Gear Reviews

AMS Neve's 8424 Console: In The Spotlight

World-renowned for their superb digital and analogue consoles and audio hardware, UK-based AMS Neve has been a music industry favorite for five decades and more. We go behind the brand with product specialist, Joe Heaton, to find out how things have been business-wise during quarantine, and to check out the manufacturer’s brand new console release: the 8424.

“It’s cold and windy, as it usually is in Burnley,” opens Heaton. “But we’ve actually been doing a pretty roaring trade. Even before the lockdown, things were looking good for the year. But when it did hit, we noticed a lot of our individual preamp units such as the SPX and the DPX started selling really well. People at every level of the profession have been moving to a home environment, and still want to continue to work.

"Even if it’s just a hobbyist who’s got a bit more money as no one has been able to spend out in restaurants, and people aren’t going on holiday. Recording at home with a nice Neve preamp is a very nice way to pass the time.”

It is indeed. Conversation quickly turns to Neve’s spanking new small-footprint console, the 8424. It certainly comes across as a feat of design and aesthetics, but we’re keen to hear Heaton’s take: why now, what can this console do, and who’s going to want one?

“It’s the first console we’ve made in seven years, so it’s a pretty big deal,” Heaton enthuses. “The last ones were the Genesys and the Genesys Black consoles – and those really focused on modern workflow and trying to incorporate everything into one unit. Neve has been making consoles for a very long time, and the sound quality along with functionality has always been of paramount importance. I mean, we’ve made a string of consoles for recording engineers around the world as well as some of the world’s biggest studios — Abbey Road and Capital to name a few.

“But we noticed there isn’t much out there for producers - for those working, and just making music. There’s quite a lot of small-format consoles, but not really a cutback version of what you’d expect to see in a big studio. So we wanted to create something that really hits that producer market and allows producers to get that legendary Neve sound. So that’s what we’ve incorporated into the 8424.”

It’s the first console we’ve made in seven years, so it’s a pretty big deal.

According to Neve, the 8424 is a small- format console with a large-format sound; it boasts 24 channel faders, four groups, and a pair of classic Neve 1073 Preamps in a bid to capture that classic 80-series Neve sound. But it’s also expandable.

“We’ve included two onboard 1073s, which fits for a lot of electronic producers and singer-songwriters who don’t need a large microphone channel count,” Heaton explains. “People tend to build up lots of virtual instruments with vocals and guitars, so there are two separate DIs on there so that you can record vocals and guitars at the same time. We designed it in such a way that it can be expanded upon because of course there are some who do want to track drums or even a full ensemble with this.”

Heaton then explains this is achieved by creating the console with a dual- channel strip on all 24 channels, with Input B set to receive any line-level input.

“So if you’re a person working with modular synths or racks of instruments at home, you can connect those straight away, and it can also connect with an external preamp,” he continues. “Lots of hybrid studios already have their own preamps that become favorites of theirs. With this, it means you don’t have to replace the preamps you have already, just connecting your existing ones instead. You can completely tailor it to your taste.”

Neve also recently put out its latest standalone preamp – the 1073 OPX, which is essentially eight 1073s in one unit. This was developed in tandem with the 8424 – and it’s a great value add-on for those who are considering purchasing the console.