Neumann have joined forces with Merging to create an interface that’s both excellent and accessible.
Neumann are deservedly famous for their microphones but, over the years, they’ve manufactured other types of audio gear too. In the ’70s, their range encompassed mastering lathes, mixing consoles and outboard equipment. More recently, parent company Sennheiser bought Klein+Hummel, leading to the development of Neumann‑branded monitor speakers. And the subject of this review is another collaborative product, which has brought about another corporate acquisition. Neumann began talking to Merging Technology about developing a Neumann‑branded audio interface more than two years ago, and the relationship blossomed to such an extent that Merging are now also part of the Sennheiser group.
The MT 48 takes as its starting point the Merging Anubis, a product that has, thanks to its unusual flexibility, enjoyed the distinction of being reviewed twice in SOS. The Anubis can be transformed to suit different roles by loading Missions. The Monitor Mission configures it as a hugely powerful stereo and surround monitor controller, while an Anubis running the Music Mission becomes an equally versatile audio interface for tracking and mixing.
The Anubis itself is a compact, desktop interface, but unlike most such devices, it connects to the host machine over Ethernet, using the RAVENNA protocol. This enables one of its key features: ‘peering’ with other Merging products such as the Horus and Hapi. The additional I/O is integrated in a completely seamless way, such that every aspect of the peered device can be controlled as if it was built in to the Anubis. This elegant approach to I/O expansion is beautifully handled by Anubis’s other stand‑out feature, the high‑quality touchscreen that offers complete control over its internal mixer and other settings. For the full low‑down on the Anubis Music Mission and peering, take a look at our review from June 2021: www.soundonsound.com/reviews/merging-anubis-music-mission.
The Merging Anubis remains a current product, and as far as I’m aware there are no plans to cease development or roll it into the Neumann line. The MT 48 occupies the same metal shell, albeit in a different colour scheme and with a Neumann logo in place of the Merging branding. It also has the same quotient of analogue I/O as the Anubis: there are two quarter‑inch instrument inputs and two headphone outputs on the front, while the rear panel features a pair of mic/line inputs on combi jack/XLR sockets, a pair of main outputs on XLRs, and an additional pair of balanced line outputs. Another pair of ‘general purpose’ quarter‑inch sockets can be used to connect footswitches, or as MIDI I/O with optional adaptors.
Look to the left of the back panel, though, and you’ll spot some crucial differences compared with the Anubis. The MT 48 can operate as a network interface, but has only a single RJ45 Ethernet port. All current Anubis variants have two, as a redundant connection is required in markets such as broadcast. In place of the second RJ45, the MT 48 features two USB Type C sockets. One of these is labelled Power, but as the MT 48 draws up to 5A, bus powering won’t usually be an option; it comes with its own USB supply, or can be powered from a suitably hefty power bank. Alternatively, it can be powered over Ethernet....