Los Angeles, CA (April 22, 2009) – Dweezil Zappa has installed a Rupert Neve
Designs 5088 discrete analog mixing console at the Utility Muffin Research
Kitchen, the home studio completed by Frank Zappa at the end of the 1970s.
The modular 5088 desk, which replaces a digital console at the Los
Angeles-based facility, is configured with 24 channels and outfitted with 12
EQ and 12 compressor modules, with additional signal processing installed in
the master section for the main stereo output.
“I wanted to do something that would allow me to have a real sonic signature
and a certain kind of ease of use,” explains Zappa. “I did not enjoy the
issues that came along with the digital console, so we said, let’s simplify.
We definitely have an easier way to do the majority of what we’re going to
do now. We still need to use an old school patchbay, but I’m cool with
The new Rupert Neve-designed and built analog console is paired with a
digital audio workstation in what is becoming an increasingly common hybrid
workflow that offers the best of both worlds. “For a lot of the work that
doing we’re using the computer for what it’s best for, in terms of
automation and plug-ins and whatnot, then summing it through Class A, nice
sounding analog gear for better headroom and that other sonic signature,”
The 5088 console’s master section houses additional Rupert Neve Designs
Portico signal processing modules. “We have the stereo compressor, ‘True
Tape’ tape saturation, two mono five-band EQs, and the stereo field editor.
It’s a whole analog mastering suite,” he says.
On the face of it, the new compact console might offer fewer bells and
whistles than the previous desk, he says, “But the majority of what you do
have recall on is on your computer. And I might have sessions that have 48
tracks or more but there are still enough summing capabilities to get what
we need out of the 5088 in this configuration. Plus, it’s modular, so we can
always add more if we find that we’re doing massive sessions.”
In truth, the limits of an analog console help focus the mind, he says: “To
a certain degree this makes you want to work in a certain way and make
better decisions while you’re working, and have less to deal with.” It’s
certainly a simpler setup than a digital system: “The funny thing is, you
look at this console and the manual that comes with it – I think it’s
probably 30 pages at best. There are plug-in manuals with triple that!”
The Zappa Plays Zappa world tour has also featured a Rupert Neve Designs
Portico 5042 “True Tape” module in Zappa’s streamlined guitar rig,
introduced in 2009. The rig, which radically reduces the weight and
therefore shipping costs of his previous setup, comprises two Fractal Audio
Axe-Fx units, he says: “But because it’s a digital box I wanted to give it
an analog footprint, so the last thing it mults out to is the Rupert Neve
tape emulation box.”
Founded by Rupert and Evelyn Neve, Rupert Neve Designs is built on passion,
experience and a desire to create products embodying the highest musical
quality. In continuing his legacy as a pioneer in audio circuit design, Mr.
Rupert Neve is currently focusing his talents on creating innovative
solutions to the issues facing the modern recording engineer.
Tel: (818) 909-9790
Rupert Neve Designs,
11 Flite Acres Road,
Wimberly, TX 78676.
Tel: (512) 847-3013
Fax: (512) 847-8869