We live in a time where there’s such a variety of computer audio interfaces that it’s almost hard to make a choice. Indeed, just about every major manufacturer has come out with at a line of them by now. Perhaps the last holdout in the interface game was Neve, and that’s now changed with its new 88M interface.
It’s All Under The Hood
When you look at the 88M it looks like most most other small USB interfaces. Yes, the Neve-style controls and switches catch your eye, but that’s not what sets it apart. This interface uses the same transformer-balanced technology as Neve’s flagship large-format 88RS console, and that’s worth paying extra for.
Most importantly, it has a pair of the same 88 Marinair transformer-coupled preamps that have been used on countless top ten singles and film scores. Yep, it’s the same design that delivers both the analog punch and clarity that Neve is known for.
There’s actually a lot of input capability as well. The two analog mic/line inputs also have balanced inserts, and can be combined with eight digital inputs via ADAT optical connection allow for tracking up to ten signals. In addition, there are ten available outputs, two analogue monitor sends and eight digital outputs via ADAT optical connection, although most people problem won’t use the ADAT feature much.
More Control Than Meets The Eye
Each mic amp is switchable from mic to line to DI via repeatedly pressing the variable Gain control, has a +48 volt phantom power switch, and a three color signal present LED. The output section features a large red Monitor output control, and a multi-function headphone level control.
By repeatedly pressing the headphone control you can toggle through 4 different output modes. The first is Direct monitoring where the inputs are directly sent to the monitor output for latency-free monitoring. Next comes Mix where the inputs are blended with the output from your DAW for overdubbing. DAW mode monitors the mix coming off the DAW. The final mode is Mono Mix which provides a mono mix of the input(s) for overdubbing or checking the stereo mix phase in mono.
The Neve 88M retails for $1,245, which is more than most two input interfaces, but you’re getting the excellent mic preamps and the Neve brand. As a result, the unit should hold its value over time much better than most other units.
You can find out more here, or check out the video below.