Allaire Studios acquires rare Neve Air Montserrat analog console

The Rupert Neve console is migrating to the state-of-the-art Allaire Studios in the Catskill Mountains.
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Studio manager Mark McKenna (left) and chief technical engineer Ken McKim at the Neve Air Montserrat console restored and installed at Allaire Studios.

Allaire Studios, a mountaintop studio in New York’s Catskill Mountains, has acquired the Neve Air Montserrat console, one of only three ever made. The 58-input console, which has been used to record countless classic recordings by artists including The Police, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, is now situated in Allaire’s Great Hall control room.

Designed by Britain's legendary Rupert Neve, the desk was created with input from famed Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick and producer Sir George Martin. It is one of three desks specified by Martin for Air Studios, which hold the distinction of being the last ones created by Rupert Neve for the Neve Company. The Allaire Studios console is the only one of the three in the United States. The other two consoles currently reside at The Warehouse in Vancouver, British Columbia, and at Air Lyndhurst in London.

Similar in appearance to the classic 8078 console, the Air Montserrat desk is a departure from earlier Neve designs in its use of remote-controlled microphone preamps and toroidal transformers, coupled with integrated circuits that allow frequency response to almost 100kHz before significant roll-off.

At Air Montserrat Studios in the Caribbean, the desk was used to record classic albums such as The Police's “Synchronicity” and “Ghost In the Machine;” “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits;” and recordings by Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Eric Clapton. Subsequently, the console was acquired by A&M Records and moved to Los Angeles in 1987. There, artists like U2, Don Henley, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and Patti Smith used it. Following a reorganization at A&M, the console was warehoused until acquired by Allaire Studios.

Since arriving last October, the Air Montserrat console has been painstakingly restored by Ken McKim, Allaire Studios’ veteran chief technical engineer. It is now ready for use by another generation of inspired musicians, producers and engineers.

For more information, visit www.allairestudios.com.