Legendary audio recording company Neve may have just unveiled the best USB audio interface on the market. Responsible for engineering the recording desks and consoles on which many of history’s most iconic albums have had the honor of being recorded, Neve unleashes its expertise (and world-class preamps) on a home and portable interface known as 88M. Bringing the “legendary sound of AIR, Abbey Road and Capitol Studios to your home”, the new 88M could very well be one of the best USB audio interfaces on the market, expect to pay a price to match that moniker. . More details below.
Neve may have just launched the best USB audio interface on the market
When it comes to people serious about audio fidelity and recording, there are really only two main factors that separate the sea of audio interfaces out there; The I/O capabilities and the sound of the preamps. The 88M sits confidently in the dual (analog) input space, but packs in some serious internals to deliver a pair of mic preamps with some serious “transformer-balanced technology” that could very well land it at the top of the list of best USB audio interfaces out there.
The 88M uses the same microphone preamplifier as the world leading 88R console. The Marinair transformer-coupled 88 preamp, used on countless singles and film scores, is a time-tested design that delivers analog punch and clarity to all signal sources.
It features a pair of analog preamps (mic/line/DI) with the expected phantom power switches as well as two analog TRS monitor line outputs, and a balanced TRS headphone jack along with eight inputs and additional digital outputs on ADAT. A send insert and return loop is a welcome addition for people who like their outboard gear as well as your standard Core Audio/ASIO to connect to Mac and Windows machines like a typical USB audio interface.
Here are more details from Neve on the combination of analog and digital I/O as well as transformer-coupled inputs:
The 88M has plenty of audio inputs for larger recording sessions – two analog inputs via the onboard preamps combined with eight digital inputs via an ADAT optical connection provide tracking of up to ten signals. Additionally, there are ten outputs available, two analog monitor sends and eight digital outputs via an ADAT optical connection, ideal for extended monitoring, additional cue sends or connecting to different analog units. The 88M’s analog microphone, line and DI inputs are powered by the Marinair transformer, ensuring that all microphone and instrument inputs benefit from the legendary Neve preamp sound.
The bus-powered Neve 88M is clearly up for a spot on the list of best USB audio interfaces, but it’s definitely going to cost you. Now available for pre-order from pro audio retailers like Sweetwater, it carries a list price of $1,245.
Taken from 9to5Toys
It may not be the most well-known digital audio conversion company or the most modern model you’ll find in the space when it comes to high-end audio interfaces – take the Apogee $1,500 Symphony Desktop for example here – but there’s no denying Neve’s pedigree when it comes to preamps. Obviously, the 88M won’t be aimed at your beginner podcasters or creating your first home demos, but it’s a notable (and probably more affordable) option for securing some sort of modern lunchbox of Neve preamps. among pros looking to keep a project entirely in-house. Only serious audio bosses and people who’ve spent time in expensive commercial recording studios would consider this a contender for best USB audio interface, and the verdict is still in, but the Neve 88M certainly has more than a fighting chance at this point.
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