Rupert Neve Changed Audio Recording Forever
Rupert Neve, the pioneering designer of audio recording equipment, whose creations play a fundamental role in the modern recorded music industry, died on February 12th at his home in Wimberley, Texas. He was 94.
His company, Rupert Neve Designs, announced his passing:
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Rupert Neve, whose name is synonymous with quality audio recording equipment worldwide, has died. He remained in great spirits to the end, enjoying his life in Wimberley, Texas, where he and his wife Evelyn have lived for 27 years. At 94, Rupert remained engaged and passionate about his work, spending most days on a perpetual series of audio electronics projects and continuing to mentor our engineering team on numerous design and development projects.”
According to the company, Neve died due to non-Covid pneumonia and heart failure.
Born in Newton Abbott, England, in 1926, Neve demonstrated an affinity for electronics at an early age and began building and repairing radios while he was a teenager growing up in Argentina.
During World War II, at the age of 17, he volunteered for the military, joining the Royal Signals Corps, which provides communications support to the British Army.
After his military service, he returned to civilian life and focused on designing audio systems, including a public address system that was used by the future Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of St. Andrews Church, and a mobile recording system for choral groups.
In the 1950s, he joined audio and electronics company Rediffusion, but soon ventured out on his own, designing and building mixing consoles for recording studios under the banner of Neve Electronics. Some of his customers during this period include the Beatles and producer George Martin, and composer Denis Leslie.
As well, he developed a reputation for his microphone preamplifiers, equalizers, compressors and early large format mixing consoles, which are still sought after today by professionals in the recording industry.
After selling his original company to the Bonochord Group in 1973, he launched Focusrite, which developed rack mounted audio gear such as equalizers, processors, and amplifiers, and later Rupert Neve Designs, which designs and markets a variety of award-winning microphone preamplifiers, equalizers, compressors, and other recording equipment.
Neve was inducted into the Mix Hall of Fame in 1989, and three years later, became just the third person to win a Technical Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, he was presented with the Studio Sound Magazine’s Audio Person of the Century Award and an Audio Engineering Society Fellowship Award in 2006
Neve was married to his wife, Evelyn, for nearly 70 years until his death. The couple had five children together.
Josh Thomas, Rupert Neve Designs’ co-founder and general manager, shared a statement on his colleague’s passing.
“It was always assumed that the company would outlive him on this earth, and for 16 years he poured his energies into creating a team that would become the caretakers of the theories, practices, and ideologies that truly constitute a Rupert Neve design. All of us at the company are exceedingly grateful for the years of careful instruction and mentoring with which he has blessed us, and we will continue to preserve his legacy in everything we do moving forward. The world certainly sounds better because he was here.”