Reviewing a high-class audio recording interface – the CEntrance MicPort Pro 2

Reviewing a high-class audio recording interface – the CEntrance MicPort Pro 2

What does a MicPort Pro 2 do for you?

Suppose you were a voice-over artist, a podcaster, a Twitch streamer, or just wanted to up your audio game when holding Zoom meetings?

You?d need a good microphone, and a good microphone interface.

One of my favorites is the CEntrance MicPort Pro 2. The original MicPort Pro was released some time around 2009. I have one. It is fantastic, taking XLR microphone signal, providing phantom power, and turning it into USB. But it wasn?t perfect.

The original MicPort Pro worked only with computers, not iOS devices. It had mono audio. And it required bus power, because it had no battery.

Two USB ports is a smart choice. It means you can charge the internal battery while using the other port for audio on a phone.

What it did have, was superb audio, courtesy of Burr-Brown ADC components. These were, of course, immortalized in the movie ?The Italian Job? where Seth Green talks about his ultimate stereo.

The MicPort Pro 2 bests it in a few key ways: it has a rechargeable battery. It works with iOS. And, it records two mono channels, one at a reduced decibel level of the other.

The new model uses Jasmine pre-amps, AmpExtreme headphone amp, and VelvetSound A-to-D converter. Yes, these are fancy trademarked terms for making the parts sound important. But they work.

The Neutrik input means you can connect mics, instruments, or Line-in sources.

The safety net of having the second channel record at -12dBto prevent clipping is important. If you were to set your levels too high, it records that second channel lower, so you can salvage the recording without having to do another take.

Why would you want this as an Apple user?

As an Apple user, you want two things out of life: You want things to work without question, and you want the very best experience possible.

You aren?t willing to fight with equipment to get results, you want it delivered.

Here, you have what I dare say is professional-grade components in a small box, works with any computer, Android, and your iOS devices, and records a second channel as a safety net.

What CEntrance promises

The MicPort Pro 2 promises flexibility and high quality audio. You can record any XLR mic, any line-in, or instrument source with the Neutrik combo XLR-1/4? input.

You can use phantom power for mics that need it. In my own use, I have it paired with a FetHead to boost the output of my EV RE20 microphone and use the phantom power to power the FetHead.

It works with GarageBand, BandLab, Bias FX, AmpKit, Ferrite, and more. Because it works with iPhone, it enables you to use a high quality microphone on-the-go.

How does this differ from other CEntrance products?

CEntrance has a number of products for recording and playback. The MixerFace is a 2 port version of the MicPort Pro 2. There?s a new device coming called PortCaster, specifically for podcasters to add guests and mix in effects, and even mix in guests over telephone.

The value proposition

Why should you trust me when I say this is my mic interface of choice? I was the host of the MacNN podcast from 2005-2009, and host of the AppleInsider podcast for over 300 episodes. I produced these shows weekly, and when not doing a live interview that required more than one mic, this was my go-to. Sound quality never let me down, and preserved the audio quality from the mic, where other interfaces color the sound negatively.

The MicPort Pro 2 is $299 USD. That will seem like a lot to the beginning podcaster, but for the professional, or long-time podcaster or streamer who wants to up their audio quality, it?s hard to think of another device that works as well, is as portable, and just plain works as well. The CEntrance Mic Port Pro 2 is available from Centrance.com

Specifications

ANALOG SPECS

  • Phantom power
  • 48 V, 10 mA max per channel
  • Mic Preamplifier Gain
  • +0 dB?+54 dB
  • Mic input impedance
  • 1 kOhm
  • Line input impedance
  • 10 kOhm
  • Hi-Z input impedance
  • 1 MOhm
  • High Pass Filter
  • 130 Hz, 6 dB/octave roll-off
  • Freq. Response
  • 20 Hz?20 kHz ?0.5 dB
  • EIN
  • -127 dB
  • THD+N
  • 0.004%
  • Output Impedance
  • 1 Ohm (headphone output)
  • Headphone output power
  • 120 mW (total) / 400 mW (J model total) at 32 Ohm
  • Supported Headphones
  • 16?600 Ohm

DIGITAL SPECS

  • Resolution, USB
  • 16-bit, 24-bit
  • Sample Rate, USB
  • 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.2 kHz, 192 kHz
  • Clocking
  • Two custom, mil-spec clocks, 10 ppm precision, 1 ps jitter
  • Compatibility
  • iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Linux, PC. Driver is available for Windows
  • USB Input
  • USB 2.0, fully compatible with USB 3.1

GENERAL SPECS

  • Mic Preamps
  • Jasmine? technology, dual-stage, discrete differential design
  • Headphone Amp
  • AmpExtreme? technology with bipolar power supply
  • AC Adapter
  • Supports standard 5 Volt chargers / adapters with a USB ?micro B? cable
  • DC Charging
  • +5 V from USB adapter, such as iPad charger. 2 A or more recommended
  • Analog Supplies
  • Battery-isolated, triple-filtered ?7 V analog power supply rails
  • Digital Supplies
  • Five independent, high-efficiency switch-mode power supplies
  • Chassis Material
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum, hard-anodized for scratch resistance, black
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Li-Polymer, 6+ hours play/record time (varies with phantom-powered mics)
  • Unit Dimensions
  • 121 mm (4.76?) (L), 45 mm (1.77?) (W), 36 mm (1.42??) (H)
  • Unit Weight
  • 170 grams (6 ounces)
  • Box Dimensions
  • 161 mm (6.33?) (L), 111 mm (4.37?) (W), 42 mm (1.65??) (H)
  • Box Weight
  • 250 grams (8.8 ounces)

Pros

Everything. Sound quality, portability, iOS and computer functions, and the safety net -12dB features.

Cons

These aren?t really cons.

The device has two microUSB connectors, one for charging, one for audio. If you wish to use it with iOS or Android, you?ll have to get the USB camera adapter for iPhone, or a USB OTG adapter for Android.

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