Neve 88M review: High-end, high-performance audio interface
When Neve announced that they were putting out their first audio interface back at NAMM 2022, the music tech industry collectively looked on with bated breath. The promise of transplanting technology from the renowned 88RS studio console into a desktop-size unit was as bold as it was exhilarating- thankfully, the hype was more than warranted. It’s safe to say that the Neve 88M continues the company’s tradition of excellence.
The refinement of the interface becomes apparent before you even plug in any microphones or instruments. The unit as a whole is housed in a tough-yet-stylish casing made of the same material found on Neve console armrests, and the obvious quality in the various knobs and switches will give a sense of security to even the most clumsy of musicians. You’ll have no problem taking this one on the road with you. 10 inputs and just as many outputs mean the 88M comes ready for even the most sizable of sessions. You of course can use the two analog inputs on the front, but the inclusion of eight ADAT digital inputs mean you don’t have to stop there. The outputs are just as versatile, with two analog monitor sends and eight ADAT digital outputs.
Maybe the biggest selling point for the 88M is the inclusion of the same Marinair transformer-coupled preamps that can be found on the 88RS console. The crystal clarity of Neve’s signature sound is here in all its glory. I found myself gushing over just how crisp and clean my Jazz Bass and Telecaster sounded; quick recordings on my Shure SM 57 were just as impressive, confirming the 88M as an absolute powerhouse for recording.
For the front of the interface, standard features like phantom power and combi jacks are present, of course, but the 88M rises well above average devices with its seamless versatility. Mic, Line, and DI inputs are toggable with a simple click of a knob, and monitoring on the device is a breeze thanks to switchable monitoring options including three choices for stereo (direct, mix, and DAW) as well an option for mono. Both the monitor level and headphone volume controls feature center detent pots, a thoughtful inclusion that further ties the 88M to the much larger consoles that inspired and informed it.
Make no mistake about it, the 88M is an investment. It will take up a bit more space than much of the competition, and at a price point of about $1200, it will take a fair chunk out of your budget, too. That being said, you’d be hard-pressed to find fault with the elegant simplicity and absolutely world-class experience this hefty device provides. It may lack MIDI connectivity and DSP processing, but the interface is still almost faultless in what really matters most: recording and monitoring. With the 88M, Neve have, at the first time of asking, put themselves in the absolute top tier of the audio interface category.
Ready to get the Neve 88M for yourself? Check out the list of reputable dealers by clicking the button below, and watch the video to get a preview straight from Neve themselves!
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Image credit: Neve (Press)