Skip to main content

88M captures the moment for Bastille’s Kyle Simmons


Known across the world for his work as part of British indie band Bastille and electronic duo Tyde, Kyle Simmons has grown up with music production in his veins. His fascination with instruments from an early age drove him to create his own electronic compositions from his first home studio setup that he describes as “begged, borrowed and just kind of like a Frankenstein’s Monster”.


While his passion and talent were recognised and supported, he also felt the same sense of frustration that many young producers experience – why didn’t the tracks he was putting together at home have the same sound as the music he was listening to. The answer to this question came to him though the experience of his music technology degree and sessions with Bastille in some of the world’s finest recording studios.

“It’s important for any aspiring producer to know how effective a good signal chain is”

“I remember listening to other people’s productions and trying to work out ‘why does that sound like a real-life thing that would be in a song, and why is what I’m doing not? It just sounds flat’. I just couldn’t figure out what that was. But as soon as you start running a good microphone into a good cable into a good preamp, you understand. Unfortunately, particularly for someone just starting out, all that stuff does cost money.”

This understanding has served Simmons well with the latest iteration of his home setup which has recently been enhanced with the addition of a Neve 88M dual mic preamp and USB audio interface. “With a smaller setup with a lot less tech, high-end gear is where you see the biggest difference,” he reasons.

“I have a load of synths and to run all of that through the 88M, it was like ‘oh wow, there’s all the warm colour I’ve been missing”.

“I found that ultimately there was a lot less to do to the audio file once it’s in the DAW because it’s been put through the preamps. It was a real step up and often means that once you’ve finished the day, you haven’t really got to go back and run through all those things.”

While this has proved to be a real advantage for Simmons in his home studio, the portable nature of the 88M has also made it a vital tool for capturing sessions when he’s touring with Bastille. “Portability is huge, particularly for someone who travels, being able to reduce the amount of obstacles that you need to manoeuvre and to go from ‘I’ve got an idea’ to ‘I’m inputting my idea’, he explains. “When you’re on the road, normally you would have to come back and re-record stuff. The signal we get and the way that it was taken on the day, which is often the best take, it was all recorded through the preamps so we don’t need to go back and try and replicate the vibe that we had on the day in Germany somewhere or in America in a different room.

“We took the 88M to the States and it’s just so easy because it’s bus powered,” he continues. “You can just be on a tour bus sat with your laptop and you plug it in and you can do something within 10 seconds. If you’ve only got a bit of time between doing a sound check or some promo or going out for the day or whatever, in a heartbeat you’re up, you haven’t got worry about really anything. You plug it in and it’s good to go.”

As well as running synths through the audio interface, Simmons also uses his 88M for a variety of sources.

“I’ve run mics through it and they’ve sounded great. I’ve done that and basses guitars. We have a studio down in South London and they’ve got a side production room and I’ll take the 88M with me and that’s what we choose over the stuff that is in the room. It’s just such a leg up from a line straight through. It gives it the warmth.”

It is this warmth that defines the Neve sound for Simmons. “It’s rounded and warm,” he states. “That’s just what I pair with Neve products, it’s what you expect and that’s what I’ve noticed from what I’ve been recording.”

Learn more about the Neve 88M by visiting the product page here. 

Interested in purchasing the Neve 88M? Reach out to one of our authorised Neve Dealers here.