A decade ago, the Neve Genesys burst onto the pro audio scene to fill an ever-increasing void. The problem studio owners were facing was that as the world of digital continued to expand, there was still a desire for the warmth and character of analog.
In order to get the best of both worlds, a studio would need to maintain both a fully analog front end system and a separate control surface. This created workflow problems. Engineers and producers were looking for an analog console that could talk to a DAW and vice versa. Enter the Neve Genesys.
The Power Of The Neve Genesys
More than just an analog front-end feeding a digital workstation, the Neve Genesys is fully automatable and controllable from the DAW itself. It acts as a two-way street between the console and Pro Tools, Nuendo, and other digital software, using MIDI I/O or the MIDI over Ethernet protocol.
The Genesys brings a lot to the table, including programmable and recallable soft keys, modular EQ and dynamics cards that are also recallable, flexible and configurable routing, and the sonic signature that made Neve a legend. In addition, the console's modularity makes it affordable for smaller studios, but also offers the option to expand into a full 64-channel console.
While original Genesys consoles are still being made today, the Neve Genesys Black was introduced by the storied pro audio brand in 2013. Throughout this Buyer's Guide, we'll take a deep dive into the world of the Neve Genesys Black and learn more about how this desk can simplify your workflow and so much more.
Blending Analog And Digital With The Neve Genesys Black
The only company that could outdo Neve is Neve itself. Taking the best aspects of the Genesys, they’ve bumped things up a couple of notches to put their firm square in the Black. The centerpiece of the console is a touchscreen that provides two-way DAW communication above a set of 16 faders for the DAW, as well as a dedicated place for your computer keyboard built right in, not simply an afterthought. When it’s time to mix, a simple press of a button turns all the other faders into DAW controls too.
Sitting here in the sweet spot, you have digital control of many console parameters, allowing you to keep a close bond with your monitors instead of rolling up and down the console. The multi-touch screen is Windows and OSX compatible and features an elegant interface that brings a new level of intuitive control to your workflow. You can customize that workflow as well as recall all your settings to either bring up the previous session or start a brand new one exactly the way you want it to flow. What’s more, 16 split meters allow you precise visual feedback to complement your tactile control of the DAW via the faders, handy jog wheel, and transport controls.
Size-Friendly Digital Control Over An Analog Soul
Working in the digital domain stopped being a luxury a long time ago. But for all its ease and convenience, it has yet to replace the sonic signature that only analog can provide. With the Neve Genesys Black, you get that analog soul with digital control.
On the base model of the Genesys Black, you get eight input channels with a direct out and two insert points, which can all be sent to and from the A/D converters. 192 kHz digital I/O is provided via MADI, AES, or Firewire, with world-class Neve converters on every channel. By providing digital control of numerous parameters on the channel, the Genesys Black has a much smaller footprint than a full analog console with the same features. This makes it perfect for small and medium-sized studios.
With modular increments, the desk can also be expanded in groups of 8 channels up to a full 64 channel console. The Genesys Black can naturally be operated as a standalone analog board, but it’s designed to integrate seamlessly with your digital audio workstation.
Get Inline to Cross the English Channel
The Genesys Black is an “inline” design and each channel strip is packed with features, but you’ll notice some are missing. For example, the EQ and Dynamics sections have simple on/off buttons and nothing else, because the parameters are controlled digitally, so there’s no need for mechanical devices. This allows a more compact footprint while freeing up space for other functions.
The mic preamp is the world-famous 1073; it features a rotary encoder with built-in LEDs to show gain or mix levels, along with the typical pad, phase, phantom, and Hi-Z/line selectors. A high pass filter here is a nice touch, and line level has its own rotary trim control. Equalization is the standard 88 RS version or the optional 1084. Either one pairs well with the optional VCA dynamics. All processors and inserts can be placed on either channel input. The Pan control can be configured for LR or LCR operation.
Fleshing out the channel strips, four mono auxes, two stereo auxes, and two stereo cues provide plenty of routing flexibility. Since this is an inline design, the tracking and mixing facilities are both on the same channel strip, doubling your inputs at mixdown. The auxes and cues can also feed the eight mono sub-groups (with pre- and post-fader inserts). These can be used separately, as four stereo stems, or for a true 5.1 mix environment with a bonus feature: a stereo fold-down mix that is separate from the main stereo mix bus. Speaking of the mix, when you switch to DAW mode, all motorized faders become available and arefully automatable from your DAW.
Each channel features a dual-scale meter showing VU and dBu. The eight group/return meters and two main mix meters are similar, selectable to show which scale is in use, as well as peak/peak hold and PPM mode scaling to +14, 18, or 20 dB.
Monitoring And Cueing With The Neve Genesys Black
The Neve Genesys Black has a comprehensive monitoring section taken directly from the large-format 88RS console. With a pair each of mono, stereo, and 5.1 setups, all your monitoring needs can be realized for nearfield, mains, and surround systems, including individual speaker control. You can even fly in an external 5.1 source. The headphone feed can be the control room monitor choice, external source, or cue mix.
The cue mixes themselves are very comprehensive and can be taken from the cue, aux, main mix, or external source. It even has its own tilt EQ to satisfy any demanding musician. When talkback is engaged, the cue mix is dimmed rather than cut. Reverse talkback is also provided, to aid in overdubbing so you can come in right on cue.
Black Is the Sum of All Colors
Each channel has dual meters which can display the channel input, monitor input, or direct output levels. The 16 split meters on the DAW section can show 32 mono channels at mixdown. An additional eight mix inputs can be derived from the four stereo FX returns; these have a very handy width control to optimize placement in the stereo field. A mix return blend control allows parallel processing via the inserts, groups, and main stereo bus.
Combining an inline design with numerous routing options and external sources makes the Genesys Black a very versatile console. The basic sound is pure Neve, provided by the onboard preamps, EQ, and dynamics, while plenty of other outboard colors can be added to your sonic palette through the dual channel inserts and FX returns. The Black is extremely quiet too, with a noise floor of -96 dBu and headroom of +26 dBu, giving you a dynamic range of 122 dB.
To sum it up, the Genesys Black provides all the analog color you want in your audio, while also integrating with your DAW in both directions. This gives you the best of both worlds for a seamless workflow that is intuitive, time-saving, and most of all, creative.
Neve Genesys Black Base Configuration
Eight channel strips with:
- Neve 1073 mic preamp/line amplifiers
- Neve 88R-style, 4-band EQ
- Optional 1084 EQ
- Optional VCA dynamics module
- A/D/D/A converters for digital ins/outs (16 in, 8 out per card)
- Motorized faders
- 6 aux send/returns (4 mono and 2 stereo)
- 8 groups, 2 stereo mix buses (main + 2-track)
- Digital control of EQ and dynamics
- Dual channel meters
Dedicated DAW control section with:
- Multi-touch display
- 16 dedicated DAW control faders
- Dedicated stereo DAW metering
- 16-channel DAW monitoring
- Controls for Logic Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools, etc.
Master Section with:
- Motorized 8-track and main output faders with DAW control
- Two stereo monitor speaker setups
- Two 5.1 monitor speaker setups
- 2 independent cue mixes
- Complete talkback and reverse talkback ability
- Four stereo effects returns with width control
- Optional digital monitoring I/O for aux, 8-track, main mix
- 8-track, 2-track, and monitor meters
- USB flash drive for load, store, and reset functions
Neve Genesys Black Console Pricing
If you're interested in ordering a Neve Genesys or Neve Genesys Black console, contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or by phone at 866.644.0160.