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Rupert Neve Design’s, Designer
Old 11th February 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Rupert Neve Design’s, Designer

To all,
I am Drake Williams and I had worked with Rupert Neve before there was a Rupert Neve Designs.
I was Rupert’s Hardware Engineer, or designer as I prefer to be called from Nov. 2004 to Nov. 2008.
I have designed every PCB and designed 98% of the metalwork for Rupert, from the Masterpiece project with Billy Stull thru the entire Portico range, all of them.
Including the acclaimed and award winning 5008 Console, from concept to production, and finely the first Fidelis concept prototype, including the metalwork and PCB’s.

I have been a PCB designer for over 22 years, designed PCB’s that have gone in to everything from down-hole oilfield tools to satellite’s, North Sea GPS communication buoys, Traffic control, just about anything.
I started in to the box build/mechanical aspect of this line of work about 14 years ago, found out I just had a knack for both.
Great, two birds, one stone.

I have been a designer for decades thou all my designs have been behind the scenes, stuck in a box, in box in the middle of no where, if you live in the southwest you drive past my designs every day, heck, I drive past designs everyday and never give it a thought.

For once in my career people have had a chance to see what I can do and Rupert brought out the best in me.

I will say working for Rupert and designing gear for the this industry has been the most fulfilling of my career, Rupert told me once I was one of the great designers he had ever seen, I take that as a great compliment, for Rupert has seen it all.


I must say my ego has not suffered from the reviews on how I have designed the Portico’s or the 5088, keep in mind, I design the boards and box, not the electronics that go inside, that was up to the Electrical Engineers.
Still to hear” This console is built like a tank. I swear that it would survive a nuclear holocaust.” orThis unit's construction and electronic layout are top-notch.” makes me feel like I earned my place in Neve history.

Thou Rupert and I have parted, change is not always bad, sometimes old is new once more.
I’m off doing my on thing now freelancing for those who need my services.
I have teamed up with my old partner formerly of RND, Kevin Burgin of Burgin McDaniel who brought you the “Komit’.
My old friend Kevin and I are once again doing again what we did before, our best and the best is yet to come.

Kevin on schematic and myself on layout and mechanical, if we can do it for Rupert we can do for ourselves.
It worked on the Komit, why not something else in the 500 series and we are also offering our team skills as contract design services for those of you who have idea or two we can help with.
Drake D Williams

[email protected]
Old 11th February 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Tube World's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Sorry you left Rupert Neve. It seems you were replaced with Hutch from Manley Labs. It will be interesting to see what influence he has on Ruperts designs. I heard that the controls on the portico were not as solid as the Great River. Also that the power supply was not up to par either. I used the Portico pre and compressor. Regarding the compressor, it was ok, but with the one button pushed in, I found it gave a grainy sound to a 2 bus mix. I prefer it in the regular mode. Still the metering is very limited.

A review from studioreviews.com said, "Turning the knobs on the 5012 was not one of the best experiences I've had with products in this price range. I found the feel of the potentiometer ("pots") behind the knobs when dialing in the Mic Gain, Trim and High-Pass Filter to be grainy, uneven and have a cheap feel. I also confirmed this with some designers I know who'd checked out some of the RND gear at an AES show, and they also felt the knobs had a cheap feel to them. I think at this level, and this kind of money, and with Rupert Neve's name on it, that RND needs to step up and address the quality [ or lack thereof ] and tactile experience of the knobs. When I spoke with RND they seemed to feel that the knobs were fine, and easily on the level of some of the Amek gear that Rupert Neve had designed."

