Burnley firm provides mixing expertise for new Bond film

It’s already being hailed as the best Bond film ever but the reason the world’s most famous spy sounds so good in Spectre is all down to a company from Burnley.

Mark Crabtree AMS Neve copyIt’s Mark Crabtree’s world-leading giant sound consoles which once again made sure the action scenes – more of them than ever in Spectre – sound so impressive.

Mark launched his company, AMS Neve, in his home town 40 years ago. For the last 20 years their giant mixing desks have been used to create the soundtracks of most of the Bond films and many others, earning Mark two Oscars, and the company an Emmy and a Grammy.

The much anticipated release this week of the latest Bond adventure not only delights the legions of fans across the world it means that once again the Lancashire town of Burnley and Bond are inextricably linked.

As Mark Crabtree says: “Sam Smith’s title soundtrack has also been mixed on our consoles and follows on from our previous work with Adele on Skyfall. For our team here at our factory and headquarters in Burnley it’s always an exciting time when a new Bond film is released, knowing we have played an essential party in creating this huge, worldwide cinema experience.”

AMS Neve’s equipment enabled the world’s first digital movie soundtrack for Titanic and the producers of Spectre chose their kit to complete the latest Bond blockbuster. The final mix was done by re-recording mixer Scott Millan on Neve’s DFC console at Warner Bros De Lane Lea Stage 1 in Soho, London; the score was recorded at Abbey Road Studio 1 on the Neve 72 channel 88R console, along with the theme song, “Writing on the Wall”, sung by Sam Smith.

SpectreThe digital film consoles are huge in every way – up to 2,000 signals can be mixed by three operators at once to create the hugely detailed and complicated mixes. They can cost $1m. The music mixing consoles can take up to 4,500 hours to build and have 750,000 parts.

That’s all a long way from the day 40 years ago when Mark demonstrated a sound effects box he’d designed in his attic at home to an admiring Paul McCartney in London who became a first customer and great motivation.

Since then the company has grown to dominate the sound of television, cinema and music the world over. But despite their success Mark has never been tempted to relocate.

The business is truly global and top artists, producers and film studio chiefs from Hollywood regularly make their way to Burnley and love the area.

Mark added: “Burnley has a lot of world-class manufacturing and is right on the edge of beautiful countryside. We’ve got great transport links, especially now with the new direct rail service to and from Manchester. We’ve taken some of the biggest names in music down to the local pub for a locally produced meal and a pint. They love it here”. Last year Mark was awarded the OBE for his services to the creative industries and advanced manufacturing. He says he’s delighted that yet again their equipment was chosen for the recording and mixing of the latest Bond film.