Mr Rupert Neve is renowned as one of the most gifted analogue audio circuit designers of all time, but the latest product to bear his name has a decidedly digital angle. Designed to sit at the end of your mixing or mastering chain, the Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Compressor, or MBC, converts its stereo analogue inputs into digital audio, via a stereo limiter, a transformer, and RND's proprietary Silk saturation circuitry.
The first stage your audio will meet is the limiter. This can be run in dual-mono or stereo-linked modes, and features controls for make-up gain, threshold and release, as well as a switchable side-chain high-pass filter, which has a frequency range of 20 to 250 Hz. An eight-LED ladder meter lets you know how much gain reduction the limiter is applying.
Next up is the transformer, which can be engaged or bypassed as desired. When engaged, you can also select from one of two flavours of Silk circuitry (Red or Blue), which offer different mixes of odd or even harmonic saturation. The degree of Silk saturation can be continuously varied using the Texture knob, or it can be bypassed, in which case the transformer operates in clean, linear fashion. With the transformer disengaged, audio passes through a Class-A transformerless circuit that has apparently been engineered for maximum transparency.
The final stage is, of course, the A-D conversion. RND tell us it yields minimal phase distortion, and has extremely low jitter thanks to a high-quality internal clock — though you can clock it to other gear too if required, thanks to the BNC word-clock I/O round the back.
Adding to the MBC's mastering credentials are its twin 22-segment output level meters (calibrated to show precise pre-conversion levels), and the ability to select from four different alignments for +4dBu (-20, -18 -16 or -14 dBFS).
The Rupert Neve Designs MBC is available now, and carries a US price of $3990. Click below to see the introductory video.