A few weeks back, we talked with Billy Crockett, the owner of the beautiful Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio, about the creation of his facilities in Wimberley, Texas. While the initial build of the space featured a digital workstation, Crockett had always planned on making an analog console the permanent centerpiece of his destination studio.
While setting the foundation for Blue Rock, the studio owner became aware of the presence of Rupert Neve, who was living in a nearby town and working for Taylor Guitars. Crockett quickly befriended the pro audio giant, who had stepped away from designing and building consoles, but was close to launching his new brand, Rupert Neve Designs.
"When he started RND, we were nearing completion and his Portico series was a perfect fit for us," Crockett says reflecting on their shared history. "Through the past 10 years, we've been a primary test site for RND's new modules and mics."
The burgeoning friendship between Crockett and Neve could have not been more storybook, as the development of Rupert Neve Designs eventually led to Rupert building his first console after his extended break. While Crockett always knew he wanted an analog console, he never thought that it would eventually come from his friend in the form of a custom 5088 recording console.
"Rupert (and his wife Evelyn, too) told me he would never build another console. Imagine our surprise (and hers!)," Crockett says. "We had always thought of our fancy digital controller as temporary - most all digital gear is, I suppose. So, what a thrill to welcome this beautiful beast."
Blue Rock's custom 5088 has been designed to fit the many different situations the studio can handle, including both recording sessions and live shows. The desk's makeup features 16 1532 micpre and EQs, two 5033 EQs, 5014 stereo EQ, 5042 tape emulator, 16 5051s, four 5043s. The mix portion of the console features 28 mono channels and four stereo channels.
"We had looked forward to working much more in the analog domain, with dedicated controls and not a bit of latency," Crockett states. "We knew it would be great sounding. Still, I was surprised by the flow of tracking sessions, and the substance of the sonics. The daily benefits have been even more profound than I had expected."
For a continued look at Blue Rock Studio's custom Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console, watch the video below and hear more from Billy and his team about the creation of their desk. Additionally, we spent some time with Rupert Neve Designs' General Manager Joshua Thomas, who gave us an in-depth over of the new Shelford 5088, a nostalgic take on the 5088, which gives a nod to Neve's hometown.