The Portico stuff appears good but behind Great River build quality and sound. I am not trying to knock the Portico gear, but just one's person observations. The circuitry is built almost entirely using conventional NE5534 op-amps doing the bulk of the work, supplemented with separate transistors in appropriate places. Rupert Neve's designs traditionally employed single-sided class-A topologies, and it is hard to square that approach with these Portico circuit boards covered in op-amps. One would think you would have crossover distortion artifacts with this design. I personally think the Brent Averill 1073 which is all Class A is closer sounding to the old Neve pre's. It seems that some corners were cut with the Portico line. But hey if I am wrong, that's fine, I am a good listener if you want to fill me in on some info.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World ➡️
Sorry you left Rupert Neve. It seems you were replaced with Hutch from Manley Labs. It will be interesting to see what influence he has on Ruperts designs. I heard that the controls on the portico were not as solid as the Great River. Also that the power supply was not up to par either. I used the Portico pre and compressor. Regarding the compressor, it was ok, but with the one button pushed in, I found it gave a grainy sound to a 2 bus mix. I prefer it in the regular mode. Still the metering is very limited. A review from studioreviews said,
"Turning the knobs on the 5012 was not one of the best experiences I've had with products in this price range. I found the feel of the potentiometer ("pots") behind the knobs when dialing in the Mic Gain, Trim and High-Pass Filter to be grainy, uneven and have a cheap feel. I also confirmed this with some designers I know who'd checked out some of the RND gear at an AES show, and they also felt the knobs had a cheap feel to them. I think at this level, and this kind of money, and with Rupert Neve's name on it, that RND needs to step up and address the quality [ or lack thereof ] and tactile experience of the knobs. When I spoke with RND they seemed to feel that the knobs were fine, and easily on the level of some of the Amek gear that Rupert Neve had designed."

The Portico stuff appears good but behind Great River build quality and sound. I am not trying to knock the Portico gear, but just one's person observations. The circuitry is built almost entirely using conventional NE5534 op-amps doing the bulk of the work, supplemented with separate transistors in appropriate places. Rupert Neve's designs traditionally employed single-sided class-A topologies, and it is hard to square that approach with these Portico circuit boards covered in op-amps. One would think you would have crossover distortion artifacts with this design. I personally think the Brent Averill 1073 which is all Class A is closer sounding to the old Neve pre's. It seems that some corners were cut with the Portico line.
Welcome to Gearslutz Drake!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Fitz ➡️
Welcome to Gearslutz Drake!
Thanks Jay,
Glad to come out of the shadows and in to the light.
Drake
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
audiomichael's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Drake,

Glad you're here at G.S. Kudos on your work with Neve. I'm a mad fan of my 5043.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you and Kevin bring to life.

Best wishes,
Michael

p.s.
If you're taking requests... please don't make 1/2 rack sized gear.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Martin Kantola's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World ➡️
The Portico stuff appears good but behind Great River build quality and sound. I am not trying to knock the Portico gear, but just one's person observations. The circuitry is built almost entirely using conventional NE5534 op-amps doing the bulk of the work, supplemented with separate transistors in appropriate places. Rupert Neve's designs traditionally employed single-sided class-A topologies, and it is hard to square that approach with these Portico circuit boards covered in op-amps. One would think you would have crossover distortion artifacts with this design. I personally think the Brent Averill 1073 which is all Class A is closer sounding to the old Neve pre's. It seems that some corners were cut with the Portico line. But hey if I am wrong, that's fine, I am a good listener if you want to fill me in on some info.
While I can agree with you on the feel of the older model knobs, have you actually listened to the Porticos with a good microphone? I for one don't hear any crossover distortion, on the contrary... Don't think we should ever judge gear based on which parts we recognize under the hood. Hearing is believing!

Martin
PS. Drake, did we meet briefly in Texas once? :-)
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World ➡️
Sorry you left Rupert Neve. It seems you were replaced with Hutch from Manley Labs. It will be interesting to see what influence he has on Ruperts designs. I heard that the controls on the portico were not as solid as the Great River. Also that the power supply was not up to par either. I used the Portico pre and compressor. Regarding the compressor, it was ok, but with the one button pushed in, I found it gave a grainy sound to a 2 bus mix. I prefer it in the regular mode. Still the metering is very limited.

