AMS Neve caused stirs throughout the recording industry when they announced their first ever bus-powered audio interface, the 88M, just one year ago. Premium quality meets portability in the 88M, an audio interface that makes a lot of tools look like toys by comparison. Review the Neve 88M specs to find out whether this could be the next interface for you.
Get Legendary Neve Sound in a Bus-Powered Box
Neve is easily one of the most recognized names in all of audio. Best known for large-format consoles and the industry-standard 1073 preamp, Rupert Neve and his designs were at the forefront of innovation for decades. We lost this pioneer a couple of short years ago, though his legacy pushes onward in associated brands, AMS Neve and Rupert Neve Designs.
AMS Neve introduced the 88M two-channel audio interface at the NAMM show last summer. Never before has iconic Neve sound been available in a bus-powered interface. It was methodically designed to exacting standards throughout, seemingly in an effort to not “cheapen” the name by carelessly tossing a hat into the saturated audio interface market.
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The result is an ambitious product invoking the best of the best in analog and digital components — all with the portability we’ve come to expect from modern recording.
Neve 88M Review
Design & Construction
The 88M is a two-channel USB 3.0 audio interface. Additional I/O includes a pair of balanced inserts for connecting outboard gear, monitor outputs, and ADAT in/out for digital expansion. You essentially have a Neve console front end in an audio interface package. Everything is designed and constructed with premium components to serve as a rock-solid workhorse for years to come.
88RS Preamps with Marinair Spec Transformers
The real stars of this interface are a pair of preamps taken straight from the 88R/RS console. These are the same preamps heard on countless top-10 hits and film scores since 2001, utilizing proprietary Neve Marinair transformers. Using these gives engineers analog color, clarity, and punch — a sizable leap from the sterile digital preamps found in cheaper interfaces.
The 88M is a unique way to add Neve-style sound to your arsenal — through a complete recording box rather than a standalone outboard preamp.
Pro-Level AD/DA Conversion
Going even further, the 88M audio interface takes advantage of mastering-grade conversion chips. This ensures the highest possible fidelity for recorded sound entering and leaving the interface. Discerning professionals who rely on trusting their converters can do so with the Neve 88M.
How Does the Neve 88M Interface Sound?
AMS Neve designs all of their equipment with professional sound quality as the primary goal. They go to great lengths to ensure they’re using only the highest grade analog and digital parts to create a piece of gear that would never be the weakest link of a signal chain.
Who Would Love This Interface?
The Neve 88M interface would be perfect in the home or project studio for anyone looking for a major upgrade from many of the popular interfaces out there. The quality of the preamps and conversion is what really stands out. You wouldn’t need to buy any outboard preampfification for quite some time, plus you get all of that amazing analog mojo you just can’t find in pristine, less expensive digital preamps.
Not to mention that this is still a travel-friendly dual-channel interface at the end of the day. So engineers/producers could toss it in their to-go bag with a laptop and have a pro-level recording system anywhere. There’s definitely appeal for certain users who find themselves bouncing between studios or locations frequently, and still desire some consistency across projects.
How Much Does the Neve 88M Cost?
The Neve 88M currently retails for $1245. That’s a hefty price for anyone, but it certainly caters to the professional crowd as opposed to the hobbyist or beginner. At this price, there are plenty of more expansive and versatile interfaces. However, they don’t come with two channels of Neve amplification. You really have to weigh the importance of Neve-quality sound versus the number of inputs and outputs you need, etc.
Closing Thoughts: Why We Love This Never Audio Interface
A pair of legendary preamps in a box you can plug into your laptop is why we love this interface. It’s really that simple! That said, this is a relatively niche interface, generally speaking. The 88M gives the analog purists something to play with, and AMS Neve did a remarkable job packing so much precision audio firepower into a two-channel interface. Many engineers would still be perfectly happy with their Universal Audios, Audients, Antelopes, etc., but the 88M is definitely the perfect tool for a specific type of engineer.