Legendary audio engineer, recorder inventor and entrepreneur Rupert Neve has died, according to a statement posted on his official website. An obituary shared by representatives shows that the cause of death was “non-covidal pneumonia and heart failure”. He was 94 years old.
Born in Newton Abbott, England, in 1926, Neve volunteered for the Royal Corps of Signals in the British Army as a teenager during World War II. He worked for other electronics companies and manufacturers before starting his own company, Neve Electronics, in 1961. Three years later, he designed the first commercial transistor-based mixer for the legendary Phillips Studios in London, replacing the traditional vacuum. Tube based designs that were used up until that point.
In the 1970s, Neve mixers defined the sound of classic rock. Famous in Dave Grohl’s 2013 Sound City documentary, the Neve 8028 console has been used for recording artists such as Fleetwood Mac, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Tom Petty, and countless others. Perhaps the most influential of his inventions is the Neve 1073 preamplifier, which is used to shape the gain and sound of microphones during the recording process. Considered by many audio engineers to be one of the best preamps ever made, it is widely emulated by hardware and software manufacturers alike these days.
Neve and his wife Evelyn sold the Neve Companies in 1975, but the inventor would keep working on creating new recording innovations for the rest of his life. He moved to Texas in 1994 and founded Rupert Neve Designs in 2005. In 1997 he received the Lifetime Achievement Technical GRAMMY Award.