Studio Focus: Gigpiglet Recordings’ New Neve


17 July 2014

It’s winter time, and Gareth Stuckey, aka Gigpiglet, is halfway through his annual fixer-upper jobs. The two main jobs on his list were to install a Neve 55 series console in his studio, and a new kitchen at home. The desk is in, so the rest of the winter will be spent agonising over benchtops and faucets.

Up until recently, the studio was home to a DDA DMR24 console purchased from Alberts. But in 2011, with help from Brendan Gallagher, Steffan Johnson, Damien Herbert and Jeff Faraday a large control room was built, an iso booth, control room and a second recording space; and Gigpiglet Recordings started to shape up into a real business. Things kept going well: A B Room was added with audio and Avid video capability; and this year, a C Room was tacked on for broadcast and live recording work. Just as things were settling down, Stuckey happened upon a Neve 55 series broadcast console up for sale, and the DDA’s place began to look doubtful.

The provenance of the board — as best as Stuckey and co. can put together — began at Radio 1 in Dublin, then it was shipped over to be the backup broadcast board for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The IOC was a bit hesitant about moving to a Euphonix digital console, so the Neve was analogue insurance, the output of which never went to air.

Tom Misner gobbled up most of the Olympics gear after the closing ceremony. The Neve was torn down, perfectly packed into original Neve boxes, and sat in his shed for 14 years. While all the modules were meticulously packed, everything else was missing — patchbay, ribbon cables, EDACs, anything that linked the console together. 

Peter Holtz ‘found’ the console under a bunch of tarps when Studios 301 built the new studio. And after Rob Squire flew up and gave it the ’give it a punt’ tick, Stuckey bought it and Rob got to work rebuilding the veins and arteries of the beast from scratch. It wasn’t an easy job, the audio path is pristine, with all the monitoring tapped off the central backbone. Rob put in more than 100 hours in Adelaide refurbishing the channel strips, and Stuckey did about the same wiring the console up in Sydney, with help from Gary Dryza, Todd Dixon and Travis Keir. Then it took a week to connect the work together. “Normally if you decommission something, you recommission it a month later and know where everything goes,” said Stuckey. “But we couldn’t even figure out how things like the power modules were physically supposed to attach.”

In all, Stuckey fully loaded three of the five buckets, making a 48-channel console with 32 preamps, plus a master section, and used the final bucket to integrate a patchbay. He also had the surrounds redone in wood, binning the horrible white lino that made the whole thing look like a “’70s Russian spaceship,” said Stuckey. “It’s hardly NOS, but for 40 years old, it looks pretty brand spanking. The difference is positively noticeable. It’s been interesting to change just one section of the studio, because then you really notice it.”

Because Rob and Gareth had to completely rewire the desk, it meant they weren’t beholden to anyone’s previous patching setup, and could completely reconfigure the studio’s headphones system. The Neve’s Studio Loudspeaker System (SLS) has been recommissioned as a general monitor mix. And, with the addition of Rob’s custom-made four channel headphone amplifiers, musicians can now flick between a custom aux mix and what’s coming off the SLS, as well as mute the signal or switch it to mono. It means engineers don’t have to tailor separate monitor mixes if they don’t need to, they just get a mix going on the SLS. Stuckey also upped the overall quality and consistency of the system by adding Beyerdynamic DT770 headphones throughout, and furnished all the studios with new Apple computers.

Gigpiglet Recording: (02) 9698 9292 or www.gigpiglet.com.au/recordings


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More for you

Filter by
Post Page
News Tutorials Studio Outboard Effects Processors Software + Plug-ins DAW Presonus Studio Monitoring KRK Reviews IK Multimedia Issue 94 Audio Accesories Acoustic Treatment Test & Measurement Monitor Management Studio Monitors Feature Recording Studio Focus Issue 92 Stocking Filler 2023
Sort by