Originally created in 1969 and released in 1970, the Neve BCM10 has since become a studio mainstay, thanks to its compact form and classic sound. When making the decision to revive a console from Neve's past catalog, AMS Neve lead designer Robin Porter eventually decided to bring back the BCM10, while also adding some modern innovations.
Making its debut at AES 2015, the AMS Neve BCM10/2 Mk2 has already made a significant splash in the pro audio world. We caught up with Robin Porter a few weeks ago to chat about the effort to bring back a classic desk, the painpoints of this process and the unique changes that make this console ready for the studio of today.
What made you decide to bring the BCM10 back in 2015?
We saw the need for the best musicians and engineers, who love working on the 80-series consoles to have better access to this legendary recording sound and format.
The BCM10 is effectively a more compact version of the species, and has found great application in recent years as a side-car or main recording console for a smaller studio using DAWs.
We therefore decided to start with the BCM10 as the basic structure, complete with all the 1272 bus amplifiers and classic EQ and Mic pre modules. Then we added a whole treasure chest of convenience features for today’s way of working.
And if a larger format is needed, the BCM10/2 Mk2 Family is available in 16, 24 and 32 channel strips – giving up to 64 inputs. So it’s suited all the way from a home recording set-up with impeccable lineage and status, all the way to a full facility console.
What's the first step in the process when you think about bringing back a classic Neve product?
Asking ourselves, “Can we get the bits? Can we make a console for modern day recording and mixing but stay completely true to the Neve BCM10 spec and sound?" And the answers are “Yes!” and “Yes!”
Were there any hardships to come out of recreating the BCM10?
Having to source some of the components used in the BCM10 were a challenge, We had to create a reliable and solid guide rail and connection system for the 1073’s and 1272’s which was an improvement on the original system. I had to relearn how to calculate the console operating levels verses max o/p and noise. Also how to maintain the low distortion that the 45 series system is renowned for. All of the information to achieve this is kept in our records which nobody else has.
How has the BCM10/2 Mk2 changed from the original?
The BCM10/2 Mk2 is completely faithful to the same basic system with a stereo mix buss using 1272 mixing. However, after a long period of studying how the BCM10/2 Mk2 could work best with today’s ways of recording, we have added:
- A direct output per channel for recording
- 4 mono auxiliaries
- a stereo cue
- 2 inputs per channel for monitoring and mixing
- Mix bus insert with 2264a compression and parallel processing
- SLS and Headphone outputs
- A stereo / 5.1 loudspeaker monitor
- Dedicated reverb returns and DI Bus inputs
- A top level Solo system
- Comprehensive talk back system.
For the new generation of music makers that strictly work within the box, what kind of impact can the BCM10/2 Mk2 have on the projects you are working on?
A whole journey of (re)discovery about how good their recordings can be made to sound. Being able to connect ears directly “hands-on” to the classic format physical controls in the way generations of masters have done instead of being a mouse operator. Then making stunning mixes that can only be achieved using vintage Neve consoles, yet in a more accessible and convenient way.
Interested in learning more about the BCM10/2 Mk2? Check out our exclusive interview featuring Robin Porter and Vintage King co-owner Mike Nehra discussing the changes made to the classic BCM10 design. In addition, AMS Neve has also created a wealth of videos outlining how different areas of the console function. Watch them all below!