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Maono Maonocaster AME2 and PD200X Microphone Review - PAGE 1Mark Watkins - Friday, July 21st, 2023 Like Share
Maono MAONOCASTER AME2 and PD200X Microphone: Introduction
We'll be taking a look at have two new products from Maono: the PD200X microphone and MaonoCaster AME2 console for streamers. Users can get these two products bundled together for a sharp discount of $179.99 USD (regularly $199.99 USD) straight from Maono. Users without a boom arm may opt to check out the manufacturer's bundle with the B01 boom arm stand instead, or one of the other stands I reviewed recently such as the BA90 paired with the PD400X. Of course you can also purchase the PD200X or MaonoCaster AME2 separately as needed.
The MaonoCaster AME2 is described as a fully integrated audio production studio for streamers, with functions for podcast recording, streaming, voice-over work, and content creation.
The Maono PD200X is a combo USB and XLR dynamic microphone, with a cardioid polar pattern and frequency response of 40Hz-16KHz. The microphone has a 2-in-1 smart knob to adjust headphone volume and mic gain, and a touch button with LEDs for muting the microphone. A 3.5mm headphone jack allows users to monitor the microphone too. This microphone doesn’t come with an XLR cable, so you will need to order one separately if needed.
Maono MAONOCASTER AME2 Closer Look
The front of the box confirms that all eight of the sound pads on the MaonoCaster AME2 are customizable, and that it comes with a 60dB microphone preamp, a 48V phantom power supply, and digital output for streaming. The back of the box summarizes the supported connections and different features including: a built-in battery for up to 8 hours of off-grid operation, USB-C ports for charging and connecting devices, dual microphone inputs for up to two users streaming, as well as music instrument input, noise cancelling algorithms, side chain settings for more vocal emphasis, various reverb settings, and 12 levels of auto-tune.
Opening the box reveals several documents including setup information for computer/mobile streaming, and the user manual. The accessories box includes a USB-C cable for charging and data, and two 3.5mm combo jacks for both audio input and output.
The AME2 console has a nice layout that makes a lot of sense. The bottom left has microphone adjustments for both channels, as well as 48V phantom power and Bluetooth buttons. The top left and right corners have large adjustment wheels for AUX volume and overall output volume, while the center-top has adjustments for low, mid, and high frequencies, as well as gain and monitor levels. An LED range displays sound levels during adjustment and processing, and right below that are the auto-tune options that users can tap to cycle through the different keys. At the bottom center are the ABC, Repeat, and the eight soundpad buttons that users can record and mix however they want. The bottom right corner has three knobs for adjusting pad volume, pitch levels, and reverb levels for recordings.
There are six buttons at the bottom right for changing reverb modes – studio, KTV, church, hall, valley, or room, The side chain mode lowers the volume of background music while increasing the microphone's, while music only mode removes vocals in background music for karaoke tracks. The DRY WET mode lets users record only the microphone input, while wet mode includes all reverb and background audio. The loopback mode allows the MaonoCaster to record system audio from the USB-C input, and denoise mode automatically blocks background noise.
The base of the AME2 has four large rubber feet to keep it stable while you record, and also allows it to sit over cables. The label shows that the AME2 has a 3.7V 2,000mAh battery, which Maono says that is good for ~8 hours of operation at full LED brightness. Maono recommends charging the AME2 at USB 5V 1.0A maximum, which should make for 3 hours to fully charge the console.
The top panel has the power button, microphone monitor button, USB-C charging and device connection ports, three 3.5mm ports for ouput/monitor, a 3.5mm aux-in port, a 3.5mm for the second mic, mic gain settings on a sliding switch for 40/50/60dB, a ¼” port for instruments, and an XLR port for mic 1. Two 3.5mm ports sit on the bottom end for two monitor headphones.
The AME2 offers vivid lighting that is hard to miss in any situation, but isn’t so bright as to be distracting. Upon powering up, all of the lights turn on so you can visually verify they all work, before automatically turning off after a few seconds (except for any that you have previously toggled). To the top right of the panel are the Bluetooth signal and battery charge LEDs.
