The Blind Podmaker
Tips and tricks on podcasting from a blindness perspective
4 months ago

Episode 36 – Jonathan Mosen reviews the Centrance PortCaster and PM1 PivotMic

From the manufacturer:

"PortCaster is a mobile audio interface for Podcasting, Live streaming and Videos. With this handheld, portable mixer you can host your own show, adding music and guests. PortCaster is easy to use and durable, which saves you time and money. Featuring warm, analog sound and an 8-hour rechargeable battery, PortCaster makes you sound clear and lets you Broadcast from Anywhere! Our new Jasmine™ mic preamps feature 65dB of low-noise gain and support all professional mics. Featuring analog limiters, mix-minus with a phone patch for remote guests, optional SD recorder, mono blend for streaming, and much more, PortCaster liberates your creative process, allowing you to work anywhere! PortCaster Discrete Mic Preamp Discrete Mic Preamps Sound quality starts with the Mic preamps. The improved version of our acclaimed Jasmine™ Mic Preamp features a custom, discrete transistor differential input stage. 65 dB of clean, low-noise gain makes it easy to use any condenser or dynamic microphone, including SM7B, RE20, etc. ondenser or dynamic microphone, including SM7B, RE20, etc.

Dual Optical Limiters To help better control recording levels, PortCaster features independent, soft-knee optical limiters for both Host and Guest, for a truly professional sound. Analog photovoltaic limiters are superior to their digital counterparts, as they can subtly catch the audio peaks early, preventing nasty digital clipping. Mix-minus for call-ins Mix-minus is a feature used by radio stations to add call-in guests to the program. Mix-minus prevents annoying audio feedback from traveling back to the caller through the phone line. With PortCaster you can have call-in guests, too! Mix-minus is included. Just connect your phone, and dial up your guest! Or use it as a phone patch during your VO session. enient mono blend knob (Insta-MONO) can combine both input channels, so that your audience on Instagram, Facebook Live, Webex, Zoom, etc., can hear both participants. Even stereo music or sound effects on Aux 3/4 can be mixed down to mono, if needed. We designed its battery system to offer reliable service in the field. The case is made from lightweight aluminum and the tactile controls make adjustments quick and easy. The built-in SD recorder, combined with our custom XY stereo mics turns PortCaster into a professional, high-quality mobile recorder. Your smartphone is an amazing audio production tool. Many apps let you edit, produce, and then upload your audio online in minutes. But how do you get quality audio into your phone in the first place? Now it’s simple! Set the PortCaster on your coffee table, connect a mic and the phone, start your favorite recording app and you’re recording — it’s that easy! Have a particular vocal mic that suits your voice? No problem. PortCaster offers 48V phantom power to accommodate any dynamic or condenser mic. The custom designed Jasmine™ Mic preamps deliver a world-class signal, designed to capture every nuance of the performance. PortCaster is a professional Mobile Recording Interface. It delivers broadcast-level audio quality and is used worldwide by radio stations, professional musicians, podcasters, life streamers and youtubers. This hand-held recording marvel packs a number of features previously available only in high-end studio interfaces, into an ideal form-factor for traveling audio professionals. PortCaster packs two boutique mic preamps with LED level monitoring, 48V phantom power, Dual Independent Limiters, Mono blend, USB blend, and more, into a handheld device the size of a passport! Our exclusive hybrid power system lets you run the unit off the internal rechargeable battery OR from the wall outlet (R4M, R4D models). By transforming your smartphone into a portable recording studio PortCaster creates an end-to-end mobile recording solution for journalists, podcasters, voiceover artists, and videographers — anyone who records on the go. PortCaster has two Neutrik™ input jacks, which accommodate professional microphones and one TRRS input jack for connecting a cell phone. Now you can easily add remote guests to your podcast. Simply dial them up and PortCaster will do the rest. Its analog Mix-minus circuitry will make sure the guest hears the entire podcast with the exception of their own voice. This prevents annyoing feedback from traveling down the phone line and it’s how big radio stations arrange call-in guests. With PortCaster, you can do this too! PortCaster is also a versatile mixer. It has an Auxiliary stereo input that allows you to effortlessly add background music or sound effects to your podcast. PortCaster can connect to a camera via its stereo line output. The top panel gives you easy access to all of the adjustments, using familiar analog pots. No searching through menu pages to find the right adjustment — quick and easy controls are always at your fingertips."

From a blindness perspective, PortCaster is particularly attractive because it has no screen, and no menus. Once you're familiar with the order of the controls, there are no menu layers to trip you up. Jonathan will demonstrate PortCaster in several common scenarios, and discuss who this device is right for. To purchase PortCaster, visit the Centrance Store.