CEntrance is one of our favorite independent pro audio brands with a fantastic array of recording and playback devices for the mobile professional. In other words, they create great devices for pros on the go and jam a lot of quality components into small packages.
We got the chance to review their MixerFace R4 last summer and loved it, and we just got our hands on the new CEntrance DACport Pro, which is perfect for producers and DJs that want to get top-notch sound out of their laptop.
So for those unfamiliar with what a DAC is, here's a quick explanation. A Digital Analog Converter (DAC) essentially takes a digital signal and turns it into an analog one so your cute little human ears can hear it. If your laptop has a headphone out, then it has a built-in DAC, but often these are not all that great, and your sound output can be significantly improved by using an external third-party unit. So if you want better sound out of your digital device, whether it's your iPad, iPhone, or laptop, we would highly recommend looking at DACs.
CEntrance ups the ante with the DACport Pro, which not only can be used to get better sound on your headphones, it allows you to hook into pro systems or studios with ease via a pair of XLR outputs.
Pro tip - if you are using your laptop to go into a DJ mixer, you will want to get an XLR to RCA adapter so that you can plug right in with ease.
So what does this mean exactly? In short, if you are DJing or performing on your laptop, this device will allow you to get MUCH better audio out. Laptop audio jacks are ok for headphones, but not so great if you try to go directly out into a DJ Mixer or pro system/studio.
Featuring top-grade audiophile components, the DACport Pro gives you a lot less noise/distortion and improves your sound's overall quality and clarity. It also is about the size of a box of playing cards and incredibly light, so traveling with it is a breeze.
So whatever your profession, DJ or recording engineer, you just met your new best friend. This device is the audio equivalent to having your very own R2-D2 along for the ride. This little DAC also serves as a headphone amplifier and can serve as a Studio Monitor Controller.
- Play your tracks in any recording studio and enjoy consistent audio quality every time.
- Play virtual instruments from your laptop in any venue and sound great on every gig.
- Play your DJ set in any club and enjoy easy setup and pristine, high resolution music.
Audiophile Amplifier - DACport Pro's Headphone Amplifier will help you drive headphones with higher impedance like the Audeze LCD-3 is borrowed from our acclaimed Hi-Fi products. It supports a variety of headphones and features audiophile sound quality. You may just find yourself using it to listen to tunes between gigs. The volume knob feels solid and comfortable, which helps the product double up as a Monitor Controller in a home studio.
Balanced XLR outputs - Your laptop now can play nice with professional audio gear. Connect the DACport Pro to your computer via USB and use the XLRs to hook into pro gear. The built-in Mic/Line switches give you the flexibility to connect to any pro sound system.
Calibrated VU meters - Watch those levels - literally. The DACport Pro provides you with calibrated LED VU meters, making it easy to monitor your levels without headphones on visually. The LEDs also feature a brightness function controlled by a little jogwheel so you can adjust to your environment; whether it's outside or in a dark club, you can dial it in just right.
Full Control Over Outputs - DACport Pro also features FIX/VAR switch, allowing you to use it as a fixed-output DAC or a Monitor Controller. The FIX position keeps the volume knob adjusting only the headphone output. The VAR position also adjusts the XLR outputs so that you can control the levels going out into a mixer, etc. The feature can be easily toggled between the two with a paperclip, as the switch is recessed to prevent it from accidental nudges.
Attachment Flexibility - With a standard 1/4″-20 thread, giving the DACport Pro a lot of versatility for live setups. Use it with a clamp, a tripod, or just sitting on your desk - you've got options.
Summary - If you are a professional engineer, producer, musician, or DJ that uses a laptop (don't we all?), then the DACport Pro is the ultimate solution for getting the best sound possible out of your little box. Whether it's performing live with a virtual instrument, plugging into someone else's studio, or doing a DJ set at a club or festival, this little box is going to make you sound a lot better, bigger, bolder, and fuller. It also is just a great device to keep on your desk if you listen to a lot of music through the cans or even if you want to route it to some external speakers, it's just going to make your music sound better - even compressed formats like Mp3s are improved upon considerably. The DACport Pro has now earned a permanent place in our gear bag, and it probably will earn a place in yours as well once you give it a try. Just get it.
