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At AES: Analog Abides for AMS Neve

By Strother Bullins. Analog tech-centric booths were where many attendees made a beeline to gawk and drool

The 139th AES Convention’s exhibition was rife with bleeding-edge digital products and the very latest advancements in microprocessor-enabled audio processing, yet analog tech-centric booths were where many attendees made a beeline to gawk and drool. Analog mixing consoles remain a preferred hub of inspiring, musician-centric recording environments while glowing racks of processors remain a most important element of aural décor. Though we have more touchscreen control of DAWs than ever before; far more affordable, less proprietary I/O; and better, faster and more affordable DAW, connectivity and networking tools, world-class analog processing is evergreen in appeal for creative music production.

Among other key stops around the floor, ideal examples of classic analog and DAW-borne technologies effectively blended could be seen at AMS Neve; there, I caught up with technical product specialist James Townend, chief of Analog Design Robin Porter, and marketing officer Liz Wilkinson during pre-expo setup. AMS Neve’s digitally controlled analog Genesys Black recording console/DAW controller sat alongside the company’s newly AES-debuted product: the 100-percent analog, sure-to-excite BCM10/2 mk2 (pictured here), an accurate reproduction of the original early-’70s “sidecar” with music production-friendly updates, thoughtfully-expanded features and more.

“There’s a whole new generation of people coming up right now, dipping their toes in analog land for the first time, while others are rediscovering it,” explained Townend of the Genesys’s genesis. Meanwhile, Porter—conveying the appeal of world-class analog mixing—explained a key difference between vintage analog and old digital gear. “[CPU-based technology] is neverending pit of money,” Porter mused, “and that’s the thing that annoys me the most about it. I don’t blame [DAW] makers; they’re trying to push the envelope, making better things for people to use. But the nature of old computers is that it’s ‘dumpster stuff.’ You don’t find Neves or SSLs in dumpsters.”


Strother Bullins is Technology Editor for NewBay Media’s AV/Pro Audio