VIEWS OF THE
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 ( www.centrance.com
) 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.
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...