We recently had a pair of vintage Neve 2262 modules come into the Vintage King Tech Shop. These compressor modules are unique as they share many characteristics with a few Neve classics, but rarely do we see them come through the shop.
"The Neve 2262, 2264 and 33609 compressors are all very similar," says Vintage King Technician Rick Schultz, who worked on these modules while they were in our tech shop. "These are the first Neve 2262s I've seen in the 10 years I've worked for Vintage King."
We visited Rick at his workbench to learn a bit more about the Neve 2262 and what all he did to these modules while they were at Vintage King. Continue on below to read our interview and to see pictures of Rick's impeccable work on the inside and outside of the modules.
Talk about the Neve 2262. What makes this compressor special? What about its sound do producers and engineers really like?
The Neve 2262 circuit schematic is identical to the Neve 2264. It's essentially a 2264 in a different package. Those that appreciate the sound and characteristics of a 2264 will like the 2262.
What makes this pair of Neve 2262s rare and stand out from others you've seen/worked on in the past?
These are the first Neve 2262s I've seen in the 10 years I've worked for Vintage King. Actually, the first 2262s I've seen in my 40 years on the bench. They're either rare or owners don't want to part with them. It's always fun to crack open a piece of vintage gear you haven't seen before and truly have a first impression.
These modules were in beautiful condition, a little rack rash and the Neve gray paint was oxidized. The Ernest Turner meters weren't cracked or broken as is often seen on 2264s. Presumably, because the faceplate is wider, protecting them.
The serial numbers are almost sequential, 40000 and 40004 respectively. I've serviced hundreds of 2264s for Vintage King but these 2262s were going to be something special. I couldn't wait to get them open.
Much has been made about how hard the Neve 2262s are to service. What makes them such complicated modules to tackle?
I've heard that the 2262 is hard to work on and that is evident when you slide back the side covers. The solder side of the main board is clearly accessible but the component side is another story. Your view of the component side is blocked by the output transformer, the front panel controls, and a couple of wiring harnesses terminated with a DB-25 connector. Everything is mounted to the frame neatly, but blocking service access to the top side of the board.
I found that if I removed the bottom frame plate and board mounting screws the entire main board comes out of the module. It gets better because unplugging the DB-25 connector completely separates the main board from the module. Servicing is now a piece of cake.
If you've serviced a 2264 you're in familiar territory once the board is free. There's a BA 440 op-amp, dual FET, a 31267 input transformer, and a 10468 interstage/sidechain transformer driving the sidechain rectifier bridge. The components are closer together and even the board trace routing looks a bit like a compressed 2264 (pun intended).
Can you walk me through the work that you did on these modules in particular?
Servicing amounted to carefully cleaning all the front panel controls and switches. I replaced all the electrolytic capacitors with quality Vishay ones and all the tantalum caps too. Calibration is just as in a 2264, there are rear panel pots to set unity gain and the +8dB limiting threshold and a board-mounted trim for meter adjust.
In terms of cosmetics, knobs get ultrasonically cleaned and striped. Plastic polish for the meter bezels and clear-coat safe automotive wax brought the faceplate back like new. The rack rash was touched up with custom matched, dark Neve gray paint.
Initial testing of both modules revealed that one compressor was not working. Turned out to be a broken wire on the compressor threshold control. FFT for frequency response and THD. I ran compressor and limiter curves for all ratios and found that the modules were matched to within .05 dB. It all led to a very happy ending.
If you could go in-depth on the process of adapting the Pye faceplate? What's the process for that like?
I wanted to showcase the modules but because of their rarity we had nothing in stock. It turned out that they were the same size as a Pye 4060 faceplate we had, so I hand-fabricated hardware to mount and lock the module in the rack. The modules have a spring-loaded lever actuated locking pin arrangement similar to a Pye. There were a couple of unused screw holes to cover up but it turned out pretty nice. I think they would look really great in a custom Vintage King wood rack.
If you're interested in finding some Neve 2264 modules or any other type of vintage gear that has been serviced by the Vintage King Tech Shop, please reach out to one of our Audio Consultants via email or by phone at 855.614.7315.