Power Supply - USB bus (no external power supply needed)
Required cable - USB-C cable, must be "Data cable". "Charging-only" cables will not work.
Headphone Amp - Custom AmpExtreme™ technology with bipolar power supply
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
Mounting Thread - Standard 1/4″-20 Photo mounting thread, adaptable to tripods, mic stands, clamps, etc.
Unit Dimensions - 121 mm (4.76″) (L), 70 mm (2.76″) (W), 36 mm (1.42″) (H)
Unit Weight - 136 grams (4.8 ounces)
Box Dimensions - 161 mm (6.33″) (L), 111 mm (4.37″) (W), 42 mm (1.65″) (H)
Included accessories - Quick Start Guide, Velvet carry pouch, USB-C cable with USB A adapter, Switch tool, Adhesive rubber feet
- DACport Pro is a portable, mastering-grade USB DAC, Headphone Amplifier and Monitor Controller
- Connect your laptop to any sound system and stream to large monitors with consistent audio quality
- Plug-and-play operation. DACport Pro takes its power from the USB-C jack. No external power is required.
- Designed to work with MacOS, Linux, Windows, laptops and desktops. ASIO driver for Win 10 is available.
- Supports all standard audio formats: 16-bit/44 kHz, 24-bit/48 kHz, all the way up to 32-bit / 384 kHz, plus DSD.
- Fully balanced, male XLR outputs, making it easy to connect to mixing desks, powered monitors, etc.
- Fixed/Variable switch tells if the Volume knob controls levels at the XLR outputs or just the headphones
- Mic/Line switches simplify connections to most kinds of Hi-Fi, prosumer and professional equipment
- Audiophile quality thanks to the AKM D/A converter chip, which features Velvet Sound™ technology
- Custom AmpExtreme™ Headphone Amplifier with plenty of power and a 20 dB gain pad switch
- Supports the widest range of headphones, from IEMs to large home and studio overhead models
- Connects your laptop to most mixing boards or professional audio speakers, for pristine playback
- LED VU meters calibrated to 0db FS. The meters feature a string of white LEDs, the top 0dB LEDs are red.
- LED brightness is gradually adjustable with a thumb-wheel control, from "off" to daylight-visible
- Lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminum chassis for scratch protection and durability, perfect for travel
Frequency Response 20 Hz…20 kHz ±0.2 dB
Dynamic Range 112 dB (re: +17.2 dBu, Line Level)
THD+N 0.001% (0dB FS, 1kHz, Line level)
Crosstalk -127 dB (@ 1kHz, Line level)
Line-level Output (max) +15 dBV / +17.2 dBu / 5.59 V rms, balanced
Mic-level Output (max) -31.1 dBV / -28.9 dBu / 27.7mV rms, balanced
Headphone Output (max) +8.4 dBV / +10.6 dBu / 2.63 V rms
Headphone Output Power 424 mW max total, @ 32 Ohm
Headphone Output Impedance 0.5 Ohm
Supported Headphones 16…600 Ohm
Headphone Gain Switch 20 dB range
Volume Control Precision potentiometer with professional rotation force
LED Level Meters -30dB, -18dB, -12dB, -6dB, -3dB, 0dB (red), VU ballistics, Calibrated to FS, Adjustable brightness
Max Resolution 32-bit (also supports 16-bit and 24-bit)
Max Sample Rate 384 kHz, DSD (also supports 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.2 kHz, 192 kHz, 352.4 kHz)
Clocking Two custom, mil-spec clocks, 10 ppm precision, 1 ps jitter
Compatibility Plug and play with MacOS, Linux, Windows (10+). ASIO Driver is available (Windows 10+)
USB Input USB-C, asynchronous, fully compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.1