Rupert Neve is an icon with his roots in the studio world. Most Neve mixing desks have his Characteristic signature on the product. And they can be found in the world’s best studios. Until recently, Neve’s products were exclusively intended for the professional market. The Fidelice series should change that. We are testing Rupert Neve Design’s Fidelice Precision DAC, a headphone amplifier, preamplifier and DAC.
For those who think that the professional audio only looks at the specification/price ratio; no way José. About mixing consoles, sound engineers discuss (fight) furiously; it approaches religious wars. Try the abbreviation “SSL” with someone from the professional audio world and see what happens.
Rupert Neve is another iconic name. He was born in England in 1926 and started making radios and loudspeakers under the name CQ Audio. In the 60’s Rupert Neve was asked to make mixing consoles for British musicians and studios. He based this on transistor technology, at a time when tubes were still ubiquitous; a real innovation.
Neve mixers are characterized by a wide dynamic range and frequency response; 100 kHz is no exception. The robustness of the Neve tables is also such that Neve sometimes wished his products would not last as long; then his customers could try something new! In his long career, Rupert Neve started several companies in pro audio and worked with other brands such as Fousrite. Since 2005 he has been active under the name Rupert Neve Designs (Texas, USA).
Under the sub-brand name Fidelice, Rupert Neve Designs launched three new consumer products: a headphone amplifier, a phono preamplifier (both € 1,299) and the Precision DAC tested here.
In 2019 we saw the Fidelice series appear on audio fairs; this year it is really production ready. The design is striking. Trapezoidal cabinets with a mahogany inlay at the top. The knobs have the same shape as Neve’s professional products.
The RNDAC is the largest and most complete of the three. The top has the wooden inlay with Rupert Neve’s signature. That signature is the logo of all Neve products. The top of the metal chassis has cut-outs for heat dissipation. We try / test the RNDAC in three parts; the headphone amplifier, the preamplifier and the DAC.