It won’t take long for any discussion about the sound of analog consoles to veer into the desirability of Neve boards, and for good reason. Their harmonic coloration and open soundstage, sometimes subtle and other times eye-opening, make the Neve tone a “must have” for engineers, producers, and musicians across the Earth. Knowing that a large-format console is out of reach for the typical DAW user, Rupert Neve Designs has tapped into 60 years of experience to create the 5057 Orbit, an analog 16x2 Class-A summing mixer that packs the inimitable, characterful sound of Rupert Neve mixers into a single rack space.
Whereas some external summing solutions are designed to be as transparent as possible, the 5057 Orbit is built to be driven into saturation. Outfitted with a custom output transformer ported from the venerable Shelford Channel, the Orbit can output the mix bus at the normal level to the main output while also sending it 6 dB down to a secondary stereo output. This provides the opportunity to push the Orbit hard—unlocking rich, nonlinear harmonics—without clipping your mixdown recording system.
Like many other RND products, the 5057 Orbit empowers you with customizable transformer saturation via its Silk feature. Adjusted via the Texture control, the Silk circuit can be set to Red (emphasizes saturation in the high and midrange frequencies), Blue (favors saturation in low and low-mid frequencies), or anything in between. You can even disengage it to bypass the coloration when cleanliness is the thing you need. Bring life to dull tracks, add girth to thin mixes, or simply maintain the original texture of the source.
Rather than incorporating channel volume and pan controls, the 5057 Orbit relies on fixed channel levels (matched within ±0.1 dB), stereo/mono switches, and ultra-low crosstalk to ensure precise stereo imaging and channel-to-channel separation. The mix bus attenuation control utilizes a high-grade stepped switch for easy repeatability. Additionally, this design means that setting up the Orbit for accurate session recall will be not only simple, but also reliably accurate.
To accommodate higher channel counts, multiple 5057 Orbit units can be chained via the Buss Link ports. Take it a big step further by adding the 5059 Satellite and 5060 Centerpiece and you’ll have your own modular analog console plus an expanded out-of-the-box workflow to complement the back end of your DAW-based mixes.
There’s much about the 5057 Orbit to love, so share your Class-A thoughts in the Comments section, below, and we’ll all dream together.