Maono MAONOCASTER AME2 Features
|Headset Output Power||20mW, 32Ω (1kHz, THD+N=1%)|
|Sample Rate||48kHz /16bit|
|Wireless Connection||Bluetooth 4.2|
|Charge Time||Appr. 3h|
|Battery Life||Appr. 8h (Highest keypads brightness)|
Information Courtesy of Maono @ https://www.maono.com/products/maonocaster-e2-portable-all-in-one-podcast-production-studio
Maono PD200X Microphone Closer Look
The front of the PD200X packaging has enough information to get you started, while the back goes into more detail showing the different controls, ports, and features. The sides of the box explain what the PD200X is designed for. After opening the packaging, we find the USB-C cable, a stand adapter for converting 5/8” to 3/8”, and a user manual.
The PD200X has an integrated shock mount and foam pop filter cover preinstalled. The shock mount is not intended to be removed but can be if desired, meanwhile there are no other stand mount options built-in for the PD200X. The mount itself has a large turn knob for adjusting the angle, and users can rotate the microphone inside of the shock mount by loosening the Philips screw. The PD200X has three ports on the bottom: USB-C, XLR, and 3.5mm for monitoring, as well as an RGB LED button. A short press will toggle between rainbow and solid LED colors (ROYGBIV) mde, and long presses (2+ seconds) will turn off the lights altogether.
The PD200X has a metal body and metal microphone capsule with a circle mesh. The top of the microphone has a mic mute button as well as a 2-in-1 button for controlling monitor volume or microphone gain levels, indicated by a blue and green light, respectively.
The PD200X works great with both the AME2 console and BA90 boom arm I already had. The shock mount will be very helpful to reduce any deep resonant frequencies from vibrations. Users will want to get an XLR cable to use the PD200X and AME2 together; I was able to use the XLR cable that was included with the PD400X, which I also tested with the AME2. The cardioid pattern of the microphone means you should be talking/staring at the end of the microphone, not the side of it where you can see the buttons as some users may have the urge to do.
Maono PD200X Microphone Features
|Element Type||Dynamic microphone|
|Connectivity||XLR & USB-C|
|Bit Depth/Sample Rate:||24-bit/48kHz|
|Adjustable Gain Range||0 to +42dB|
|Compatible Devices||Desktop/Laptop/Computer/Mixer/Audio Interface/PS4/PS5/MAC OS/WINDOWS|
|Recommended Uses For Product||Podcasting, Recording, Streaming, Gaming, Video Conference|
Information Courtesy of Maono @ https://www.maono.com/products/maono-pd200x-dynamic-usb-and-xlr-internet-microphone
Maono Link Software Closer Look
The Maono Link software is lightweight and easy to install, and totally optional. The software is intelligent enough to detect the microphone and if you already have multiple Maono products, it will allow you to select which ones you want to modify. The software has both a Standard and an Advanced mode. The Standard mode provides options to mute the microphone, adjust the gain levels and headphone monitor volume, set a tone, and adjust RGB lighting/colors/brightness. The Advanced mode meanwhile allows access to the EQ profile, gain, limiter, and compressor levels as well.
The software makes it extremely easy to update firmware and perform factory resets. During initial testing, the software detected there was a newer firmware available for the PD200X, and the update process only took a minute or two to complete. The software worked perfectly, and it was nice to confirm that the LEDs on the microphone reflected the changes I made in the software. Maono Link is a bonus, but you certainly don’t need it to make good use of the PD200X out of the box. No drivers are needed to use the PD200X as well, so it truly is plug and play. To use Maono Link software with the PD200X and AME2 console together, you’ll want to have the PD200X connected to your PC by USB-C, and an XLR cable to the AME2. If you’re using the same PC to record, then you'll want to run USB-C from the AME2 to the PC, and then set up the PC to use the AME2 for input – NOT the PD200X!
Maono MAONOCASTER AME2 and PD200X Microphone Conclusion
Both the Maono PD200X and MaonoCaster AME2 are great products, I would recommend them both to anyone looking to get into any sort of recording/broadcasting/streaming scenario, as both products would work great for music or podcast use. It’s nice that you can customize the soundpad to fit your needs.
The PD200X is a solid microphone in every sense. The whole thing is solid metal which alone puts it above cheaper microphones, and the quality is great too. The cardioid pattern works well, and the shock mount reduced vibrations even when I tested the microphone next to my noisy and constantly vibrating NAS unit – users couldn’t hear the NAS at all on the other end! The RGB is a fun bonus, though the lights can get VERY bright; fortunately you can adjust the RGB levels using the Maono Link software.
I would readily recommend either of these products to anyone in the market for high quality audio gear, without the insane costs of other brands! You can get the PD200X alone for as low as $61.99 USD, while the AME2 can be found for $95.99 USD at Amazon.