A review from studioreviews.com said, "Turning the knobs on the 5012 was not one of the best experiences I've had with products in this price range. I found the feel of the potentiometer ("pots") behind the knobs when dialing in the Mic Gain, Trim and High-Pass Filter to be grainy, uneven and have a cheap feel. I also confirmed this with some designers I know who'd checked out some of the RND gear at an AES show, and they also felt the knobs had a cheap feel to them. I think at this level, and this kind of money, and with Rupert Neve's name on it, that RND needs to step up and address the quality [ or lack thereof ] and tactile experience of the knobs. When I spoke with RND they seemed to feel that the knobs were fine, and easily on the level of some of the Amek gear that Rupert Neve had designed."

The Portico stuff appears good but behind Great River build quality and sound. I am not trying to knock the Portico gear, but just one's person observations. The circuitry is built almost entirely using conventional NE5534 op-amps doing the bulk of the work, supplemented with separate transistors in appropriate places. Rupert Neve's designs traditionally employed single-sided class-A topologies, and it is hard to square that approach with these Portico circuit boards covered in op-amps. One would think you would have crossover distortion artifacts with this design. I personally think the Brent Averill 1073 which is all Class A is closer sounding to the old Neve pre's. It seems that some corners were cut with the Portico line. But hey if I am wrong, that's fine, I am a good listener if you want to fill me in on some info.

In no way was I replaced by Hutch, I am but a simple designer and Hutch is a master engineer, I worked well with him.
As far as the quality of the components on any piece of equipment it’s up to the engineer or engineer’s support tech to spec. out all components and to pass it down to the designer, that would be me.

So if you have issues with grainy pots or the knobs, or the colors or the text on the silkscreen, yell at somebody else.
Now if you have an issue with a PCB Layout or how the custom metalwork was designed, I’m your guy.

As far as the op-amp go in my layouts, I don’t want to give up all my secrets.
From all the reviews they work pretty good.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
hi drake,

welcome to gearslutz. who did design the frontpanel of the old porticos? they look like..

you know what I mean.
Old 11th February 2009
  #9
Deleted 1a30a04
Guest
Best wishes Drake! You've done some remarkable work over
the years. I hope we'll be hearing more of your work in the 500
space very soon.

jeff
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Tube World's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakes Designs ➡️
In no way was I replaced by Hutch, I am but a simple designer and Hutch is a master engineer, I worked well with him.
As far as the quality of the components on any piece of equipment it’s up to the engineer or engineer’s support tech to spec. out all components and to pass it down to the designer, that would be me.

So if you have issues with grainy pots or the knobs, or the colors or the text on the silkscreen, yell at somebody else.
Now if you have an issue with a PCB Layout or how the custom metalwork was designed, I’m your guy.

As far as the op-amp go in my layouts, I don’t want to give up all my secrets.
From all the reviews they work pretty good.
Cheers Drake,

I hope it did not sound like I was trying to slam you or anything. I was just responding to certain concerns I had (or heard) regarding the Portico line up. Please keep us updated here on any new developments. I just want to encourage you to keep it all Class A. There is a certain clarity and openness that you can only get with Class A. Of course the Brent Averil pre's cost more than the Porico, but I clearly heard an improvement on the Brent, even though the Portico line has additional features on it.

Yes the new templates look a lot better too. If the knobs were improved thats a nother plus as well.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola ➡️
While I can agree with you on the feel of the older model knobs, have you actually listened to the Porticos with a good microphone? I for one don't hear any crossover distortion, on the contrary... Don't think we should ever judge gear based on which parts we recognize under the hood. Hearing is believing!

Martin
PS. Drake, did we meet briefly in Texas once? :-)
Martin, yes we did meet in Houston, I delivered you your Porticos and you gave me a couple of days later some info on how to improve the Portico.
Thanks,
Drake
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
tengu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tube World ➡️
Sorry you left Rupert Neve. It seems you were replaced with Hutch from Manley Labs. It will be interesting to see what influence he has on Ruperts designs. I heard that the controls on the portico were not as solid as the Great River. Also that the power supply was not up to par either. I used the Portico pre and compressor. Regarding the compressor, it was ok, but with the one button pushed in, I found it gave a grainy sound to a 2 bus mix. I prefer it in the regular mode. Still the metering is very limited.

