CEntrance MixerFace R4 Review

There are a ton of interfaces meant for remote use with a smartphone or tablet, which can also be used as an interface with a traditional computer and DAW setup. However, finding one that’s durable, with easy-to-use features can be tricky; some aspect on one side or another is usually lacking. CEntrance’s new MixerFace unit is a truly mobile interface that has all the options a mobile recorder would need in a nice, rugged package.

The aluminum casing is not that much bigger than a guitar stompbox, and pretty much every side is packed with controls and connections. The top panel has combo 1/4” and XLR inputs, and 1/8” balanced outputs. Two channels of Gain controls, Channel to USB playback blends, Headphone monitor and Aux reside on the front panel, along with recessed Hi-Z and High-pass filter switches. The bottom has 1/8” aux in, line out, headphone connection, USB audio and USB charging, Phantom Power selector, Stereo to Mono switch, and a line out level control. Finally, the underside has a threaded insert for mounting on a mic stand. Yes, there’s a lot in there. The selector switches are recessed into the chassis pretty far, meaning there’s no inadvertent flipping, but will require something like a toothpick or an eyeglass screwdriver to access.

It’s battery powered [editor’s note: it has an internal rechargeable lithium polymer battery that can be recharged with a standard phone charger], and at a full charge it should give about eight hours of use, however using phantom power will eat into this time so plan accordingly. Quite simply, it’s plug and play, for iOS and Android devices, however it will require either Apple’s Lightning To USB Camera Adapter, or the USB OTG connector for Android users. Turn on your fave recording app, and it’s now a mobile 2-channel studio. Plugging it into a computer, it functions like a traditional interface for a DAW. Audio quality is on point, with no issues with clarity or definition during our tests. The hi-pass filter works great for tailoring the input to the appropriate frequency responses.

One interesting application is using it when recording video on a smartphone or tablet. Great for singer/songwriters that want to do a video with excellent audio quality (as opposed to using a smartphone or tablet’s built-in mic). A mic on the vocals, and the other input connected to an additional mic or instrument, and it’s good to go. YouTubers that do instructional videos would find this invaluable, as it can eliminate syncing up audio and video tracks later on. Bands on the road could easily connect this to the outputs on a front of house mixer, and live stream (or record) their sets for exclusive content. Podcasters on the go, this is also looking at you in the face — no more having to pack that bulky 2-channel interface along with a laptop for remote sessions.

There are other small format interfaces out there, but none we’ve seen have this many features, and are encased in a durable metal housing. You do pay a bit extra as the street price is $349, but the ability to really dial things in, and survive on the road, gives confidence that it will be good to go whenever you are.

PROS:

excellent features, well built, plenty of applications

CONS:

recessed switches are a bit hard to access

STREET PRICE:

$349

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