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CEntrance Mixerface R4B review

This R4 mobile interface ticks boxes for producers, videographers and broadcasters alike

  • £599
  • $649
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

CEntrance takes the very able R4 interface, upgrades it and delivers a truly dependable audio-capture Swiss Army Knife

Pros

  • Removable XY microphones.
  • Micro SD card recording.
  • Great battery life.

Cons

  • No MIDI I/O.

What is it?

Touted as a mobile interface, the MixerFace R4 was a great solution for anyone wanting to have a studio-quality audio interface that could fit in their pocket and worked well with both iOS and Android devices.

CEntrance has since taken the logical step of adding onboard recording capabilities and even better still, added the PodMic PM1 removable XY mics for a truly all-in-one recording solution.

At its heart, the interface is still the same four-channel R4 as originally released, with two Neutrik combo XLR jack inputs, 3.5mm stereo input and output. Individual balanced outputs for channels one and two (3.5mm) and a headphone output. 

The unit features separate gain controls for channels one and two and combined gain control for channels three/four. And you’re still afforded flexible monitoring options of both the analogue and digital incoming signals via individual dials and an overall monitor mix rotary.

Possibly the best feature, though, is the battery life. CEntrance say you can get eight hours of use, via the rechargeable Li-Polymer battery

The chassis is still the same black aluminium case, which feels solid unlike some plastic-encased counterparts. The PodMics also feel robust with the same aluminium construction and CEntrance has done well to keep size/weight minimal.

The addition of onboard recording comes courtesy of a MicroSD slot which can handle card sizes of up to 256GB and records at 24-bit/48kHz. However, when recording over USB you can get resolutions of up to 24-bit/192kHz.

(Image credit: Future)

Performance and Verdict

In use, the R4B is relatively easy to navigate. There are some hidden features in the formatting and with the MicroSD card in disc drive mode some multiple keypresses are required, but nothing too taxing.

There’s no screen; what you see is what you get. A minor gripe with the controls is the hidden switches, which require a special tool to operate. The PodMics fit very snugly, though we noticed that shaking caused noise to be picked up during recording.

Also consider...

(Image credit: Future)

IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo | £149
It's not going to feature the sexiest-sounding preamps, but as a utility for your music-making toolbox, this is a bargain you cannot ignore.

• Roland Go:Mixer Pro | £129
Much cheaper than the R4B, but then it isn’t really geared up for field recording

• Zoom F6 Professional Field Recorder | £525
If you’re looking for more channels and are ok with a larger unit.

Possibly the best feature, though, is the battery life. CEntrance say you can get eight hours of use, via the rechargeable Li-Polymer battery – and it’s spot on. You can connect to a power brick and mobile device via the two micro USB ports.

One thing we do feel is missing is flexible signal routing. An option to record a mono file while just using one of the inputs would be handy; if recording directly to Micro SD, you’ll be presented with a one-sided stereo file. A switch to monitor in stereo or mono is available but it doesn’t apply to the recording.

There are plenty of accessories available, including a weather shield, which we would’ve liked to see included. You can buy the Reporter kit which features the R4B, Cerene dB headphones and a hard case for an all-in-one mobile solution. 

The MixerFace fulfils its mobile recording/broadcasting/streaming remit where so many fall slightly short. The Jasmine preamps are clean and VelvetSound A-D conversion allows for plenty of headroom. Coupled with the battery life and flexible I/O options, this a must-have for all producers, videographers and broadcasters.

MusicRadar verdict: CEntrance takes the very able R4 interface, upgrades it and delivers a truly dependable audio-capture Swiss Army Knife.

The web says

"CEntrance's own 'Jasmine' microphone preamplifiers deliver an impressively clean, dynamic and low-noise performance, and the effect of the channel's analogue high-pass filters felt well judged, and seem to me to be especially suited to recording dialogue and vocals. There's a lot to like about the MixerFace R4, and little to complain about."
Sound On Sound

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Specifications

  • TYPE: Mobile mixer and recorder
  • KEY FEATURES: Four-channel mobile recorder and audio interface with XY mics and onboard recording
  • CONTACT: CEntrance