A review from studioreviews.com said, "Turning the knobs on the 5012 was not one of the best experiences I've had with products in this price range. I found the feel of the potentiometer ("pots") behind the knobs when dialing in the Mic Gain, Trim and High-Pass Filter to be grainy, uneven and have a cheap feel. I also confirmed this with some designers I know who'd checked out some of the RND gear at an AES show, and they also felt the knobs had a cheap feel to them. I think at this level, and this kind of money, and with Rupert Neve's name on it, that RND needs to step up and address the quality [ or lack thereof ] and tactile experience of the knobs. When I spoke with RND they seemed to feel that the knobs were fine, and easily on the level of some of the Amek gear that Rupert Neve had designed."

The Portico stuff appears good but behind Great River build quality and sound. I am not trying to knock the Portico gear, but just one's person observations. The circuitry is built almost entirely using conventional NE5534 op-amps doing the bulk of the work, supplemented with separate transistors in appropriate places. Rupert Neve's designs traditionally employed single-sided class-A topologies, and it is hard to square that approach with these Portico circuit boards covered in op-amps. One would think you would have crossover distortion artifacts with this design. I personally think the Brent Averill 1073 which is all Class A is closer sounding to the old Neve pre's. It seems that some corners were cut with the Portico line. But hey if I am wrong, that's fine, I am a good listener if you want to fill me in on some info.
This is a really strange post.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola ➡️
hi drake,

welcome to gearslutz. who did design the frontpanel of the old porticos? they look like..

you know what I mean.
George,
I designed the original Portico front panel, Rupert was very insistent that there not be any screw heads showing out of the front and the front panel had to be removable with the graphics attached and the overlay gave us our window for our bar-graph mete.
So that the best I could come up with.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some loved it and some didn’t care for it,
It is what it is, an original Portico, a piece of gear to go into the Neve legacy.

And if you buy a facelift, hang on to original parts it will add to the value of the unit down the road.
Drake
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
i hate the metering on the 5043 as much as i love the unit - i have two. Output stage on this thing is one of my favorite things in life.

is there a way to modify the meters, so that i can switch between metering OP for both channels and GR for both channels?

for like, in case i want to use it as a bus compressor?
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
hi drake!
Old 11th February 2009
  #16
Gear Guru
 
elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakes Designs ➡️
I must say my ego has not suffered from the reviews
No, clearly it has not.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakes Designs ➡️
George,
I designed the original Portico front panel, Rupert was very insistent that there not be any screw heads showing out of the front and the front panel had to be removable with the graphics attached and the overlay gave us our window for our bar-graph mete.
So that the best I could come up with.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some loved it and some didn’t care for it,
It is what it is, an original Portico, a piece of gear to go into the Neve legacy.

And if you buy a facelift, hang on to original parts it will add to the value of the unit down the road.
Drake
thanx for the info!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
LeMauce's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi drake and welcome here!
And just want to say that i love the products that you maked and all the info !
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricey ➡️
i hate the metering on the 5043 as much as i love the unit - i have two. Output stage on this thing is one of my favorite things in life.

is there a way to modify the meters, so that i can switch between metering OP for both channels and GR for both channels?

for like, in case i want to use it as a bus compressor?
Ricey,
That that would be a question best put to the tech guys at RND.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
A101's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakes Designs ➡️
...And if you buy a facelift, hang on to original parts it will add to the value of the unit down the road.
Drake
Hey Drake, thanks for the sincere post... I love my Portico units...
Where can we get these "face lifts"... don't see anything on the RN Website.
Wrote a request mail to them couple of months ago but never heard back.
Good luck with your new projects... will be on the lookout.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Sorry if your email didn't get responded to. We try and get back to everyone within a day.

