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Centrace MicPort;
MXL Mic Mate
Foster's Test Bench #1:
Review of The Centrace MicPort Pro™

by Alvin Foster

In case you have not noticed, recording on site may become a lot easier and cheaper. Two new inexpensive approaches to recording were introduced by Centrance ($150) and by MXL ($79.95). Both units contain a microphone preamp, supply 48V phantom power (through the computer's USB port), and they convert the analog output of the microphone to digital at the USB port.

It enables pocket size, instant computer recording with all the claimed benefits of digital (better signal-to-noise, and lower distortion). No special drivers are required for Windows or Mac users.

The most interesting unit is the Centrance MicPort Pro ( ) It features 24-bit and up to 96-kHz sample rate recording. It has a variable volume control on the headphone jack (1/8 inch) and the digital output.


The MXL Mic Mate ( ) features 16-bit Delta Sigma A/D converters in the digital section, 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz sample rates. It has a three-position gain selector switch and comes with MXL USB Recorder software. It was not tested.

  Promo for the MXL MicMate

BAS member Jim Doucas was more interested in the Centrance MicPort Pro because of its claimed state of the art features. He purchased two units, required for stereo, and they landed on Foster's Test Bench within a few days.

The early test bench results demonstrate that the Centrance exceed their claimed specifications - distortion (less than 0.01 THD), frequency response (20-20 kHz, +/- 1.5 dB) and S/N (-121 dBV, A- Wtd.)

Our next and most grueling test will be in the field - our plans are to include them in the February mix of microphones recording the Boston Classical Orchestra. The Centrance MicPro will be compared to known, highly regarded microphones and preamps. If the sound quality matches the excellent specifications, the MicPro could replace a lot of bulky recording equipment. Future recordings may require only a laptop computer, condenser microphones, microphone stands, cables, and the Centrance MicPro. Stay tuned...

— Alvin Foster


updated 10/9/09


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updated 10/9/09