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How much was a Neve console in the 70s?
Old 25th January 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
How much was a Neve console in the 70s?

Hi all,

I though this is the best place to get some information about the costs of analog equipment and the costs of running a recording studio in the "old music industry". I am basically comparing the old with the new digital home studio and would love to get some concrete numbers. In particular or equivalent:

- How much was a standard Neve or SSL console in the 70s-80s, original price?
- How heavy was a big console and what about maintenance costs (electricity, heat generation etc.)
- How much was analog tape, how much do you need for a song, i.e. costs per song
- Any other major cost factors involved?

Thanks a lot for any numbers.

Cheers
Old 25th January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I can't say what a neve cost (and I would not call them the standard), I can tell you that my Mci428 was just shy of 50k in 1976 money....... That would buy a lot of plugins.
Old 25th January 2013
  #3
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bionic_Beats ➑️
- How much was analog tape, how much do you need for a song, i.e. costs per song
-
2in tape is about $250 a reel now, it was around $125-$150 for years when there were more companies other than Quantegy. You can get 16-2/3 minutes at 30ips, run at 15 you get double that plus you get more boom, more bang for the buck more bang in the bass we used to say. A reel is about 2500 feet. So 30,000 inches / 1,800 inches per minute speed = 16.666 minutes
Old 25th January 2013
  #4
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bionic_Beats ➑️
- Any other major cost factors involved?
Building costs.
A lot of the great old studios have closed because they were on large plots of valuable real estate.
Large desks require large control rooms, then you had the machine room (tape), plus - before drum machines, then sampling - larger rooms for drum tracking were normal.
More real instrument tracking requires more and better soundproofing. Proper acoustically designed rooms.
Another cost was a maintenance team.
Old 25th January 2013
  #5
Registered User
 
Rick Sutton's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A Neve console was always 5 times the amount I could possibly spend.
Old 25th January 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Hi
I have a strong feeling the 'actual' cost of the larger desks did not feature on 'sales brochures' and there was a fair amount of wheeling and dealing going on.
I think in the early 1980s the 'top' price for a large desk was at a ceiling of about Β£300,000 (an indication that manufacturers would not really consider making something if that would be the 'necessary' selling price).
I think a 56 channel AMEK Mozart with all the options was around Β£120,000 in early 1990s.
Of course you would need to factor in what the equivalent cost would be today. Β£120,000 in 1990 would buy you a 3 bed house in many places for example.
Of course the building and the installation work (both electrical and the 'mechanical' things like floating floors and whatever) would be several times the cost of a desk.
Matt S
Old 25th January 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
My Neve BCM10 loaded with eight 1073 modules cost 8000.00 in 1973. It had direct outs on every channel and seven 1272 amps in there for various things... even the talkback mic on those things were AKG's!

I sold her 10 years ago for 45K. One of the few consoles I ever made a profit on.

2 people could carry her if you pulled all the 1073 modules... one person could carry all the pulled modules. I'd say she was close to 300 lbs when loaded.

Maintaining the board cost nothing really... they were (and are) built like a tank. Any module could be pulled while the board was live and on air... everything was buffered. They had to be back in the day, you couldn't let one module going down stop a session or live broadcast.

You could get 5 or 6 songs down running at 15 IPS or around 3 songs at 30 IPS.

Hope this helps.
Old 25th January 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Geoff_T's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi

Geoff Watts, wonderful Neve engineer (RIP) from back when, once told me that you could ball-park the cost of a custom Neve console at 1,000 pounds per inch.

Don't forget that a Neve channel back then was 1.8" wide....

Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone ➑️
My Neve BCM10 loaded with eight 1073 modules cost 8000.00 in 1973. It had direct outs on every channel and seven 1272 amps in there for various things
Did Neve offer the BCM10 with direct outs? It was my understanding direct outs (unbalanced from pin P) were customer modifications.
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
A lot of the great old studios have closed because they were on large plots of valuable real estate.
Absolutely. It's one of the reasons that Abbey Road's been on the edge for several years.

If it had been built on wasteland in Luton then, as long as it was getting the same customers, it probably wouldn't be all that attractive redeveloping it. But turning the building where so many huge albums were recorded into a block of luxury apartments in prime area north west London, you could be looking at dividing each studio into 6 or 8 apartments which would each sell for several million. The time it takes those studios, as studios, to make the same money is substantial, with the overheads.

An awful thing to say on Gearslutz but... if it were mine I'd sell it! Then I'd buy a disused windmill on top of a hill in the countryside and put my control room at the top of it, and I'd still have enough money to live 100 miles away and travel to work in a helicopter every day.
Old 26th January 2013 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tc_live ➑️
Absolutely. It's one of the reasons that Abbey Road's been on the edge for several years.

If it had been built on wasteland in Luton then, as long as it was getting the same customers, it probably wouldn't be all that attractive redeveloping it. But turning the building where so many huge albums were recorded into a block of luxury apartments in prime area north west London, you could be looking at dividing each studio into 6 or 8 apartments which would each sell for several million. The time it takes those studios, as studios, to make the same money is substantial, with the overheads.