Here's the link on our website for the conversion kits:
Web Store

Best,

Josh
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Martin Kantola's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drakes Designs ➡️
Martin, yes we did meet in Houston, I delivered you your Porticos and you gave me a couple of days later some info on how to improve the Portico.
Thanks,
Drake
Cool! Did I do that? My memory is not anymore what it never was... Anyway, I loooooove my Porticos and will keep those old face plates forever. My only problem is I want that sweet sound everywhere, even in any portable setup. Need more channels...

Martin
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Ok, clearly I'm an idiot -- what exactly did you do for the Portico? Some are suggesting that you designed the thing, responsible for its performance, and you seem to be going along with that. So should I assume that you designed the thing? Is Rupert just tacking his name on these beauties now? Tisk tisk... And is Hutch not involved either? And what's the new product? Something new in the Portico line?
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
SANDS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I love how my portico sounds and the face plate is very ugly (mine is the old one) and I love it too. It reminds me of old 70-80's clothing when I was a kid, like socks with stripes at the top and that horrible blue case, wow, I think I had trakks velcro shoes that color!

thanks for your work with the portico, they are a great piece of gear in my tool box, I use it just about everyday.

sands
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo ➡️
Ok, clearly I'm an idiot -- what exactly did you do for the Portico? Some are suggesting that you designed the thing, responsible for its performance, and you seem to be going along with that. So should I assume that you designed the thing? Is Rupert just tacking his name on these beauties now? Tisk tisk... And is Hutch not involved either? And what's the new product? Something new in the Portico line?

You are confusing two different things,

One is mechanical design (CAD,manufacturing instructions -where to drill holes and in which diameters,how to transfer the electronic scheme to pcbs and mount them in the box ,etc...)
which is what drake did and the other is Electronic design which is what Rupert did.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
The MPCist's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Welcome to the forum, Drake! It's great to have engineering minds to run ideas by and also to see what new stuff can be built in the future.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Re: crossover THD in 5534

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola ➡️
While I can agree with you on the feel of the older model knobs, have you actually listened to the Porticos with a good microphone? I for one don't hear any crossover distortion, on the contrary... Don't think we should ever judge gear based on which parts we recognize under the hood. Hearing is believing!

Martin
PS. Drake, did we meet briefly in Texas once? :-)
Hey Martin and all. Kevin here. (first time posting hope this works right) Just to answer a question in this thread, the NE5534's are DC offset in the Portico to eliminate the crossover, yes they are NOT class A. Other questions on their current product should probably be directed back to the company, since we are not there anymore. My understanding from Rupert is the 5534 was based on an op amp the old Neve company was using and Phillips was trying to supply them in 'chip' form. There are many good op amps, the key is how you use them in the design (loading on the output, feedback, etc.) Amek designs used mostly motorola and burr-brown IC's.
Thanks for the questions. Is there a general "design forum" for technical geeks?
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Guru
 
elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomer1 ➡️
You are confusing two different things,

One is mechanical design (CAD,manufacturing instructions -where to drill holes and in which diameters,how to transfer the electronic scheme to pcbs and mount them in the box ,etc...)
which is what drake did and the other is Electronic design which is what Rupert did.
OK, then I'm not confused at all. It was appearing as though Drake was responsible for the sound of this audio device.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
code 10's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo ➡️
OK, then I'm not confused at all. It was appearing as though Drake was responsible for the sound of this audio device.
You're coming over as a real tool fella, from what I'm reading the guy's just saying he made the boxes and had nish to do with the 'sound' of the Porticos, just seems like you're out to slam the guy, shame on you
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
syra's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo ➡️
OK, then I'm not confused at all. It was appearing as though Drake was responsible for the sound of this audio device.
He clearly stated on his original post:

"keep in mind, I design the boards and box, not the electronics that go inside, that was up to the Electrical Engineers.
Still to hear” This console is built like a tank. I swear that it would survive a nuclear holocaust.” or “This unit's construction and electronic layout are top-notch.” makes me feel like I earned my place in Neve history.
"
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