A MODERN CONSOLE FROM A LIVING LEGEND
In an industry where there are many "names among names," it's hard to not elevate Rupert Neve above them all. His unique understanding of analog circuitry forged a sound that is instantly recognizable, known collectively as the "Rupert Neve sound." For the uninitiated, the recent Sound City documentary serves as a great primer for the magic that comes from voltage saturating a transformer, which became the signature sound of Rupert Neve gear.
Where the Magic Happens
The Rupert Neve sound is the culmination of all the bits of wire and op-amps strung together just so, but if there was a component that sets the Rupert Neve sonic signature apart from everyone else, it has to be the transformers. These custom transformers couple every input and output in the 5088 (even the inserts!), providing a one-two punch of incredible isolation between channels and the sweet musicality that has become synonymous with Rupert Neve equipment.
But the transformer is only part of the equation. The 5088 is loaded with newly designed high-voltage discrete op-amp cards. These cards were designed specifically for the 5088, and they eliminate any crossover distortion while endowing the 5088 with such necessities as more headroom, extended frequency response, and a full 10dB more dynamic range than previous Rupert Neve boards.
A few words from the man himself:
"Transformers are the reason why my original Consoles are still re-used, re-cycled and re-configured so successfully. From the earliest days all my designs, both inputs and outputs, were transformer-coupled. An audio transformer cannot be entirely successful without including the electronic circuit in the design because it works as an integrated package.
Mix and Match to Meet Your Needs
In the good ol' days, you bought a board, and it pretty much was what it was. Any modifications or customizations were often done at the studio by their own engineers. Rupert Neve recognizes that no two studios are alike, which is why the 5088 is completely modular. Configure your 5088 to meet your current needs, and when your studio expands or shifts gears, just reconfigure the modules to meet what you're doing now.
As an option, any 5088 configuration may be outfitted with a VU meterbridge at an additional cost. The meterbridge features finely calibrated and extremely precise meters for all input and group channels. The meterbridge can be secured to either the top of a standard 5088 frame or the top of a penthouse rack.
PenthousePortico Modules for the Penthouse:
Where It All Begins — Input Channels
The input section of the 5088 is where your signal enters the storied Rupert Neve circuitry. Pushbuttons let you choose between the transformer-coupled line input, the Portico bus, and tape inputs. This gives you the flexibility to easily bounce between tracking, overdubs, and mixing. A trim pot gives you +/-10dB of adjustment of the input channel.
Shaping the Sound
Each of the four dual-group modules is endowed with a stereo effects return. Each of these channels gives you a level control and a switch to assign the signal to the eight group buses and stereo bus. If you run out of channels, you can use these stereo FX inputs as transformer-coupled pairs. Each group output has an insert switch, which when depressed brings the transformer-coupled insert's send (always active) and return into the group signal path for processing.
The Final Stage
The master section gives you everything you need to keep an eye on the end result. A stereo VU meter watches your levels, and a talkback input lets you communicate with the live room. You can switch between three different pairs of monitors, with a high-quality monitor output level pot and a 20dB dim switch. In a nod to consoles of yore, there's even an oscillator with 20Hz, 100Hz, 440Hz, 1kHz, 10kHz, and 20kHz settings.
The 5088 is built to give a modern studio vintage flavor, which means that it needs to seamlessly fit into a digital environment at all stages of the production. Using the proprietary SwiftMix system, you get to mix with VCA-less 100mm motorized faders connected to your DAW via Ethernet. This gives you the conveniences of DAWs within the framework of the 5088 environment.
Each channel sports five light-up tact switches and a motorized fader. The switches control DAW channel selection, DAW solo, DAW mute, channel record enable, and automation mode. The automation mode switch toggles between off, read, touch, latch, and write, which are indicated with LEDs on the fader panel. The fader cap is touch responsive thanks to a carbon-impregnated fader cap. All of this control is handled via 9-bit HUI over Ethernet, allowing for compatibility with most major DAWs, with no drivers necessary.
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