An awful thing to say on Gearslutz but... if it were mine I'd sell it! Then I'd buy a disused windmill on top of a hill in the countryside and put my control room at the top of it, and I'd still have enough money to live 100 miles away and travel to work in a helicopter every day.
Go wash your mouth out with soap.
Old 26th January 2013
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Geoff_T's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathode ➑️
Did Neve offer the BCM10 with direct outs? It was my understanding direct outs (unbalanced from pin P) were customer modifications.
Hi

No, the desks never left the factory with channel outputs and pins R and T (the balanced output) had no connection to them.

Consequently the phase switch was inoperative.

Pin P was used to drive the pan pot and post fade bus sends.

Posted from my iPhone
Old 26th January 2013
  #13
Gear Addict
 
philosi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yes, the phase switch only affects the direct outs, which we have established is a mod. Kinda sucks when you are tracking and want to mix a few mics together and flip a phase here or there. Mr. Tanner has improved the design on his side car by having the phase affect the 2 bus outs.

But as far as the cost, I just hope they continue to increase in price!
Old 27th January 2013
  #14
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks to all - great help!
Old 27th January 2013
  #15
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Just to add some info that I've come across that might be worth more than a grain of salt, I remember Bruce McBean who helped design the Neve Custom 75 console telling me that the big rotary attenuators were around $150 each. I also heard that the control room monitor knob cost something like $700-800!
Old 27th January 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
countrymetalguy's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I am restoring a 79 Harrison 2824, after talking the Gary Theilman ,president of Harrison I asked how much my console cost, he sent me a copy of the build sheet from Studio Supply ( Harrison owned a retail store to sell there consoles though) my desk, which was small by most major studios at the time cost 65k. The mci 2 inch machine it was mated with at the time was another 35k
... To put that in perspective, my parents bought a 2000 sq ft new house that year, and it was 59k.
Old 27th January 2013 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone ➑️
My Neve BCM10 loaded with eight 1073 modules cost 8000.00 in 1973. It had direct outs on every channel and seven 1272 amps in there for various things... even the talkback mic on those things were AKG's!

I sold her 10 years ago for 45K. One of the few consoles I ever made a profit on.

.
Just to put that into perspective, $8k in 1973 dollars is about $33k in 2003 dollars.

Still a profit, though not as much as some might think (if not adjusting for devaluing dollars).
Old 27th January 2013
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
MCI 636 console sold used for ! $120K back in the early '80s.
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Silvertone's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman ➑️
Just to put that into perspective, $8k in 1973 dollars is about $33k in 2003 dollars.

Still a profit, though not as much as some might think (if not adjusting for devaluing dollars).
Yes but the original 8K got depreciated over time so you can add that in as profit.

In the end it didn't make a difference, all the money went to the IRS... I owed them 45K that year and didn't have a dime in the bank. Bastards!
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #20
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertone ➑️
In the end it didn't make a difference, all the money went to the IRS... I owed them 45K that year and didn't have a dime in the bank. Bastards!
Think they would have accepted the neve?
"Look, this is worth 45K!!!!!"
Old 28th January 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
In 1986 I paid $10,000 for my Neve 5442 console. It has never broken and sounds great today with routine maintenance. Worth every cent.

I would sell it to you for $100,000
Old 30th January 2013 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell ➑️
Think they would have accepted the neve?
"Look, this is worth 45K!!!!!"
They might seize it, store it in some warehouse til it ruins and finally sell it as surplus for 2 cents on the dollar and then tell you to pay the rest of your taxes ...with interest and penalties.
Old 30th January 2013
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I remember Paul Leka driving to Arizona to collect a 28 in Neve,..an 8028 I guess....in 1977. 28 1073 modules.

He paid 50k.
Old 30th January 2013 | Show parent
  #24
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
In 1986 I paid $10,000 for my Neve 5442 console. It has never broken and sounds great today with routine maintenance. Worth every cent.

I would sell it to you for $100,000
fortunately they come up from time to time for rather less heh
Old 30th January 2013
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Geoff_T's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi

Back say 15 - 20 years ago, some of the dealer/brokers did deals with the broadcast and movie studios, giving those responsible for selling the console a fat "back-hander" and they would have the console written off and sold for around $2,000.

The console could either be broken down if not easily adaptable - with 24 x 1073 and a pile of 1272's to sell, or the console could be sold at over 10 times the purchase price.

Easy money for those that were in the know....

I know of several instances of brokers doing this.

Posted from my iPhone
Old 30th January 2013
  #26
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
"If you have to ask how much it costs, then you can't afford it"
Old 2nd February 2013
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Just watching the Sound City movie and they paid $75,000 for their Neve.
Old 2nd February 2013
  #28
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A great many, if not most studios leased their consoles and tape machines back then. It was a whole different world.
Old 2nd February 2013 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kats ➑️
Just watching the Sound City movie and they paid $75,000 for their Neve.
How much did Dave Grohl pay for it?
Old 3rd February 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Depends if you subtract the movie revenues from the purchase price or not.
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