The most metallic modules are auctioned

Used to record iconic albums by Soundgarden, Marilyn Manson, Hole, Ozzy Osbourne and Korn, Michael Beinhorn’s rack of vintage Neve 1057 mic preamps and EQ modules are up for auction.

Posted: 08/31/2022

Michael Beinhorn’s Neve 1057 16-module mic preamp and EQ rack.

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 31, 2022)—The promise that you can “own a piece of history” with the purchase of this or that vintage recording gear has almost become a cliche, but in the case of a rack of Neve modules currently for sale on an auction site, history has been made twice.

Producer, engineer, musician, composer, and author Michael Beinhorn recently announced the availability of his 16-module Neve 1057 mic preamp and EQ module rack on consignment, private sale, and online auction site, ANALOGr. com. The modules came from a Neve 16-input, 8-output mixing console shipped to the manufacturer’s first reported US customer, Sound Studios in Chicago. Beinhorn then purchased the modules and used them to redefine the sound of hard rock – drums, in particular – while recording some of the most iconic ’90s albums by Soundgarden, Marilyn Manson, Hole, Ozzy Osbourne and Korn.

In his notes accompanying the ANALOGr auction listing, Beinhorn reveals that he first encountered the 1057-module rack while recording Soundgarden. superunknown album at Southern Tracks in Atlanta in 1992, where he used them to record drums. “By the time superunknown was over, I was on a mission – I had to own these modules at all costs,” he wrote. But the owner, Tom Wright, initially refused to part with it.

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Eventually Wright had to close his own Cheshire Sound facility and sold the rack to Beinhorn, who reports he used them from 1993 to 2015 on a long list of projects. “I’ve never heard of anything like these drum modules. These are the best mic preamps and drum recording EQs I’ve heard in my entire life,” Beinhorn says over the phone from Canada, where he now lives.

But the industry has changed, he continues, so now he would like the modules to go home: “With this type of equipment, I came to work in a certain way which was to shape the sound. Unfortunately, the music industry in its current state does not support this level of artistry; it’s another form of art now. What I do now is basically work remotely with people and I don’t need recording equipment. I would prefer this material to be in the hands of someone who would appreciate it and use it. If it can be loved and have sound, that’s my hope.

The modules came from a Neve 16-input, 8-output mixing console shipped to the manufacturer's first reported US customer, Sound Studios in Chicago.
The modules came from a Neve 16-input, 8-output mixing console shipped to the manufacturer’s first reported US customer, Sound Studios in Chicago.

The provenance of the modules and the console from which they are derived is fairly well documented. The original recording console—a precursor to what would become Neve’s 80 series—was the largest of the consoles shipped to Sound Studios and received serial number 67123. Neve consoles were ordered for the installation on the recommendation of Ron Pickup, a British engineer. who previously worked at London’s Regent Sound before moving to Chicago.

In a letter to Beat Instrumental magazine published in December 1968, Pickup said he was horrified by the “antiquated equipment and acoustics” of American studios upon his arrival. Therefore, he writes, “it was found that to get a suitable system at a reasonable price, we had to import three Rupert Neve mixers from Britain”.