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Rupert Neve dies aged 94

Pro audio icon Rupert Neve has died at the age of 94 due to non-COVID-19 related pneumonia and heart failure.

One of the most influential figures in pro audio history, Neve’s name was synonymous with high-end audio quality and innovation. The large format analogue consoles bearing his name have long been a hallmark of premium sound, taking pride of place in many of the world’s most revered studios.

His death on February 12 was announced on February 13 via a statement on the Rupert Neve website. He died in Wimberley, Texas where he had resided for the past 27 years.

“I’ve known and worked with Rupert for nearly 30 years,” said Josh Thomas, Rupert Neve Designs’ co-founder and general manager. “When Rupert, his wife Evelyn, and I sat at his kitchen table and founded Rupert Neve Designs 16 years ago, he had two goals. The first was to set a new standard in the quality of recorded sound, drawing upon his unparalleled depth of experience to create high-end solutions for the modern recording engineer, musician, and listener alike. The second was to pass on his philosophies, techniques, and methodologies to a new generation of designers to carry his life’s work and passion into the future.

“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.”

Neve’s vast contribution contribution to the pro audio industry saw him recognised with multiple accolades throughout his career. These include a Lifetime Achievement Technical GRAMMY Award in 1997, an Audio Engineering Society Fellowship Award in 2006, 16 TEC (Technical Excellence and Creativity) Awards for Rupert Neve Designs products, and Studio Sound magazine’s Audio Person of the Century Award, in 1999.

Neve and his wife Evelyn established Neve Electronics in 1961. Over the course of the next 10 years, the company would produce iconic pieces of equipment such as the Neve 80 and 50 series mixing desks.

He adopted digital technology in 1977, when he introduced the world’s first moving fader system, NECAM (NEve Computer Assisted Mixdown), installing the first system at legendary Beatles producer George Martin’s Air Studios in London. The Neve 81 series of mixing desks integrated digital assignable controls into an otherwise analog design.

Neve Companies was sold off in 1975, eventually being purchased by AMS in England.

In 2011, Yamaha released the first Rupert Neve Designs plugins, approved by Neve, for its Steinberg platform. The plugins have been integrated into Yamaha’s CL Series and Rivage PM10 digital consoles for live sound production, another first for Rupert.

Rupert is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, Evelyn; five children, Mary, David, John, Stephen, and Ann; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Arrangements for a celebration of his life for family and friends will be made when it is safe to do so.

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