The AMS Neve 88RLB is a mono mic preamp in the 500-series format that is taken directly from the flagship 88RS console and includes new features including REGenerate and intelligent phantom power switching—VPN Alliance compliant
Honey, I shrunk the 88RS! Just because you don’t have the space for an 88RS console, floors that can handle two tons, or the high six figures it takes to own one, doesn’t mean you can’t have the sound of one—thanks to the AMS Neve 88RLB. Okay, not the sound of the entire desk, but the same preamp with precisely the same components and custom transformer as the aforementioned world-class console in a 500-series format. While the 88RS console preamp doesn’t have the creamy thickness of the 1073 preamp, along with a precise soundstage, modern sound, and greater sense of realism, it does have an analog hue you’d expect from Neve. The 88RLB has an additional feature not found on the console preamps, which is called the REGenerate function, which feeds the line input and DI directly into the transformer for some additional Neve character. The 88RLB, along with a sweepable high-pass filter, phase reverse, and 20dB pad, has what Neve refers to as “intelligent phantom power,” which is a switching scheme that prevents phantom power from going where it isn’t wanted.
AMS Neve 88RLB—Just the Facts:
- True Neve 88RS mic preamp in a 500-series format with transformer-coupled mic input, electronically balanced Line and DI inputs, and Line output
- REGenerate feature allows Line and DI inputs to be fed through the Mic input transformer to inject the legendary Neve sound
- Sweepable high pass filter can be switched in or out
- Intelligent 48v phantom power function
- -20dB pad and phase reversal features for Mic, Line, and DI inputs
- Signal Presence LED illuminates green from a level of -25dB and red from a level of +26dB
- Front combi-XLR connector for mic input (XLR), Line, and DI inputs (1/4" TRS jack
- LIFT switch eliminates potential ground loops when using unbalanced jack connectors in the front input
AMS Neve 88RLB—Beneath the Hood
The 88LRB is the product of years of refinement. Its custom transformer provides lower distortion, wider bandwidth, and greater rejection of external noise or hum than previous incarnations. The 88RLB also shares exactly the same components as those found in the 88RS for sonic excellence, and offers features not found in the flagship AMS Neve desk.
Moving outside the box, the input section of the preamps has a rotary gain pot with push-in selection for Mic, Line, and DI, each with its LED indicator. When Mic is selected, gain range is from +20dB to 70dB; -20dB to +20dB line; and 0dB to 50dB out when DI is selected. Alongside the input LED indicators is the REG control, which is unique to the 88LRB. When active, it passes audio from the line or DI input through the mic amp’s input transformer to inject Neve character and body. To make life easy, the 88LRB has a front-panel combi jack for easy mic/instrument access, which is selectable with a dedicated switch.
The 88LRB controls also include a selectable high-pass filter with a range of 31Hz to 315Hz, which can handle a wide range of unwanted sound from HVAC rumble up to 2nd-harmonic mains noise from guitar amps, as well as low-mid frequency room buildup, proximity effect, thinning out acoustic guitars or hi-hat, etc. The front panel also hosts a -20dB pad switch, 180-degree phase reverse, ground-lift toggle switch, and what AMS Neve refers to as “intelligent phantom power.”
So what is intelligent phantom power?
The phantom power not only engages +48V for condenser mics, it also holds the title of chess grand master and has read the entire works of Chaucer in the original Middle English. (Neve did say it was intelligent.) Actually, it’s a clever switching scheme that prevents phantom power from entering sources that could be damaged by it, or is unnecessary to the operation of. In essence, you can’t select phantom power unless you’re in mic mode, and if you switch to line or DI mode while it was active in mic mode, it automatically shuts off in. It also does the same if you’re in mic input mode with a rear-panel connection and switch to front-panel input without turning of phantom power first. It does this in case you already have an instrument connected that doesn’t want to see phantom power. You can also think of it as a failsafe in case you were planning to plug in a ribbon mic, which can easily be fried by phantom power. See? Smart.
As we mentioned above, REGenerate enables you to run the line or DI input through the mic input, with the associated level control of the input modes. This feature enables you to dial in some dirt, so to speak. You can go from crunch to creamy and warm. The 88LRB preamp gives you clean and open audio capture, while REGenerate gives you the character. You can use REGenerate in tracking or mixing as an instrument effect, such as a little distortion to bring a bass forward in the mix, or, speaking of the mix, you can use it across the main mix bus (assuming you have two 88LRBs) to warm up your mix on those cold digital nights.
While you may not have the room, budget, or floorboards that can handle “the Rolls Royce of the industry” as the late Sir George Martin called the Neve 88RS, with the AMS Neve 88LRB in your lunchbox, you don’t have to settle for anything other than the absolute best when it comes to capturing the beauty, energy, and excitement of your recordings. Order yours today. For more information, call or chat online with your PAD Studio Specialist.
- Input impedance > 1.2k ohm (transformer-balanced and earth free)
- Gain: +20dB to+70dB in 5dB steps
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz +/- 0.5dB, @ 60db gain
- Distortion 40Hz-20kHz @ 60dB gain, <0.025% @ +20dBu output with 80kHz bandwidth
- EIN: Better than -126dBu @60dB gain
- Input impedance >10k ohm (electronically balanced)
- Gain range: -20dB to +20dB
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz +/- 0.25dB
- Distortion: 20Hz-20kHz @ unity gain, <0.0025% @ +20dBu output with 80kHz bandwidth
- Noise: <-87dBu 20Hz-20kHz bandwidth @ unity gain
- Input impedance: > 500k ohm
- Gain range: 0dB to +50dB
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz +/- 0.25dB
- Distortion: 20Hz-20kHz @ 0dB gain, <0.0025% @ +20dBu output with 80kHz bandwidth
- Noise: < -87dBu 20Hz-20kHz bandwidth @ minimum gain
- Height: 5-1/4" / 132 mm
- Width: 1-1/2" / 38 mm
- Depth 5-3/4" / 145 mm
- Weight: 1.1 lb. 0.5 kg