Detroit, MI (June 3, 2009)–Vintage King Audio recently completed a full restoration on the Neve 8016 console that was once part of the legendary Caribou Ranch recording studio. After a four-month refurbishment, the console was sold and delivered to Prime Studio in Austria for its control room B, an all-analog suite that officially opened June 1.
The console’s installation at Prime Studio marks its return to Europe after over three decades in the states, where it was part of music history on albums for Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, Elton John, Billy Joel, America, Stephen Stills and others.
The Neve 8016’s legacy began in 1972, in London, where it was built. Original owner Sir George Martin used the console to produce albums for America and others before selling it to Caribou Ranch founder, James Guercio. Legendary in both setting and sound, Caribou was a destination for major artists like Chicago, who recorded five studio albums on the Neve 8016; Elton John, for his album Caribou (named after the studio); and Earth Wind & Fire, who recorded two albums at the ranch, including the Grammy-winning That’s the Way of the World. After an electrical fire in 1985, the studio’s doors were closed and much of the salvaged equipment was put into storage. Guercio ultimately donated the Neve 8016 to the University of Colorado at Denver, its last stop before Vintage King acquired the console earlier this year and began restoration for Prime Studio.
“We began constructing our new studio building about two years ago, with the intention that we’d have one THX-certified control room, offering the best gear from both the analog and digital spheres, and a separate B room, built as a quintessential analog studio in order to provide our clients the best possible gear for a classic, rich sound,” says Prime Studio owner/engineer Gerhard Buchbauer. “We’ve worked with Vintage King in the past, so when I saw the Neve 8016 available on their website, I couldn’t believe that this desk was in such good shape thanks to the refurbishment that Vintage King’s tech staff had executed. I was completely convinced that we found what we’d been looking for–it’s not only a Neve, it really is one of a kind with the 1064 pre/EQ modules, not to mention the incredible energy associated with this desk that really is a part of classic rock history.”
Vintage King’s Richard Hunt began refurbishing the Neve 8016 earlier this year. Whereas a standard Neve 8014 restoration averages between 150 and 200 hours, Hunt and the Vintage King staff worked on the Caribou Ranch console for nearly 500 hours. “The refurbishment took more time than an average restoration partially because it’s a larger desk and also because it’s such a historic desk–it really deserved that kind of attention,” says Hunt.
“When we received the Neve 8016,” Hunt adds, “it was in good working order, but after recapping it and repairing a number of technical problems, we were able to really return the console to its original state. It was sent through a rigorous testing procedure, measuring distortion and frequency response to make sure everything was working at an optimal level.” Hunt continues, “Cosmetically, the wiring, frame, inside and out were thoroughly scrubbed. It’s one of the nicest restorations we’ve executed. The console looks and sounds beautiful.”
Prime Studio’s first session in the re-launched Control Room B and on the Neve 8016 will be with drummer Gregg Bissonette, who has toured with the likes of Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, David Lee Roth, Steve Vai and Toto, and played on recordings with the Counting Crows, Duran Duran and on the Grammy winning album Supernatural with Carlos Santana.
Founded in October 2005 by engineer Gerhard Buchbauer, Prime Studio is both an audio recording studio and THX postproduction facility in Austria. Clients include Mick Rogers of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Matt Rollings, Michael Landau, Bavaria Film Interactive and others.
Vintage King Audio