound City video had great value to me personally. I especially liked the interview with Rupert Neve where he discussed the details of how to make a “sweet sounding transformer”. The 2 keys to the Neve sound IMO are the pre amp vacuum tubes and the output step down transformers. My guess is that that console came from the factory with British made Mullard 12AX7 tubes installed, that were manufactured in the mid 1960’s. And the Mullards are some of the best sounding vacuum tubes ever made.

At one point in the video, there is a picture of a vacuum tube. It’s an ARS (Antique Radio Supply) EL84. The EL84 is a power amplifier tube, not a pre amp tube, and ARS is known for supplying low quality tubes, and they wouldn’t have been used in the original circuit by Rupert Neve in any case, so my guess is that that would have been a picture of some random guitar amplifier.

Because that Neve console is truly a piece of musical history, with some of the greatest pieces of musical work ever created, having been shaped and recorded thru it, I think that it is very important to baseline the characteristics of that legendary console so that that information is not lost.

Dave - or anybody else who happens to be intimately knowledgeable about the characteristics of the console – does that console have the original tubes in it, and if so, what tubes are they?

It may be that nobody has ever asked that question before, and while it may be asking a lot, it would be very helpful if it still has all or some of the original tubes in it, to take them out, one by one, and photograph them. There are people who could look at those photos and specify for example, well, that’s a Mullard 12AX7 I63 manufactured at the Blackburn factory in the early 1960’s. Or it’s a JAN Raytheon 12AX7 ECC83 smooth black plate, etc., etc..

Since there are people who have indicated that they have used numerous Neve consoles, and that there is something special about that particular console, my guess is that it’s in the specific set of tubes, or there is something special about the specific batch of transformers that were used.

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but IMO that console is in the category of Bach or Beethoven, except that their works, are fully documented so that future generations can exactly reproduce them. There is something special about that Neve console, and it needs to be defined and documented, so that it can be reproduced by future generations if they so decide.
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Old October 17th 2015, 10:53 AM
Foo3001 Foo3001 is offline
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Default Re: Neve console tubes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Val View Post
At one point in the video, there is a picture of a vacuum tube. It’s an ARS (Antique Radio Supply) EL84. The EL84 is a power amplifier tube, not a pre amp tube, and ARS is known for supplying low quality tubes, and they wouldn’t have been used in the original circuit by Rupert Neve in any case, so my guess is that that would have been a picture of some random guitar amplifier.
I spotted the same - ARS is usually rebranded JJ, so while they work ok (there´s been batches in the past where they had serious issues though) they have never sounded good IMO. The 6V6 they make is good though, can take today´s voltages much better than most competition.

I think the transformers are the key in a Neve. That´s what´s the most talked about thing about them anyway - tubes are important of course but as long as they´re good quality and hiss free / no microphonics the differences aren´t so drastic as in different transformers.

But, I think / hope whoever runs 606 has such budget that NOS tubes can be bought into DG´s console, they´re still out there and they´re not that expensive really if you´re one of the biggest rock stars on the planet..
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Old October 22nd 2015, 08:41 AM
Jon84 Jon84 is offline
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Default Re: Neve console tubes

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Originally Posted by Foo3001 View Post

I think the transformers are the key in a Neve. That´s what´s the most talked about thing about them anyway - tubes are important of course but as long as they´re good quality and hiss free / no microphonics the differences aren´t so drastic as in different transformers.
.
Absolutely, I watched a Sound on Sound interview with Rupert Neve recently on Youtube. The transformers were very much detailed, with the aim to get them as noise free as possible.
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