Neve have been producing the Rolls-Royce of mixing consoles since the mid 1960's and with the current analogue flagship, - the 88R, - this is still a name that most recording engineers and studios still aspire to.
Funky Junk are probably Europe's leading suppliers of, and specialists in used Neve mixing consoles, and have sold literally hundreds over the years.
Life is too short to go into every variation of console, and in any event, the internet is litered with websites giving background and details on Neve, - but be warned. I regularly read the most appalling garbage posted by well meaning but ill-informed individuals.
Neve is Neve is Neve, and irrespective of any desgin work Rupert might have done for companies such as Amek or Summit Audio, the only real Neve consoles and modules have the name "Neve" and the distinctive logo stamped on them. Beware of imitations, - many modules might look like Neve, but unless it''s the real thing, it won't perform the same. I'm happy to argue the point 'til the cows come home, and as someone who has owned a Neve desk for ten years and probably sold more (and therefore heard more) Neves than anyone else in Europe, I've learnt the hard way.
I'll restrict my main points to the more modern series of consoles, and largely the various generations of V desks made from 1982 onwards.
Neve V1's, V2's, V3's and VR's sound superb but do take care, - as perhaps the most sophisticated consoles ever manufactured in quantity, they are prone to certain problems and if a desk has been neglected then it can be an absolute nightmare for any unwary buyer. The main areas to watch out for are;
Capacitors. These desks generate an awful lot of heat, and therefore need good airconditioning to ensure smooth running. Each module is packed with capacitors, and these tend to dry out, leading to a thin sound and intermittent signal path. Other consoles also suffer from this problem (particularly Amek 2520 and Mozart, MCI and others) and replacing all the capacitors in a console can be a massive amout of work. Make sure you check the service history and recap reports carefully.
Switches. Although we carry huge quantities of Neve spares in house, these switches are increasingly hard to come by, and routing, eq, phase and other latching switches are prone to problems, particularly if the desk has been badly maintained or neglected. Again, this can cause intermittant signal paths and operational nightmares.
Power supplies. If your power supply goes, you're stuffed. Make sure capacitors and condensors are sound and the supplies have been well maintained.
Automation. Be wary of early moving fader systems, such as Necam. WE CAN SUPPLY UPDATED COMPUTERS FOR NECAM running on modern PC's, and this transforms an early V into a very useable unit. But be advised, - disc drives and spares for Necam are almost impossible to get, - we are probably the only place that carries them in stock, including the manufacturer. Flying faders are much more efficient, but again be careful, - this automation is based on an early PC which can be very hard to find. One client needing a replacement was quoted £3600 by the manufacturer, but found one in a local junk shop for £60. We have automation experts on our technical staff. The new Encore automation should be much more stable, and despite a few initial glitches, users seem happy.
Any discussion about Neve consoles can take a very long time, and we're happy to spend however long might be required dealing with serious enquiries. Please don't suck my brains dry purely for your own entertainment, though.
More than anything, bear in mind that a goood, well serviced console properly commissioned by our engineers will probably be the best sounding and most satisfying audiophile desk that money can buy. Afer all, I bought one myself...