Rupert Neve, the audio equipment inventor whose mixing consoles and preamplifiers shaped the sound of recorded music in the 20th century, has died aged 94.
The legendary inventor’s death was confirmed in a statement posted to his official website. His cause of death was “non-Covid pneumonia and heart failure”.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Rupert Neve, whose name is synonymous with quality audio recording equipment worldwide, has died,” the statement read. “He remained in great spirits to the end, enjoying his life in Wimberley, Texas, where he and his wife Evelyn have lived for 27 years.”
Born in Newton Abbott in 1926, Neve, who worked for a number of electronics firms and manufacturers before founding his own company, Neve Electronics, in 1961, designed the first-ever commercial transistor-based mixing console in 1964 for London’s Phillips Studios. It replaced the traditional vacuum-tube-based designs used up until that point.
His Neve 1073 preamplifier is arguably the most influential of his inventions. Used to shape the gain and sound of microphones during the recording, it is regarded by many audio engineers as one of the best preamps of all time.
Neve and his wife sold the Neve Companies in 1975, but the inventor continued to work on designing new recording innovations for the rest of his life. He received a Lifetime Achievement Technical Grammy Award in 1997.
“While Rupert’s passions for music, creativity, and insistence on exceptional quality have made an indelible mark on the fabric of the recording industry, his kindness and generosity made him a legend to us all,” the statement on Neve’s website said. “Through his designs and through the music created with them, his spirit will live on eternally. God bless you, Rupert.”
Tributes for Neve have begun to be paid on social media, including one from Jay-Z‘s audio engineer, Young Guru.
“This is heavy,” Guru wrote on Twitter. “Please understand that this man was one of kind. There is nothing close to him in the engineering world. RIP to the KING!!!”
This is heavy. Please understand that this man was one of kind. There is nothing close to him in the engineering world. RIP to the KING!!! https://t.co/b2HkMah6yG
— Young Guru (@Young_Guru) February 14, 2021
A post on the official Twitter account for Abbey Road Studios read: “Abbey Road Studios has a long and proud history recording with equipment that bears Rupert Neve’s name, dating back to the EMI Neve console of the mid-1970s, and we are very saddened to hear of his passing. His name will continue to epitomise audio excellence.”
Abbey Road Studios has a long and proud history recording with equipment that bears Rupert Neve’s name, dating back to the EMI Neve console of the mid-1970s, and we are very saddened to hear of his passing. His name will continue to epitomise audio excellence. pic.twitter.com/YcDZhUogAg
— Abbey Road Studios (@AbbeyRoad) February 14, 2021
rest in peace Rupert Neve 😔
— el-p (@therealelp) February 13, 2021
Rest in the Sound @Rupert_Neve .
— Garbage (@garbage) February 13, 2021
Rupert Neve ! We owe u so much 🙏
— LaMusicaDeHarryFraud (@HarryFraud) February 13, 2021
RIP Rupert Neve. The greatest of all time. pic.twitter.com/oi4CeLMnpe
— martin from chvrches (@doksan) February 13, 2021
RIP Rupert Neve. If your involved in music and don’t know his name, we can’t be friends until you look him up and understand the enormous contribution he’s made to audio and sonics
— E. Dan (@IdlabsMusic) February 13, 2021
RIP Rupert Neve. Audio legend. I’ve utilized Neve 1073 mic pres and EQs on every recording session the past 20 years. Stalked him several times at NAMM too. Super sweet man in person. GOAT. pic.twitter.com/8DNjJwiz6r
— Daddy Kev (@daddykev) February 14, 2021
The imprint this man made on recorded music is immeasurable. Rest In Peace Rupert Neve. https://t.co/x7YHGKQ3JY
— Paul Doucette (@RepairMethod) February 13, 2021
RIP Rupert Neve
— Alex Tumay (@alextumay) February 13, 2021
Rupert Neve, whose name is synonymous with quality audio recording equipment worldwide, has died.
In 1997 he was the third person to receive a Technical Grammy Award, and in 1999, he was named the number one audio personality of the 20th century. pic.twitter.com/HOuljS7Glm
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) February 14, 2021
Rest in (Phantom) Power Rupert Neve pic.twitter.com/23BTqg7obv
— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) February 13, 2021
Remembering the excitement of getting to run Heralds of Change tracks through a Neve desk before mastering back in Glasgow SAE 04
RIP Rupert Neve 🎛🎚🔮 https://t.co/9I8AK6k7aF
— Mike Slott (@MIKESLOTT) February 13, 2021
RIP – Rupert Neve
— Zach Myers (@ZMyersOfficial) February 13, 2021
RIP to the audio legend Rupert Neve. 🙏🙏🙏 https://t.co/BKUinefIhg
— ☕️ (@p_money) February 13, 2021