AMS Neve came from a merger of two legendary English audio companies; Neve, famous for high quality analogue mixing consoles, and AMS (Advanced Music Systems) the Burnley based audio innovation company. Last night I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an Institute of Mechanical Engineer’s visit to AMS Neve in Burnley. Feeling something of a fraud (I’m not a mechanical engineer but the event was very kindly opened to a limited number of non-members) I was warmly welcomed by IMechE attendees, and also by Mark Crabtree, founder of AMS and Managing Director of AMS Neve.
The last time I’d visited the site, on a visit from college around 25 years ago, AMS were demonstrating their Logic 2 digital mixing console and Audiofile, one of the first hard disk digital audio editors regularly used in TV post-production. In around 1990 it was the first time I’d really understood what could be done with digital audio and at the time these were stunning pieces of technology. The Audiofile used by Editz, where I did a short placement during my college days, was much revered. As well it might be with its hefty price tag at the time.
During Mark’s presentation he walked us through how he became involved in audio, from making guitar amps and synths with electronic parts scavenged from military post-war skips to designing and marketing some of the most innovative and disruptive technology in the audio and music industry including DMX digital delay units, RMX digital reverb units, Audiofile and the Logic series mixing desks. Mark’s message was very much that engineers are formed in their school years – he actively seeks out employees with a childhood involving making stuff at home in their own time. Recently he has put this into practice and invited teachers and students from local primary schools into the AMS Neve facilities to learn how to work with tech, build electric cars etc as part of a collaboration with other local business leaders.
After Mark’s talk there was a chance to see, and to get hands-on with most of the current line up of AMS Neve consoles, from smaller self contained music studio desks to the impressive Gemini film dubbing and post-production console. And also to catch up with one of our ex-Salford students, David Critchley, who has been with AMS Neve since he left University of Salford 16 years ago and is now Software Development Manager for the company.
Following recent visits to Calrec, just down the road in Hebden Bridge it rather make me wonder how two companies making the world’s most sought after mixing consoles can have grown within 14 miles of each other in rural Lancashire.
Must be something in the air.
Many thanks to Mark Crabtree, David Critchley and all at IMechE who made me so welcome on the night.