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Old Meets ‘News’ at Citizen Vinyl

Citizen Vinyl’s focus is on vinyl pressing, but the business includes a studio featuring a Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console.

A Rupert Neve Designs 5088 mixing console is the centerpoint of Citizen Vinyl's studio.
A Rupert Neve Designs 5088 mixing console is the centerpoint of Citizen Vinyl’s studio.

Asheville, NC (September 13, 2021)—Citizen Vinyl’s focus is on vinyl pressing, but the business, located in a historic building in Asheville, NC, includes a recording studio featuring a Rupert Neve Designs 5088 mixing console.

“When we first looked at the building, the studio was days away from being demolished,” reports Citizen Vinyl’s founder and CEO, Gar Ragland. “It was in this very room, as WWNC radio station, that Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys had a residency in late 1939, where America was first introduced to his new ‘bluegrass’ sound. So the opportunity we had in taking over this space was just too good to be true.”

The backbone of Citizen Vinyl’s activity is vinyl pressing, but it also houses a vinyl-themed craft cocktail bar, a farm-to-table café called Session, and a store called Coda: Analog Art & Sound, selling vinyl records and local screen-printed art. “We’re celebrating the history of the building,” says Ragland. “It was originally built in 1939 to accommodate our city’s two newspapers, the Citizen and the Times, and the papers were printed here on site in the basement; so it has a long history of manufacturing.”

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Ragland had prior experience working with the vintage Neve 8068 console at Echo Mountain Recording, and notes that this became “not only the gold standard but the norm” for the way he wanted to work, and the sound that he expected from his projects. After first working with a 5088 console at Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Wimberley TX, Ragland reports that he was very impressed.

“The 5088 is elemental. It does what it does extremely well, better than anything else out there. And the simplicity affords me the freedom to focus on other aspects of the projects I’m working on, with the confidence knowing that everything’s going to sound great. It really focuses on the principles and the fundamentals of audio recording in the best way possible, and that’s how I work, that’s how I think — there’s really no other alternative for me.

“I feel like Rupert Neve Designs is where old meets new. The 5088 is a nod to honoring the rich analog legacy of Rupert Neve’s long career in pro audio — but as a new piece of equipment here, it really inspires our celebration of history and how it can inform all the future creative works that we’re going to be doing here at Citizen Vinyl. It really encapsulates the whole ethos of this project.”