President's Message
December 2007

1.  The first 5 volumes of the BAS Speaker are now available on CDR with word-searchable text. The price is $5 per volume with a discount for BAS members. (In those days a volume covered a year, with about 360 pages of text). These cover the 1970s when there was a high intensity of audio interest. We expect the remaining volumes to be published in the next year. Volumes 22 to 27 are also available.

2.  Foster's Test Bench Reviews: The Centrance MicPort Pro Just in case you have not noticed, two new, inexpensive approaches to recording were introduced by Centrance ($150 Mac/Win) and MicMate ($79.95 Mac/Win). Both units contain a microphone preamp, supply 48V phantom power (via the computer's USB port), convert the analog output of the microphone to digital at the USB port, and are not much bigger than an XLR connector. They enables pocket size, instant computer recording with all the benefits of digital (freedom from noise pickup, and low distortion). The MicMate features a 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 free MXL USB Recorder software. It was not tested.

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

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. My early test bench results demonstrate that the Centrances exceed their claimed specifications - distortion (less than 0.01 THD), frequency response (20-20 kHz, +/- 1.5 dB) and S/N (-103.5 dBV, A-Wtd.) Our next and most grueling test is to take them along to our next recording of the Boston Classical Orchestra. Their sound will be compared to known, highly regarded microphones and preamps. The units will replace a lot of bulky recording equipment if they sound is as good their specifications suggest. Recording on site may become a lot easier and cheaper. The only requirement will be a laptop computer, condenser microphones, and the Centrances. More next month on our listening and tests results.

3.  I was watching a PBS program, Wired Science, an anthology program about technology, and spotted "Audio File, Is analog better than digital? Unfortunately they took a complex subject and churned it into mush. For starters they made no distinction between a digital console, MP3, and CD as far as digital content. They quoted various studio engineers with comments like "LPs are better than an MP3 downloaded from an obscure website." They did an AB comparison, arranged by Digidesign, between a digital console (presumably 24 bit/96 kHz) and an analog console. Not surprisingly the subjects (two musicians and two studio engineers) couldn't hear a difference. A real mess.

4.  For BAS members out of town we have a special offer for Jazz lovers. A package of 30 Jazz CDs, randomly picked from Ira Leonard's collection, for $22 including shipping in the USA. To order, send a check, made out to "Boston Audio Society", to David Hadaway, POB 460, Rindge NH 03461. These were donated to the Society by Ira's brother, Joe Leonard.


President, Boston Audio Society

email me HERE


The Boston Audio Society
PO BOX 260211
Boston MA 02126

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updated 1/3/08