AMS Neve expanding education scheme

AMS Neve is set to strengthen its scheme aimed at inspiring the next generation of producers and engineers.

Last year the company set up partnerships with six universities and institutions; now the University of Salford has become the latest partner, bringing the total number of students potentially involved to around 3,500.

Hundreds of students have already visited the AMS Neve factory in Burnley and its new exhibition centre as part of the scheme, while designers and engineers have held masterclasses at campuses as far afield as Plymouth, Bristol and London. Participants have also been given opportunities to try out some of the manufacturer’s latest high-end consoles.

The idea for the partnerships came from AMS Neve’s founder and owner, Mark Crabtree. "AMS Neve has been responsible for many innovations in the recording and production process and we feel that enabling students to understand how good sound can be and why current techniques have evolved is an important grounding for the new generations of talent," he stated.

“This development path also signposts where these techniques are heading. The first year of operation has been really inspiring for us as well as for the students as they set out to become world class like their predecessors.”

The University of Salford says it’s delighted to become a partner. Phil Duncan is the programme leader for its BEng in Audio Acccoustics course. “We recognise that Neve is a world-leading innovator within the audio and film post production industries and we appreciate the insights students stand to get from meeting designers and engineers and being able to see how everything is made," he said.

“We also look forward to getting hands-on with the latest very high-end kit and in particular we feel the partnership will be of great benefit to our students who are hoping to work in technical audio broadcast and production related careers."

Jon Thornton is head of sound technology at The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), one of the original partners. He describes it as a fantastic initiative and remembers the day a white van rolled up outside their building, and out came an AMS Neve Genesys console.

“James Townend, Neve’s engineer, showed the students what it could do," he recalls. "He certainly inspired them, but it’s more than that. It’s a kind of triangle between ourselves, the students and Neve and the other companies they go on to work for.

“Playing with the top kit certainly inspires. Students are very comfortable with like, ‘here is a computer and some software and I can do everything in the box on the computer’. But a lot of the Neve heritage is about using a mixer and the reality is that to succeed they need to be able to pick the best solutions from those two worlds.”

The partners were each given two AMS Neve 1073LB pre-amps and students have been offered exclusive discounts on products.

dBs Music has campuses in Plymouth and Bristol, both of which have benefitted from masterclasses. Stu Welsh is Audio & Music Production course leader at Plymouth, and commented: “The support from AMS Neve means our students can get hands-on with the same equipment that is used throughout modern recording studios, post-production houses and the wider audio sector. This means they graduate with current and relevant skills, giving them an advantage when seeking employment in the audio industry”.

Michael Ward, BSc hons Music Technology course leader at Leeds Beckett University, refers to a “fantastic” trip he and his students made to the factory. “They got a chance to try out some of their consoles and speak to some of the staff about the technologies that underpin them. A tour of the factory floor was followed by an impromptu talk from founder Mark Crabtree which proved inspirational and helped reinforce the link between the curriculum we offer and the industry applications," he explained.

Other partners include The University of Surrey, the University of West London, and SSR (School of Sound Recording) based in Manchester and London – both of which are equipped with Neve consoles.

Adrian Greensides (SSR) added: “The creative partnership we have benefits our students in many ways and we have designed our modules so that all of our audio students come into contact with their products. We believe it is crucial to an upcoming producer to be comfortable with recording techniques and the analogue environment, which AMS Neve provides.”

Picture: LIPA student Aran Clifford with Dave Walton and Liz Wilkinson of AMS Neve