Chicago, IL (October 29, 2008) — Doug McBride has installed a brand new
Rupert Neve Designs 5088 discrete analog mixing console at his Gravity
Studios recording and mastering facility located in Chicago’s Wicker Park
neighborhood. The 5088 console, outfitted with 24 tracks of Shadow Mix
moving fader automation, is configured with two Portico 5012 Duo Mic Pre,
eight Portico 5032 Mic Pre/3-Band EQ, twelve Portico 5033 5-Band EQ, two
Portico 5042 "True Tape" Emulator, and two Portico 5043 Dual
The first session produced on the new 5088 console, which replaced a vintage
Neve 8058, was by multi-Grammy Award-winning Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy
for the upcoming TriStar Pictures feature film, "Cadillac Records," which
chronicles the rise of Chess Records in the 1950s. "It was a lot of fun,"
says McBride, who cut his teeth at Chicago Recording Company before opening
Gravity Studios 15 years ago. "He had worked here on the old console a few
years ago and was really happy with how things went."
Multi-platinum selling band Live worked on the console later that month,
recording a new single and a studio track for the band’s upcoming live album
In addition to allowing Studio A’s control room to be remodeled (Studio B is
a mastering room that also handles overdub and edit sessions), the 5088 was
installed for a number of significant reasons, as McBride explains: "One of
the biggest things for me was that, with our old Neve, we had delightful
sounding but limited EQs. They were broad-stroke EQs and I ended up patching
in surgical EQs on almost every channel at mixdown. So that was a bit of a
hassle, and in addition I would end up making my critical EQ decisions while
bent down over my rack, out of the sweet spot."
Additionally, he says, "Part of it was economizing in terms of the draw of
electricity and the expense of cooling down a larger console. Part of it was
that we’re now, like a lot of studios, changing the way that we work to
incorporate Pro Tools, so we don’t need as many console channels. I’m
extremely happy with this console. There’s a lot of power that’s right there
in the sweet spot."
Before ordering the 5088 console, he recounts, "I borrowed a pair of Portico
modules, the 5033 5-Band EQ and the 5032 3-Band EQ/Mic Pre, for a couple of
months and compared them to what I had previously. I didn’t feel, with the
‘Silk’ button in, that there was an appreciable difference sonically between
my older Neve and the current Neve in terms of the mic preamp’s tone."
Now, he notes, with so many EQ modules installed in the console, "I no
longer need to patch in the external EQs. I find I’m now able to make all
those crucial decisions from the sweet spot." McBride elaborates, "I spend a
lot of time mastering as well, so I’d gotten accustomed to making those
decisions from the sweet spot. Once you get used to that, it’s hard to go
back to leaning over into the corner of the control room."
It was also part of the plan to improve the ergonomics and the acoustics of
the room. "We’ve already had a lot of compliments on the accuracy of the
room and I think part of that is due to the treatments that we’ve made and
also part of it is due to not having as many reflections off a giant console
like we had previously," he says.
Over the years McBride has worked with a variety of local artists such as
Smashing Pumpkins, Rachael Yamagata, Veruca Salt, and Tub Ring. He has also
mixed tracks for The Walkmen, Oh My God, Northstar and Fall Out Boy.
Owned exclusively by Rupert and Evelyn Neve, Rupert Neve Designs Inc. was
founded on passion, experience and a desire to build products embodying the
highest musical quality. In continuing his legacy as a pioneer in audio
circuit design, Mr. Rupert Neve is currently focusing his talents on
creating innovative analogue solutions to the issues facing the modern